Saturday, February 11, 2012

Day 3: Hari Hari to Franz Josef Glacier. Mellow ride and a glacier

Day three started with two breakfasts. One at the restaurant of eggs, toast, hash browns, and "bacon" or really just slightly more cured ham. Bacon as we I now it is called streaky bacon. Isn't that a cute name. we followed that with Birchers yogurt again.  
We probably didn't need that many calories, since we had only 62 km to go today,but it was cool and rainy during breakfast, so we figured we should fuel up.
We made it all of 1 km before our first stop to see some aviation history; more of the guy who made the first transTasman flight.
 As we pulled out onto the road after our brief stop,  the rain came.  It was a soft but steady rain for about an hour, but we had rain gear and I was prepared for cold rain, and this wasnt cold, so I was just fine.  Soon enough, the skies cleared 

and by lunch at Whataroa, we were warming and drying our toes and clothes in the sunshine.

The scenery today was lovely. Lots of lush forest, a couple of big lakes, 

an occasional ocean view, and many cows and small farms interspersed along the way.

With only 62 km to travel today, we were able to check into the Chateau Franz backpacker at 2:30. Its funky decor was just to my liking, as was the fact that we had a suite with two double beds in their own bedrooms and a shared living room, kitchen, and bathroom.

Our suite mate turned out to be from a nice woman from Boulder, Colorado who had just come from a stint in Antarctica.

Drew figured we would just hang out and chill for the afternoon, but he didn't realize his geologist wife had never been to see a glacier.  Sure, I had seen them while hiking in Glacier National Park, but I had never been up close.  Here we were a 5km drive and a 1.5 hour hike away From the Franz Josef, and he wanted to sit in the hot tub with a beer? Nonsense. Take those panniers off the bike and put on your walking shoes, Drew.  we are going to see a glacier!

I have to say, it was very beautiful.  The hike through the rain forest and the waterfalls coming in from both sides of the valley from hanging valleys was almost as cool as getting up 100 m from the blue ice face.  I took a hundred pictures.

It was after 5 by the time we started back. Drew was ready for a beer.  But a couple more pictures to show the fabulous meltwater stream.

A couple of those and we were off to the hot tub.   The hot tub looked a little on the scary side. Lord only knows how many unclean backpackers had been in there, but we were cold, tired, and sore, so we plunged in anyway.  Stay tuned for news of scary rashes.
Dinner of pasta and pesto in the suite chatting with our suite mate ended the day.

 I have neglected to tell about various prices for things.  We are thinking now in New Zealand dollars which, is about $0.82 USD to $1 NZD. Our tent spot at the Drifting Sands Backpacker hostel on night 1 in the beach town of Hokitika was $30 plus $8 for Internet. On night 2, the very small room with no kitchen and a bathroom that we would have had to to share with 20 other cheapskates if the hostel had been full was $50 but the internet was free. Day 3's lodging at the funky backpacker semi-private place was $65. Pretty cheap accommodations after you do the conversion to USD.  Hotels we are told are more like $120.  
Food is a little bit more expensive.  Full dinner at a middle of the road restaurant is in the $25-$30 range. Coffee and baked goods run about $4 each. But those are essentials, so who is counting.  Beer, I don't even know, because you can't put a price on beer.  I think a six pack of good beer in the supermarket is $16 or about the same as in Utah in USD because of the sin tax. 

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