Franz Josef Ice Glacier
Having little sleep that night, like a kid on christmas eve. I woke up many times asking Becky 'Is it time to go yet?'
We made our way to the meeting point in town to get kitted up with gortex jackets, boots, hats and gloves, and crampons, and catch the bus up to the terminal of the glacier, actually although it looked like we'd been dropped off right there, it took us another hour to walk to the head, once there, we donned on our crampons and listened carefully to what our guide, Sam, had to say.
The ice glacier moves, at the terminal (where it stops) about a metre a day, even faster further up where the valley closes in. Everyday new streams and holes appear, so the guides never have a clear idea of the route for the day.
As we climbed up on the ice we started to get our footing and felt (at least i did) surprisingly stable. We spent the next few hours wandring about the natural icy maze, stopping every now and again for Sam to wander up a little gully before turning back, annoucing 'This way guys' and walking in the other direction. Or cutting steps into the ice for us to climb, keen for someone else to want to try so he would get a rest.
We finally, after what seemed like hours of going up and down, sat down for lunch, on our rucksacks so we didn't get numb bums, and ate our 'one square meal' (if you ever see them, dont try them) before turning up twards a large crevasse and finally trying to make our way back down the way we came up, some of the steps cut into the ice already gone!
Again, as with lots of our trips, i'm not going to try to describe how amazing it was, so look at the photos!
We're off to Wanaka now to go find a river to raft down!