Peters Pool

Beez Neez now Chy Whella
Big Bear and Pepe Millard
Fri 29 Aug 2014 22:47
Bimble to Peters Pool, Franz Josef
We had finished our daily tramp, today to see the Franz Josef Glacier, en route back to Mabel we saw the sign and twenty five minutes seemed a nice way to end the day.
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We set off on the well maintained track, this time passing an electronic tag - the DOC must keep an eye on safety and numbers here. We passed a stream, empty now but we could just imagine it during a flood, racing through and the noise it would make. I think I’m becoming a bit of a lichenologist. No comment. Steady. Loved the patterns in this tree stump.
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Neither of us had ever heard the term ‘tree avalanche’ before visiting the Southern Alps. Looking at these roots explained it. The first tree clings and settles, more arrive and as they grow they use the first as an anchor. Over time the bundle can get just too heavy for the original, or a storm takes the whole lot like dominoes falling, leaving a large area of mountain quite bare. Minutes later we were beside Peters Pool. Over to the information boards that never disappoint. 18,000 years ago the Franz Josef Glacier, in Māori - Kā Roimata o Hine Hukatere extended ten kilometres past the current coastline, meaning that the spot we were standing on was once covered by ice hundreds of metres thick. Evidence of this is dotted throughout the surrounding landscape. Geographical features such as moraines, outwash plains and lakes are all ‘calling cards’ left behind by the retreating glacier.
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Rather like us being ‘waterfalled out’ in the Caribbean, we are now ‘reflecting pooled out’ having taken so many pictures over them, but here it was really interesting to compare a shot taken in 1878 to our picture taken today. Peter Westland was nine years old when he camped beside this pool – previously unnamed, in 1894, here to explore the area. Then there were only basic roads and very few people. Shrubs and grasses were slowly fighting to colonise and despite its retreat, the terminal face of the glacier stretches across the wide valley floor. Ice was the dominating feature in this perilous but picturesque landscape.
In 1906/09 Peter Hende took this photograph.
1954 with the Fritz range reflected in the pool.
Peter’s Pool is a kettle lake, formed by a huge block ice left behind during the glacier’s withdrawal. When this ice melted it was contained in a depression known as a kettle hole, among the mounds of rock debris deposited by the receding glacier. Other examples of kettle lakes in the area are Lake Wombat which lies on the other side of the Franz Josef Glacier valley; and Lake Matheson, a parting gift from the retreating Fox Glacier or Te Moeka o Tuawe.
Ok so just one reflection......Like the landscape around us, this pool is constantly changing and evolving. Slowly but surely vegetation will extend inwards from the rooted margins of the pool. Natural deposits of peat and mud will gradually fill in the depression, eventually creating a bog.
Now we knew that Peters Pool could very well disappear we wanted to do something a little different. We’ll cause ripples and leave with the cause, the wonderful SPLOSH part..... one, two, three.......
                     TRANQUILITY AT THE END OF THE DAY