But somehow, we ended up spending the day on the Fox Glacier.
Here’s a panoramic shot that gives you a feel for how amazing it was to be on – and even in – the glacier.
Because I am totally fascinated with glaciers, and because Rachel is a really good sport, we spent an amazing and otherworldly day on the glacier. For the record, this is quite safe – glaciers move about 6 feet a day, and they don’t crack open dramatically and suddenly the way they do in Hollywood movies. But over time, they do move incredibly dramatically. One piece of evidence: there are these tunnels that go vertically through the glacier that are formed by water trickling through, ultimately growing into wide pipes. As the glacier moves down the mountain, these can get completely reoriented – which is how this tunnel that we crawled and walked through was formed. Obviously, by this point, it’s completely horizontal and on top of the rest of the ice.
Even more amazing, the glacier guides – we had a really terrific tour, from Fox Glacier Guiding – do a ton of work to make the most remarkable features of the glacier accessible. It took them days to cut an ice stairway down to this amazing blue ice cave.
Our guide, Cuba, also let us down to the bottom of some of the crevasses – totally humbling to realize how small you are compared to these vast walls of ice.
Priceless conversation with Cuba, our wonderful guide, who is from Germany: he mentioned liking the television series The Wire.
Me: Do you watch it with the captions?
Cuba: No – that’s how I learned English.
Me: You learned English from watching The Wire?
Also, less funny: I can’t help mentioning that up until a couple of years ago, this glacier was advancing; now, like 97% of the glaciers on earth or something like that, it is in rapid retreat, collapsing in on itself. If you are at all interested in this, don’t miss the incredible movie Chasing Ice.