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.
Saturday, June 30, 2012
Whenever we spend time with Ellie, we become both invigorated and tired—we also remember why we stopped having children after number three. Back to Ellie—what a little blessing. We often say, one should get married, skip having children—go directly to the grandchildren option—what a system.
With the parents away, we were able to spend quality time conspiring together, that’s Ellie and ourselves. By the way, the little delight is three years old. We developed a couple of useful ideas as well as made or planned some changes in the Josephson household—that’s Ellie’s surname.
Firstly, when Ellie baths, the tub is already filled with a few playthings, amounting to about 162 items, give or take a couple. We find this most uncomfortable. As parents, we would demand these items be removed from the tub less a half dozen or so, forthwith. As grandparents, we cannot stand to see our little girl overcrowded. With this in mind, we had a bigger bathtub installed during the parents’ absence. We also like the fact we don’t pick up the tab.
She sleeps in a bed these days, having advanced from a crib a few months ago. Once again, it is inconvenient for the little mite and her seventeen dolls, five Mickey ducks, three Daisy mouse or is that mice, not forgetting her 9 b’s—bunny faces on blankets—Jenni refers to them…b1,b2,b3…the vitamin gang. Anyway, the idea of knocking out the bedroom wall in order to accommodate a king size bed, we believe, is a good one. We hope her parents agree. Jenni is suggesting we leave before their return. Sometimes she can be over-sensitive.
Time to head back—the Sierras are calling…
Jenni and Jeffrey
Thursday, June 28, 2012
Situation not improving as we obtain altitude
We are heading for Sacramento, boarding a plane for San Diego, babysitting little Ellie and then returning after 4 days, to the trails. Ellie should help us with our fitness, although it has been quite good of late. “We need to get some laundry done,” our editor announced. Unfortunately, the Inns did provide such facilities. After completing our second hike up to the hut at the Sierra Buttes, we showered, checked out the hotel and headed for the local laundry. What a good idea, we thought, as we had plenty of time.
Watching the clouds move in to shield the summit
Going to check the 'view'
We had left the Inn at 5:45am on Sunday morning, completed the hike in freezing conditions, extensive cloud and fog covering the mountain and trail creating an exciting contrast from the previous visit. The walk up the two-hundred or so steps and around the observation platform, if not a little scary, got the blood flowing, particularly because of the gusting winds. Unfortunately, views were limited until about ten minutes into our descent when visibility became reasonably good. What do the say about timing? Fortunately, Thursday’s hike was in near perfect conditions.
What a difference the sun makes
Respite from fog and icy conditions on the way down
We entered the laundry to discover it in a mess. The window was broken, a wall had been severely damaged and the bathroom floor had a layer of excrement covering it. An hour before we left for the hike, at about 4:30am, a bear raided the laundry. We were on alert for bears on the mountain while an aggressive black bear was doing his washing, amongst other things, in the town. Had we known, we might have left our laundry bag for the 'bugger'—encourage him to be more productive.
Lil' Blue Riding Hood making her way up through a clearing in forest
Who's been playing in my laundry?
Jenni and Jeffrey
Taking cover from a strong, icy wind
A little late for us but still very nice
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
“Where to today?” We asked our editor, after an extraordinary hike to the peak of the Sierra Buttes the day before. ‘Let’s try Deer Lake, Dear,’ she answered, making us feel quite special. She added that if we are quiet we might spot deer on the trail. Of course, the problem with being quiet, normally a good thing, is that we could surprise bears in close vicinity. Surprised bears become quite testy resulting in fisticuffs or worse. Besides, being right-handed, we have never been able to deal with a ‘southpaw’ in a fight, easily. Here’s the dilemma. Using a quiet approach might enable us to see deer, but surprise bears; being noisy, scares both the deer and bears away—it also gives our editor a headache. When we consider it: ‘Oh dear, we barely have a chance.’
