Kumara to Franz Josef

Kumara to Franz Josef for a photographer takes a lot longer than what Google Maps says!

I stopped off at all my usual haunts and added some new ones to my day and experienced some interesting and surprising events.

I met a group of guys on bikes in lycra that in itself was both surprising and interesting…I stopped off to photograph a little deserted place and as they passed by they stopped for a chat. Greg is a guy biking 3000ks for Heart Kids. Having a heart kid myself, I thought I would pop up a photo and show my support. You can find him on the Heart Kids FB page if you want to donate.

I then stopped off to photograph where I had my fall from my horse many years ago in Whatoroa resulting in my broken back and pelvis, just to give it the middle finger and show it still hasn’t beaten me.  A few km down the road at Lake Mapourika I just couldn’t believe what I saw. A lone Wheel Chair sitting by the lake edge…not a soul around, make of that what you will. I had always wanted to take the trip up the river to see the Kotoka at Whataroa, but the timing never worked out, so I was thrilled to walk around the next bend by the lake to see one sitting there, which was happily modelled for me.

My intention when I finally arrived in Franz Josef was to rest, write and study.

But…I looked out the window.

I spent two years living, working and playing in Franz and not necessarily in that order. It was in the very early 90s when there were only two helicopters operating.  It is a strange thing to progress, I was sad to see the grand old THC Hotel where we spent many hours socializing, empty with only ghosts occupying her rooms. The receding of the Franz Josef Glacier is of magnitude proportion since the 90s. As I drove up the side of the Waiho River I reminisced of the days rafting, climbing, flying, exploring and feeling so totally at one with all of mother nature that wrapped herself around me.

I was so exhausted that evening I could hardly waddle over to the restaurant to pick up my takeaway pizza which I didn’t end up eating, my how things had changed.