I wake up hoping for blue skies outside and no wind. Today is the day I am booked in to take a heli-hike on Franz Josef Glacier.
Knowing how frequently these can cancel due to weather, I have already prepared myself for the disappointment of cancellation during the small window of opportunity I have in my busy itinerary (something I always advise my clients to avoid). I draw my curtains slowly, amazingly, not a cloud in the sky, how lucky am I?
I arrive to sign up for the hike and await confirmation that my weather reading skills are correct and sure enough I am right, it is going ahead. Forgetting the fact I am about to get on a helicopter suddenly I am called forward for them to take my weight, ‘oh god,’ I think, ‘that five-course degustation meal last night might have tipped me over the edge.’ Thankfully, I make it through to the next stage to get my equipment ready for the walk on the glacier. As we board the helicopter I am overwhelmed by excitement, my first ever helicopter experience and on the most beautiful crisp, clear day.
Once we land on the glacier, I battle slightly to put on my crampons correctly. As I start walking I have to alter my mindset and trust that I am not going to fall over with these metal spikes attached to my boots. The guide is informative and knowledgeable and puts me completely at ease. As we walk further into the glacier it feels like we are the only people there, it is absolutely extraordinary. The richness of the blue where the ice is dense blows my mind. As I walk through the towering walls of ice I look up in awe at this beautiful natural wonder.
Little did I know this would be the first of many helicopter adventures on my trip of a lifetime to New Zealand.