New Zealand 2017: Tongariro Crossing and Mount Ngauruhoe.


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 the end of 2022, the blog contained over 1,470 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. 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.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Chilly Monday

Hello All,

The weather is erratic in this part of the world; it proves that you can’t have everything. As our editor mentioned recently, ‘I love it here but would hate to face a winter’. This is apt especially as we don’t ski. We have extended our stay in Grindelwald because the natural surroundings are simply exquisite, providing us the opportunity to enjoy incredible hiking. Our hotel, a family run establishment, is very tastefully furnished and well maintained. Although it is not ‘fancy’, like most (all) things in this part of the world, it is expensive. By the way, the price of gas (petrol) is nearly $6 a gallon, double the U.S. price. Transport is very expensive especially the Alpine system—it makes a person want to hike.

Our room is comfortable but we are thankful that we did not bring the cat. We would have no place to swing it. Do you ever wonder about these sayings. Last Shabbos it was raining ‘cats and dogs’. We heard a story about the derivation of this one. Back in the middle ages, when the weather turned down, the residents used to put their domestic animals on the roof for protection. (Who knows how that worked?) However, if it rained hard, the poor things would wash off the roof, slide down and pass the windows or openings. Anyone looking out would see these ‘raining animals’ and then exclaim, ‘it’s raining cats &…..’.

We undertook not to discuss bears any longer, especially since we left Montana and Idaho. Over there, we noticed that some people wore bells on their trouser legs to warn off bears. The idea is to make bears aware of human presence. Apparently, bears hate surprises. We are a little doubtful about the worth of this technique especially when we think of 700 pounds of grizzly shaking in its paws because of a concerto of bells.
Scare C(r)ow

Anyway, here is the interesting part, which has made us retract some of our scepticism. On the mountains in Switzerland, we hear bell sounds much of the time. Each cow, goat and sheep wears one around the neck. We were most concerned when we first noticed it. We thought there must be a bear epidemic in Switzerland. How clever the Swiss are, we thought.

Spot the goat!

They get their domestic animals to warn off the bears while they sit comfortably inside their homes. The funny thing is the system seems to work. We have not seen a single bear this whole trip. The cacophony of sound must drive the bears ‘nutty’—we know this from our experiences.

Monday morning arrived and so did the rain. When we spotted a break in the clouds, we decided to walk rather than ‘take a hike’. However, the longer the rain held off, the further we went. The result was we hiked up the mountain for an elevation gain of 2300 feet, arriving at Alpiglen Station. We observed the mountains in various states as many had received another night’s sprinkling of snow. The clouds were active too, which provides a wonderful contrast of both serenity and potential violence. At the station restaurant, we noticed a sign (see picture) obviously discouraging people bringing their own food and eating on the patio.
However, we saw it differently. We agree: Walking up those mountains is ‘no picnic’. This interpretation may be lost on the locals.

Warm wishes,
Smiling Lazarow’s (at least trying)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Climbing to the Eiger Glacier

Where do we begin? If we could sing you would know that’s from Love Story, we think. My apologies for yesterday’s ‘accent’ which should have been ‘ascent’. Not easy to get good help these days. Unfair comment—errors are all mine. Any of the editor’s errors are mine, too—I think that is how marriage is supposed to be.

The soul is on fire and some of the muscles, too. We enjoyed a spectacular day, perhaps the best mountain hiking we’ve done since…last week. Seriously, it could be ‘the one’. The sights, the trail itself, the sheer length and steepness of the climb, the endurance required; it was a ‘wow’. (Eight miles, 7 uphill, an elevation gain of close to 5,000 feet.) Our editor is ‘killing’ us but we love it. It was tiring and exhilarating at the same time. Leaving our hotel, we walked down into the valley at Grund, a village below Grindelwald.

