Franz josef glacier

In Kiwi, travelling on April 18, 2010 at 7:52 pm

You know when people come back from some journey round the way as staunch ecologists, wanting to save the planet and every living thing on it. I know why that is. Having seen the immensity of the glacier Franz Josef, and the gravel, rock, pebble strewn path it created as the ice retreated, I am filled with awe and respect for the power of nature, you see it here in new Zealand everywhere, round every corner. Franz Josef is a prime example of that. When you drive down the glacier access road, before you get halfway along it’s length there is a sign saying this is where the glacier used to be in 1750. It is kilometers away from the glacial front. And I mean kilometers.

The huge scar left in the earth by the retreating ice is so savage, so huge, this flattened v the edges now softened by trees and foliage and the low clouds, heavy with precipitation, squatting above the hills. They sweat and steam, as if just recovering from a work out, or is it the clouds breaking apart on the mount tops? You see them, you stand in awe, and you trek upto the blue white ice that sits at the mouth of a spewing, surging, in full spate river, but the river is created by the melting ice, and it flows full and powerful, the rumble and growl echoes down the valley, in the background to all things.

See the colour co-ordinated explorers walking behind their guides, wrapped up in their waterproofs, hiking boots damp from fording rivers, giving me quizzical looks as I stamp up river, swrve 3/4 jeans on, and my wheezing trainers, hissing with every step. Eyes wide at the spectacle in front of me. That I’m able to get so close to this piece of ancientness. After the pancake cliffs and blowholes of Punakaiki, the limestone erosions of Truman’s beach and the sights inbetween I’m going to have to reaffirm my Eco credentials. Suddenly have the desire to revamp the creative department of whichever NGO will have me.

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