The Fox Story
A BRIEF HISTORY OF “TIME” OR FOX GLACIER RULES OK
A long time ago, in a distant galaxy, OOPS sorry wrong story.
Approx. a few hundred years ago the white man came to explore the south island of New Zealand the normal history tells of Tasman= Cook and other sundry explorers seeing tongues of ice streaming off the high mountain ranges and the ice coming close to the sea, now how true this is, is anybody’s guess as you will remember this Capt. Cook fellow had just established the first brewery in N.Z and was on his way delivering his first load (Britain seems to be exporting larger louts for a very long time) and there is great debate as to whether? the good Captain would have passed a breath test , really a big worry considering this man was responsible for most of the charts used in these parts for a considerable time.
Any way a few years later there were other intrepid explores like a wee chap called Charlie Douglas, who was a bit of a surveyor, and generally liked poking around the wild remote country with his donkey, sextant, and other explorer type gear. Most of Charlie’s exploring was done for several reasons normally gold, land or an easy route through the mountains, but I think in Charlie’s case he enjoyed being on his own and he kept going trying to avoid those bloody sandflies.
Back in the good old days, you know, diphtheria, rickets, no TV. No electricity, warm beer the first settlers sort of arrived via the beach. Gillespies beach! they were their cause somebody reckoned there was gold on the beach, and there was too (still is if you know where to go) At this time in history gold was rampant, Ross further to the north was pulling out big lumps of the stuff, Okarito experienced a huge boom with thousands of folk working the black sand and there were even plans to have New Zealand’s first university situated there..
As for Hokitika it was a mans paradise (according to some) over 100 pubs in the main street lots of nocturnal entertainment as well as a real French restaurant gold dust everywhere and not to many churches! Flash place this west coast.
Anyway back at Gillespies beach the families had settled on the beach and mined its gold for a few years, ran a few sheep and cows no point digging gold if you cant spend it on good food, anyway most of these families were off Irish descent and soon produced lots of strapping kids who needed something to do and so the mums and dads thought farming might be a bright alternative to life on the beach, and sent the lads up the valleys to find suitable land (the old saw pits are still close to the Fox motor park) Soon these tough dudes had cut by hand most of the trees from the valley and started to bring in the pasture that couldn’t happen to day the greenies would go mad but anyway some good came of it as they used the timber to build the Pub, wise men these pioneers Mind you if they had sited the village 10k back towards the beach we would all have far nicer views of the mountains, and also about half the rainfall of our present location, that’s life.
The Glacier used to be known as the Victoria @ Albert after that well known Victorian couple Then came along a POLITICIAN wanting to make a name for himself. William Fox immortality called and the name was changed to FOX GLACIER, soon after everything went to crap with the Glacier retreating (typical do-not let a politician near anything valuable) Its been in the last few years that the Glacier has presented lots of other problems Like you cannot get to see it due to the valley collapsing or the river changing course and taking the road away but thankfully this does not happen to often.
At this point I should give you some trivia about this giant ice cube. Well the snowfield is 2000ha in area pretty big A! This is just what feeds the Fox and on the neve it can be over 300meters deep puts a whole new meaning on the term deep powder.
With the Glaciers dramatic and constant movement you can often here the thing creak and groan and see massive bits fall off. Its quite a unique place on the planet, with access to a fast moving Glacier nearly at sea level surrounded by sub tropical forests == makes you wonder about global warming..
The population of Fox is roughly 150 but this varies as to power cuts and cold winters. In the summer this number rises as all the seasonal staff come in to run the hotels etc, The winter tends to be the best time with less rain and more SUN and the whole place seems friendlier. I know we should be friendly all the time but hell we all have off day’s don’t we???
I am sure I have a lot more interesting drivel to keep you spellbound for hours but all good things have to stop and this is it
BYE BYE for now