Wednesday, June 8, 2016

NZ Day 14 - Franz Josef Glacier

We were excited to see the Franz Josef Glacier, and we took off on the hike to the observation point.
It was raining very hard.

Greg drove wisely and safely in spite of the weather.

Our motel loaned me an umbrella, which I very much appreciated!

Greg put his backpack inside his anorak to protect the camera
and the other dry things inside.

The walk started out through lush forestry.

We saw fab roots.

And some crazy shiny rocks:

There were plenty of signs warning people not to walk in certain areas.

We stayed on the recommended paths.

We saw the first waterfall almost right away!

At the bottom of the valley were a bunch of rivers snaking across the ground.

A red umbrella adds a lovely pink glow to the cheeks!

Water coming down from the hills in every direction!

The rocks had lots of moss on them.

It was really hard to weed through the photos from this day because it was so beautiful and almost every photo was gorgeous (except those with rain drops on the lens!)

I didn't go any closer, just like the ranger said!

There's the glacier, in the valley between the two hills on the right and the left!
Hi, Franz Josef!
By this point, there was rain on my camera lens (it recovered fine!)
and the photos were getting weird.
But this one is sort of cool with the added eerie smeariness . . . 

A man with a bit of a shaky hand took this photo for us.   
It's special even if it's slightly blurry! 

On the way down, we saw another glacier!
See the nice blue ice down there near the bottom?

Be careful!  Ice could fall on you!
Or rocks!

Blurry glacier with scare-tactic signs:

Greg L Priem, intrepid explorer!

I love the lush landscape 
and the rain that keeps it green.

I was wet to the knee, but my pants (hooray!) didn't respond poorly to the rain and they dried quickly.

Strange root patterns on the walls of the path:

And strange striations in the rock.

This tree was filled with mosses and the bones of the tree are still there.
It reminds me of a cactus skeleton.

Brrr!  Rainy and 59 is quite chilly. 

After the hike, we went to our motel to change clothes and try to warm up and dry off a little.
Then we headed to the Franz Josef Wildlife Centre!

On the way, we saw a lot of puddles and water shooting down the street into the drains.
This drainage pipe was really cool!  It came out the bottom in little sprays rather than just like a normal drain.

This centre goes out into the NZ wilderness and steals kiwi bird eggs.
Then it brings them back to the centre and nurtures them until they hatch and takes care of the baby birds until they are TOO BIG for stoats and cats and possums to eat, then releases them into the wild.
We got so see a couple of the babies!

They are nocturnal, so in order to be more visible for people to see and appreciate, night and day are artificially backward in their domain.  It was very dark and smelled like moss and dirt.
A couple of times, the kiwis got close enough that I could smell their warm, wet-dog sort of mushroomy scent.  When running around, they're extra funny and silly and cute because they chase each other and race back and forth and they're strangely shaped, so running seeings like it would be too difficult but it isn't!  But they don't seem nice to snuggle or hold because their legs are most of their body weight and are very gristly like chicken legs but stronger.  They kick a lot.  And the woman there told me that they have to hold kiwis by their legs because their bodies are so delicate they can die if picked up wrong around the abdomen.

We couldn't take photos or film inside the kiwi enclosure, but it was one of the greatest things on the whole trip.  It was a small little building with a dirt floor and two little kiwi birds running around.  We could hear the rain pounding on the roof.  Once our eyes adjusted to the dark, we could see the round little sweeties racing around like lunatics!

Here's how they run.
They really made me snigger; it was like they were all wild and hyper from too many artificial colors and flavors or too many preservatives.  So silly!

This is how much rain falls in the Franz Josef region compared to other places in the world that are well known for getting lots of rain.

We decided to go out for Indian food to warm up our insides.
There was nice moody lighting.

Here's what I was wearing!
jeans: Style&Co from Macy's
blouse: Ross
sweater: Old Navy
Socks & shoes: Target

Gluten-free, vegan Mulligatawny soup for me!

Once we got home again, we laid out our stuff to dry in front of the heater + a fan.

What a lovely moisturizing day! 

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