No sunshine at Deer Lake with Sierra Buttes in background
'Gesundheit' at Deer Lake rocks
We awoke to much cooler weather, lovely actually. However, when we reached our destination, which was only 1,200 feet of elevation gain at about 7,000 feet, a cold front hit us hard. From a reasonably warm morning start, conditions became icy. That we understand is the weather behavior in the Sierras. Once the sun disappeared, the lakes lost their sheen although not their attractiveness on this 6-mile hike.
We only realized when perusing photographs today that the Sierra Buttes were in our pictures from the hike up Mount Elwell, some three days earlier. Of course, by today we recognized the buttes as we’d climbed up to the peak the day before—a breathtaking experience.
Sierra Buttes, a full frontal, in a manner of speaking
We thought we had traveled a great distance to get from Graeagle to Downieville, our current residence. ‘Why would you rather be a crow than an eagle?’ Our editor inquired, after we threw a minor tantrum. We are saving the major tantrum for a better opportunity. We explained that it’s an obvious choice, that is, the crow. Clearly, this bird always flies straight, never gets lost and takes the shortest distance between two points—we would have thought it to be obvious why we choose a crow. Sometimes we have to shake the head and ‘flap our wings’ when our editor misses the point.
Here comes the editor in deft waterproof mode
We chose Downieville, with a population of 325 people, for our location to access the Sierra Buttes. We mentioned previously that our room is almost in the river of this idyllic spot. How can we move so soon? We thought. However, our Inn could not accommodate us for another two nights, only for Friday night. So we moved across the Downie River to the other Inn in town, a move ‘as the crow flies’ of 60 feet (see what we mean). However, we drove the car over the bridge which distance is a little longer. Both Inns are on Highway 49, a narrow single carriageway in each direction that meanders through outstanding countryside. There are mountains covered in trees on both sides, the Yuba River as a constant companion, lakes close by and of course, the Sierra Buttes. Between the two Inns, the highway becomes a single lane narrow bridge—quite a sight.
60 feet from downtown, just as peak traffic builds in Downieville
Both Inns cornered between Highway 49's single lane bridge and Downie River
The experience in the town, four days nestled therein, was quite memorable. Whereas we might return for the hiking, we wouldn’t for the life. We’ll expand on it next time.
We are in bear country; therefore, it’s no surprise we are alert for the critters. While relaxing on the rocks with our feet submerged in the freezing, clear lake the other day, we pondered the great issues of life; also, what our editor would be preparing for dinner. At times, we are practical, too. Suddenly we heard a splash, looked up into the sun and caught sight of a big, black animal that had entered the lake. Grab the camera or hightail it out of there. It turns out that it was a rather large dog that arrived with another couple, the only people we saw on the hike the whole day.
Early morning at Packer Lake, time of day creates wonderful opportunity
You should 'LOG OFF' now, you're definitely running out of steam...um...power
A good moment occurred when our editor came forward with the brilliant suggestion late Saturday afternoon. Let’s hike the Sierra Buttes again. Don’t you just love her when she announces such ideas!
Jenni and Jeffrey
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
A serene moment—actually , one of many
"No man is an island"—kindly explain that 'burst of wisdom', please?
We were not expecting too much excitement following a hike up to Mount Elwell in the Sierras, the day before. We were wrong, fortunately. The Plumas National Forest is no slouch although it might not have the same ‘pull’ as some of the other natural wonders—we prefer it that way. Once again, the serenity, tranquility and beauty mesmerized us or it could have been a case of tired muscles after a 9-mile hike. It’s not often we have the feeling of foregoing a hot bath, comfortable bed and well-prepared food. On Tuesday, camping under the stars seemed like a very good idea. Fortunately, our sleeping bags were left in the motel.
