LAZAROW WORLD HIKE-ABOUT
Devil's Throat, Iguazu Falls, Argentina.
'WHAT IN THE WORLD IS HIKE-ABOUT?'
Hike-about is an adventure that commenced June 2010. After storing our household movables, ridding ourselves of a house but retaining our 'home' together, we set off with the purpose
of hiking in different parts of the world, not forgetting the home country, the USA. Our primary focus is hiking to mountain peaks but any challenging hike will do just fine. Extended stays
allow us to enjoy and experience living in various places amongst differing cultures. Hike-about has evolved into a way of life. It's also a process of discovery, both the world and ourselves.
We work and live 'on the road' but return to the city in which our grandchildren reside, every couple of months. This provides us the wonderful opportunity to be with them as well as a
child or two, even three and of course, friends.
By December 2017, the blog contained over 900 hikes, each a set of pictures with stories and anecdotes from the trails. An index to the right allows the viewer to identify earlier experiences.
Finally, we are often asked about the journey's end.
Our reply, as accurate as we can state, is: "When we are either forced to cease through health issues or the enjoyment level no longer reaches our aspirations, we will hang up the boots."
Whereas we continue to update the blog regularly, we no longer circulate email notifications regularly.
Monday, April 16, 2018
Haunting and beautiful...and freezing and raining and a long way from our current, local home.
We organized a shuttle to take us to a lone hotel in the 'middle of nowhere', some 20kms away so that we could walk back to our apartment. Sounds smart, doesn't it? There was a time we would have wondered about that, too. These days, it sounds just right. The weather was dull to poor which did not augur well for a dry and good visuals kind of day. However, we find generally, and particularly in regions such as Patagonia, that should you act rationally with regard to the natural elements, a person will spend an awful amount of time indoors.
Suffice to say, we experienced rain, cold, high-winds, some steep and slippery sections, long and fairly level paths through the forest and overall, a remarkable day in an amazing region that proved to be challenging, colorful and most attractive. While it takes only a few hours to recover physically from a 23km hike, the experience becomes ingrained in one and the pleasurable feelings remain indefinitely.
On a dull day, the colors brightened it immensely, the slope challenged us although pictures never capture the true gradient.
Over the years, we’ve climbed, hiked or walked up a number of mountains in many parts of the world and fortunately, returned. We also realize, should we live for a thousand years, we would only come across a small fraction of the world’s hills, undulations, mountains and volcanoes. We suppose when one walks the land, the perspective of size of Planet Earth changes. Sitting in a car or strapped to a seat on an aeroplane gives one a fair indication of vastness but doesn’t come anywhere as close as a measure compared with walking at a pace of 3 or less miles per hour. Often, but more particularly, on our recent 15-mile walks to Laguna De Los Tres, Laguna Torre and Loma del Pliegue Tumbado, amongst many others, we had time to contemplate the humility one develops when surrounded by or on mountains. In the former hike, because of adverse weather conditions including thick and haunting snow covering the mountains, an eerie feeling overcame me. I continued to absorb the magnificence of the many mountains about, their beauty enhanced by a makeover of fresh snow and lack of color, black-and-white, because of poor sunlight. I felt even more insignificant than usual in their presence. While hardly humble, I feel that way most times. We humans feel we’ve conquered the world, brought about amazing technology and exploited the earth to our benefit. The brilliance of man knows no end, in my opinion, technologically speaking. It’s beyond belief. Nevertheless, most of us contribute very little in that regard. Innovation has come from a few, relatively speaking. In a fashion, most of us are not too important or essential to the world’s functioning. It would seem: We are mostly users and consumers rather than developers. (continues at end)
Fantastic feeling to reach this height and absorb the mystery surrounding us. The mountain to the right is/was
haunting, just beautiful in black and white.
Struck one of us as a sultry woman waiting for a sucker to climb her. (Perhaps, I've been on one mountain too many.)
The editor returns from a treacherous top, tough because of high winds.
Toward the end of the hike, we approach the glacier-fed river, from above.
Jenni reaches the wind-blown peak, icy in light rain and exclaims she loves the rocks. I wondered if she meant the rocks in her head. With the elements against us, we loved the day's experience. Go figure!
Knowing Jenni fairly well, she was not contemplating a swim...I think.
A person has to wonder why the sun chose to shine on the mountain we selected not to hike. Nevertheless, it was
a beautiful scene.
Particularly loved this scene. As our son Gavin might remark, "Dad, which scene don't you like?"
Lake Tunel in the distance.
However, when I look to the mountains, supposedly dumb edifices of solid rock without souls, feelings…without life, I’m in awe. Yet, they are nothing. Why then, do so many people know of them, their names, their positions, their power while so few of the Earth’s inhabitants are known to each other? How insignificant is something that is acknowledged as one of the world’s icons, be able to create it’s own weather, affect the weather, cause harm, strike out at trespassers, exude beauty or make man want to conquer it? The mountains are in fact, everlasting—man is not. In the end, man will always lose to the mountains. The life of the mountains, except for partial destruction of volcanoes is infinite whereas man’s is three score and ten. So who is the winner? Even the conqueror who is able to reach the highest point, will die either somewhere else or on that mountain. It’s inevitable.
