During our honeymoon across New Zealand and, after almost 2.000km of driving, we stopped over in the Franz Josef Glacier. It’s amazingly sad to stare how the Glacier is getting smaller year by year, mostly because of the climate change. Still, it’s quite impressive to see such a natural phenomenon and stare for some minutes realizing how small we are.
After walking across the natural park, we headed up to the town and enjoyed some bribes, with a burger and some French fries to share. During the dinner, we were researching for the next day hiking route and eventually decided for the Alex Knob.
Day D arrives and we are ready to go.
After grinding some coffee beans with the manual grinder (what a great investment!) I prepare a French press and pour the coffee over a titanium mug from Snowpeak that Nicki has giving to me as a present. The process of the coffee preparation is a habit I’ve, a routine that I love to do every morning.
I’m driving at 6.30am from the base camp. I’m a really bad sleeper, I recognize that. As soon as I’m excited due to an upcoming activity, my body travels to my childhood and I only hope that the night goes fast.
We hit the starting point before 7.00am, ensuring that we are kicking the trail off and avoiding traffic.
We’re discussing in front of the billboard with the Alex Knob trail details, where is written that we will need around 8h to complete the hike. As we know by experience that they overexaggerate the timings and we, as usual, are planning to run as much as possible, the forecast is dropping down from something around 4h30’ to 5h.
The day was grey and a bit rainy, which on the one hand make the weather delicious and perfect to run with one layer. The opposite side of the coin is that the lookouts are covered with fog, and we can’t see anything below us.
In terms of describing the trail, I would say is a great track to enjoy a combination of running and hiking. The route has many parts runnable, and it’s not getting super step until the last kilometers. The trails are well maintained, which make you comfortable and safe during the whole thing.
The length is around 17km, with an altitude of 1.200m and took us around 3h25’ .
The price is, basically, the 2 lookouts you’ll find during your way up (when clear weather), the forest track where you have to pass under trees and little climbs and finally the lookout to the Franz Josef Glacier (that we were not able to see at all due to the conditions).
To sum up, a great morning to explore outdoors, take a moderate physical activity and breathe fresh air.
Our very last tip about it: Prepare beforehand some picnic and park the camper/car at the entrance of the park, just in one side of the river. Take your breakfast/lunch there and enjoy the views!