Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Day 13: Franz Josef

Oct 3rd

We all intentionally woke up early (7am) to book our tour of the Franz Josef Glacier, but it was POURING outside, so we decided to just do the "short" walk ourselves without the guided tour (Jon was worried it'd be too wet and cold for Logan). Logan woke up later (about 8am) which was nice for a change (Logan is pictured here checking out the downpour on our front porch).

Since we skipped the guided tour we took longer and ate breakfast at the cabin and enjoyed the morning. At checkout, we spent 30 minutes online, writing quick emails to everyone (or a quick blog post). We finally set out for the glacier about 11am-ish. We took one trail that ended at a lookout point with signs warning us not to go any further since the bad weather had washed away many of the trails.

So, we did what any determined set of traveling Americans would do.

We scoffed at the signs and kept going.

The sights on our way to the face of the glacier were absolutely gorgeous! There was water running everywhere - waterfalls every where you turned, creeks to skip across, rain falling on your head, rushing rapids as we got closer and of course the creaking glacier in the distance.

Along the way, Jill stumbled across a second DANGER sign, not along our path but within eyesight from where we were walking. She pointed it out to me, a bit more nervous this time, but the boys were already far ahead of us and out of yelling reach.

So, we did what any good wives would do.

We pretended we didn't see the sign and rushed on ahead to catch up.

The walk to the glacier was a little slow going because we were stopping to take a bunch of pics and navigating across rivers, streams, and lots of rocks. But I'm so glad we made the trek. When we finally got to the face of the glacier, it was unlike anything I've seen before. It was made up of massive chunks of hard compacted ice - yet was very pretty, reflecting the water inside the ice like crystal catching a flickering sunbeam.

There were small boulders falling near us since the glacier was fairly slippery and actively melting from the sun.

But, we did what any determined set of traveling parents would do.

We ignored the tumbling rocks and changed Logan at the foot of the glacier anyway.

After an entire afternoon spent hiking and taking our fill of pictures, we hit the road again, grabbing lunch at Cook Saddle Cafe in Fox Glacier Village first. I ordered a tostada, but it was NOTHING like a tostada (more like a casserole or enchilada). And, even though I ordered it HOT, it was not spicy at all damnit.

Kiwis are such pussies.

We had another long drive ahead of us to Queenstown, our final stop before returning to the States. :( We made a pit stop in the middle of nowhere and Eric left his door open, which let a bunch of gnats inside the car. And, this is what one of our guide books said about that:

"The dreaded sand fly. Particularly common in the wetter and coastal areas of Fiordland (but present almost everywhere), these black, pinhead sized 'flying fangs' have a successful hit rate that makes laser-guided missile systems look archaic. Open your car door and within seconds a vast cloud of the little devils will descend and your entire party will look like a crowd of deranged loonies at a rave."


We spent the next 30 minutes on our drive, powering the windows up and down, and up and down, "guiding" the lucky ones out of the car, or smacking the unlucky ones against the dashboard. All the time yelling with excitement the minute we caught sight of another wandering impostor.

Throughout our trip, Logan had this uncanny ability to wake up super cranky about 30 minutes before arriving at our destination. No matter how long the drive - 2 hours or 6 hours - he always fussed 30 minutes before we got there! We've noticed this ability to predict also appears when drinking his bottles, since he will always leave 2oz of milk, no matter how much was originally in it. :)

We arrived into Queenstown just after sunset. We had a really nice apartment hotel - most of the units were over looking Lake Wakatipu, but ours overlooked an inner courtyard of the property. Still, it was a very nice and "modern" pad. I think our only complaint was that one of the two bedrooms had 2 twin beds again - doh! So, Jon and I took that room for the first night.

The boys went to get dinner while Jill and I stayed at the apartment with Logan, unpacking and letting him exercise every last bit of energy left in his bones.

The boys got back and I finally got my Chinese takeout fix. Yummmmmm.

Only, watch out property management!

'cause now our place smells like Chinese food. ;-)

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