Walking up Alex Knob Track above Frans Josef glacier
09.03.2008 - 09.03.2008 18 °C
Another top if not wet, day at Frans Josef. We decided we had had enough of the madding crowds and headed somewhere where the only the hardened tourists hung out, namely 1295 metres above the glacier without the aid of a chopper.
So up Alex Knob Track, I know hardly a romantic title, which consisted of 1100m of ascent up one of the best maintained tracks up a hill I have ever been on. There was hardly a cloud in the sky when we got up but that soon changed once we put our boots on. I went to the reception at the campervan park to say where we were going, safety first, and they did give me a strange look. In fact she did not really know what I was talking about which is a surprise as it is the only long distance track around here. You can tell we are not on a campsite with a big walking community such as back home in the highlands.
The weather did close in but the track was so clearly defined that we carried on regardless. Like I said in previous blogs, the tropical rainforest covers the whole mountain so apart from a few quick lookouts you hardly know where you are going. Near the top the vegetation changes dramatically into short alpine plants and the views then open up. Well at least the would normally if we not enclosed in cloud. By this time the legs were feeling it, due to our trek on the ice yesterday, but we had to pretend we were hardened mountaineers as two German tourists were on the top as well. We were socked by then but for a brief moment as if on demand, the clouds cleared and we got our shot of the top of the glacier, well maybe about 400 truth be told. Out of this world it truly was and well worth the trek. On a clear day there must be no better view around here and if anyone has the fortune to be in Frans Josef on a clear day, forget paying all the money for a 20 minute chopper ride and get your boots on.
I am now sitting on the campsite outside with the top of the glacier in front of me as the weather has gone beautiful, typical. Oh well we got our shot.
So tomorrow we leave Frans Josef to head on down to Wanaka for a few days before Max and Paddy have to hang up the driving gloves in Queenstown on Wednesday.
Comedy moment of the day: Telling the campsite woman that we were going up Alex’s Knob Track and her asking me to spell the second word just as a old woman walks into the office to ask for some change for the laundry. Trying to spell it with a straight face was most difficult but I did manage to resist the obvious and childish smart remarks that I would normally come out with.
Off to Wanaka and hopefully better internet access, only 2 computers here so long queues