LAZAROW WORLD HIKE-ABOUT
California: Death Valley, hiking along the ridge above Golden Canyon.
'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 enable 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 2019, the blog contained over 1,100 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 each time, VIP's excepted and special occasions.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
We sit in awe and think of the day’s hikes in this magnificent peninsula. It is unusual for the best that nature has on offer to surround a city or be as close, as in the ‘fairest Cape’ of them all. We are learning that it is neither good judgment nor ‘safe’ to give ratings especially as we are not that well traveled. Nevertheless, in this instance we are happy to live dangerously. We surmise that at the time Hashem was crafting this area, He must have felt particularly creative and content.
The weather over the last two days has been near perfect following two prior, poor days. With the tough Table Mountain hike behind us, we headed towards Muizenberg but diverted to the Silvermine Nature Reserve. From the moment we entered, we were entranced. It is serene, colorful and sits in a bowl surrounded by mountains, and bays in the distance. There is an aura about the reserve but who can say what that really is or means.
Just below the peak of Constantiaberg is a VHF mast and radar station that dominates the mountains for at least 50 miles distant. The summit is just on 3,000 feet, joining Table Mountain and Devil’s Peak as the highest points in the area. Identifying markers on the various peaks from other viewpoints and then touching them has been an exciting experience. For example, from Table Mountain the mast is prominent which we viewed yesterday and then today, we passed it on our way to the peak.
“Isn’t that False Bay?” our editor asked as we gazed at mountains that appeared to rise from amidst the ocean. “True,” we answered, so taken in by the incredible sights that we almost gasped. “No,” she countered, “False.” You can see it was going to be that kind of day. Our destination was 'Elephant Eye' cave overlooking the Tokai forest. It proved to be unusual as well as a place that provided stunning views. On the way up, we could not help but notice a high peak above the cave. The guidebooks had omitted anything about Constantiaberg so it was a surprise. “Do you think there is a path up to the peak?” we asked our informative editor.
“And if there isn’t? I know when you get that look. You and I are obviously going to the top, path or not.” We love it when she shows such spirit. On such occasions, we could fall in love all over again.
We did hike to the summit but not before coming across four false peaks. In fact, the mountain that enticed us was just a tease. Four ‘bigger buddies’ hid behind it. We are rarely amused when mountains play 'silly buggers' like that. The hike ended up being about nine miles, much more than we anticipated. It also was one of our most enjoyable experiences. The choices are endless—parts of the Cape Province we have visited are magnificent.
“What is the correct etiquette should we meet an elephant on one of these narrow ledges?” we wondered. “Don’t be silly. The first part of the hike is named after the elephant shaped mountains,” answered our editor.
“And you believe everything you read. Just because we haven’t seen an elephant yet doesn’t mean there aren’t any on this mountain. By the way, be careful of that pile of dung in front of you.”
Jenni and Jeffrey
Monday, November 28, 2011
When Vasco Da Gama sailed down the west coast of Africa, he intended to stop short of the Cape but
realized the ‘Namibs’ were rather aggressive. Therefore, he pushed down further, making a left turn into
Table Bay and saw what Bartholomew Diaz had discovered at the end of the 15th century. Diaz had named it
the ‘Cape of Storms’ because on that day, just like this past weekend, there were gale force winds on the
mountain. So strong were the winds that the cable car system was not operating both then and on Sunday.
When Jan van Riebeck, the Dutch administrator arrived in 1652, he was so impressed with the
sight that he shouted to his crew: “Fire up the helicopter. I want to take a closer look at that
flat-hill up there.” Jan hated hiking but was equally against using the cable car. Prices were
exorbitant in guilders (pre-Euro) for a ride to the top. People say he had tremendous chutzpah.
Why? Coming from the relatively flat Holland, how could he refer to Table Mountain as a ‘hill’?
Others say he showed typical colonial arrogance.
When he landed on top of Platteklip Gorge, like us, he was most impressed. The sight of the narrow,
steep, stone trail up to Table Mountain convinced him that the helicopter was a far better means of
reaching the summit. We would concur; the climb is very strenuous. During the hike, one questions
the meaning of life; or at least, ‘what are we doing here?’ Seventy-one minutes is the time it took
to ascend and less for the descent but it ranks as one of our toughest short hikes.
