I enjoyed the morning around Franz Josef today... The entire town is about 4 or 5 blocks. I picked up groceries for meals, window shopped, actually shopped, took photos of the incredible scenery, and sat at a cafe with my book and a latte! Perfection.
The hostel I'm staying at, Glow Worm Cottages, has wifi for $3 per day, which is great, but this area is so remote that it's not a great connection. I attempted to Skype with my family in Colorado but they mostly sounded like robots. After a number of tries, I headed out in the car for a little hike.
Reading the FJ map last night, I saw a great hike that was said to be an easy 30-minute walk... Great! I couldn't find that hike though... But did get to the location of two other hikes listed. One was an hour and a half, and the other... Three and a half hours. Whoa. Ok. The one hour and a half hike sounded great. Hehe.
I do enjoy a scenic hike... But anything over two or three hours has got to be marvelous... And I would prefer to not be alone on it.
The hike was in Okarito... About 30-minutes drive from FJ. This area had... Well, about 12 houses, a cafe, and some kayaks for rent.
Starting the hike, I felt a bit uneasy... Heading into the forest alone just didn't feel great. I was walking along a pathway over a swamp to the edge of a forested hill, err actually it was more of a mountain. I reminded myself that my brother Lenny did multi-day hikes when he was younger than I am now... On his own in NZ! The walk wasn't said to be super strenuous, other than having quite an uphill climb overall... So I knew I should be ok.
I'm so glad I did it! I'm feeling rather proud of myself now and accomplished for the day. I went at a steady-but-leisurely pace and enjoyed myself. There was a path the entire time and it was through the forest, however, I could hear the sea the entire time and was rewarded with views now and then.
Reaching the top was very worth the walk! There was a 360 degree view... I could see the Tasman Sea, the Okarito Lagoon, and in the distance was the Franz Josef Glacier! Very cool.
The hike was listed as one hour thirty minutes but I made it back to the car in one hour ten minutes... Feeling good and with an almost empty water bottle!
Tomorrow morning I head out for the helicopter ride to the glacier and then the Ice Explorer glacier walk... Super excited. Included with the walk are the FJ hot pools! So I plan to go to those in the afternoon.
Oh, and on the drive back, I did find the original hike that I thought I would do. I'm glad that I missed it on the way out and decided to go for another! I must have been really tired last night while looking at the map because the easy 30-minute hike was just a flat walk through the forest with some mountain views... I noticed this when I was re-reading the map, trying to find it. The hike I ended up going on is the description that I wanted to do! So all worked out well : )