The day after we visited Pancake Rocks, on our West Coast trip, we drove several hours farther south to Fox Glacier. We enjoyed some stunning sights along the way, such as this wall of rock as we came into Greymouth,
and this road/rail bridge just south of Greymouth. (Well, maybe that one isn’t stunning—just unusual!)
This mailbox (apparently) was beside the bridge, where we had to stop to wait for oncoming traffic to cross the bridge before we did.
As it got near lunchtime, we needed a place to take a break and eat lunch, so we followed signs off the highway a mile or two to this spot by the bluest river I’ve ever seen. The blue comes from glacial melt, I believe. We ended up leaving in a hurry, though, because the toilets were closed for painting and some of us were desperate!
The road from Franz Josef Glacier, which we passed up that day, to Fox Glacier, was lined with incredible ferns!
We finally made it to the vicinity of Fox Glacier late in the afternoon. First we drove to a spot that promised views of the glacier, from the south side of the river. The road up to that spot was amazing enough:
A short walk through the rain forest took us to where we could, indeed, catch a glimpse of it!
We could just make out the end of the glacier at the bottom of that valley, about where the waterfalls come down.
The shape of this mountain was intriguing!
As we got back into the van, some of the boys asked if they could run down the road to where we had seen a sign for warm springs. Sure—good way to burn a bit of energy! They took off running, and even though it must have been a good mile or two, they beat us. Yes, it was downhill, which I’m sure is the reason they got there so fast. They were dipping their toes in when we arrived.
We then drove back to the main road and crossed to the north side of the river, where a sign indicated glacier access. This turned out to be a trail that led you to within something like 200 meters of the glacier, which is retreating fairly quickly. The first part of the trail had been wiped out by a slip, or landslide, and foot traffic was temporarily rerouted up a muddy, steep hillside, along a level, muddy, slippery trail, and back down another steep, muddy, slippery slope to the nice gravel path! Mom decided she shouldn’t try to tackle the climb, so she waited in the van. I wanted to see the glacier, so gave it a try, with the help of a walking stick my sweet second son found me—and made it through that worst part! The rest was easy, but I turned back, with our youngest, when we got to where I could see the glacier. Therefore, these pictures are Esther’s—thank you, Esther, for sharing. It was worth the hike to see the glacier!