New Zealand | Fox Glacier, Take 2 – Heli-hiking

We lucked out yet again. Our second try for a heli-hike to Fox Glacier, and the weather was stunningly beautiful. The guides said that it’s usually only clear a couple times out of the year, this day being one of them. So same routine ensued – met at the cafe, shuttled into vans, drove to the heli pad, took a small course on how to enter and exit the helicopter, broke off into groups, put on our boots and socks, and got ready to take off.

A couple Euros had been fiending for cigarettes the entire time the orientation was occurring, so when they started calling people to get weighed, they were basically out of the loop as to what was happening. The short story is, the group of three Euros was broken up, and when they called names for the first flight, because my last name was way down on the alphabetical list, they got on the flight that I was supposed to be on with Sly. When I told the guy running the show that me and Sly were supposed to be paired together, he realized what he had done, but it was too late, the weights were calculated, and the Euros were back outside smoking, clueless as ever.

Remember the couple from the cruise on Doubtful Sound? All this time later, we met up with them again, when they graciously offered to give up their seats so that we could go together. At that point, it was a bit of a CF, with people confused over which heli flight they were on, and others trying to wrangle their way onto the first flight. When they offered up their seat, a bunch of other people started fighting over the couple’s spot, so we just said forget it. Too much hassle over a stupid seat on a helicopter.

It was my first time on a helicopter, and something I wanted to share with Sly, but in the end it kind of worked out, because it allowed me and Sly to take pictures of each other. The tour guide felt really bad, apologized profusely, and gave me the seat right next to the pilot while everyone crammed into the back. Booyah, Euros!


Try to find Sly in the photo below.


As for the couple we were on the cruise with, and who we met again on this day, we all became BFF. They were a really nice couple from Colorado (previously lived in MD), and we became each other’s photographers during the trip. When they found out we were newlyweds, they announced it to our group. That was a bit embarrassing, though no harm meant by it. We had a great time hiking with them, and glad we met them (again). They were like us in 25 years…we hope, anyway.


Where’s Waldo? Waving goodbye as Sly takes off on Heli 1.


Not much can be said about this trip that the pictures don’t already describe. It was amazing. One of my favorite memories of New Zealand.

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  • bethany
    July 14, 2011 at 3:37 am

    Yeah, you’re going to love Alaska. I hope you’re not disappointed though, because NV looks pretty awesome.

  • bethany
    July 14, 2011 at 3:38 am

    Crap…NZ. I so tired.

  • veronika
    July 14, 2011 at 3:42 am

    I know, I was thinking the same thing – I’ve been dreaming of going to Alaska for so long, that I hope I didn’t over-hype it for myself. I’m sure it will be awesome, but yeah, NZ will be really hard to beat. Probably the most beautiful place we’ve been in terms of variety of landscape. Hawaii is, oddly enough, really up there too. That’s your next family trip.