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, October 31, 2015
We visited Arches National Park enroute to Colorado, again. This time we assembled pictures from positions
not usually viewed. Of course, this is an opinion as it seems the full frontal from slightly right of the icon is
the photograph of choice. After hiking on the snow-capped mountains and in heavy snow, too of Colorado and New Mexico,
the semi-desert conditions of Utah together with Delicate Arch make for a contrast. It's certainly easier on the muscles.
Isn't it one of life's ironies or our funny minds but when it's very hot, we long for the cold and of course, vice-versa.
This is an unusual position across the canyon, behind Delicate Arch.
Taken from in the bowl below the arch.
The more formal view of the Arch framing my favorite. (Through the arch one can see the La Salle Mountains.)
Our favorite position at the arch; a place of tranquility and brunch.
Unfortunately, this is a painful situation as the editor panics after finding herself in 'no woman's land'.
Although the picture does not capture the depth, there is quite a fall-off. It's a strange phenomenon but the longer
one remains in a position like the one portrayed, the more one is inclined to feel like falling forward. Odd!
This might be known as the 'delicate leap'. Don't worry, dear editor, 'supercrock' to the rescue.
Side view of the not so Delicate Arch.
Looking down sharply.
Looking up from behind and slightly below the icon with the sun shining 'full-on'.
Side view from a little forward and slightly below surface.
Across the canyon in a less-well-known position behind and to the side. One hikes through a canyon followed
by rock scrambling to reach the position.
Jenni and Jeffrey
Tuesday, October 27, 2015
The hiking on this trip, together with the sights, has been nothing short of superb. Southern Utah is a gem,
South-West Colorado is beautiful and along comes New Mexico which has to at least try to make up a good third place.
(Nevada has rugged beauty, too.) We set off for Wheeler Peak, the highest mountain in New Mexico at 13,161 feet
above sea-level, knowing not what to expect. The elevation gain is over 3,000 feet, the distance about nine miles
but the real tough part: The entire trail was covered in snow and in places, ice. This made it difficult, slow-going
and we estimate more draining by a substantial percentage . (We love the beauty snow creates but dislike walking on/in it.)
Having mentioned that, it was an exceptional experience, quite extraordinary. In fact, on our visit to Seefeld Spitze
in Austria a couple of years back, we had a similar type of adventure.
An incredible effort from Jenni, an incredible position. (We're heading for Texas eventually where
they say, "How dem slopes". (A current favorite picture).
A scene on the other side from the ascent, at summit.
Crossing the third false peak and about to summit. "Whatta girl!". Love the snow-capped peaks in rear.
On the way back, deep snow and even deeper drop-offs.
So many mountains, so much snow, an enormously beautiful place.
We left the car park in 2 degrees (F) below freezing although the sun was shining brightly from a cloudless sky.
We warmed up soon enough as we struggled through the snow. Although this is reputed to be a popular climb, there
were only two young women ahead of us. On our return, we came across another few youngsters who were tiring and
would run out of daylight should they have made the summit. The snow was firm at lower elevations but soft as
we reached higher altitude. This caused our legs to sink as much as three feet at times, a little precarious
on some of those narrow ledges. A fascinating aspect, as shown in some of the photographs, is the steepness
of the slopes.
In New Mexico, it does not get higher than that...13,161 feet.
'I'm not amused. I did not sign-up for this snow. Even the lake below is iced and most of
it covered in snow.'
And what took you so long...
On top of a beautiful world.
We also learned something paradoxical, we think. In South Africa and Southern California, snow is an unusual
phenomenon and occurrence so it's not something we were familiar with until we hit the slopes some years back.
By the time the weather warmed to an almost perfect late-summer day, the heat caused the snow to melt which
ruined the trail surface somewhat. Counter-intuitively, the ideal would be to have had a much colder day so
as to keep the snow from thawing and relying on the struggle on the mountain to keep us warm. Talk about being
One other point: There is nothing like reaching a stunning summit such as Wheeler and looking down at each
and every surrounding peak, into the valleys, even the clouds below and along the steep slopes. It provides
the hiker with a tremendous sense of satisfaction until realizing we still have to find our way down. Now we've
gone and ruined that moment.
The natural side of America continues to stun us; we are in awe. What a country…now what about some leadership!
Another highlight, bighorn sheep preparing to charge. (Good thing we never travel without Am...MasterCard.)
Each scene is a 'blow-out'.
Approaching the summit after three false peaks.
Gives an idea of some of the ledges although this is in the early stages and the widest of all.
A plaque at the summit.
At lower altitude, the snow was compacted fortunately, higher up it was soft.
'Hits' the spot.
Walls of snow.
First there was: "The Loneliness of a long-distance runner", now...'The sitter'.
Talking of lonely, a 'bag-boy' on his own.
A video follows below for those who have not had sufficient punishment:
Vocals and guitar by Brian Murray with Neville Stanger on bass.
