What the H%^& is “glah-see-air” ? says Don. It’s how a Kiwi pronounces “glacier.”This afternoon we were scheduled to hike out to the Franz Josef glacier.
Pouring rain?? No, more like pissing down, continual,drenching. . .just a few adjectives.
We were surprised to be outfitted in boots, heavy socks, waterproof pants, and offered waterproof jackets. We were wearing our waterproof Patagonia jackets, which had taken us through the Netherlands on a bike in rain. Surely they’d do well for us here.
And then we were off. With a guide we were able to go off the beaten path, through paths, in streams, scrambling up hills, and close to waterfalls.
Winding our way first through the temperate rain forest, our guide gave us bits of info about the fauna and importance of the rain to the health of the glacier, which is receding at an alarming rate.
The waterfalls along the way were spectacular. We probably passed about two dozen of various sizes.
As we sloshed through streams and tramped through puddles, we were grateful for those heavy boots. But we started to question our “waterproof” Patagonia jackets. Hmmm.
We hiked about 2 hours, hoping all the while that the rain would stop, the sun would shine, and the clouds would part. The weather in this part of NZ has been exceptionally uncooperative over the past weeks. In fact, since Christmas Eve, the guides have only been able to take helicopters out TWO times for glacier landings.
Today was no exception. We hiked as close as we could and could only guess that there was a glacier “somewhere out there.” We thought Scott, our guide, was joking when he asked,”Who wants hot chocolate?”
By that point Don and I both knew that our jackets were NOT waterproof. The hike back was cold, wet, but seemed shorter. Sure enough, when we were nearly back to our bus, the rain stopped and we began to see some blue sky! Go figure!