Hi guys, following yesterdays journal we headed onward to Franz Josef and booked up to trek the glacier here. Unfortunately we couldnt get onto the 10:30am trip so we had to make do with another early start and book onto the 7:30am one.
The glacier that we ended up visiting is the Franz Josef glacier and is one of only two glaciers in the world currently advancing - at around 0.05mm a day. The climate here is the main reason behind this as it rains as often as two out of three days - we have had first hand experience of this - and the annual rainfall stands at a staggering 51 metres!
We arrived at the tour HQ at 7:30am and got kitted up - Shell struggled a little with the sizing of her jacket and boots but bless her she battled on regardless! The first part of our tour was a short 10minute walk through the rainforest to the plains where the glacier lies, we got a little wet, but I guess you have to expect that with rainforests and glaciers. The glacier looked as though it was about 300m away, it was actually a lot further and creates an optical illusion, it took 45minutes from where the above photo was taken to reach the foot of the glacier, in addition the glacier in the pic is actually a kilometre wide - doesnt look like it!
Sure enough we reached the foot of the glacier where a cave had formed from all of the melted ice and rainfall, creating a very trecherous river - which I would like to add would be awesome to do white water rafting on! We started the hike up the glacier and as we were the first people on the glacier today our guide had to chop a lot of steps out of the ice for us to step on, in addition he also had to put in a lot of guide ropes and even a bridge! The bridge was a last minute precaution as a small crack had appeared in the ice which had formed to over a foot wide overnight.
The trek to the area where we had lunch took around 2 hours and involved us trekking through gorges, caves, crevasses and some extremely steep steps. It was an incredible experience and we were rewarded at the finish with some views of waterfalls, the glacier further up and even the site of Isengaard (for all you Lord of the rings fans!). The trek to the very tip of the glacier takes around 3 days and stands at over 3500ft, anyone brave enough to bare the cold winds and rain also has to camp on the glacier - if you ask us they're nuts, we were freezing after about an hour!
After our lunch stop we headed back down the same way we had came up, it is a lot harder going down than it is up, a few people happened to trip or fall as we came down - the true glacier pro's (Me and Shell) obviously didn't though.
When we returned to the HQ and swapped all our gear back we headed to the hostel and treated ourselves to a nice hot shower before having a soak in our very own spa pool, which was extremely hot!
Hope you had a good birthday pop and Jackie, shame were not there right now for it, but we will make up for it when we return! Also, a very happy birthday to Uncle Luke - 35 is it mate? Your only as young as the woman you feel! (About 18 then! ha ha).
Take it easy guys x x x Dan and Shell x x x