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.
O
ur 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."

"A Life Experience As No Other: Dare to Seize the Day Together", published by Fulton Books, depicts our life on the road and mountains.

Jenni and Jeffrey Lazarow

Whereas we continue to update the blog regularly, we no longer circulate email notifications each time, VIP's excepted and special occasions.


Wednesday, October 31, 2018

37.21 Bulgaria: Viren National Park, Bansko: The classical (superb) ascent of Mount Vihren.


This is the first of two ascents to the peaks of Vihren and Kutelo, completely different paths but for the initial twenty minutes from the trailhead.


Incredibly uplifting sight...not a bad looking mountain either.




Testing walk on a steep face, both up and down, but a highlight.



Imagine coming across a view in which, commencing from the high background, the sky appears balanced on a pinnacle protruding through the clouds. When the clouds dissipate, the pyramid shaped-marble and -karst base displays a smooth and solid surface while one of the adjacent sister mountains, linked at the saddle below, has a small table top, allowing the 'participants' to join together and share a drink when it rains. To the human eye, each of the peaks is shaped uniquely and of course, are at differing altitudes. From the observer's location on the lower surface, however, it's not possible for the layman to determine the various heights of the peaks—we certainly don't have that skill or ability. Invariably, the mountains to the fore, often appear higher. Nevertheless, as a team, they dominate the skyline, beautify it and the surroundings, affect the weather and invariably, challenge man to constant duals.

As one casts the eye lower, one still sees the smooth white rock surface until the tree line appears. With binoculars at the eye, one may catch a glimpse of a chamois or two which tread up and down the mountain walls, embarrassingly easily. Seeing them up close on the mountains is a wonderful opportunity of catching the action. They are both bashful and inquisitive so while they stare hard at an approaching person, they won't let one anywhere close within their ambit. On the mountain to the east of Vihren and Kutelo, man has 'covered Todoro with ski-lifts, at least fourteen. It too is a wonderful sight including a number of huts and ski stations, some lit at night. By the time the eye reaches ground level, an area covered in trees from the slopes until the outskirts of the town of Bansko, concrete structures dominate the view in colors of red and white, predominantly. Many multi-story apartments, hotels, casinos and other residencies fill the landscape. Of course, roads and pathways wind and wend between them, in other parts of the town and to and from the main mountain road. The fascinating aspect of all of this, season dependent (outside summer and winter), is that there are few people about. The town, especially during the week, is deserted. While this detracts from a certain atmosphere that one comes to expect, we nevertheless find it delightful. There is no traffic, human or vehicular, and so a tranquility descends from the mountains that is not hindered or tainted. We are free to deal with both the delights and harsh treatment meted to us by Virhen and pals, mostly alone.

We spent at least 7 hours on the mountain and its surrounds, attained 3,300 feet of elevation gain, endured sore feet and tired muscles and realized the hike, together with the sister climb to Mount Kutelo the week following, and attaining the peak of Maylovitsa in Rila a week before, are the finest trio of mountains experienced in our years.


We came across our first lot of Chamois but the backdrop was a knockout.




Jen returns from a staggering peak, perhaps staggering a little, herself.




A memorable hike, position and experience as we stand upon Vihren Peak. The following week, we went walking along the ridge across the way.




The last forty minutes to go, steep and stony.




No use waiting... let's go.




Following week's peak and ridge, Kutelo. We did not take the visible path to the side but the steeper one to the right.




Some spring in her step.




Lake and mountain view while ascending.




City view on the other side, Bansko.




Relief view at the top.




Smug view, deservedly, at the peak.




A bit of a rocky view.




No less rocky view.




Final view at the peak



Cheers,

Jenni and Jeffrey


Some perspective:



The three peaks in the far distance shown in the photograph are represented earlier in this blog. We were standing on Mount Vihren, the left most and highest peak. The following week, we stood on the two to the right, Kutelo Peaks. Ten days following, we really stood up high: That peak we called 'Swiss Air' from Zurich.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

37.19: Romania: Piatra Arsa, Bucegi Mountains, an interesting day. 37.20 Schitul de la Coltul Chiliilor hike in Zarnesti.


Gorgeous weather for hiking and sightseeing.




The land was (is) vast and although the sights did not vary much, nevertheless, they were delightful.




