Saturday, June 6, 2015

Grounded at Fox Glacier

Are you glacier-ed out? This post will conclude our glacier series. After our heli flight and breakfast Friday, we drove to the trailhead that leads to Fox Glacier, just a few K down the town road. Honestly, people, the simple act of driving in this country can cause outbursts of superlatives. Look at this.

At the trailhead, we ran into our old friend the ranger, largely unresponsive to my attentions, perhaps because he was marking down the day's conditions.

The hike started out completely differently than the one at Franz Josef.

But on this day the light was on our side.

We'd heard the approach to Fox was more vertical than that of the long bouldered valley of the Franz Josef, and it was true. 

Fox also offered a closer glacier view

The return was just as dramatic.

My new favorite word: fossicking
About a week ago I got talking to a woman at a petrol station whose father owned the gold shop in Hokitika, the goldrush town. She was wearing a beautiful flat gold heart made of gold found here, a gift from her father on her 16th birthday.

When I asked if anyone could find gold she said "Absolutely! There's gold everywhere on the South Island."

Ever since, I've been crouching at streams, slightly gold-feverish, spurred on by the brilliant book The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton. Turns out this activity is called fossicking:
Fossicking is a term found in Cornwall, Australia and New Zealand referring to prospecting, especially in more recent times, when carried out as a recreational activity. 
(Better yet, the equivalent term used in searching for opal is noodling.)

Every time Art loses me on the trail, I'm hunched over a stream fossicking (with my fingers). "There's gold EVERYWHERE on the South Island!" I remind him. I wanted to do more near the glacier carpark here next to the river, but was dissuaded by this sign.

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