We got to the carpark of the Fox Glacier walk and I arranged with Murray to be picked up from here at 2.45pm. It would take me twenty five minutes or so to walk to the viewpoint of the glacier and back. The walk was lovely. It takes you through the valley to the glacier and crosses two fast running streams. There are rocks in the water, used as stepping stones, to help get you the other side of the stream, so you don’t have to get your feet wet. On your right hand side, the milky coloured water of the river flows by – milky coloured because of the “rock flour” from the glacier. The glacier grinds rock into fine dust and it’s this “rock flour“ suspended in the water that gives the water it’s colour.
The glacier itself isn’t as impressive from the viewpoint, I don’t think, as the Franz Josef glacier because you can’t get so close to it. I enjoyed the walk overall even though it was a battle against the wind all the way back. The skies were blue but the whole day the clouds lingered over the mountains, preventing us from seeing the peaks of Mt. Cook and Mt. Tasman. But I was hoping that next week, when I go to Mt. Cook village, I’d be able to get a good view of Mt. Cook: the highest mountain in New Zealand.
I had a walk down Cook Flat Rd to catch the last rays of sunshine for the day and came back and had dinner at Café Neve. This café had good reviews but obviously they weren’t prepared for the amount of people who turned up for dinner that evening, as I and other diners had to wait nearly thirty minutes to get food. Anyway, while I was walking around the cemetery of the church of “Our Lady of the Snows” on Cook Flat Rd, I saw a headstone which said “John Elliot – Fox Glacier’s Famous Bartender” and it piqued my interest, as I’ve been working behind bars myself for the last twenty three years. So after dinner, I went into Café Adler, who seemed to have older bar staff. I thought they might know something about John Elliot.
The barman introduced me to the guy who was standing beside me at the bar and said he’d be a good person to talk to. I didn’t catch the guy’s name but he said he’d lived with John for a while. There was a photo of John on the wall. He had white hair and a trimmed white beard with a cap on. Apparently John had been orphaned when he was a young boy of seven and had a rough life after that. He worked for twenty years or so in the Fox Glacier Hotel bar, across the road. He was an unusual character. He loved being the centre of attention. Once he ran around the bar naked, another time he put a sack on his head, he had numerous amounts of women and was just a character who stood out on his own. I didn’t want to pry too much so after I got the basic information I thanked the guy and left.