Frolicking atop a NZ glacier

To my utter surprise, the next day we woke up to a clear blue sky which assured our successful expedition. We made our way towards the open field where we awaited our ride eagerly to carry us on high altitudes; we were clad in warm clothes, scarves, bandanas all the necessary vestiture to land on snow…



The helicopters landed with that whoop, whoop sound… I had never before cruised in an helicopter and so wanted to make the most of this ride. I could see all the happy faces peeping out of those who had just returned from the glacier, they definitely looked happy and cheered us as we made our ascend wearing headphones in order to listen to our pilot’s commentary who, by the way, had an awesome sense of humor. I was mesmerized by the pristine wilderness and panoramic views …

We were hovering over the rain forest and all the mountains seemed so small from up above… and then the scenery changed from verdure to snow in two minutes: we had our first glimpse of Fox Glacier.

These snow-clad mountains and peaks reminded me of scenes from the movie ‘Lord of the Rings’, and to top it, the movie was shot in New Zealand.

After hovering for about 15 minutes over these mountains and glaciers our pilot Jules landed the helicopter on snow… we stepped out and felt the serene calmness, tranquility and fresh air…

We could not resist ourselves and started playing with the snow… just had fun… it was the serenity and purity that mesmerized me, this experience of exploring glaciers from a helicopter was such a contrast to my last expedition in the Himalayas where we had trekked for 20 days in the Garhwal region to reach Vasuki Tal and later Gomukh, the source of sacred river Ganga … then we had sore legs, trouble acclimatizing in the high altitudes, fatigue, a sense of adventure, fun… we had crossed a broken glacier and later the glance of pure, glittering water of Ganga at the source left us in awe and today here I was exploring this glacier in the Southern Hemisphere.

We could see Mount Cook from here, which is at 3,754 m. Jules then spoke about the glaciers and the surrounding mountains: On the west coast, the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers dominate the landscape, they begin at 2,700 m and descend steeply to approximately 260 m, ending amid the cool, temperate rainforest of the west coast. Franz Josef Glacier is 10 km long and Fox Glacier is 13 km long.

After spending almost 25 minutes there, it was time to go back… it was definitely one of those many mesmerizing experiences which have engraved their imprints on my mind forever…

All these pictures speak for themselves… God is definitely a painter. With a smile on my face and contentment in my heart, we went back to our abode!

Feb 15, 2011
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Bela Bodas

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Hey Bela.....its superb yaar...simply great....
By JAGDISH SHIRKE on 15/02/2011 at 05:09 PM
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