It finally happened.
I actually got to go on the glacier tour.
And it was worth all the waiting and the heartbreak.
After having been turned away so many times, I was VERY skeptical up until the our helicopter landed on the ice. I just kept expecting them to radio in and cancel our trip at the last second. Even after getting FULLY suited up (at least we got past just the pants and boots this time!), we walked down the street a ways to the helicopter pad, but I was still not convinced it was happening. Our group was divided into two helicopters, and I was on the second one. I was still expecting them to cancel between the first group and my group, so was refusing to get excited about anything, but as fate would have it, our helicopter came back and delivered my cohort to the glacier to meet our guide for our glacier exploration experience!
Chopper time! That's Erin on the left.
Finally getting excited!
And the ride was amazing. Join us:
Here we come!
Franz Josef Glacier, it all its glory.
Erin had the best seat in the house for aerial pics.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we are ON THE ICE!
And the Ice is Nice!
Everyone was so excited to be on the glacier.
Look how bewildered everyone is! Sheer amazement and curiosity. It was like walking in some fairy tale ice world. Everyone was snapping pictures, touching the ice, peeking down every crevasse, etc.
More standing around while our guide worked on the stairs...
So my one complaint (ASIDE from all the HAIR on the pathways! seriously! Long dark hair was scattered all over the place! They should pay someone to go Hoover up all the hair. It was gross enough that everyone noticed it and thought it was weird, which is probably a significant amount given that it distracted us when we were in such a stunning place that should be free of hairballs. It was like some girl just went through dropping pieces of her hair every step of the way)... ahem. sorry. So my one true complaint was that we spent a lot of time standing there while our guide chopped steps that were overall not completely necessary. I can understand how these need constant attention, but he started the tour by telling us that 'how much we get to see totally depends on how much loitering you do'. False. We spent at least 40% of our time standing while he chopped steps. BUT, if you have to stand around while someone chops a path for you to walk around safely on a GLACIER, then I guess at least the scenery is nice while you wait.... Life is just tough sometimes, ya know?
Loitering time and hairballs aside, this was an epic experience.
Erin loving her life.
The first part of our tour was through a lot of steep crevasses and a couple of little caves. Then we came up to a nice open flat area a little higher up on the glacier, just below the crazy jumbled portion, which is off limits to everyone. The views were spectacular.
Pretty sweet picture for that dude.
Every direction was beautiful.
The scale is hard to appreciate, but the black spec to the left of the very center of this picture is a cluster of people.
We were pretty happy this panned out and that it didn't rain on us.
The forbidden zone.
No argument from me.
Heading back down the glacier towards the helipad.
Feeling pretty good about this whole glacier thing.
Erin and Cole: Glacier Explorers
Our Chariot awaits!
And away we go!
That was a pretty stellar experience, made even sweeter by the multiple failed attempts.