Bike Odyssey
New Zealand 2002

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Journal for 14-Feb-2002 : Franz Josef
Date: 14/02/2002 (Location=Franz Josef, Dist=14km, Total=431km)
Another magnificent sunny day.

Broke camp and sat around waiting for our stuff to dry as we knew it was only a short but scenic ride to Franz Josef.

In the 15km to Franz Josef we passed or saw 18 other touring cyclists, and then counted 10 more in the town.

Franz Josef is one big tourist trap, with a big emphasis on the backpacker market. It's the sort of place that makes me feel awfully old, being surrounded by hundreds and thousands of under 25s. More of a Kontiki Resort than a real town. It's not all hussle and bussle though. You could be forgiven for thinking the whole town was owned by dosile three legged dog that freely wandered in and out of all *her* buildings.

Linda and I took the guided glacier walk tour, where they rented us proper boots and tallons (cramp-ons) and lead us up onto the ice. Very impressive, and very enjoy able - and a touch more physically demanding than I thought it would be.

The scenery was spectacular. Have I said that before?

The FJ Glacier is a huge sheet of ice chunneling down the valley. It's a very active glacier, with snow falling in the icefields at the top taking only 6 or 7 years to crunch out as ice melt at the terminal. For most other glaciers this process takes tens or hundreds of years. Glaciers carry a lot of rock and dust with them, and especially at the base they are surprsingly (to me anyway) dirty things. Because of all the activity, FJ jas lots of fishures, caves and other dynamic structures. One cave did
not survive our visit intact. I never touched it, honestly !

Camp ground a bit of a disapointment. Full of 20 somethings chucking frisbies etc. We left the bikes unattended while we searched for dinner & someone managed to knock them over & do some minor damage.

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