11.30 pm ivory lodge backpackers Fox Glacier
Supposedly an easier day according to my alternate day system but probably included toughest climbs so far between Franz Joseph and Fox. There are 3 saddles to climb over ( why do they call them saddles, its not as if I need reminding!). I managed the first two but had to get off and walk about 3 times up the third “cook saddle” which was highest at 410m, apparently this section overall has 1100metres of climb in it.
It was a beautiful morning. Reudi and I shared a long breakfast as well as the whole hotel to ourselves and chatted about rugby, NZ films, Maori/pakeha culture among other things and then said our fond farewells ( after tidying up and closing the door behind us.) I felt good to be on the road again and satisfied with my big effort yesterday, all things seem possible when the sun shines, you’re well fed and you are in such beautiful surroundings.The prospect of a nice trip to Franz Joseph for coffee and lunch was also something to look forward to.
I’ve noticed a new sound I make when I look up and see one fantastic view after another, its that annoying laugh made by either Beavis or Butthead and it just comes out involuntarily. This was especially loud when the snow capped mountains and my first sighting of the snowfields and glaciers came into view.
It was a fairly easy and scenic ride to Franz and I did what I set out to, I had coffee (2 flat whites in fact) and lunch there. Franz Joseph is well geared up for the tourist honey pot it is, full of cafes, shops, activities inc flights, guided walks etc which is all very good. It did have a busy “money spending” rather than laid back feel about the place not helped by the constant whirring of the helicopters getting people up to the glacier before the clear tops became covered in cloud which they did by midday.
I met a very impressively bearded German guy (9 months growth as he has been travelling around the world) but again he was heading north so we exchanged a few tips and advice about what’s to come on our respective ways. Also met the Bavarian woofer who’d showed me round Neptune’s in Greymouth, she had now finished working there and is heading for Wanaka after she sees the glacier, hopefully tomorrow.
Bought some supplies as I’ve read and been told there isn’t much after Fox and before Wanaka. Could probably do with reducing rations as I’m sure I’m putting weight on with all the feasting opportunities I’ve succumbed to. Started by having a fairly healthy chilli beans and couscous tonight.
On the spur of moment I decided to go to the Fox badminton club’s first session of the new season at the village hall (doubles up with DOC building) I’d seen advertised on info board. I met Maggie, Steph, Lisa and Sean who were there already and then John and his wife who turned up later. I was voted in as honourary president when they were going through all the items on the agenda which I think they worked through really well. I’ve got to go back and give out certificates and a little speech I think ( just hope I can claim travel expenses!). They have about 13 kids looking to play and maybe similar number of adults, they had to pick from Monday and/or Tuesday as all other days were taken already by other sports. Subs were going to have to go up to 35 bucks for adults and 15 for kids with a 2 dollar session fee. It was all very well pulled together by the 3 ladies there and with business soon concluded we were playing. We swapped partners each game and played for over an hour and it was fun ( I won’t tell you who was on the winning side each time!), i had a chat with a few of them afterwards and told them what I was doing. Wished me well and one thing they did say was that the Haast pass is only open 7.30am until 6pm as there has been a big landslip which they are working on at night and road is down to a single lane and lights to control traffic until fixed.
Looking to head for Lake Paringa tomorrow about 90km so I can donate more blood to sandflies which apparently abound there. There’s also a salmon farm en route which I’ll look at. I May be offline for a few days but surely you are getting bored of me by now dear reader and can do with a break!?