Tucked away in corners, crevices, nooks and crannies are some of the most delightful sights a person’s senses can feast upon and digest. Truth be told, most of these opportunities are not well hidden at all. One only needs to allow the imagination more autonomy, open the eyes, wander off the familiar paths and the surprises await in abundance. The one advantage of a human in being a tiny particle relative to the massive world we inhabit is that it’s not possible to experience a fraction of the planet’s offerings. It makes for a great incentive to continue living, especially to those who require the additional rationale.

Each place offers different experiences each moment which are further enhanced or changed by the seasons, weather patterns, natural phenomena occurring daily, if not more frequently and often, the moods of the spectators and participants themselves, also known as the human element. Sometime in the past we wrote about the concept of boredom and concluded that it has to be an internal issue. Boredom is a personal problem rather than arising from familiarity with externalities. After all, if the world is dynamic, ever changing as we wrote above, then how can one become bored with it, it’s never the same. Maybe what remains the same is the person and therein lies the boring element.

After walking for less than three hours, we arrived at the cabana situate on the mountain top. We had departed from a trailhead earlier which had been difficult to reach and, but for a hotel in the middle of nowhere, was in the middle of nowhere. The surprise for us on arrival at our destination was finding that a decent road led from the towns below the mountain. To see many vehicles parked along the mountain road and even in a couple of large carparks was most surprising. Upon entering the cabana, we were struck by the vibrant atmosphere of people eating and drinking at a mountain top facility, enjoying themselves on a rest day and probably relieved that they did not raise a sweat to reach it and even better, that the return journey was all downhill, for their vehicles.

Time-and-time again, we notice there is a distinct mountain culture in Europe. To spend times in the 'hills', whether it be climbing and hiking or relaxing and eating, enjoying the mountains is a pastime for many.

Looking back at our commencement point before beginning the ascent. It's a hotel/cabana in the middle of nowhere. To reach it, a person must drive miles on a gravel road.




Surreal, we thought.



A view from the mound. The top was surprisingly 'nippy' ... because of a (dis)gusting wind. Colors changing in Romania.



Three weeks later, colors changed in Bulgaria.




Coming out of the gloom...actually, it was fascinating.




We climbed steadily until we reached the plateau and a surprise.




A nice opportunity to view deep into the canyon, inter alia.




Heading to the cabana extreme left. It is on top of the mountain with access via road, hence, when we stopped in for tea many visitors were eating and drinking and of course, always smoking.




One of our favorite autumn views, a mix including green.




Picture taken from higher up. Jen is on the plateau of the mountain, less than a mile away from the destination.




And now for Schitul de la Coltul Chiliilor (Monastery)...


Rural setting on the way to the Monastery.



Looked more like a hotel complex; we did see a couple of 'brothers' though. Jen continues to study the map.



Checking out the visitors including the grass and flowers, too.



Cheers,

Jenni and Jeffrey

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Romania, Bulgaria and Serbia: An Extravaganza of Color and Class.

All photographs were taken on the way to or return from the many peaks we've been fortunate to reach.


Commencement of Serbia's Siljak, Rtanj, a large prominence for that country.




One of many reasons
we visited Eastern Europe for a second time this year included enjoying a second autumn in the mountains with the additional advantage of colorful visuals. We arrived in Romania too early to see the effect of the cooler weather although it improved the longer we remained in the country. Bulgaria, visited subsequently, began to show the effects of the change of seasons and Serbia, our final return to the country on this trip, closing in on the end of October, showed how the system works. Some of the scenes and colors have been nothing short of, picture or painting, perfect. Any distortions are solely the fault of the photographers.



Bulgaria.








Fortress in Sokobanja, Serbia.




Early stage of incline, a view of a village through the trees.


Almost haunting...a favorite.




Pièce de résistance in Bezbog, Bulgaria.






















Above Busteni, Romania...some steep climbing.



Cheers,


Jenni and Jeffrey

Waterfalls, a look at some fascinating cascades, by country.



Let the water flow; let it cleanse our bodies; let it purify our thoughts...perhaps the last idea is too ambitious.


Gullfoss, Iceland.




Howick Falls, Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa.




Slovenia.




Routeburne, New Zealand.




Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland.




Iguazu, Argentina.




New Zealand.




Plitvice Lakes, Croatia.




Chamonix, France.




Barenschutzklamm, Austria.




World's second highest, Tugela, South Africa.



Gevarne, France.




An interesting flow in Romania.




More Iceland. Multiple cascades at Godafoss.




Tunnels Falls, Oregon ('Barry Jahn's hangout'.)




Kolob Canyon, Utah.






More Argentina.




More from Milford, New Zealand.




One more from Iceland, Selfoss.



Cheers,

Jenni and Jeffrey