LAZAROW WORLD HIKE-ABOUT
Argentina: Iguazu Falls after heavy rain.
'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 2018, the blog contained over 1,000 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.
Thursday, December 27, 2012
Our directional ability is suspect, that we know. However, what is a person to do when arriving at an unsigned fork in the trail. This is, of course, the issue. We call it a “fifty-fifty”. Our question is: ‘How is it that over a fair sample of these situations, we are closer to a “twenty-eighty” ratio against? Perhaps we are opening ourselves to a fair amount of abuse by posing the question.
We become nervous when trying to reach the peak of a mountain and find the trail taking us down. After getting very nervous as we descended on our ascent, we switched direction and arrived at the peak after adding a little more than a mile to the hike, making it over 6 miles and a cumulative 1,200 feet. On the way up, we passed another two unsigned junctions but apparently made correct decisions.
The north county area, where we are currently residing, is proving to be a very attractive area. For those who live in San Diego, ‘yes’ we do have electricity and hot and cold running water.
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Click on photo to enlarge, leave as is for captions and text
Everything was set up for the perfect sunset until it wasn't. The best sunrises and sets we've seen are standing on the summit of Iron Mountain, looking towards the Pacific Ocean. In fact, looking east, the views are quite spectacular, too. The peaks absorb the soft sunlight and bask in it while giving off a sparkling effect, almost showing contentment enjoying the last of the warm rays before nightfall. It is quite (very) spectacular when nature cooperates.
On Monday evening, Robbie joined us for a daylight 6-mile hike up the mountain followed by a walk in the dark back down—always quite an experience. All was going well as the clouds gathered so the sun could reflect off them in hues of yellow, orange and red. Then as the final curtain was ready to rise for the show, we having reached the peak, cloud and fog or mist descended and covered the entire area, blocking our view completely. Visibility wasn't more than a few hundred feet.
By the way, we love clouds and the formations and patterns they make. However, when a person is expecting a spectacular sunset with intermittent clouding, one develops a temporary dislike for the offending clouds—such was the feeling that night.
Friday, December 14, 2012
As we top a ridge, Murray peak comes into view, editor 'faints'
Last chance to feel 'on edge'
After completing the San Jacinto Peak hike the day before, we thought we might have earned a rest. It wasn’t to be. Our editor was/is very energetic which meant we had to race up the hill. Hill it’s not. We hiked 7 miles with a cumulative elevation gain of over 2,500 feet. That in our opinion, is not a hill. In fact, the elevation gain today was a little more than San Jacinto but in 5 miles less distance. Okay, enough with the statistics. One more thing. Murray ‘Little Hill’ is neither the highest peak, nor the longest, it is not the most picturesque but we would say, overall, it’s one of the nicest hikes around. It has so much going for it that we rate it highly.
Jenni and 'Jac...into'
The hike commences without an official trailhead; the hiker must improvise. The first official sign is posted after two-and-half miles—that is, of course, most useful. In fact, along the way, with a little imagination, one can spot thousands of ‘lost hikers’ moping about looking for a sign, an arrow, anything—it’s very sad. When the peak comes into view, well into the hike, a person considers developing a headache in order to return to the car. It does not appear that there's a route to the top—it is nearly overpowering. Along the way, the trail crosses Eagle Canyon which contains a genuine oasis within it. Indigenous palms create a surreal atmosphere, the only 'naturals' in the region. The route starts steeply, then turns down and through the canyon on a couple of occasions with a steep climb for remainder of the way. It is a gem of a hike, one that we would like to do regularly.
We continue to meet interesting people on the trails. Ourselves excluded, we can’t help notice how many friendly and fascinating experiences we enjoy with fellow travelers. It must be something in the ‘water’.
Jenni reaches a 'high on the hill'
Mountain atmosphere of Palm Springs
Hike-about 10 has ended, fortunately on a high note, notwithstanding it was only a ‘hill’. We began in mid-October when Jen was recovering from a number of ailments. Within a few days she was back to her usual strength and seemed to develop more and more energy, culminating in achieving incredible results. As we write this missive, we look out the window and see clouds covering the glorious mountains. It is actually raining in the desert, what a blessing. We mentioned in a previous note that the weather has been exceptional. As we make our way towards San Diego, our editor, in a moment of weakness, has agreed to ‘hike’ by car. We told you we come across miracles daily.
'Listen son, follow that path. It will take you to the peak yonder'
We decide to play hide-and-go-seek. Jenni's cap gives her away, approaching peak
We thank everyone who has taken an interest in our well-being, very much—it’s appreciated more than you would believe. There are some people who are exceptional whom we should mention by name but have decided against it. Nevertheless, your insights, perspective and wisdom are most uplifting. Thank you!
Until next time, G-d Bless You.
Jenni and Jeffrey
We published quite a few sunrises/sunsets this trip. Perhaps our favorite, taken from the summit of Iron Mountain, San Diego County, occurred one evening before this trip. Notice the clouds below, the ocean in the distance and the sun giving another hot performance. We thought it an appropriate closing as the sun sets on hike-about 10.
