Heli-hiking the Franz

Just north of Fox Glacier is the equally popular Franz Josef Glacier.  Due to rapid-retreat of the ice over the last two years the snout of Franz Josef is no longer visible via a short walking track; rather a much more strenuous 6-hour endeavor, known as Robert’s Point Track, must be made to see anything impressive.  

When we arrived in Franz Josef, Robert’s Point was closed due to wind damage and rockfalls; however, we wanted to experience the Franz.  Long story, short, we looked at each other, muttered something about WOLOing and the next thing we knew we were sitting inside a helicopter wearing oversized snow gear and flying over some of the world’s most beautiful scenery.  Touching down on the FJ Glacier we exited the chopper, fastened crampons to our boots, and set off on a half-day guided hike amidst the frosty blue-tongues of the ice.  

“Are you down…”

“…even if the sky is falling down”

“let it go…leave it behind”

“come on and fly with me…”

We climbed up and down, we wedged ourselves between cracks, we were rained on, we slipped, we laughed, our noses and our fingers froze, and we were totally living in the moment – basically, we WOLOed the day away out on the ice!  Then, the helicopter whisked us away one more time, returning us to civilization and delightful hot pools where the hardest decision of the evening was whether we wanted to soak in the 36C (97F), the 38C (100F), or the 40C (104F) degree pool.


“as we make our great escape…”

“Baby, don’t worry…”

“you won’t be lonely”

“no need to worry…”

“she’s down like her temperature…”

“she’s zero degrees…she’s cold, over freeze…”

“got that girl from overseas, now she’s my Miss America…”

Next stop:  Glacier Country Glacial Landing
Song lyrics: Jay Sean featuring Lil’ Wayne “Down”

Go.  Change your state of mind.

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