Not many people can say they hiked a glacier. Fortunately, I had the exciting experience of doing so.
As I have mentioned in my previous blog posts, I spent my Australian spring break on the South Island of New Zealand. Our tour group went to Fox Glacier, where we hiked up, around and down the historic glacier. It was a very exhausting walk but it was well worth it, and I would suggest everyone try it someday.
How does climbing a glacier relate to the weather? According to the West Coast of the Southern Alps website, approximately 140 glaciers flow through the Southern Alps; however, only the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers go about 250 meters above sea level and are accompanied by a temperate rainforest. Besides Argentina, this is the only other place you can experience being in a rainforest and seeing a glacier at the same time. It felt strange to be in a somewhat mild climate and witnessing some snow fall on top of a 13-kilometer long glacier. It is almost like getting the best of both warm and cold climates at the same time, but you can choose which one you want to be in with just a few steps. Crazy, right? I thought so.
Here is a slideshow of my hike. The pictures cannot express how amazing it really was!
So, I encourage you to fly to New Zealand and go climb the Fox or Franz Josef glaciers to experience this rare climatic change. Before you do so, let me give you a few tips from my hike:
1) Be well rested. This is a long, exhausting hike, and if you are not awake for this then you will most likely not get the best experience. Be ready to be on your feet for over four hours. You also want to be wide awake so you can listen to the tour guide and hear everything he says about the glacier. You will learn a lot if you are able to be alert and pay attention.
2) Stretch. It is important to stretch before you do this hike. You walk up and downhill A LOT. So stretch your legs to ensure you will not get sore. Do this whenever you get a break from the hike, too.
3) Charge your camera. This is something you NEED to keep on record that you did! There are so many amazing things you see on this hike that you will have to have photographs of, or even a video. So be sure your batteries are charged and ready to go.
4) Stay hydrated and eat. You will get very tired from this hike so it is important to stay hydrated to keep your body going. Be sure to bring an ice cold water bottle with you. You can refill this a couple times on the hike. There are small waterfalls on the hike that have non-contaminated spring water. It tasted great! Also, be sure to eat before you hike and bring a few snacks to munch on incase you get hungry. These are essential to keep your energy level up.
Have you already been to these glaciers? Maybe the one in Argentina? I would love to hear of your adventures and see your photos! Please share.