Walking through the valley to get to the Franz Josef Glacier makes you realize how truly small we are.
The main 45 minute walk leads you to a small viewing platform below the glacier. There are some nice views along the way,
but the large flock of people at the end makes it difficult to enjoy.
A five hour hike (round-trip) on a different path
leads you to a platform with many fewer people, and a much better view.
Helicopters frequently pass overhead, carrying the wealthy to tramp around on top of the glacier for a few minutes. The helicopters give a sense of scale of the glacier, barely visible despite the red coloring and blinking lights.
A friend recommended me to stay at a free campsite next to a lake twenty minutes north of Franz Josef. I obliged, and we made a nice campfire and dinner with water that never seemed to boil.
We chatted with some locals cruising around in their tender going who knows where.
The night was spent in fear as hundreds of mosquitoes made their way into my van. I spent twenty minutes trying to kill then all, but their numbers never seemed to dwindle. Instead, I dawned as much clothing as possible and slept face down, almost no skin exposed.
I woke up the next morning covered in bites.