From there, we gained 2300 feet and then began the mountain trail along the Eiger, up towards the Glacier, another 2500 feet elevation gain. The trail was quite rocky, crossing streams, passing waterfalls and most of the time, remaining on the precipice. This provided amazing views but unfortunately, there was much cloud cover.
Nevertheless, Schreckhorn had full exposure for most of the way, a personal favorite.

We found it interesting that all but two people took the train to the top and hiked down.
We hiked to the top and then down to the station at Kleine Scheidegg, the destination of Thursday’s hike but from a different direction. We wouldn’t change the routing—it was the ideal climb, relentless but rewarding. If it’s not the view of the giant mountains in front of one, then it is the massive valley below or the mountains across the way.
The trains and gondolas in the distance add to the picture of tranquility and order as they, especially the trains, wind and wend through the mountains. The Alpine train system is a wonder in itself. To have built a transport system up, in and across the mountains indicates a fascination with heights or maybe, a lack of space. As an aside, we even came across a natural rock pool of crystal-clear water that has been converted into a large swimming pool. It was tempting to jump in today, but as the temperature at that altitude was below 60 degrees, we resisted.

We will not carry on much more about the behavior we notice over here. Friendliness continued at the same level as before, very low. However, we were overcome when a young woman gave us a very large smile today and warm greetings. We were worried for a moment in case the ‘misery police’ were watching. We’d hate to see someone punished for smiling and greeting strangers.

Finally, before we left for the Eiger Glacier, we checked the warnings. For experienced hikers with the correct equipment it should be straightforward, the brochure advised. What that meant we had no idea. Right equipment? We have half-length boots and…So we packed our usual—a snack, a jacket each, water, a couple of diet cokes and we were ready. ‘Do you think we have everything?’ our editor asked one more time. ‘Who knows,’ we answered, “but just to be safe let’s throw in another diet coke—you can’t be too careful in these treacherous parts.’

We have so much more to add about our observations of the natural beauty of the town of Grindelwald and the majestic Alps. However, we will save that for another time.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Grindelwald - Rocky's Eye of the (T)eiger

Shavua Tov,

We have changed our minds. We are now all for statistics whereas previously we were skeptics. Today, the count was eighty-two, twelve, fifty-five and fifteen. These are not good results from our poll. It makes us a little sad; however, what can one do?

Village Frau

It rained today, cooling things down for Shabbos. However, as the weather was perfect the day before, we did not think it needed to adjust. Our influence is somewhat limited, to say the least. We left the hotel, which looks out over the valley and at the mountains, realizing we would need to return early to ‘welcome the bride’-Shabbos began at 8:18pm. We set off on our hike to the station at Bort which feels like it is somewhere in the sky. Our editor put it nicely. It is steeper, and that’s along the whole climb, than the road from Gilman Drive through the La Jolla Shores development, the route we ‘trespass’ on the way to shul. One way of testing it is that on the return it was sometimes difficult to stop oneself. Man, these Swiss have a thing for the mountains. It is no wonder they are extraordinary engineers. Who can blame them for not smiling.

Left..maybe right..always up Pic. below

The views of the glaciers were spectacular. We stood, walked, we climbed, sat at the top, all the time in awe of the sights. We were mesmerized by the closeness of the magnificent peaks. An added benefit—the day was cloudy with blankets of mist moving constantly —it gave off a surreal feeling. The mountains were ‘smoking’, they were showing off their awesome power, their independence, looking down and tempting us to take another step forward and begin the ascent. We were knocked out by the sight of Schreckhorn itself with the bonus of viewing the glacier it shares with the Eiger. Waterfalls? The mountains are blanketed with them. We hope that Rav Hirsch made his intended journey.
Part way up-Village
Back to statistics. Over the years, we have listened to all the numbers of the sports personalities. We hear things like: ‘Times at bat, hits at home (wife-battering?), played at home, on the road, along the sidewalk, in the bathroom etc.’ and we wonder how interesting that is. Is it even right to get so personal? Nevertheless, we decided to try an objective test because we are disappointed at how unfriendly people are over this way. Remember our statistics— eighty-two (times we greeted people), twelve (enthusiastic replies), fifty-five (grunts) and fifteen (abstentions). We don’t joke but there it is.
Schreckhorn, Eiger and Glacier
Tomorrow we are off to hike around the base of the Eiger, a cool 4,000 feet, just to reach it.