The views of Devil’s Peak to the right and the bay in front were and still are, outstanding.
By that stage, Jan wondered why he had not emigrated to the Cape years before. Unlike the Dutch fellow,
a busy guy who had to manage the half-way station to the East for his company, we had time to play
around on the rocks and take in the wonderful views from all angles and sides. At the summit cafe,
we enjoyed tea and coffee served in a genteel way, a South African tradition to be admired and enjoyed.
We have mentioned this before. The Mountain with its many routes, features and so much that
we have yet to see, is for us, a real wonder. Jan can have his helicopter; we prefer to walk. We notice
that many people hike one way and use the cable-car system for the other leg. For us, completion dictates
that we return the way we came—another of our idiosyncrasies. When we looked to the top of the gorge
from the commencement, the gap looked so narrow we wondered whether we would get our hips through that
tight spot. ‘Nothing to worry about,’ said our wise editor, ‘by the time you get there, your hips will
be a lot smaller.’ We don’t know about that but we sure felt that we had shed a few pounds.
We spent Shabbos at the Sea Point/Greenpoint shul, which was as before, enjoyable. The Rabbi gives an
interactive talk after the Kiddush meal, which in itself amounts to a banquet. For anyone concerned,
the South African’s are still eating well. The strangest thing is the accents. We still can’t get
used to listening to everyone, as some Americans would say : ‘Talking funny’.
Every nation was represented on the Tabletop today. Having being closed for two days, the trade
was brisk for the cable system on a perfect Cape day. Once again, the Germans prove to be the most
prolific hikers. Wherever we are in the world, we find that nation dominates the slopes. Many speak
good English, too. We note that guidebooks suggest a certain greeting or salutation be used when
addressing Americans. Often we are thanked or thank others for standing aside on the trail. The reply
we receive in a foreign accent: “You’re welcome” or “have a nice day” in America and elsewhere.
In closing, we wish you a great week after a very 'blue' Monday for us.
Jenni and Jeffrey
Friday, November 25, 2011
With muscles complaining a little, we decided to ease into Shabbos, particularly because we have a big hike planned for Sunday. Today, it was back to Lion’s Head to see wonderful views from the summit. What a time we enjoyed yesterday reaching the peak of the special mountain. We read one ‘expert’s view’: if you haven’t been to Maclear’s Beacon, you haven’t climbed Table Mountain. We might not agree with his supposition practically but certainly do in spirit. Do we give the impression we are fascinated by this mountain? Funny, we would not have thought so.
Change is in the air. Perhaps not the change POTUS envisaged but one should be careful for what one wishes. However, all is not lost, yet. Yesterday we took a drastic step in the spirit of change. Yes, sir. We put our stylish hat away and wore our local version—in green, too. Who says we are too staid in our ways to change? Our challenge to the president is: We made the change, it’s your turn now.
It was Jenni’s desire to hike Table Mountain on her birthday. However, with erratic weather this season, the idea is to grab every opportunity when conditions are reasonable, hence yesterday’s ascent a day early. The offer stands to try it today but she has opted for the shorter hike. Shows you. A certain maturity has crept into her since she turned sixty—let’s hope it’s only a temporary lapse. Next week, G-d willing, we’ll try a different route up.
What a day. It takes a lot to beat the views from the peak of Lion’s Head—a fine place to stand and admire the beauty of Hashem’s handiwork. On Wednesday, the wind raged; today it was as calm as we have ever felt. The contrasts are amazing. Who knows what tomorrow will bring. Whatever it is, we’ll take it. The first part of the hike is up a steep path, followed by stepping on rocks to continue upwards and then rock scrambling with intermittent use of chains to the summit. In a way, it is similar to a mini-version of Angel’s Landing in Utah. When one looks at Lion's Head from the base, one wonders how it’s possible to ascend that vertical block of rock. For a city to be ‘blessed’ with Lion's Head on the one flank, Table Mountain in the middle and Devil’s peak on the other flank is truly remarkable.
Finally, a puzzle is solved for us. We searched the other day for the Lion’s body. We now understand that Signal Hill below is its rump. We are resting easier, hope you are too.
Have a great Shabbos and/or weekend.
Jenni and Jeffrey
PS Jenni thanks all those who sent her birthday wishes. Wonderful!
