LAZAROW WORLD HIKE-ABOUT

Argentina: Bella Vista, San Carlos de Bariloche.

'LAZAROW WORLD HIKE-ABOUT: 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 March 2022, the blog contained over 1,400 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 until the beginning of 2017. It has developed 'exponentially' since then.

Jenni and Jeffrey Lazarow

Whereas we continue to update the blog regularly, we no longer circulate email notifications often.

Saturday, August 6, 2022

55.17: Andorra: Estany's de la Vall del Riu, a day that wiped us (nearly) out, including a 'bridge too far'.

A view of the town in which we are residing for a month.
From a distance, we see the water escaping from the lake to which we headed.
We’d like to relate three stories that proved to be delightful although one was predominantly of endurance. Actually, the latter type of experiences are the best as they pick up a person and then remain as a notch on the body, or perhaps, the soul. 

  We set off from Luz Saint Sauveur, France, after stocking up with supplies for at least a week. Who knows whether Andorra has any food? The journey would be 5 hours following roads that were anything but highways. We probably traveled through more traffic circles than our accumulated number to date, that is, of our driving careers. It included passing through small towns and hamlets. The largest town was Foix which is enroute to Toulouse…as we all know. Fortunately, it was uneventful until we were closing in on Andorra. As we ascended the final mountain bordering the countries, it began to rain. This was proceeded by heavy mist. The higher we reached, the poorer the visibility. At one stage, we were on a winding road with steep drop-offs to the side and an inability to see very much. The driver ahead of us was clearly struggling. He kept indicating for us to pass except he never halted on the narrow road with its solid white line. He probably did not realize he was not in South Africa, Italy or Nepal. 

  Eventually, the car ahead stopped—the driver looked as if he had given up—intending to sit. There were barriers in closed proximity surrounding us. After a brief glance around, I noticed an opening at one of these positions. The fellow ahead decided to move forward and we proceeded, too. Within moments, we could see the border post—it came into view suddenly, although still hazy. The guard waved us through and we continued. Love it when one travels across international boundaries unhindered. As if choreographed, the mist began to lift, effectively, it was low clouds. Andorra opened like the rising of a massive curtain before our eyes, the land being a stage. Within moments, we were traveling into this beautiful, massive scene of mountains, greenery, winding roads and strangely, a sunlit, clear blue sky. When we turned to look behind us as we continued to rise, the clouds filled the channel through which we had driven. Stunning. Where’s a camera when you need one? (continues near end) 

Jen crests one of the many mountains. The background provides one a perspective of the region.

What an amazing engineering structure. Two days before, we came across it...see below.
Coming across the incredible structure per chance during an earlier hike: Pons Tibeta.
Walking along the bridge which is 2,000 feet in length.
We continue to gain elevation.
Destination. One of the best/most disappointing lakes of all time. The best: Because it took incredible effort to negotiate this tough hike. The worst: A disappointing pond, particularly for Andorra.
The rocky shale section. One of us stands at the crest of this very tough section.
More lake but mostly mountain.
Jen waits for a slow-coach. Good indication of the underfoot. Bare feet not recommended, then again, it takes all types.
Getting close to home. Drop down 700 feet, walk a little more and we're in Els Plants, around the corner from el Tartar, our wonderful little home.
A person does not want to be rushing down that 'track'.
We struggled enough to warrant another of the lake. Please say it's 'a great estany'.
Rolling hills and mountains, beautiful wilderness. 
  Another perspective of the wilderness meeting the town as Jen treads carefully down the tricky path.
The previous week, we visited Gavarnie for the first time in our too short three-week stay in France. The town is popular among tourists and hikers. What makes it special for us is that 6 years before, we were in Spain. One morning, we drove to Saint Nicholas, had some tea and then headed up the mountain toward France, on foot. When we reached the top section of the Pyrenees, we stopped for breakfast which at that position was effectively, in France. How did we know? The primary greeting at that stage was ‘Bon Appetit’. We continued onwards along the mountains, headed down, arriving in Gavarnie where we had booked into an hotel for the night. The next day, we packed up and reversed our route, arriving back in Spain. We love those kind of opportunities—the mistake we made was in not staying longer. This trip, we drove from Spain into France, and for some reason, just could not make enough time for the town. Perhaps the thought of driving into Gavarnie felt odd, as if we were cheating. 

  The third story is unique. It related to our arrival at the accommodation in Andorra, Sol Ski. We had booked an apartment in El Tartar for a long period. We have always loved being in Andorra, so we decided it being summer, Europe likely to be busy, we’d act accordingly. Stay off the roads, keep away from tourists and what about taking the occasional hike. Sounded like a plan. The apartment complex seemed to indicate there would be a receptionist on duty. Turns out each apartment or group of them are privately owned. Apparently, the manager of this group had sent us texts, emails and even called to find out what time he should meet us at the building. Unfortunately, this is never a good way to make contact with us while we are in the car. There have been times, particularly in Europe, when we have arrived at the building only to end up staring at a locked gate. It can be testing and frustrating. The last time it occurred was in Romania. Our phone was not connected so we approached a tobacconist, (not wishing to start smoking to alleviate our frustration, but to have him contact our landlord). It worked out well. We waited outside the little store and after a few minutes noticed a strapping fellow approaching. 

  When we arrived at the building in El Tartar, I asked Jen whether she noticed a reception area. After receiving a flippant reply, I gathered not. We’d need to undertake a little search, but we expected to find one. In retrospect, there isn’t a reception, as mentioned earlier. I opened the car door, stepped out and I heard someone say, “Are you Jeffrey?” Alex, the manager took a chance in assuming we were the tenants. It was heaven. You know you’re world famous when you step out of your car in a foreign country and are mobbed by a crowd of…well, one. 