Grass Lake—the ducks isolated from most of humanity
Superb rocking climbing opportunities
We left Shasta on Sunday, stopping in Redding for provisions and an oil change for the car. That’s where we developed the idea which we thought was a good one. It appears that no one else shared our enthusiasm. With ‘Obamacare’ in the news and a need to reduce medical costs, we thought we should do our bit for the country. Why not have our hip joint lubricated at the same time as the car. Although we have an excellent orthopedic surgeon, he can’t beat $ 29 plus tax. Before we boast about the savings, let’s wait to see how much the insurance company reimburses us on the service. We’ll let you know.
Both love climbing the rocks. Go figure!
The towns that we passed through are quite fascinating. It feels like we are in another world or at least, a different state. After the hustle and bustle of Southern California, one is transformed into a slow-paced, easy going but always, beautiful part of the country. Some of the towns have populations ranging from 25 to a few hundred. We are currently in Downieville after spending three nights in Portola. We passed through or stopped in Quincy, Graeagle, Clio, Truckie (a laundry with internet access—heavenly), Blairsden, Sierraville, Sierra City, Bassetts Station and others. The region, often referred to as the “Lost Sierras’, has made us most content having found it.
Rock Lake, the third lake of the trio, turqoise and emerald in places, always crystal clear
When growing up, we hope we are not being presumptuous, the United States, through its large cities, represented concrete jungles filled with human action and excitement. We were impressed by Gotham City, Superman and Batman. Upon arriving at these shores, which clearly stretches from sea to shining sea, a little older and perhaps more mature, things began to change. Somewhere along the line, a different meaning of life presented itself. The more we travel in this vast land, the more our vision of the country changes. In California alone, the differences between the north and south are easily apparent—it’s two different worlds. More about that another time.
"Hey, Sunshine?" 'Batman' captured overlooking Jamieson Lake
We are now heading for what one of our travel books calls ‘the best day hike’ in California, the Sierra Buttes. See you when we get down. (This happens when blogs are published out of order.)
Jenni and Jeffrey
Does he ever get off his back?...Sometimes he lies on his stomach...well, then there's meals at which he sits. (He's very versatile in his field.)
Area covered in granite. Editor's expression seems at one with the natural materials
Sunday, June 24, 2012
Jenni standing at an altitude of 8600 feet. Steps built upon granite cliffs and spires to reach fire hut overlook
After 20 minutes, we notice the fire hut protruding at the summit, 2500 feet climb
We see and experience so many beautiful parts of the world that one wonders what can possibly be next. As a principle, we gave up comparing hikes, natural wonders and the world in general. Each and every part is unique; each has its own character. Having enunciated the principle, a good one we think, along comes the Sierra Buttes; we almost want to add an addendum to the principle.
We left the Inn at 5:45am. By the way, the Downie River flows past our bedroom window (10 feet away)—it is delightful. After the hike and a shower, we sat on the balcony taking in the sights while doing some work—it’s uplifting. However, it would be nice if they stopped the water flow between 10pm and 6am. Back to reality. One idea for the early departure was to avoid the road construction gang on highway 49. We had spent much time halted along this section of road works when driving towards the town the day before.
Stairway to Heaven
How green is the valley—Hawaiian look
At a time like this, one feels exhilarated
As an aside, a couple of years ago we mentioned that after studying this business (road construction), we think we can make an impact on the unemployment rate. How can you do that? We’re pleased you asked. Look around the next time you come across a road gang. One person is shoveling gravel or guiding the steamroller while at least 5 or 6 workers are engaged in watching this process. Our thoughts are that if you increase the ratio to say 7 or 8 observers, the unemployment rate will fall…fall hard.
Snow, water, ice and sunshine
Today’s hike was 6 miles with an elevation gain of 2,500 feet, reaching an altitude of 8,600 feet. We added extra before the ascent so the actual gain was at a rate of 1,000 feet per mile. Soon after commencement, the fire observation hut comes into view. At that juncture, one begins to wonder how we are going to reach the summit. Fortunately, we have not wondered ‘why’…yet. It’s a prince of hikes; or for those a little gender sensitive, a princess. The hike climbs the whole way providing views of the surrounding mountains, lakes, forests and the buttes themselves. At the top, it’s a 360 degrees panoramic treat.