Thursday, November 24, 2011
The weather at ground and mountain levels is unrelated. It is two different locales. After yesterday’s weather, we were hoping that nature had digested something to settle her. Shame! Such terrible wind. We can understand that a person could live in this city because of the mountains, particular the Table. That’s why Brian Marcus suggested we tackle Skeleton Gorge trail, which commences inside the very attractive Kirstenbosch Gardens. Brian, a former Capetonian and part-time synagogue builder, gave us excellent advice. The hike was outstanding and quite tough. We added to it by continuing up to Maclear’s Beacon, the highest point on Table Mountain (1086 meters or 3,580 feet). We wonder what makes our editor strive to reach such elevations. It’s not for us to ask, we just follow.
Talking of our editor, she displays a lot of ‘guts’ these days. We have suggested tactfully that perhaps she should wear looser tops. Besides, with all the exercise she is getting, the excess should fall off in no time. Seriously, it is a struggle to keep up with her as she takes everything that these rugged mountains ‘throw’ her way. Frankly, we are in awe of her prowess.
The first part of the hike, through a forest, was steep. The highlight followed. It amounts to scrambling up rocks with water flowing down the gorge, but always ascending even more steeply. When we came upon that part of the gorge, we were intrigued but thought we may have missed the trail. Upon arriving at the mountaintop, there was still another two miles or so to get to the beacon at the peak. The approach was from the backside of the mountain, hmm…perhaps there are more elegant means of expression. Whereas the views may not be as attractive as the others we have seen, this was a hiker’s hike. In fact, we did not see a fellow hiker for the first two hours of the day. Thereafter, on the way down, we ‘bumped’ into quite a few. Fortunately, no one was hurt.
At the beacon, we put on jackets as the wind was strong and cold. Whereas we normally eat only a piece of fruit at most, Jenni brought sandwiches as we had skipped breakfast in order to eat at the top. There we sat huddled together behind the rocks, seeking shelter from the wind thinking: We are either two meshuganas or most fortunate people. Take your pick.
We had the option of trying the ‘Nursery Ravine’ down instead of negotiating the wet rocks on the tricky and steep return. Our editor, showing behavior unrelated to the completion of another decade (Nov 25th), remarked, “I’m feeling confident, let’s do it.” As we said earlier, 'ours is not to reason why but to do or di…’. It proved to be a good decision as we got down quickly with all parts intact. At ground level, we looked back at the Fernwood and King’s Peaks, amazed at their height and mass. The pictures cannot provide perspective of these awesome sights. It’s incredible that paths can lead a person to such peaks.
Jenni and Jeffrey
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Sometimes we are responsible which is reassuring. Exposed to high winds just before the summit of Lion’s Head, we sat behind some boulders waiting for the storm to pass. “We are within a hair of the top, should we chance it?” We gave it nearly an hour but the patience of the wind far exceeded our's. We pushed ahead another twenty feet but returned when it appeared that blowing over the edge was not necessarily a wise option. ‘More is nog ‘n dag’ or there will be other opportunities, we sadly reflected.
Sitting behind the rocks gave us an opportunity to think and ponder the important issues of life. After carting thousands of rand to our landlord, we came up with this bright idea. After thirty-seven years of marriage, we’ve decided to move back in with Mom. This time, though, we will return with our delightful bride. Our reasoning is simple. No rent, fridge full of all the goodies Mom knows we like, … does it get any better? Two possible glitches though. We know our younger brother, Mark, is the favorite so he may have a right of first refusal. The possible knockout blow is that we have this slight suspicion that Mom might not be thrilled with the arrangement. If not, we’ll have to move off to New Zealand soon. We’ll have to see.
Lion’s Head is a wonderful hike, especially the part where chains allow one to scale the cliff edges. With the falling rain, the chains helped on the slippery rocks. The view across from Table Mountain, especially with the dark clouds, was haunting. Yesterday’s hiking trail up to Devil’s Peak was visible from the ‘lion’. It really is staggering, this western flank of Table Mountain. There are so many trails in the area that one could spend much time experiencing the many perspectives of the mountain and its surroundings. Yes. Provide a reasonable degree of security to its citizens and Cape Town is a wonderful place to be.
Jenni and Jeffrey