Sunday, January 13, 2013

glaciers and mist with famous toilets!

so we are off again this morning along the wild west coast-

we have lots of adventures awaiting us- the morning is dreary and drizzly... our first stop is the town of Franz Joseph (believe it or not- it is famous for its public toilets- LOL)

here we see a man emerging from the famous toilets-

we are in town to pick up tickets for entrance to the Franz Joseph Glacier park... and then off again to the Glacier- we will be back to see the movie they have there but it isn't open yet-

LOL- as you know Mike has us up and out everyday before ANYTHING is on to Franz Joseph glacier-

fake park ranger in the photo above- looked quite real until you see his feet- LOL (I think he is the same guy they cut out of the brochure - LOL)

so off we go with a local guide from the park who we picked up in town when Mike paid our entrance fees

there is a hike through the surrounding forest before you can even see the glacier in the distance-

then on to the valley where the glacier has receded and the river carries glacial rocks and soil down to the Tasman Sea-


above- the guide explains how glaciers are formed and the length varies based upon climate conditions.

the glacier in sight-

the mists over the glacial valley and waterfalls along the hill sides-

the group continues on- I decide enough of the crappy weather (and I have been ON a glacier not just walked near to one- photo included below) so I head back through the forest to spend some quality time with a Kea in the parking lot and with Darryl who has finished smoking while we were gone- LOL - the others head on- with people dropping out at various points - most did the whole walk but they didn't get ON to the glacier-

(Phil, Don and Mike raptly listen to the guide)

my own glacier experiences-
on the water in Chile - we went right up to the calving glacier in a little tender- totally fun and amazingly beautiful- you can see the variations in color on the floating part in the foreground of this photo:

and on land- in Canada with TB about fifteen months before the NZ trip- here we are ON the glacier- TB gathered glacier water in his bottle and we posed for a photo:

so you can see why I just didn't make it a priority to hike out TOWARD the glacier in Franz Joseph...

but back to my Kea- you can see how crappy the weather was that morning from these Kea photos- all I really got were profile silhouetted shots-

this was the ONLY time in the 14+ days that the weather was really bad- the people who had thought about the helicopter ride over the glacier were S.O.L. and I would say this was among the least impressive places we stopped along the way- but never fear- the day has more in store for it and the weather gets better too...

so we head back to town where we get to have our own public toilet experience and also to view the movie Flowing West-

described in their own website as:
Hang onto your hat as you speed effortlessly across spectacular glaciers and amazing ice formations before climbing towards mighty snow peaks only to plummet suddenly into an icy depth... all while your feet are still planted firmly on the ground! Experience a trip to the movie theatre - glacier style!

Flowing West - the Glacier Movie screens exclusively all year round in the Alpine Adventure Centre on the main street of Franz Josef township, and combines breath-taking New Zealand scenery with a thoroughly entertaining and informative glimpse into the world of glaciers.

 An OK movie- some pretty impressive shots of the Southern Alps- on to the public toilet-

LOL- there are a lot of people (who are always in front of me in the WC) who take longer than ten minutes in the bathroom so I am completely in favor of the no loitering mechanism here! LOL

next up - believe it or not- a lunch stop- in Harihari- where the pickings are slim- but there is ice cream! So we don't go hungry- and Mike encourages folks to go to the local gift shop up the road- I don't go inside but outside is a photo op of a shoe tree that is quite worthy!

it put me in mind of two other photo ops from trips TB and I had taken- one a teapot/pitcher tree in Tennessee and the second a shoe planter in Canada at Emerald Lake near Banff, Alberta:

 so at this point we are heading north along the "wild west coast" of the South Island of NZ - zipping north to Pukekura- but I am going to do a separate post on that so we will end this one here and continue on shortly...

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