Dr Suess trees, Franz Joesph Glacier,
Westland National Park

Dr. Suess trees (that's what I call them) on the descent from Alex knob. These narly trees are typical of the West Coast scrub band which signifies the transition between forest (beech/mixed podocarp) and alpine meadows. Without a track, bashing through West coast scrub can be an exhausting nightmare - particularly with a heavy pack and climbing gear. Alex knob is 1000m above the glacier terminus (the Franz has advanced a kilometre or two since I was last there). A great place to spend the night if the weather holds. As it was, we had a full moon and an amazing sunrise on the big peaks - very cold though... and a kea took a fancy to the tent during the night. The cloud rolled in soon after sunrise, the cloud base in this view is at about 800m extending far out into the Tasman sea - an ominous sign.

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Copyright (c) 1996 Jonathan Carr