In August 2011 we spent two weeks hiking in New Zealand, primarily on South Island.
We had our own crampons and ice picks with us, so Sam was keen to hit a glacier.
We spent a night camping just a few kilometres from the Franz Joseph Glacier National Park in what seemed to be a quarry. Sam took some beautiful photos of the sunset and moon!
The next morning we drove to the car park and prepared to walk to the glacier. It's about a half hour walk to the base glacier and despite some drizzle it was a busy morning on the track.
When we got the end the way up to the glacier was chained off with notices saying to go no further. But we could see organised tour groups up ahead so we ducked under the chains and kept following the track.
I was very nervous that we'd get in trouble but Sam convinced me to keep going.
It was quite a climb and we got pretty warm by the time we found ourselves on the ice and right with some tour groups.
A couple of the guides asked us what we were doing but we just spoke confidently that we were going out there and no one stopped us. Turns out you are allowed to go out on your own.
Sadly though, I chickened out. I was too scared by the thought of cravasses and slipping on the ice (despite having crampons). So I stayed behind and Sam went exploring on his own.
He said he'd be an hour... and I sat on the ice waiting, getting colder and colder.
As I watched the tour groups leave I realised I would have been fine out there. There were unfit people, old people, kids, people in shorts... It seems the tracks are very well made and this area is very safe. I regretted not going out there!
I got too cold so I walked back down. It was raining pretty hard now so I walked back to the car to get Sam some more warm clothes and some food for when he came down.
It had been two hours and I was starting to worry, but when I got back to the base of the glacier there he was - huge grin on his face.
Despite getting lost in the maze of ice and having to jump some crevasses sometimes, he'd had a great time. He'd even been offered a job as a guide while he was out there...