  In conclusion, the apartment is one of the finest in which we have stayed...thus far. It even has hot and cold running water plus a roof. Man, the luxury is spoiling Jenni. Soon she’ll request/demand a mattress. 

One mountain after another in a rich environment. Alway a peak peeking over another.
Cheers, 

Jenni and Jeffrey

On another day, Jen decided she could not face our usual breakfast. It's a long story why we had not eaten yet although we had completed the hike. We passed the 'supermercat', particularly looking for something healthy, nourishing and which would set a fine example to all. What saints! Well, we did select something although it may seem a little bit of self-promotion. The stuff in the bottle is actually an important nutrient in a person's daily regimen. And of course, the other is 'our daily bread'. In addition, we then had to find someplace to sit and eat. 
  We met Franca and Tony who live in Johannesburg. Franca is not of French descent but Italian. Tony, not an uncommon Italian name, is nevertheless from Ireland. In our years, why is it that it seems every Irishman we've met has a sparkling personality? Tony sure has one (maybe two) and Franca is a delight. Anyway, as you see the sign (Franca) is pointing in the direction from where we traveled to reach Andorra. With all these French signs pointing to the exit, or entrance into France, we wonder whether the Andorrans are trying to make a point to their large northern neighbors. Just asking.

55.16 France: Cabane de L'Aquila and beyond to peak, Cirque Troumouse.

Jen sits on a peak viewing the sharp twists on the road to Hotel... and beyond.
View from Troumouse trail.
It all comes together...Lac (dam) Gloriettes in the distance.
The previous week, we hiked to Lake Gloriettes from somewhere else. (Notice the dam wall to the left.)
Follow that trail...it will take a person to the hut, below where we sit.
Jen on edge as we head down.
The peak behind is where we reached and ate brunch.
Perspective on the way up.
Water, always on the way down.
May not look it, a tough climb to reach the peak without a trail.
The previous day, we ate brunch on the highpoint across the way.
Waterfall from our peak, right of it.
Same waterfall from the left, Troumouse hike. 
 Cheers, 

Jenni and Jeffrey

Thursday, August 4, 2022

55.15 Andorra: A Brief Introduction


A Bridge to Nowhere. We'll expand on this fascinating bridge in forthcoming blogs.


This is our third visit to Andorra in 7 years. It should have been at least one more but we seemed to get 'trapped' in Eastern and Central Europe. The country is beautiful, calm, peaceful, safe, serene, civilized...we could go on further but the point has been made. Should we wish to settle in one place, which is an undesirable thought or wish, Andorra would be high on the list. Fortunately, we don't have to make that decision but can return anytime. 

For hikers, climbers and outdoor people, the countryside is extremely tough to negotiate. It's most humbling at times, actually, on most hikes. The country has some valleys and for the rest, it's covered in mountains. During winter, we imagine it's a skiing paradise. 

We said it previously and will repeat ourselves: 'We love this country, the little principality 'sandwiched' between France and Spain, its effective guardians. 

The first lake of El Pessons. 
As we climb away from the towns, we gain a perspective of them before disappearing into the wilderness.
Estany Sorda, a good opening hike...now let's get some rest.
After a while on the Gran Valira slope, we turn to see our apartment building through the telephoto lens, the one to the left and across the road.
Another tough hike as Jen crests 'another' mountain...Estanys de la Vall del Riu.

Cheers, 

 Jenni and Jeffrey

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Some Moments of Inspiration (2015)—inspired after being fortunate to complete a hike in Andorra (2022), both of us with injuries/illness.

This element of Hike-about involved a destination in Texas for a family event. We took 6 or more weeks on the road-return to undertake it. Goes without saying it was superb. 

Sometimes, a person is inspired, other times elated and of course, there are periods of 'downs'. As everyone knows, the idea is to seek the former and limit the latter. Easier said than done. However, a simple method we discovered over many years which has never failed is to to undertake strenuous, testing and challenging physical efforts. That's it. The challenge is the reward. On completion, especially should one attain one's goals or better, we are confident the 'downs' will be replaced with 'ups', with elation and satisfaction. There is a proviso, however: These incredible moments don't last. The effort has to be repeated continuously. Who said life is easy? But then we found another concept. Anything achieved without effort, anything easy is worth...nothing. 

The last month has been one with tough challenges culminating in a really tough day. As we struggled on a very challenging trail today, there was one thing certain. Should we complete what was a minor adventure in and of itself, under less than ideal health conditions, the reward on our return to the apartment would be waiting for us...with a quick expiry date. As stated earlier, the next day we begin again. 

Perhaps the question one may pose: 'Should there be a way to attain a feeling of satisfaction, of success, without effort, would you like that?' We'd hope our answer would be a resounding 'No'. 

Jen sits on the peak of Wheeler, New Mexico at 11,160 feet.

A happy girl in Tucson, Az.
Caught in the headlights as we prepare to camp overnight in White Sands Desert, New Mexico.
Sunrise in Nevada...enjoying the 'golden wave'.
Texas actually has a mountain, Guadeloupe. Wow! And it's tough, too.
Going high in the Valley of Fire, Nevada.
Still in White Sands before hunkering down for a freezing night.
Not Bryce Canyon but the incredible Cedar Breaks National Park, Utah.
Found a new position at Angel's Landing in Utah.
Cooling off in Utah.
Onto Ice Lakes Basin in Colorado.
Jenni at her best as she ascends Wheeler Peak in tough conditions.
'Twinkle Toes' in Tucson.
About to settle on Wheeler Peak, a memorable occasion.
Sometimes we take chances, not always smart. Perrins Peak (Hogsback trail), Durango, Colorado.
Cheers, 

Jenni and Jeffrey