22 February 2013

Heli-hiking Franz Josef

The day after I went sky diving, I seemed to be on an adrenaline kick and decided to go do a little heli-hiking.  Some of my travel-buddies and I head over to the office early in the morning for our scheduled time of 7:30am (!!!) and are asked to put on these massive thick jackets, pants, wool socks, and boots.  We’re also given a pair of cramp-ons and a bag to haul our stuff in.  We really look hard core and awesome, like we’re going somewhere damn cold and very slippery.

So we’re off to a helipad across the street, we get in in small groups and then I’m finally off for my first helicopter ride ever!!!  Oooh, and I LUUUUUUUUVE IT!!!!  Over the rainforests and glacier, we’re gliding along until we land on a small little pad on the ice.  We’re out and awaiting our incredibly good-looking guide’s instructions (well, at least all the women are!).  He demonstrates how we put our cramp-ons, and then we’re off!  We’re following him along some path that only he can see, through ice crevasses, over icy streams of water, under large holes in the ice, and over paths that he’s using a pick-ax to carve out for us (because that’s not super hot!).  So while the hot, uber-masculine guide is carving a trail for us, all the women do is sit there and stare at him while the guys sit there feeling… well, not masculine.  There did come a point where we could “slide” through a hole in the ice about 8’ long, and well, I fit through, but not so gracefully.  Below, you can see in the picture how I was being pulled out of the hole by the hot guide (luckily most of us had to be!), but nothing makes you feel like a ‘big’ girl like when you’re being pulled out of a very small hole by your ankles… by a hot guy. 

All in all, there is nothing quite like being in an actual glacier.  It really is like hiking around a massive mountain made of ice in shades of blue and white.  I’ll never forget how beautiful and rare such a sight is… including the guide.

If you ever find yourself in Franz Josef (and you should!!), head to this spa where you pay something like $15 with your discount from the heli-hike to sit around in these beautiful pools that are at different temperatures.  You really could spend all day there just resting the bones, reading a magazine, chit chatting, plan the night’s outing, and gossiping about the hot guy hoping that we all run into him while out on the town (girls will be girls!). It’s such a beautiful part of the world that should be seen in this lifetime.  


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