But, you might question, the mountain is stationary, it cannot attack or fight back. Well. That might not be true. Watch how it summons the winds to blow a person off its slopes, or the rain to wash a person away, lightning to burn, avalanches to crush or the cold to freeze a person to death. Some of them rise so high that most people, if they even had a chance of reaching such altitude, could not absorb sufficient oxygen much below their summits. While life should not be about physical fights for victory, it seems man has designed life in that fashion. To the victor go the spoils. In the end, who is the victor? Someone who wins a single battle or who enjoys multiple victories? No. It’s always the mountain, the supposedly dumb, unthinking, soulless, witless lump of rock.
Surely life is not all about or at least only about struggling and fighting to succeed. Of course, that’s an essential element. There must be something in addition to that, to our precious gift. Perhaps that’s one of the major differences between mountains that make me feel so humble and an attribute of humankind that enables it (humanity), should it so choose, to be far greater than the greatest of mountains: The soul and flowing from it, the beauty of kindness. In our life experiences, we have no hesitation in acknowledging the greatest gift one human can bestow upon another is that of kindness. We saw it and experienced it first-hand from our parents and see it elsewhere but to a much lesser degree. What is kindness? Perhaps simply put: It is the help, assistance or support one gives another with no expectation whatsoever of something in return. With all our faults, and humanity has shown the world the worst of the worst, the ultimate attribute is kindness and no mountain has any idea of the concept. I’ll always feel humble when I think of mountains, I might feel differently about humility toward some of my fellow beings but the most humble feelings of all occur in the presence of a person who is kind. It is indeed a moment of awe.
Regrouping at the top. The variation in weather from base to peak was staggering. I thought I heard Jen singing, "C'mon baby, light my fire".
Jenni and Jeffrey
Wednesday, April 11, 2018
We were not surprised to learn Iguazu Falls is considered one of the modern wonders of the natural world. It provides breathless views of the flow of tons of water cascading over myriad precipices, an avalanche of water stretching for vast distances, often converging and barreling over channeled tops. The effect is stunning, making views unlikely to fade from one's memory. When we first noticed the Iguazu River and others, we were surprised to find that they were colored a rich brown. It struck us that churning of water in the rivers, probably following storms, would be negative. To the contrary, the various shades of brown in different degrees of light added advantages. Rather than only view white water, we had access to sights in hues of brown and orange. In addition, by adjusting the camera's shutter speed, we were able to capture some additional advantages.
The authorities have seen fit to make part of the rainforest into a controlled park. This provides reasonable access to visitors and is therefore, useful and practical. However, it does, in our opinion, detract from the experience. It would be far nicer to hike to remote parts and come across cascading waterfalls naturally rather than in a Mickey Mouse...um Disney fashion.
All-in-all, despite the artificial dynamic introduced into the park, we ended up with delightful views and experiences. Rather than attempt to describe the sights further, we are fortunate because of the invention of the camera—it allows for the recording of the water-flows for posterity...and then a bit.
Barreling water thrills us at Devils Throat, a scene of incredible action, violence and beauty.
Sun breaks through and enhances the waterfalls.
Jen 'tempting' a massive spray of water.
Plush-crested Jay of the rainforest.
'Slow-down that shutter, buddy'.
The original setting of 'Bridge over Trouble Waters'.
One dynamic scene after another.
We like...a golden moment in a region with the most unstable weather.
We spent a day in the rainforest, quite a bit of walking, examining as much as we could. We decided to revisit the park after skipping a day although it would of course be soon after the initial visit. The selected day happened to be 'Good Friday'. We were hoping the city was filled with many church-going visitors and residents. Alas, it wasn't. We purchased tickets for the bus, arrived early at the station and were soon heading to the glorious rainforest. After a few holdups, we arrived at the park, took in the sights at the entrance, looked at each other and jumped on the next bus out of 'Dodge'. Had we stayed, we might have come to dislike one of the most amazing forests that we have had the privilege of visiting and enjoying. Instead, we went for a walk where we were able to look from Argentina into both Paraguay and Brazil, at the same time. The river separates the three countries in a remarkable way. In fact, because of the flow, the color issue we mentioned earlier, is apparent on the Paraguay side which is less muddy. Who knows what that means!
'Who left the tap open?'
Doesn't always pay to 'go with the flow'...perhaps, hardly ever. The building is in Brazil, a little across
the water. We don't think this is a popular crossing for illegal entrants.
'Before the fall...'
An ominous sky. Good. We need the rain.
Jenni and Jeffrey
Jenni is a bit of an opportunist camera woman. She captures Roberto and I having a conversation, electronic of course. We have not resorted to swopping jokes though. My Espanol is almost perfect...up to at least twenty words.
