Day 32: Lake Paringa to Fox Glacier

Journal for 2014-11-20 | Published on 2015-08-23 00:14:09

A very quiet, still night left us very refreshed and ready to begin the day at around 630 am. Matt got breakfast going, while I started packing up the tent. Our stove was having trouble last night putting heat out to boil the pasta water, and it was even worse this morning. After attempting to get it working properly, and a cut finger later, Matt decided to throw in the towel and we ate chocolate and bread for breakfast. It wasn’t terribly satisfying, but we made do, and got going down the road toward Fox.

The ride was pretty flat, with just some minor climbs after descents to cross rivers and creeks. The weather was very calm, overcast, but warm and with no wind. Eventually we met up with the Tasman Sea again, at Bruce’s Bay, and once again marveled at the raw power of the sea. We also met two cycle tourists, from Nelson, on their way down the coast. They told us it was going to rain pretty heavy tonight, so beware! They seemed like pretty awesome people, and we wished we were headed the same direction so we could get to know them better. Oh, well. We cycled on.

The road turned away from the sea, inland, and our legs were starting to feel the many days of riding with no rest. There were no big climbs, but even the little ones we had to shift to our lowest gear and slog up. The weather held, and it only sprinkled a little bit on us before we got to Fox Glacier.

Once we got into town, we had to decide where to stay, and we chose the Holiday Park a little ways away from the town center. Since we’re planning on staying an extra day, we wanted to make sure there was a good laundry facility, since our clothes (and we) are starting to get that good old cycle touring smell. My first order of business was to shower and change into something other than cycling clothing and then we walked back into town.

We paused at a café to eat some soup (broccoli and blue cheese) and a big bowl of “chips” and then we decided to do the little 20 minute nature walk that is right on the edge of town. The girl who checked us in to the holiday park mentioned that there were glow worms so we were excited to see if we could find any during the daylight. Well after keeping our eyes open we found a little patch of them and finally got a picture. It was pretty neat to see them out in the forest, at night it is supposed to be a great walk. Unfortunately we need every hour of night available for sleeping. Sunset is close to 9pm and it rises around 6am. So not much star gazing or glow worm hiking going on with us.

Well the 20 minute nature hike is also the start of the 10 kilometer trail that takes you as close to the Fox Glacier as you can get without paying, and Matt talked me into setting off down that path. It wasn’t a difficult walk, but my legs were sure feeling it, and once we got into the glacial valley and started the real climb, they were burning! We walked just as close as we could, which was still quite far away, since you can only really get close by paying for a guided tour. But it was still really awesome to see the valley that had been carved by ice, and see the glacial melt coming off the glacier, and the little glimpse of the ice peeking around the corner.

We headed back toward town, hoping to hitch a ride, and lo and behold! Someone stopped for us! A very nice British couple picked us up and drove us back, so it ended up cutting our trip in half. Thank goodness! I was pretty hungry by the end of it, and when we got back to town, we treated ourselves at a restaurant and had a very nice meal. Then we went grocery shopping for lunch and dinner tomorrow, and dessert tonight (we’re going to have some cheesecake!) and walked back in the rain to the holiday park.

We’re looking forward to some rest and relaxation tomorrow, especially since it’s supposed to rain quite a lot tonight and into tomorrow. So we’ll hang out here, give our legs a rest, and get ready for the final push on the last leg of our tour.

Distance: 72.17

Time: 4:16

Average Speed: 16.9 kmh

Max Speed: 39.61 kmh

Climb: 469 m

An unsually large amount of orange lichen on these rocks. We've seen patches on a rock or two before

The beach just after Bruces Bay

Pam holding my bike as I take some pictures

The beach just after Bruces Bay

Pam cruising along the Tasman Sea

Pam cruising along the Tasman Sea

Matt loved this forest coming right to the ocean.

It's a secret apparently

Welcome to Glacier Country

The Kea's are extremely smart, and devilish. Here they are trying to dismantle the lights from the building. Yesterday apparently they unscrewed one of the bulbs.

All small sample of things growing on one alive tree trunk.

A glow worm! The little strings are like spider silk with droplets of a paralysis liquied strung on them. At night the glow worm emits a pale blue light that insects are attracted to and they get caught in the webs.

All that you can see of Fox Glacier these days without paying money. There is a tiny bit of glacier visible that is mainly covered in a gray rocks. 

Rock walls carved by the glacier in the past, notice the rock mover in the bottom left for some scale...

Landslide into a lake of blue water with green algae, an amazing mix of colors!

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  1. Lora says:

    Enjoying your creative writing and pictures a lot. Good luck on the days to come.

    • Pam says:

      Thanks, Lora! Matt sure is having fun taking pictures and there's so much the camera can't capture as well. This place is truly amazing!

  2. brad says:

    Very cool, 17 k per hour isn't slogging! Impressive!!

    • Pam says:

      Thanks, Brad. It feels like we're crawling sometimes, and it takes us a long time to get anywhere because we stop and take pictures and marvel at the amazing world we get to experience. :-)

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