Click on icon, bottom right, to display full screen.
Jenni and Jeffrey
Saturday, October 24, 2015
24.10 Cedar Breaks National Monument, Utah. 24.11 Rattlesnake Trail, Ashton Gorge, a different day, another treat.
Sometimes, it just happens. It happens and a person has to deal with it. Most times though there is a reason.
Bad decision followed by consequences thereof—it’s how the world works (or used to work). Today was one such day.
A Monday morning is a wonderful time to head for the trails rather than the office. Although we did some work earlier,
we approached the tough Rattlesnake hike which lies on the border of Cedar Breaks National Monument in Ashdown Gorge.
The rugged path takes one down into the amphitheater towards the river. The views of the aspen and cottonwood-dotted
forests are remarkable now that the autumn colors are dominant. Looking to the side and back views of the eroded
sandstone formations are a delight.
It’s difficult to differentiate this area from that of Bryce Canyon. Both regions, geologically neighbors, are unique.
In fact, to look into or up to these formations is absorbing a wonder of the world...(continued at
end dealing with issues of risk on the trails).
A view from the trail in Ashton Gorge, alongside Cedar Breaks National Monument.
A view in the Monument.
Looking into the distance away from the sandstone formations.
Bryce Canyon or Cedar Breaks? The latter, of course.
At least we got a good angle from our unusual location.
Once out of the very dangerous zone, we relax and Jen finds time for a camera. (See story below).
A view in Cedar Breaks Monument.
Bristlecone Pine estimated at 1,700 years old; editor, fortunately, somewhat younger.
The power of wind, water, ice and sun resulting in formations that are unbelievable.
Jen on the rattlesnake trail heading back.
Dressed in sweats which we salvaged from the trunk when we found the temperature at freezing
point on arrival at trailhead.
Shadows and sandstone, an amazing set of formations.
After breakfast near the gorge more than 2,000 feet below the surface and commencing the steep return, we noticed
a side path above us, more like a goat trail leading towards the rim of the amphitheater. We tried it. Mistake
number one but easy to extricate ourselves. We pushed ahead as the path took us above the ledge on loose sand
and stones without any form of support. ‘Turn around, dummies’, it’s not too late. We did not. We continued thinking
it would get better and lead us back to the formal path. No such luck. Jenni went to higher ground where there were
dead trees on which she could gain a little more traction. I continued on and we met at a demarcating line where
the forest bordered on the desert sand. At that stage, I had developed a loathing for myself. How could I allow
this to happen? Each time I looked towards Jenni, my heart felt sore. The drop was formidable. There would be
no means of support should a person lose footing. The acute angle was daunting leading down into the pit some
2,000 feet below. What a predicament! What’s wrong with you? Unfortunately, Jenni had not raised any objection
to following this goat path so it made it easier to continue at the time.
We climbed the loose sand with the slippery slope seeming to leer at us—at least that’s how it looked from
our perspective. We reached the top of the sandy slope and tried to cut through the forest to reacquire
the formal path. The brush was far too thick. Jenni decided not to return using my outward route and after
a short while, I joined her at the forest edge. We stood, surveyed the surroundings and made a plan. We used
some dead branches as means of support, making our way back to the sandy ledge, trying to focus on what lay ahead
while avoiding the view to our left—intimidating as it yawned widely.
After a few minutes more, part of it terrifying, we were safely back on the path. The hug was great, the relief
palpable. The discussion that followed raised some issues too personal to mention. However, the bonding was superb.
The glue is still covering our hands while the cactus thorns have since been removed. On the two occasions each
of us reached for support, we happened to grab onto cacti plants.
We undertook two hikes within the Monument and a rather tough one in the gorge. The combined total was in excess
of ten miles and over 3,000 feet elevation gain. The views of the sandstone formations and colors hit the 'perfect note'.
What a hike, what an experience. Until next time…always intending to be careful.
And yet, two days later Jenni found herself in a position frozen with fear. She could not move. A week later,
we both stood above an arroyo, in Durango, on cliff walls that were unforgiving should a person have even
a slight slip. It begs the question. In the negative, why put yourself into that situation? Perhaps the better
question might be: Can a person have a life of growth and excitement if one is forever cautious? This is not meant
as a glib or cavalier approach. Real danger exists and when one finds oneself in a position that the wrong move
guarantees death, only a fool will fail to comprehend the gravity of the situation. So what is the answer.
Who knows? Life is a risk. Risk is defined as the uncertainty of an outcome following a course of action.
So do we avoid every course of action for which we foresee some form of danger or uncertainty; or do we measure
the risk against the potential gain and act upon that judgment knowing the consequences could be serious?