Of course I'm serious. They have chocolates waiting for successful climbers
Editor waiting for store to open and claim her chocolate
The trail climbed steeply while providing staggering views but for a short period in a forest. The climax, the walk up almost vertical steps to the lookout hut, has been compared in our guidebook with the cables at Half-Dome in Yosemite. We don't know, we failed in the lottery to obtain a pass for that hike. Nevertheless, our editor was weak kneed as she bravely clung to the handrails—she loved it, though.
Southern Africa shape
Editor announces brunch
The fire watch hut, built in the late 19th century, has names cast in concrete of people who visited before the 20th century. Reminds us of a time before there was graffiti defacing so many structures. Often, certainly in a place that we visited today, one feels privileged for the experience. Central and Northern California are a treasure of natural wonders.
Jenni and Jeffrey
Waiting patiently while a staggering background beckons
A pause for humility in an awesome place
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Mountain arising from the lake
We spent over four hours negotiating 9 miles in the Shasta Wilderness, a forest with pine fragrance, streams and the odd tree or two—that’s in the millions. It turned out to be a mixed day, a mix up in understanding the hike but our best at judging a difficult-to-follow path. It’s easy to understand that people often get lost, spending days in a forest.
How much further to go before the summit?
Finally, at the peak
We did not see another soul during the hike. However, when we do meet people, it’s often an eye opener discovering different lifestyles. We came across a young couple meandering along a mountain on Monday. After a brief chat, we suggested they hike Black Butte. “We don’t have a car,” they replied. ‘How did you get here?’ We asked. “We walked from the town,” they said. For the record, the town is eleven miles away. The woman, who is a nurse, was carrying at least 50 pounds on her back. ‘So how are you returning to the town?’ We wanted to know. They had not thought of it yet.
‘Jump in the car, after the hike, we’ll take you to the town,’ we offered.
“Give us 5 minutes to break camp,” they gleefully responded.
A Sierra view
When we got to the town, we asked, ‘Where to now?’ “Black Butte.” Hmm! They took our suggestion seriously. ‘Okay, let’s go’. We dropped them in the middle of a non-camping forest. Later that night we suggested to our editor, ‘Perhaps, we should drive into the forest and take a look.’ Then we remembered when a taxi driver dropped us in the wilderness in Mpumalanga, South Africa. They’ll be okay.
The Lake Basin district, way above the towns
Go high, there's always snow; Jenni at the summit
We left Shasta, the town with some residents and many visitors. The mountain people have a look about them that is unmistakable. The men have beards, many with long hair in pony-tails and dirty clothing. The women, however, are…much the same except they do not color their hair. Above age thirty, they are grayish.
En route, we stopped near Redding to look at Shasta Dam and lake. The area is very attractive—mountainous with a carpet-like covering of trees. At a gas station, we met a young man at the Coke fountain. Where else? We managed to assist him in a matter. “How do you say ‘thank you’ in South Africa,” he wanted to know. ‘Same as in America,’ we answered. ‘How is it that you are not black,’ he continued. We thought carefully for a moment and then answered: “We use a lot of sunscreen.”
Can you see which way the wind blows?
We finally hit the Sierras, western side in the north. There is no mistaking the look of the mountains, meadows and lakes. We spent three nights in a place called Portola—don’t try locating it—it’s not on your ‘mapquest’. The area is magnificent with lakes, many of emerald green, hovering at altitudes of 6,000 feet and higher. We reached Mount Elwell, a hike including additions, of 8 miles with an elevation gain of over 2,000 feet. There’s no mistaking the look and feel of the Sierras. There is a tranquility that exists that we believe takes a person into a state of wholeness, oneness with nature, a sense of peace. We think we found our own ‘vortex’.
Jenni and Jeffrey
Much happier on the way down
Rugged surrounds, soft water
The last hike in Shasta