Franz Josef Glacier

Franz Josef is the more famous, yet smaller of the two famous glaciers out here. We arrived in town at around noon and checked around for tours to get onto the glacier. Eventually we found out that several trips were available for $75-150. We figured we didn't have a choice and would come back the following morning and sign up for the cheapest trip we could find. In the meantime, it was still only 2pm or so and we decided to head on up to the glacier for some photos and looky-loos. Eventually we realized that the only thing keeping the public from the glacier itself were a few ropes, signs of impending doom, and a washed out path from the previous nights storm. So, being rude Americans we quickly bypassed the ropes barring entry, disregarded the warning signs, and made our way through the valley of rubble carved by the glacier and strode all the way up to the glacier itself.

It is, as you would imagine, a giant piece of ice, very slippery in my adidas sneaks. The whole valley is quite amazing though, with waterfalls littering the sides all over. You can see the stairs they've carved into the glacier to allow people to climb up there. Unfortunately, we could only go a couple steps before slipping on our arse so we only went onto the front part of the glacier. Not a bad little day. Afterwards we went into town and found a deal for $5 jugs of beer. The deal ended in five minutes so we got four jugs and ordered food. We then set up our tent on the edge of Lake Mapourika and played some card games. I got up just before I fell asleep and headed out for a little evening pissery and must've left the tent door unzipped for several hours later I awoke to Jake jumping up out of his sleeping bag. He started freaking out about a huge bug that had crawled into his sleeping bag and I was more than concerned myself, thinking of the giant wetas they have out here. Then I saw it, a blur running along the far edge of the tent, then making its way towards my bag. However, I was relieved to see that it was just a mouse and as it came up to me I was much less startled knowing that it wasn't a crazy bug, so I just picked him up and tossed him towards the tent door. I later thought about how if he had said it was a rat instead of a giant bug then I probably would have been a little more fearful and less relieved to have the rodent run up to my side inside the dimly lit tent. The following morning we went off to see the second famous glacier.

Franz Josef Glacier from a distance, this is about as close as many tourists came

Just one of the many waterfalls in the valley

The dim-looking valley floor carved out by the glacier

Going up to the glacier

They call this a glacier?

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