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Should a person wish for a big finish, then 12 miles in length and 2,400 feet elevation gain comes close, particularly the former. Eighteen kilometers sounds even better, a bigger number relates to some eighteen tired muscles. The distance put us at the top of the mountain, we nearly said the world, with spectacular views in all directions, including Salton Sea, Palomar and a host of other places and mountains, not forgetting the Coachella Valley below. Unfortunately, the cameras did not agree with us and that proved to be disappointing.
One of the best experiences of the day, after completing a tough hike, is to soak oneself in a hot tub, have the editor massage the shoulders and especially, the feet. Well, one of three is not too bad, we suppose—you know when you ‘ain’t got it’.
We have been extremely fortunate with weather. Our idea initially was to follow the sun within the parameters established by region. Except for the Yosemite area, we have not been disappointed on a single day although we have experienced cold, snow and ice but no rain. Since leaving the Sierras in late October, the days have been more akin to spring than autumn/winter. Yes, we have been lucky.
We are most impressed with the mountain ranges in the desert cities. The Santa Rosa and San Jacinto ranges and others are staggering. We remember spending a night in May when we met our good friend (can a person have a bad friend?) Colyn Levin, visiting from the old country. We noticed the size and shapes of the mountains as we drove through this area. We took note and just like our visit to the San Francisco Mountain Range in Flagstaff, we returned to tackle this one. Next trip we will be climbing the Flagstaff Mountains in San Francisco. If you are reading this last sentence, then our editor is cutting us a lot of slack. That kind of dumb comment is something she hates—apparently, we like them.
We’ve noticed that if you show the Swiss a mountain, the first thing they suggest is opening a restaurant at the top. However, before that, they will build a tramway or cable-car. That’s what they did in Palm Springs and Sandia in New Mexico and many other places. We rode the car up today to begin the hike. We suggested to our editor that we should consider hiking from the bottom one day—we had no idea it is possible although it looks almost impossible. The engineering is enough to ‘knock one’s socks off’. We always arrive with the same question when we see the results of man’s best endeavors. How is a specie able to produce such wonders simultaneously with degradation, destruction and cruelty?
The mountains are granite monsters. Wherever one treads in this area, it is as if one is walking on ‘kitchen counters’. The amount of granite in the Sierras and over here seems limitless. Our experience today was superb, a little long because the gradient, although strenuous, could be a little steeper to reduce length. We reached the peak in under two-and-half hours and back in two. For us, we think that’s a pretty good time but then again there was no ice on the wonderful trail.
Jenni and Jeffrey
Monday, December 10, 2012
We spent Shabbat in Tempe, not near Bloemfontein, but rather in Arizona. We mention this as the bulk of our army training took place in that ‘delightful’ town. In fairness, while we would not like to repeat that period, at least any time soon, it was a time of accelerated ‘growing up’. Therefore, we are pleased, not grateful, to have had the experience because in a sense it helped in shaping life.
Our experiences on the Sabbath day are particularly special. We remember one class we attended in which the rabbi said that Hashem expects each of us to work hard during the 6 days of the week so that the seventh will be a true rest day—a contrast. We do feel that each week—we are tired by Friday night, sometimes very tired. Our editor sets a vigorous pace. Being in different environments gives us the opportunity to observe, only superficially we admit, the communities around us. This can be enlightening, amusing and entertaining, at times.
As we enter the home stretch, we based ourselves in Cathedral City which is close to Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage, La Quinta…you get the point. Should things pan out as planned, we are expecting a big finish. Today, we hiked towards a mountain, could not find the path upwards and diverted to climbing rocks in a narrow canyon in the desert, for 7 miles. It was an enjoyable and tiring experience but one of our favorite things to do—scaling rocks and a bit of bouldering while thinking our way through and over the obstacles in a unique environment. As we mentioned recently, nothing beats reaching the hand, arm or foot out to support each other—something that is necessary in this type of activity.
We continue to find deserts to be places of special interest. It seems should one want to clear the mind, this is indeed a viable option to choose—the noise of civilization does not extend into these vast open, dry and in their own way, attractive places.
Jenni and Jeffrey
‘Transmitting from our base station on Mingus Mountain, Prescott.’ We have heard that often as we tune in, via the internet, to our favorite radio station based in this city. No matter where in the world we are, with a computer and internet access, we hear the music, adverts and time of day. As we are mostly in different time zones, it can be funny sitting at a desk at 9am, the announcer bidding us ‘goodnight’. Why do we mention this? Today we hiked on Mingus Mountain, fairly short at 5 miles with an elevation gain of over 1,100 feet, although a greater amount cumulative. It was nice to do that, to be at the place from which we receive streaming audio. Sounds silly but it’s difficult to explain.