Of course, when these situations develop or even when they are planned, many factors are unknown. Perhaps the most
overlooked in planning is what will a person do at the critical point. Do you go for it or turn back? A rational
answer can be justified easily for every time a person turns back...it will be correct. However, turning back
or avoiding the obstacle soon becomes the strategy of choice and before you know it, one becomes more cautious
until arriving at a totally risk averse dead-end. Ah you might say: What about balance? One needs balance in life.
Of course that's true. However, once again that's a perspective. Everyone's fulcrum rests in a different place and
of course the great concept of rationalization will justify whatever position one wants.
"We have nothing to fear but fear itself"—FDR. In the context above, this is in our opinion, meaningless. Fear is real
when one is positioned in a spot where there appears to be no exit other than an uncontrolled fall into an abyss.
Fear stares one in the eyes. We realize that Roosevelt probably meant that one should not worry for the sake
of it—something quite different. So what is the outcome of this exercise in mental gymnastics?
It's difficult to enunciate a view because each situation is different. Then there's another issue. It's not that one
looks for a precarious position because that seems like a nice idea at the time. On the contrary, these situations
suddenly arise and one finds oneself in the position of danger—already committed, so to speak. We have a strong desire
to remain safe—it is critical. We also have hopes and ambitions to achieve personal growth in the things we do as well
enjoy the excitement, adventure and discovery. We realize too that at times caution and adventure are mutually exclusive,
and so they should be, which leaves us having to make judgments frequently. We believe we are careful but in the end,
there are times when one takes a course of action that in retrospect may be wrong. So in theory, we have a good
understanding of the risks and chances of success but on the slopes, the situation is dynamic, mood dependent
and often, fraught with dangers both known and unknown. It's the latter that sneaks up on a person. We realize
we present an unsatisfactory conclusion which is slightly troubling but we suppose that's living as opposed to existing.
Jenni and Jeffrey
After the Rattlesnake Trail, we visited Panguitch Lake, needing to see a body of water
following an incredible desert sojourn.
Contrary to popular belief, it really is the editor who
is out of control. Need anything further be said.
(Picture taken a few years back.)
Well, maybe the editor is not solely to blame.
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Last Friday, I told our son, Gavin, that our first hike in Colorado was superb—Blue Lakes in Ridgway. He makes fun
of me because rumor has it that I tend to have fifty hiking experiences rated in our top ten. Jenni, of course,
is far more even and balanced than me—how boring! I'll pay dearly for that comment but sometimes it's fun to live
dangerously. The following Sunday, we undertook the Ice Lakes Basin hike which was nothing short of spectacular.
After the preamble, you might wish to take the comment with a pinch of salt, perhaps even some snow from the trail.
There is a subjective aspect to hiking as well. Besides the energy expended, beauty absorbed, a lot depends on
the mood of a person, health, weather, favorite scenes, track style and underfoot to mention a few aspects. We
left the trailhead in weather below 40 degrees, warmed ourselves quickly on the climb, crossed streams, broke
the tree line and then reached snow level all within two hours. This hike had it all. Rather than offer additional
comments on the hike, they say that a good picture should tell the story. So here goes:
'Is there a way to avoid this slope?' "Yes! The elevator is on your far right."
This picture epitomizes the hike for us. Commencing the return as near white-out conditions
appear to be approaching. We headed for lower elevation after a short stop at the top.
You never want to develop 'cold feet'.
Can a mountain be beautiful?
Light blocked: The color of water changed and reflections disappeared.
We woke early in Ouray, completed packing the car and waited a little for the weather to clear. We stopped
in Silverton for refreshments, patiently providing the weather more time to behave or at least to be reasonably
dull rather than wet and windy.
We became impatient, drove to the trailhead and headed into the mountains seeking a lake of which we had read much.
We'd been warned that it's a popular trail so expect crowds. The first time we saw another person was when we were
half-way back from the peak, probably after four hours. I wonder what we could expect to notice during a quiet
period. We experienced only light rain, little wind, some snow flurries at the higher elevations while reaching
12,300 feet (2,870 feet elevation gain), and sporadic sunshine. Friday's hike, when we reached a slightly
lesser altitude of 12,000 feet, took the breath away literally. We could be getting stronger again after illness.
Reflections before disappearing light...and editor. Once again, editor dresses to match surroundings.
Meantime, boy has to release some energy while action occurring in background.
Editor calls lunch after searching backpack fruitlessly for tablecloth and missing apples.
Jenni comes over the rise, one of many. We thought the lakes had disappeared or evaporated in the 'heat'.
'Are you absorbed by such beauty? No! Not him. The lake, mountains and covering, plus tranquility
thrown into the mix.'
'Call of the wild'.
The consequences of instant relief a few minutes earlier upstream.
Steaming. "Is it time to panic yet?" I asked Jen.
"Let's decide after we've had lunch," she replied. Priorities?
How about some, "Autumn Leaves"?
Near the beginning of the hike.
One more look at the scene.
Jenni and Jeffrey