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.
Thursday, April 26, 2018
The day began with this sunrise view. How could it be anything but perfect! Extreme left: Cerro Torre, right: Cerro Fitz Roy. These are icons that are symbols of Patagonia, easily understandable why.
A friend mentioned to a friend that she wondered why Jenni puts up with some (all) of the discomforts of 'living on the road'. It's fair a question and we'd be the first to understand our lifestyle may not resonate with many, maybe not with any. Years ago, we might not have understood it ourselves but as Solomon wisely stated, "Everything in it's time'. We might add just for accuracy that we do have periods, usually of short duration, that might be considered uncomfortable. However, the funny thing is should you ask to itemize them we would struggle to do so. On the other hand, we could tell you of a myriad of periods filled with elation and to put it simply and bluntly, of enormous fun.
We think a great aspect of life, one which almost everyone knows but does not necessarily seek, particularly as one reaches the latter stages of life, is struggle. We believe it's fair to state that many of us seek comfort, serenity and a slower, if not easier, pace. Nothing wrong with that especially should one have worked to achieve it. Nevertheless, we've found, which we tried to use as a theme in a book we published last year, "A Life Experience As No Other...(click)" that for us, life is enhanced by struggle. Of course, we are not writing of health and other hardships. Rather, we are trying to face meaningful challenges which fit our aims. For, we've noticed, when we are not struggling to achieve goals, we end up cruising, a type of motion that takes us nowhere and in fact, is in contradiction to growth.
The target area, some 11.5kms from whence we commenced.
On the ascension, the views to the right, once we passed the 90 minutes mark, were a delight.
This picture has special meaning for us. Imagine you've been ascending for nearly two hours, heading toward a peak. On the way, you look toward the right and notice the usual group of mountains that enthrall you. We see this group each day from different positions in the town and on the various trails. However, suddenly they appear from what seems, out of nowhere. They also look smaller and surprisingly, look like models that have been placed on the earth's surface, almost as if one was building a paper-mache form. It was a surreal feeling, one that made us wonder how many different manifestations can appear of the same icon/s.
Editor reaches destination on a superb all-round day.
Lagging into the final push, he races to meet the challenge of some youngsters. Note how the peaks look like they're just over the rise of the delicately 'carpeted' top.
Editor takes a wrong turn and is blinded by color.
The hike was particularly good for many reasons. The accumulated elevation gain was over 3,300 feet. The length was 23kms of which over 4kms included walking to-and-from our apartment, the negative aspect. The views were amazing, actually even better and were on display for most of the journey. We noticed some interesting looking birds including parakeets. The forest was gorgeous with the added attraction of autumn coloring. The hike ascends the steppes until reaching the endpoint so it's a steady climb but testing. The final kilometer is steep and is over rugged terrain in which a person feels he/she is within touching distance of the surrounding edifices. Although we were tired by the closing stages of the hike, we still had a strong feeling of satisfaction as we crawled onto our beds. We rate this day-hike as a top-ten experience.
Getting ready to return. On a weather-perfect day toward the end of summer, it was chilly. The lake and glacier
below were reached from a different trail a few days earlier.
On our return, turning around to bid farewell.
The same mountain (above) viewed from a far different vantage point at sunrise on the same day.
In the distance, some 8kms, is Lake Tunel, shades of blue that are striking and vary each day.
Jenni and Jeffrey
Editor loses focus and balance which is blamed upon dear, defenseless husband. Result: Mudpack for boots,
doghouse for him.
A reason to visit Patagonia or perhaps, three at least. The sunrises we viewed were spectacular. I think the images of the sun burning orange into the edifices are burned into our minds, too. Try tracing the outlines of the peaks/towers above to match the sunrise displays below.
Saturday, April 21, 2018
Birds of a feather: 'A hunting we shall go, we'll catch a fish and wrap him in a dish and...who knows?
We returned to Lake Poway/Mount Woodson for a couple of hikes following our return from Argentina. Nothing has changed; it remains a very special place for us, in fact, delightful. Each time we visit the area, one of us is on the lookout for what the other spouse terms, 'Jeffrey's ducks'. We were fortunate again because we re-acquainted ourselves with an Osprey friend who seemed to be more than a little hungry. We'll take you through its flight plan and a few other steps we witnessed on another special day. (Further blogs from Patagonia, perhaps one of our best experiences, follow over the next week...)
It's getting late and I'm feeling a little 'peckish'. Perhaps a fish taco for dinner this evening.
'Once I straighten the kink in my neck, I'll begin ambling over to the diner.'
"Okay. Got my ducks in a row, tempting, but I really don't think it's ethical to eat family. Besides, I don't like white meat and, especially not green."
"Blast off. Houston...um Poway, we have a liftoff."
"Do you ever get that sunken feeling?" 'Are you fishing or swimming, Eagle Eye? Perhaps a poor choice of phrase.'
'By George, she's got it.'
"I'm getting tired of these self-service restaurants; a little too old for the carrying and schlepping business. I gotta find out whether Dominoes delivers. Hmm! Guess which one of us feels like 'a fish out of water'? Actually, both when you think about it."
'The bigger the dinner, the heavier the load. I gotta look out for a weight-watcher special in future.'
'Big deal. They cook the fish (who can eat it raw?), seat me on a pole and charge me a bloody fortune. Besides, a bird could get roasted near these high voltage cables. Shocking!'
'...and you still expect a tip?'
'A box? Never. I'll take it as is'. Can't trust these guys. They'll help themselves to the bloody delicacies. By the way, I call this position the 'stationary strut or claw-stand'. "Hey you, Waiter, you can kiss...ahem!"
Back to hunting. "How about dessert and a little brandy before nesting!"
Jenni and Jeffrey
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.