For the rest, the views were good but do not match that which we are accustomed, that is, what we have witnessed over the last 8 weeks—we mentioned this after the Granite Mountain outing last missive. Nevertheless, the hike was terrific and looking down into the forests and across at the mountains was pretty decent, too. The steep sections gave us a good workout, something we enjoy and find important. We probably won’t return to Prescott again unless to pass through.
During the latter hike, we had another of those fascinating coincidences. It happened on Jenni’s birthday. By the way, her age and energy have no correlation—sometimes we think the number of years is an arbitrary figure. Anyway, we met a couple, Debra and Howard. We walked with them for a while, separated and then met up later to hike together before parting once more. Sounds odd but you had to be there. Debra lived in Hawaii for a number of years. Jenni mentioned that we were there in March and had a landlord who produces a TV program of a spiritual nature for the local station. We wrote of him in a blog at the time, Len the prophet, with the long gray beard. It turns out she knows him as well as his friends and staff members. We interacted with the staff at the time, too. All were pleasant but had what might be termed ‘Island fever or spirit’—in fact, a whole lot of island spirit. The coincidences, once again, make the experiences memorable. The chances of these meetings occurring are so remote and yet we have enjoyed a number of them over the past few years. Perhaps we should buy a lottery ticket.
Although it did not cheer us, we followed instructions in getting to the trailhead for Spruce Mountain and ended up doing two separate trails but the one intended. For once we were not the party in the wrong—the directions were incorrect. We can't remember that happening before and hope it does not happen soon. We know it will occur again; it is only a matter of time. The two trails amounted to eleven miles with a fair amount of elevation gain which we are unable to estimate. Unfortunately, while the views were nice, Prescott just cannot compete with its neighbors. You can't have everything. After all, there are no Trader Joe's in Southern Utah.
Jenni and Jeffrey
A few sunsets we thought were particularly colorful, actually exquisite:
Saturday, December 8, 2012
After the second Wilson hike, we decided on a filler and tried something new, the highly regarded West Fork, a little north of Sedona. We crossed the creek twenty-six times in just over 6 miles—the trail builders sure have a sense of humor—we should have brought our ‘cozzies’. When it comes to swim wear, Americans are very formal—hence, bathing suits. The trail meanders through semi-forest with huge slabs towering above. With the sunlight reflecting off these monstrous rocks, the viewer receives a treat while feeling insignificant in size. Sedona is often under-rated for the large and high mountains it has; it is not only about red rocks.
Now for a real tester, the religious experience. A few years ago, we parked at an hotel outside Sedona and headed towards the peak of AB Young, a hike that is 5 miles return with an elevation gain of 2,300 feet, that is, after going above the normal trail end. This makes the rate of ascent at close to 1,000 feet per mile. We never made it on our first attempt. Not because our editor is lazy, although she was still an editor-in-training at the time, but rather because she had an altercation with a snake. We tried to explain to her that she should pick fights with animals and reptiles her own size, or at least, make sure she wins. It was a tough period but she came through it in fine form. When she mentioned we try the hike again, we were excited because we had decided not to suggest it. We are not completely insensitive although often challenged on that point (many others, too).
This time, instead of parking at the hotel, we found a spot in a campground, the correct place; using the hotel’s property is a bit of chutzpah. The instructions were interesting: ‘Go south-west.' For us, this is a challenge. It hardly seems appropriate to be carrying a compass in Sedona, just near the town. ‘Down the steps and make your way to the river. Find a place to stone-step across it. Fallen tree trunks are useful, too. Look for a ravine when across the water, climb above it while searching for overhead wires, bearing right as you go. Count two poles and you should find the trail marker.’ Wonderful! Now we were ready to begin the hike. We don’t know what they call the initial part—fore-hike? We prefer to do it another way, though. Rather than all the instructions, we suggest if you are Catholic, say a few ‘Hail Mary’s’, if Jewish, undertake to give up a vice or two and ask Hashem for help; agnostic, ask either of the aforementioned to pray for you and for the atheists, time to let your beliefs lapse and convert. If desperate, wait a few hours in the event that someone else comes along and can help.
Interestingly, the first couple we saw today was when we commenced our way down the mountain. We then met a second at the beginning of the hike (our completion); they had crossed the river and were beginning to pray—they knew the right thing to do. The reason we mention these couples, one from Illinois and the other Mesa, Arizona, is because we stopped to speak with both couples at the previous day’s hike in West Fork. Only four people on the mountain for a tough hike and we had met them the previous day.
Fortunately, Jenni was not in the least bit aggressive today and so we let the snakes and other animals alone. We did argue occasionally with the cactus plants that hug the rather narrow path. All in all, it is a great hike or as one of the guidebooks mentioned, a stair-master for an extended period. The views were superb, too. The additional hike on the rim, where we happened to find some rocks, did not go wasted. We loved the whole experience which concludes our visit to Sedona, a truly wonderful place. Before closing, we had the pleasure of visiting Elsa and Peter Gassner, East Coasters who now reside in the city. Peter, a professional photographer since retiring, made a poignant comment about the picture view from their sitting room. 'I live in the painting.'
Jenni and Jeffrey