Pismo Beach: 'Like a bridge over troubled waters', a dude hangs-out over the dunes.


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 2020, the blog contained over 1,200 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.
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.

Jenni and Jeffrey Lazarow

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

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

49.23 California: Berryessa Lake, free hiking along another ridge. Loved it.

It's exciting not being aware of a lake within sight and then reaching a certain height and lo and behold, the lake comes into view. This is just not any seems to encompass the best in color and shape. A wonderful view!
We startled the hawks. Jenni can be quite scary at times.
Never thought it would get better after the initial hike in Berryessa. Well, it did and we are fortunate for it. Admittedly, we took an unofficial path which was not a trail. In fact, it consisted of various fire roads and paths commencing on Highway 128 and proceeding mostly upwards until we reached the ridge. On the day, we did not climb less than about 2,800 feet. It was exciting as we explored various 'routes', connecting from one trail/path to another until we could see the final road headed toward the ridge. This occurred less than 40 minutes from the end. Until that moment, we could not be sure we'd reach the ridge. We can’t think of a time when we had more fun and enjoyment while sweating, tinged with the unknown, hoping that our car would not be towed and that we would find our way back to where we left it. (Probably, last week). I’m not going to mention that I expected the odd whine from Jenni, but I was wrong. She proved to be her usual stellar self. 

The views of the lakes were nothing short of spectacular. We were in a completely different region from the hike 2-days prior and so the sights were unique. Our thinking on the initial hike, was an intention to attempt on another day to reach the ridge we viewed and envied from the first summit. The blackened trees with green growth on the surface, including flowering plants, made for attractive sights, too. While the destruction of many trees caused by fire is sad, nature provides other forms of beauty. Sometimes haunting and bewitching but nevertheless, easy on the eye and other senses. Renewal is occurring and it seems, paraphrasing the words of General MacArthur, 'Nature will be back'. 

Should I have any attributes (controversial subject), I suppose it could be said: A willingness to believe that no mountain is too steep, no climb too long and most challenges can be accomplished in the wilderness. Weaknesses I have many but relating to hiking it is thus: I underestimate the steepness of mountains, underestimate the length of mountain trails, and always think reaching a destination spotted from the road is attainable. Jen could express it better than me. Clearly, my weakness and strength are but one, just opposite sides of a hiking pole. Jen certainly has had to cope with my optimistic outlook toward mountain hikes and she has dealt with it admirably.

  The beginning of summer...after the heat of the season, the future of this grass is bleak. One of us enjoys the sight though.
The final stretch as we head for the ridge, the feeling was high, the summit not as high.
Part of the trail we found.
Prior to the fire, I would not have been able to catch this glimpse of Jenni.
A path which appears to lead to the water but doesn't.
Slightly haunting, the burnt trees give off the feeling.
The coloring differs depending from what angle one observes the lake. All good.
A beautiful section tucked away 'in a corner'.
My favorite!

Jenni and Jeffrey

Saturday, June 19, 2021

49.22 Northern California: What a week! An Introduction to the Shasta region (3 of 4) focusing upon Helen Lake on Mount Shasta.

It can't be possible to reach the top of that...Black Butte.
Apparently, there is a way.

Life is precious. After all, without it we have nothing, we are nothing—we don’t exist. However, with life, you’d expect to believe we have everything, just the opposite of non-existence. I don’t think that’s true. Rather, life is potential. With life, we have the potential to do, to build, to accomplish, to enjoy, to help and enrich others and ourselves…the list is endless. Perhaps the opposite of non-existence is potential rather than life itself. One more thing. Should life be mere existence—breathing, eating, sleeping—is it precious? However, the potential of life is truly precious. We have discovered (although we cannot say we live it) that it’s not what one has (life and things), it’s what one does with it (life). 

Castle Crags: Jen makes her own trail as she climbs the crags.

Of crags and ledges, reminiscent of the Grand Tetons.
and now, scenes from the Helen Lake hike: 

An early sighting after cresting a couple of big 'uns.
Mount Shasta is one of the most inhospitable mountains we've walked upon...but love it.
and even without its make-up (snow-covering), stunning.
In 2012, our youngest, Robbie, joined us. Quite a day! Note Red Banks covered in snow.
Jenni trudges over one of the steep crests.
Here he comes. Harsh landscape if ever there was. You should have been there. Why should we be the only ones to struggle?
You've gotta hand it to the kid.
The lone tent at base camp. What a surprise the fella must have had when he found out someone borrowed his sleeping bag and gas cylinder.
Looking down and across and totally absorbed.
In awe and inspired. 
Barren but rich? Heading up and high.
Guess who feels bad as Jen negotiates the tough and rough terrain. 
'Tiny Jen' sits after looking at the wall and calls for lunch. (Taken from Helen Lake. Follow the path toward the left to find 'Waldo').
Perspective as Jen shoots from the hip some distance away with many feet still to climb. (First time placing a mark on photo😢)

A last look on Mount Shasta as we return home.

Oops! Could not resist Red Banks again. The 'piece de resistance', Yves and Stephan.