Saturday, April 7, 2018
We have no doubt that to really appreciate the scenes below, one has to be partial to mountains. Nevertheless, the contrasts of mountains in full sunshine and at sunrise are interesting and beautiful. Cerro Fitz Roy is impressive and its supporting comrades, especially Cerro Torre (not shown this time) and Solo, complement the scenes and show 'poise, pride (if not a little arrogance), harshness and beauty.' Our visit to El Chalten was superb, probably nothing better preceded it; the sights and hikes around this range made it that good.
Before leaving on a hike, we woke early and positioned ourselves to watch the sun light up the surrounding mountains. We were fortunate because the cloud cover often makes this an impossible sighting.
One of many glaciers covering the mountains.
Our destination viewpoint of Cerro Fitz Roy and 'buddies'.
A similar mountain scene, Cerro Fitz Roy, but earlier that morning.
A glimpse of El Chalten, the town from whence we began, as we approach the trailhead on our return.
Mountain, lake and glacier.
Jenni's arrival. To get as close as is possible to Fitz Roy adds another 8 miles to the hike, something we did a few days later.
Another impressive mountain, Cerro Solo, at dawn.
Another view, a different angle, El Chalten. The following day we reached the mountain peak in the background.
Jenni and Jeffrey
A little something different from Iguazu forest. The water was so muddied that it in fact gave us attractive colors to view.
Within two weeks during January, in Southern California and Utah, we came across an Osprey and Bald-eagle.
Sunday, April 1, 2018
Introduction or curtain-raiser to three hikes, one in El Chalten and two earlier experiences in Bariloche.
We posted three blogs simultaneously plus a couple of pictures introducing the multi-postings.
The sunrise set, is arguably from our perspective, one of the most enjoyable sets of that genre we have posted. The edifices in the region, perhaps because we worked so hard to reach great vantage points to view them or maybe that they are just plain and simple, wonderful, created much excitement on the trip. Even when our fingers froze as we waited for the sun to fire up and 'light the rocks' nothing could distract from our purpose then and on some of the long hikes in Bariloche and El Chalten. I hope we are able to create for you just a fraction of the interest we developed for this tough, rough and incredible region.
Plush-crested jay, in the rainforest of Iguazu.
Somewhere on the 'Inferior' lower circuit.
Closing the shutter slowly in order to create the 'frozen effect'.
Scroll down to see a further three new postings or hundreds of others.
Jenni and Jeffrey
First sunlight hits Cerro Torre, a new favorite icon.
Our first sighting before sunrise of the 'only-show in town'.
One of the editor's selling points for a visit to either Patagonia, Chile and Argentina's, were the sunrises over the various towers. We have viewed sunrises on two of the mornings, skipped a third because of weather issues and rose early today, trekked to a viewpoint in the Los Glaciares National Park and froze while we waited for the sun to warm our hearts with sights of wonder. Whereas it would have been nice of the sun to warm our bodies too, we could not expect it to exude that much strength. On a good morning of weather, until we gained some altitude, things were looking up. Until the wind arose from nowhere and the temperature plummeted into the low 30's or more likely, high 20's, life seemed extraordinary in El Chalten for a change (by the way, it's a charming town). Nevertheless, the sights, once again, were everything we had hoped for and more.
On the day before, a 23 km hike to Laguna Torre which sapped the muscles somewhat, left us weary when we woke. We got over the tired and aching muscles quickly; it was the cold that got us. At times, it felt as if our fingers would separate from our bodies. The thought of any human being exposed in similar conditions for a longer period gave us pause for thought and made one realize how little the chance of survival is for each minute one is unprotected from the elements. Taking photographs was difficult and to improve settings, it meant removing gloves. Nothing further needs to be added to make the point.
As an aside, on the way down from the 'show spectacular', we crossed paths with a number of youngsters heading into the park. One was wearing shorts and others too had dressed for the weather in the town at ground level. We're pleased they never asked us about the weather in the mountains. We hate to lie. As an aside (aside), we're often asked the common question, "Is it much further to go?" (to the top). Our reply, which we think is fair, goes something like, "Do you want the truth or...?"
We hope you enjoy these photographs; you can imagine how frustrating it was to be limited in selecting so few.
Fascinating group of edifices led by Cerro Torre. Also loved the shadows,
Cerro Fitz Roy, the apparent leader of this amazing range of mountains, reaches out for the warming rays.
After the action from the sun and cooperation of the mountains, the editor heads toward home, on the plateau.
The background setting creates a serenity that reaches into the mind and soul.
'Man, this wind blows right through one, only stopping for a while to chill the bones.'
The colors vary as the relative position of the sun changes.
Another member of the profile, this one is Cerro Nato (we think).
On a previous occasion, sighting of Cerro Torre from a further 3 miles distant. Scroll down slowly to view the following photograph...
And that may have been good enough reason for the trip, Cerro Torre and the 'boys', symmetrical and casting shadows.
On the way back down to the village, we notice Fitz Roy without its sun makeup.
Until next time...
Jenni and Jeffrey
'Morning has broken', light the first hour...a couple of days earlier, from a different position.