This morning we were absolutely thrilled to pull back the curtains and see sunshine and blue skies fighting their way through the clouds! This meant that we would be able to take a helicopter up to Franz Josef Glacier and do some trekking. The crew gave us special jackets, pants, and boots with spikes a.k.a. crampons on them. My boots were huge. Afterwards we made our way to the helipad and I boarded the helicopter for my first helicopter ride. I got the front seat so was able to see the best views on the way up the glacier.
Once we landed up top, I took in my surroundings and felt like I was in the middle of a National Geographic magazine spread. Our guide navigated us through mazes of ice and explained the environmental changes the glacier has had over the last few years. It’s currently in a phase of retreat after years and years of steady advancement. The deep blues were glowing within the many winding and spiraling nooks and crannies of the glacier. The helicopters were really exciting to see landing and taking off as well.
I felt so small up there! When I looked out in the distance, other groups looked like tiny ants all lined up and marching in a row. We trekked for about 3 hours, exploring and discovering so many amazing narrow tunnels of shimmering blue. Some of them were quite a tight squeeze! There were ropes built along the sides for safety so there was usually something to hang on to when it got really slippery. After being specifically told not to take photos in more dangerous areas where the ropes are built, I couldn’t resist. It didn’t go unnoticed though and the guide said to me, “I’m going to have to keep my eye on you.” Rain started to spray a bit so it got pretty chilly nearing the end. Afterwards though, we all had a free entrance to the Franz Josef hot pools which felt incredible after the chilly hike.