We moved north ten days ago to a region that influenced us greatly some 13 years before. It’s unique but then again, many are. Shasta-Trinity National Forest and the towns within the region differ from typical places we frequent, especially in the American West. Much of the west comprises desert or semi-desert whereas this part, like coastal Oregon and its northern neighbor, Washington, has an abundance of tree-filled forests covering the land as well as housing high mountains, volcanoes and a sprinkling of gorgeous lakes. I remember on our first visit to these forests, I had to stop counting trees when I reached over 4 billion.

I don’t know whether the following makes sense or Goldilocks had too much influence over Jen and me. At times, the view from the road of these deep, thickly wooded forests gives one an eerie feeling when one projects oneself living inside them. Of course, the feeling passes once we hike, as we’re in the thick settings and worry more about catching our breath than any lurking spooks, not to mention the odd bear or two. Nevertheless, bear with us as we try to paint the scene of four hikes that were nothing short of spectacular this past week. To phrase them as hikes is an understatement; categorizing them as experiences may be more fitting. By the way, outside of summer, we still prefer the deserts.

We arrived in Weed, California on a Friday afternoon after another solid week of hiking from a base in Vacaville, where we discovered the incredible Berryessa Lake and hiked the surrounding mountains. Reaching and walking along the ridges with constant views of the amazing body of shimmering, blue and at times, turquoise water will leave a lasting impression. To phrase that correctly, the lake had in fact been discovered many years before; it was a personal discovery. Better to correct ourselves than leave the impression that we are trying to be self-important and remain foolish. 

On the Saturday we rested and by Sunday morning, we were ready to reach the summit of Mount Eddy. Earlier, we published a blog of pictures and text which dealt with the experience. Suffice to say, despite the poor weather in the latter stage of the climb, it set the tone for a fantastic week. The next day it rained which kept us indoors as ‘precious’ Jenni and Jeffrey are really babies. Fortunately, we had some important business to attend to for an upcoming trip and that occupied us for a good part of an inside day, something that does not occur much.

Tuesday, we visited Castle Crags, a unique area within the region, which proved to be exciting. The walk up accumulated some 2,500 feet including extras. However, the climbing on the rocks/crags beyond the endpoint was what made it special. The drop-offs were intimidating, the views spectacular as we took in what appeared to be a bowl of dense, green trees some 3,000 feet below us, views of other mountains and of course, the incredible lady, Mount Shasta. Understandably, she is far more attractive when dressed…covered in snow, but who’s fussy when facing such an intimidating sight. We also met two female hiking buddies, a Mexican and German, (both fully dressed) and bumped into them on three different occasions. It was enjoyable but meant we arrived home forty minutes later than otherwise.

Wednesday, we headed to Black Butte. The view of this set of volcanoes is so intimidating that one shivers at the thought of reaching the peak, if at all possible. Just the idea of finding a way up from the base is enough to create a little fear. When these edifices confront a person, there is a desire to succeed in the quest but wonder whether there is a way to the top. Fortunately, on this occasion, we just had the fear but not ignorance of a way up as we had completed the hike of some 2,000 feet twice before. For most of the hike, one walks on rocks and scree. It is tough and hard on the feet but an incredible experience. The only wish is that there should not be any rock-slides. We calculate that the rock covered volcano is slanted at an angle of 65-70 degrees. Throughout the hike, millions of various sizes of rocks hover above. Of course, the ones below us aren’t a threat unless they begin to rumble and upset their higher situate comrades. Like most times when hiking, at the commencement one anticipates all these things that can go wrong. By the time a person settles into the hike, one is too weary to worry about those issues. Heck, as long as the muscles and bones are in motion without crying in pain, life is good. 

Then there was Mount Shasta. Actually, the 3,500 feet climb to reach Helen Lake (10,600 feet) well below the peak. What an experience. We set out on the Thursday to take a look at our old friend. She does not know we’re friends, but we speak highly of her and thus far have never disparaged her although on occasion, we’ve come close to cursing her harshness, her unforgiving surface, her influence on the weather and surroundings and a host of other issues. Should that not be enough, the rangers have decided to place rocks as a pathway from Horse Camp for 6-7 hundred yards upwards to preserve the sand paths. (Hmm?) Thereafter, the sand covered in scree is not preserved for the next many miles. I got punished for criticizing this to Jenni, for I placed my foot on a sand-covered rock while looking above and ended up having to be scraped off the rock on which I lay a second later.

The hike is tough. It’s very rough in places. It’s less than seven miles round-trip while gaining what feels like more than 4,000 feet but the ‘incorrect records’ show it as 3,500 feet. I wish they’d correct the information. The first 1.7 miles takes one, from the parking along a wonderful highway into the mountains, to Horse Camp, a small camping area. From there one follows those rocks (you know what we mean) and then one climbs and climbs on a tough underfoot. Thereafter, the trail makes its way over rocks and shale which is really uncomfortable toward another two high points. 

