This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark and can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).
Today’s travel notes
Me and the TC have just returned home after a week-long trip to New Zealand’s South Island. It was a trip of adventure, beauty and magnificence. For this worm, the high point was a trip up Fox Glacier on the island’s west coast.
The TC and her clan did the “Fox Trot”, a half-day walk up to and over the glacier. This worm went along for the ride. I now have a certificate to prove my prowess at glacier scaling. Photos below.
My impressions? Bizarrely beautiful shapes. Cold. Danger enough to add a delicious tingle of fear.
Take a few layers of clothing. You’ll feel warm while walking through the forest on the way to the glacier, freezing cold in the arctic wind on top of the glacier, and various temperatures in between.
Westhaven Motel in Fox Glacier Township. The manager is delightfully hospitable, the broadband access is free, the rooms are spacious and comfortable. This was the best accommodation of our New Zealand trip.
The book I’m in
Clean Cut, by Lynda La Plante. A good cop and crim yarn, with a gritty ending.
Me approaching Fox Glacier:
Our guide described the hazards of the cave at the foot of the glacier and the dangers of getting too close:
A view of the glacier from above, showing how it curves around a corner and up the further slope. There’s more over the horizon too, though we didn’t see it:
Zooming in to see two tour groups already on the ice:
Now it’s our turn. The TC hung back to take this shot of our group climbing up the stairs hacked into the ice. See the weird and wonderful shapes the ice has formed:
I made it! Me on the glacier:
Shapes and colours in the ice:
Looking down into a crevasse, with a glacial stream of water at the bottom:
The TC venturing down into the crevasse:
At the bottom of the crevasse, beautiful and scary:
Me and Peg, perched on a stone and leaning up against the TC’s boot. Ah yes, did I neglect to mention that Peg was there too? I’m avoiding contact with the ice itself. Nasty wet cold stuff, not very compatible with cardboard folk. Note the crampons strapped to the TC’s boot, inelegant but functional:
Our guide carving a path for us:
Every now and then we heard the clink and clatter of a chunk of ice breaking off somewhere in the ice below us. Scary? Oh yeah! Every now and then the TC stuck her stick into a stream or a hole, and the stick went down and down and down as far as it could reach. Scary? Oh yeah! We stood on platforms, stepped to the next one and looked back, to see we’d been standing on a thin sheet of ice with not much below. Fun? Oh yes indeed.
Looking up towards the point where the glacier turns a corner:
As far as we could see:
Climbing down off the glacier:
Walking away from the glacier. The flat valley floor and extremely steep sides are characteristic of a valley carved by a glacier. In past centuries, Fox Glacier has been much lower down and created the valley we see here:
This is to certify that Mark Wordsworm did visit the mighty Fox Glacier, did brave the inclemency of the South Westland climate and did endure the rambling discourses of the guides:
That’s all for today dudes.