Had an early start yesterday for a long bus ride getting to chilly Arthurs Pass for a brief morning stop, then onto Greymouth at lunchtime. Had a couple of hours there before my next bus took 3 hours to get to Franz Joseph. It may seem like thats a long slog but the scenery is so amazing that the journey was a pleasure particularly with my ipod being well used yet again. Arrived at the YHA Hostel which is fine, and headed off for a beer after three dry nights.
Today my seven hour Glacier hike started with the handing out of clothes then a bus ride near the base of the ice. We had a lengthy, and at times demanding, hike and climb towards the glacier and strapped on campons (spikes for the bottom of the boots) and started climbing the ice. It was awakward and sometimes quite hard work but once again the scenery was stunning particulary once you got past the dirty ice at the bottom. The steps the guide makes with a pickaxe certainly makes life easier, and there are ropes along the way to cling onto in particularly dodgy areas. We had several hours on the ice before the return journey.
A brilliant day, very different to anything I've ever done. They tell you to wear 4 layers of warm thick clothing for the upper body, even I didnt need that much! It was chilly occasionally waiting around but the climbing soon warms you up! There were times when you could have fell but maybe more by luck than anything else happily none of our good fun group did.