Somewhere around three weeks ago now, I took a trip with some friends to do exploring around the glaciers 2 1/2 – 3 hours south of us. I’ve loved that area of the country for years, but it’s been nearly four years since I was down there last! It was a very cloudy morning when we set off—and stayed that way for quite a while—but just as we were getting close to our first destination, the Franz Josef glacier, I saw sunshine on the mountainside ahead!
This area has gotten an immense amount of rain this past year, causing quite a few washouts. I believe this was the surface of the original access road to the Franz Josef glacier, now impassable. I’m glad they built another road next to it, so we could still get there!
Walking out to the Franz Josef glacier, I looked up—and the sky was clearing! There was a little waterfall just ahead of us, too.
And then . . . the glacier itself! Pouring down a valley of its own like a blue sea suspended in space.
The walk up the Franz Josef river to the glacier is so pretty . . . all the different colors, and I never tire of watching and listening to flowing water!
Just as you get onto the riverbed, there is a gorgeous waterfall that comes down the hill to the right. It splits into several different forks at that place, and there are some large rocks to use as stepping stones across the little creek.
Then, further along, there is an interesting rock formation. I’ve found it fascinating every time I went, but what I thought was especially interesting was the fact that there are no visible horizontal scrape marks as I’ve heard are often the case on glacial sites. I had to wonder what the explanation for their absence would be—if you have any ideas, I’d love to hear them!
Another favorite feature of mine: The green and red lichen on the river rocks.
We made it to the top and the end of the trail! Unfortunately, due to the glacier’s melting, we were still one kilometer away from the glacier’s face—and the distance to the glacier was quite noticeable compared to when I was there four years earlier!
It’s still beautiful, though.
Looking down the valley before heading back. . . .
The vegetation here is such a gorgeous green color!
One of the girls we were with mentioned that you could see evidence of the smoke from the Australian bushfires in the snow. Sure enough—there were distinct yellow patches in the snow! I did have to wonder why some parts stayed white, while other parts were yellow!
And one last point of interest: If you climb a little track that zig-zags up a hill, you get a different lookout on the glacier. It’s a lovely view any way you look at it, but they had an interesting sign up showing where the glacier was ten years ago. What a difference!
In all, I highly recommend this walk if you come to our area. I also recommend going on a sunny day—it’s much more interesting then! And once again, I was reminded of how good our Father is to give us such beautiful things in creation to look at!
What natural features in your area have you gone to see lately?
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