March 22nd 1983

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 0
Lake Matheson in the mist…
…and after the mist lifted

We had read that there was a good viewpoint down at Fox glacier, best early in the morning, so we had determined to rise early to drive down to see it.  Remarkably, we managed it.  Collected Rory once again, + drove down first to Fox Glacier township, turning off then, + driving to Lake Matheson.  First visited the Peak indicator, + tho’ we had just missed the sunrise, we were still delighted to have got out there.  The weather was sharp, brilliant, clear, not a cloud in the sky.  The only drawback was a ground mist.  Drawback is the wrong word – it lent its own beauty to the view, + in any case looked set to be burned off by the sun pretty quickly.  We took a 2 hour walk round Lake Matheson, taking in en route one of the most photographed pictures in the country, a view of Mt Cook reflected in the lake, plus a spot known as the “View of Views” – it was nice, for sure, but not quite worthy of its exalted title.

The return journey was very, very muddy, so we managed to get boots + trousers filthy again.  We spent the next hour pleasantly enough, tho’, seated at the picnic consuming a hearty breakfast, with a mountain backdrop – it felt like an Alpen commercial.

Drove next out to the glacier face, the most notable part of the drive being hitting a stone + inflicting damage (at time of writing unpriced) upon the silencer.  What a bummer.  And for no return, this glacier face being even less impressive than the last.  So drove to the starting-off point for a walk to a couple of viewpoints, one of which on my part with no enthusiasm whatsoever.  Rory annoyed us by taking far longer than we did – we wanted to begin our journey up north.  Still, we weren’t to be with him much longer – we drove back to Franz Josef + dropped him at the pub.  Rory had the gift of the gab, for sure, but not, I think, many other qualities to recommend him.  When he told me that, after Chile, one became blasé about glaciers, that just about fixed things.

Drove north at a steady rate, the weather beautiful + highlighting the coastline, especially north of Greymouth.  As spectacular a route as I’ve travelled, including Hwy 1, LA to San Francisco.  Spent a brief time at the Pancake rocks, which were splendid, if somewhat misnamed.  With a good strong swell running in, the blowhole was good too, just as good as Rotorua’s geyser – without needing soapsuds to get it going.  We camped a few miles beyond, saving money by pitching tent at a rest area.  Cooked up a tin of beans – a real luxury – + went to bed.  Walter Walkman lulled me to sleep.

Pancake rocks

Managed quite a lot in just one day, which is what happens when you have control over your transport. Managed some pretty spectacular photos too.

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