Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Body of Ice

Glaciers! Oh boy!

On our trip to the west coast, one of the things I really wanted to see was the glaciers (Fox and Franz Josef). After doing some reading on the subject and deciding we didn't want to spend $300ish each to go *on* or inside the glaciers (helicopter flights were included in some of these as well), we picked Fox Glacier to see because: A. it was slightly closer (to the road), and B. the gov't website about the walks in the area of Fox made no mention of being anti-dog, as most walks are in NZ. Sadly B was bogus, no dogs were allowed on the Fox-related walks either, much to Dexter's dismay. :(

Anyways, Fox glacier was pretty cool looking! We learned some neat things as well, like how the ice levels at the bottom of the glacier rely on snowfall levels from 5 years ago, due to how long it takes ice to form and flow down from the collection points at the top. It was also pretty sad, driving up to the glacier and seeing the sign that showed you where the glacier foot was in 1750, about a 5 minute drive further down the valley than where the parking lot is now, which itself is where the foot was in the early 1900s. Sadly almost all glaciers in the world have been in retreat since 1850, with most generally speeding up their retreat around 1980 or so.

After we walked up to the glacier, we drove over to a nearby viewpoint which had this neat contraption for finding mountain peaks and other landscape landmarks (pictured below), and then headed over to Lake Murchison where we supposedly could take some nice reflective pictures of Mount Cook and Mount Tasman (which we did!). In my opinion (at least from this side), Mount Tasman is way more picturesque than Mount Cook, though yeah, Mount Cook is the tallest in NZ, Tasman is a close second. Maybe one day Tasman will reign supreme.

Dexter's all ready for his hike over to Fox Glacier! We hit the parking lot without any signs saying no dogs! It's a miracle!
Just to the right of this info board was the tiniest little no dog sign. SIGH. We're such responsible dog owners..
Watch out for falling rocks on this totally open section of valley!
Ah, there it is! Fox Glacier!
I really like the curved semi-falling patterns here at the foot.
Some light acrobatics are required to get there...
Someone got lazy making two signs. The same outline is used for rocks as ice chunks!
Closer! Still pretty! Kinda wish we could go up to it, but alas, we didn't pay to.
Signs and graphics warning you of the dangers of passing this point.
It was pretty cold here in the shadows, this close to the glacier.
We love ourselves a selfshot!
The neat peak-finding device! Spin to desired peak ...
And look through to find it! This is Mt. Cook.
Dexter loves Fox Glacier! (in the background)
I heard some massive flocking noise coming from the nearby trees so I went and investigated and found this big guy! Turns out it's just the NZ Pigeon though.
There we go! A nice clear shot of Fox Glacier. What a day!
Binney loving the glacier too!
The peaks of Mount Tasman (left) and Mount Cook (right)
We're at Lake Murchison! Neat view!
Very very cool! Reflective as they claimed or better!
Part of the walkway around Lake Murchison, a nice little 3km walk.


  1. have you guys seen Columbia Icefield between Banff and Jasper? same idea, and the huge retreat of the glacier. When I first saw it in 1967 the glacier just about came up to the highway. Now it's miles back

  2. Another bird to add to your list. I am so happy you're noticing our feathered friends.