Mount Cook - Day 2 - Glentanner and Mount Cook
The wind had increased overnight and the cloud was low over the mountains. One of the cyclists on the camp site had decided to cycle up to Mount Cook and left the site early. We were away by about 9-00am, but we had gone no further than 1km when we decided that the wind was just too strong and we turned back.
We spent of the rest of the day updating blog and doing our chores.
Later that afternoon the other cyclist returned having had a very tiring and fruitless ride to Mount Cook Village.
As we sat in the service center drinking a beer, we learned that another cyclist had arrived.
That evening we chatted with Declan. He had quit his teaching job in the UK and rented out his house to travel the World by bike.
During the night the tent was buffeted by gale force winds and heavy rain. Despite this we managed to stay dry, but got very little sleep.
Come the morning the wind had dropped and the weather had improved. Along with Declan, we managed to get a lift from a Swiss guy called Roland, up to Mount Cook Village. Roland had travelled extensively by bicycle and we learned a lot from him during the short time we talked.
The day improved as it wore on. Roland drove us up to the Tasman Glacier and the terminal lake at its base. It was amazing to see icebergs floating in the lake. Some of them must have been 100 metres long and 30 metres high (above the water).
As we climbed the hill to overlook the lake we didn't realise at first that we were actually looking at a glacier. The surface was black, covered with moraine. It was staggering to read that where we stood, the glacier had towered 700 metres above us only 14,000 years ago and that Lake Pukaki was the result of an earlier terminal lake at that time.
Later we drove up to the Hooker Valley and had great views of Mount Cook up close. The mountain looked like the face of father Christmas formed in the snow.
We walked up to Kea point and to the edge of the valley formed by the glacier. The wind was up again and was so strong that it was almost blowing us backwards as we walked.
We had lost sight of Roland by now, so walked back to the Old Mountaineer's Cafe at the village. There we scanned a copy of the book by Mary Hobbs about her and Charlie, her husband's fight to open the cafe at Mount Cook Village and made a mental note to get an electronic copy.
A Korean lady gave us a lift back to Glen Tanner and that night as we were out of food we had to eat in the restaurant. Its a hard life.
We learned that Declan was going to stay on for a few more days and cycle up to Mount Cook the next day, but for us it was time to move on.
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