i was excited and a little fearful at the same time. our hike was rated for the moderately fit person, and warned that the guides were not responsible for the particularly uncoordinated. now... i exercise. i go on bike rides and walks with my husband on the weekends. i can walk long distances without trouble. but i'm not sporty, nor am i really a nature person. i hate getting dirty, and most importantly, i am uncoordinated. not to mention, i was just barely beginning to recover from a nasty cold that i had ever so conveniently developed the moment i got on the plane to new zealand. so, the point is, i wasn't quite sure that i qualified as a moderately fit person.
once dressed, the large group was herded onto a bus, and driven to get closer to the glacier, about 10-15 minutes. from the carpark, it was another 20 minute walk through a rainforest-y area until we arrived in the glacier valley. there, the group was split into three groups of thirteen, basically divided by fitness level. since i was still sick, i wanted to be in group three, with all the senior citizens, but that group had gotten too large, so we ended up in group two.
our guide doing all the hard work for us
to get back down, we trekked back a slightly different way, but we had to use the same slope down that we used on the way up. i found this a little scarier, but the crampons were really excellent on the decline. this is probably a good time to mention that during this entire 4.5 hour excursion, the husband is just casually walking along, as if this was just another stroll on a flat, well-paved track. clearly not any kind of physical challenge for him.
the husband casually takes photos on the decline, not seeing the need for the mandated rope- holding.
about an hour later, after making our way back through the valley and rainforest area, we were back on the bus and on our way back into town.
turns out that i am a lot more fit than i realized. i didn't fall. i didn't lose my balance. the next day i didn't even feel sore. not that it was exactly easy for me- it was definitely something new, challenging, and exotic.
it was a great day.