During our previous two hikes to Helen Lake, snow covered the peak including Red Banks. On this occasion, the reward was magnificent as the distinguished Red Banks were prominent and beautiful in shape and color. Although the landscape, particularly naked without the typical, attractive snow covering, emitted a beauty through its vastness, shapes, consistency, and clarity. The air was clean and dry, allowing for sights that admittedly, lacked color but made up for it in sheer power, distinguished features, sporadic snow patches and intimidation. A bonus was the far-distance sights including a nicely shaped lake (picture included).

The most rewarding aspect of the day, something that stood out and made an indelible impression, was the way Jen handled the struggle and then did something which I won’t mention but I’ll never forget for its character. 

I did move ahead as agreed earlier and then later, with some 30 or so minutes to go, something popped onto my shoulder as I struggled. I published a book in 2009 which included a character, Itzy. This negative fellow would sit on the main character’s shoulder and entice him to take the comfortable route in life. Well, Itzy sat on my shoulder a couple of times and explained to me why turning around would make sense in the hot weather, on the treacherous surface and up the steep inclines. He made some good arguments which were seductive. I remember shutting him out by counting to a hundred before allowing myself to pause. At one stage, I recalled my army days and called out the pace…(“links, regs, links”). 

Fortunately, upon reaching the destination, Helen Lake, I was able to take a rest, made two trades on the NYSE (Stock exchange), had a snack, snapped photographs, viewed the tent that I had noticed from below. Until I got close, it appeared to be a snow-covered boulder.

“Itzy, you can be amusing but in principle, I despise you.”

We were looking forward to the return journey as the energy required would be a lot less than that used on the ascent. By the way, only one other person hiked to Helen Lake. For the holiday season, it was surprizingly deserted. Nice! Unfortunately, as we know, it’s much trickier negotiating the way down and of course, more dangerous. Most of the falls, if one has them, are going to occur while descending. 

We come across so many coincidences throughout our experiences. We sat at Horse Camp to take a rest and finish breakfast, at 2:30pm. Sitting close by were two men, one a little older than us the other much younger. They were discussing their personal interest in writing. The elder man, an honorary ranger, was complaining he was struggling to complete a book he was writing of the Shasta region. The other was talking about the book he was working on daily. Here were three men sitting in the middle of nowhere (only 4 people in the area) who were all in one way or another involved to some degree in writing. We thought that fascinating.


Jenni and Jeffrey

The next day, I gave up cycling.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

49.20 Extreme Southern Oregon (N. California): Mount Eddy, Shasta-Trinity National Forest...always a Wow!

Despite the tough weather conditions, the sights changed the mood.
As Maude A often remarks, "Like a picture", although pretty rugged.
Our last visit to Mount Eddy was some 9 years ago. We thought is was not more than 5 years until we checked the blog. That time has elapsed without us realizing it, is testament to a number of things which we won't mention now. Suffice to say, it's indicative of how quickly the years pass and what awaits us around the corner. Whoever coined the phrase "Carpe Diem" ('Seize the Day'), something very close to our hearts, sure had an understanding of fleeting life. 

Basically, the hike requires a person to cross a stream a number of times stepping upon rocks, many loose, including floating tree branches, negotiate  muddy patches in the early stages and thereafter, walk a steep but reasonable trail. The last part appears to be tricky but proved to be less so although the ascent was constant. The real difficulty occurred because of high winds and extreme cold. As compensation, the colors, sheen of the lakes, surrounding mountains, richness of the flora together with the burnt-orange rocks, complemented with low cloud and mist, combined to make it an enriching experience. One could only wonder in awe as the massive mountains, deep ravines and tree-filled forests encompassed and dwarfed us. 

Although the trail was quiet until we were half-way down, the few people we met were interesting as we expected. Many of the residents in the region are genuine mountain people which means they look different from city-slickers, are friendly, colorful and a little crazy. The nicer ones are usually even more crazy. Over the years, we've come to realize if you're not a little crazy (or a lot), you're not really living. Maybe, there are three types of people—crazy nice, crazy bad or just existing.

Without further ado, we invite you to continue viewing a part of California that differs greatly from the state south of Redding, a city close to Shasta. Hence, the title alluding to Oregon, which I have always felt should have stretched a little further south. Then again, I'm not seeking additional conflict in California—it has more than enough as it is.

Curtain opens for a brief period as things get a little wild on Mount Eddy.
Another curtain rises revealing the power of the region.
A change of altitude of 2,600 feet brings about different weather patterns. The peak is just over 9,000 feet.

Volcanic world.
Loved the view.
A lake on the other side of the ascent.
Where did the lush grass and flowers come from?
Liked the motion against the backdrop.
All the effort to arrive at this? What happened to risk reward ratios? On a clear day, we would have viewed the incredible Mount Shasta. It wasn't to be.
About to reach the summit. At one stage, had to drop down to avoid being blown away. Gives new meaning to the phrase "Blown away".
Jen arrives on the shoulder. Looks like she needs a shoulder to cry on. Good timing and positioning. Where's Global warming when you need it?
Meantime it appears he's in line for the best dressed and groomed hiker west of the Mississippi.
Full background. more in closing.


Jenni and Jeffrey

With visibility, this is what we would have viewed: Mount Shasta. (From Castle Crags.) 
Mount Shasta from Black Butte.