A rainy walk to see Franz Josef Glacier

Up early after having an early night, it’s good to be able to make the most of the free breakfast at the Rainforest hostel, which is cereals or toast. Sitting with the UK girls Essie and Charlotte, the rest of the group isn’t up yet and as it is a bit of a write off weather wise for any glacier walking due to the monsoon type rain, I don’t expect many to be up before noon. So to try and make the most of the day and make use of the poncho and waterproof trousers have been carrying about since Borneo, we decide to try the walk to see the glacier, which is an hour to the car park where it starts and then another hour half return walk, so not too long or hard. Joined by the girls room mate Shaun, we head off into the rain for the walk, which is quite nice along the river, although it is a very grey river and looks like someone has used the water to wash off paint brushes. As it is so cloudy you can’t see much walking along of the mountains. We carry up the road until it goes into a rainforest walk for about 20 minutes, until we reach the car park. Not managing to avoid the really heavy rain so far, I already have wet feet and looking forward to getting back for a nice shower.

At the car park there are a few walk options, but on the signs it says that the main ones are closed due to flooding, so we try the end of the forest walk first to see what there is to look at, but don’t get that far along at all. There is a sign stopping anyone going further highlighting the dangers of following guided tours, due to falling rocks and landslides during rain as the guides will have the appropriate equipment like ice picks and walkie talkies. So only option is for us to go up the Sentinel Rock walk which is really nice actually and only takes about 15 minutes return. The view is over the river and you can see in the far distance the start of the glacier, although it is hard to see as has melted so much over the years. There is an info board showing how over the 100 years it has changed and shows that where we are standing on the lookout, was actually at one time right in the middle of the glacier. And it explains how in 2010 there were some big blocks of it that came down and is the reason that now you can only access it by helicopter. With all the rain there are a lot of waterfalls surrounding us and it is really relaxing just being up there taking in the nice views.

All slightly disappointed, however at not being able to do the full walks we wanted after the hour walk to the car park, but pleased we didn’t spend $12.50 to get the hourly shuttle bus there, when the walks are closed off.

The walk back to the hostel feels bit quicker and right at the end get caught on the heaviest rain of the walk where it also suddenly starts blowing a gale. Definitely not walking weather, but we do see some nice waterfalls along the river as we get back into town.

Getting back about 2pm, the rest of the day is spent chilling out around the hostel, doing laundry and making the most of welsh Alex’s laptop, until he gets too frustrated with the wifi and so we decide to head to the local Internet cafe to catch-up on our admin, me my blog and him booking Thailand flights. The cafe only open until 5.30pm we move next door to a cool little cafe called JUST BEANS, which has wifi and does a great hot chocolate even if it is a bit pricey at $6 (3GBP). Once that shuts at 7pm, we make a mad dash back to the hostel through the heavy rain not really managing to not get wet, even with the trusty poncho and umbrella. Heading straight to the hostel bar called Moonsoon to dry off in front of the log fire and grab dinner, it’s quite nice relaxing there over a glass of wine. The rest of the guys all come down later and we end up playing games like “Who Am I”, which is quite funny. I’m Beyonce, Ida is Puss in Boots, Essie is Posh Spice, Gin Grandma Simpson, Billy Bruce Willis, Charlotte My Blobby and Alex is Whitney Houston, who actually gets his right first. I eventually get there, after being a bit misled when they say yes to my question of having blonde hair. Quite knackered, I head back for a bit and the guys go to watch a movie. A nice chilled out night for a change after some of the more hectic nights we have had and with the rain it really makes you want to not do too much apart from get dry and warm.

4th May 2016

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