Is it a rainforest, or is it a snow field? Is that snow amid the palm trees? I am so confused. It is one of the “tricks” of New Zealand. They fool you as you drive from the coast of the Tasman Sea and watch the waves crash against the beach, see the steady rain dropping on the windshield only to be swept away by the wipers. Like the rain being swept away, the coastline soon was swept away to be replaced by an ocean of ferns. Arriving at Fox Glacier, we hiked up a dirt road and saw the work of a construction crew as they tried to repair the mountain that was swept away by the mercurial weather of New Zealand. A hike up to the view point yielded a magnificent view of the ……wait for it….clouds. The rain was obscuring the view of the glacier and the only view to be had was a small trickle of a waterfall. A great conversation with four young German tourists was delightful. Dave got to discuss “spochens” or potato dumplings – some versions known as the “gummi-kluffner” because they bounced and wiggled upon your plate. After a long chat, we were rewarded for our patience and finally saw the glacier. Its edges were muted by the cloud which hovered over the top of the mountain, but it was magnificent nonetheless.
Saying goodbye (or auf wiedershein) to our new friends, we headed farther up the trail to see what vistas the lake view held. Meandering up the trail, we saw more evidence of the destruction of mother nature, as much of the sides of the trail and part of the cliff side had been swept away. The end of the lake trail held a large view of a dry creek/lakebed that was littered with boulders and rocks. Still, beauty abounded as the lush green of the trail had its very own allure. Heading back down the trail, we stopped again to look at Fox Glacier and were rewarded even more when most of the remaining clouds were swept away and we beheld a magnificent view of Fox Glacier.
A quick trip to a Department of Conservation campsite, where we will settle in for the night and let the energy of the day be swept away into the land of sleep.