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Thursday 13 February 2003


Christchurch - Mount Cook Village



Mount Sefton, The Footstool and Glaciers

I got up early after a really bad night sleep. There was a really fat guy in the dorm with me and he had sleep apnia – he would go silent a while and then briefly snore and groan incredibly loudly – so loudly that my earplugs did nothing. This just re-enforced my idea that single rooms or my tent are better.

I boarded the bus to Mount Cook – It was a fairly long trip. We stopped at Geraldine (Boring) and at Lake Tekapo. Tekapo was quite beautiful, we only stopped for 20 minutes though. Tekapo and the other lakes are part of a hydro scheme and are carved out by ancient glaciers. Lake Pukaki was weird, it was an aquamarine colour which was opaque due to the glacial ‘flour’. It looked almost as though you could walk across the water. This was rather weird though since the water coming off the glaciers was grey. At the end of the lake, dominating the view was Mount Cook. The weather was beautiful – only one cloud creeping over Mount Sefton and the Footstool.

When we got to the village, Mount Sefton totally dominated the view, it is covered in hanging glaciers and icefalls - it very awe inspiring. I checked in, then decided to go for a walk – the lonely planet guide mentioned walks to the Mueller and Hooker glaciers. I walked out to Kea point (~40mins) which overlooks the Mueller glacier. It was a complete dissapointment – I’d expected to see something like Fox, or Franz Joseph Glaciers, or like Iceland, but all you could see was an enormous pile of gravel between two enormous moraine walls of similar rubble.

I decided to check out the Hooker glacier to see if there was one there, even though it was about 5km or more out there. This was not a great idea as I soon found out, since I only had a few hundred millilitres of water. I was feeling thirsty since it was rather hot. I reached the Hooker glacier terminal lake and was a little more impressed, you could see the face of the ice under the pile of rubble. At this point, the wind started gusting quite strong, picking up spray off the water. I headed back and was felling quite thirsy by the time I got back to the village. I realised I had been walking for over 4 hours. I got changed after having a shower (nice) and went to the Bar/Restaurant. It felt a little weird eating alone there, but it was good having real food. I spent the rest of the night packing my hiking gear. I had bought some small plastic bottles and I filled them. That evening the wind was really strong, making the ‘chalet’ creak and groan.