Talk to you soon.
Jenni and Jeffrey

Friday, August 27, 2010

Hiking In the Shadows of The Eiger, Monch & Jungfrau

Guten Abend our Friends und others,

We vil expect you to read what we write immediately, if not sooner. Ja. Concentrate fully. Please do not drink ze coffee because we do not vont vet pages. Ha! That is the joke we just made. Gut. You may laugh now. Gut. From now on, we will only speak the Swiss German. No longer will you hear our San Diegan accent. It is kaput. In case you missed it, we have an excellent ear for languages. After just a few sentences, we are able to decide vether ze speaker is not using ze English. We are most talented, inter alia. We throw in ze occasional Latin to highlight our classical education. We never, but never forget our humility, either.

Looking down on Grindelwald

We arrived safely in Zurich, B’H’ and immediately took a train followed by another two connections to Grindelwald. We have been to Switzerland a few times before. We remember that it is clean and the people are efficient.
This time we are off to check the mountains. However, we did notice more graffiti stains on the buildings. Either the youth are not following their parents or many immigrants do not fit the Swiss mold. Who knows? Our editor is full of questions these days. Of course, she expects us to have the answers. We don’t like to disappoint her so we provide answers, usually incorrect, but we try. “Why do you think the people over here seem so cold and stiff—so formal?” she wants to know. “In America, people are more relaxed and friendly,” she continues.
She presses for an answer so we give her one. “Perhaps,” we begin, “because they are neutered.”
“Neutered?” she giggled. “You mean neutral.”
“Didn’t we say that? Of course, when you take a neutral position in the world you have to act without passion and feelings (may we add values?). You have to be above it all,” we explain in our simple way. She seems to accept our answer so we move on to the ATM and collect some cash. The machine is very clever. In the USA, we put our card in and it gives us dollars. Here it gives us Francs. It is a wonderful system. If we were in Zimbabwe, we wonder what it would produce—toilet paper?

In the land of the Eiger, (The North Face) and many other ‘beauts’, we are without words again. Some may indeed be happy to hear that. The North Face

Our editor mentioned that if you are going to keep using words like splendor, beautiful, paradise etc., over and over again, you will lose a reader. ‘The loss of one reader,” we answered, ‘is a small price to pay for explaining the wonders as we see them,’ we replied rather smugly.
‘Yes, that may be,’ she said with those beautiful rolling eyes, ‘but think about it. Having only one reader, you can hardly be too independent.’ She is too clever for her own good.

Words fail us on the magnificence of this town and surrounding mountains. Our editor chose a hike to Kleine Scheidegg. There was absolutely nothing klein (small) about this hike. It is amazing that they build hotels, restaurants and train stations on top of mountains. We remember Stuart Laiken explaining the difference between the Sierra Nevada’s and the Swiss to us, some time ago. His point was valid. In California, you eat your own bag-lunch in tranquility in the wilderness. Here you stand in line at a restaurant. Guess which system we favor.
There are train lines, at what seems like impossible gradients, all the way to the summit. The snow-capped mountains, including the famous Eiger, The Jungfrau, Monch to name a few, not forgetting the glaciers, take the breath away. They are ably assisted in tiring one by a climb of over 4,000 feet, over 13 miles round-trip, including our own extras. We did not get lost today, though. In fact, the Swiss make it difficult to lose one’s way with their informative signposts. We are going to have to try much harder if we wish to maintain our ‘getting lost’ record.

The valleys, meadows filled with color, sides of mountains covered with various grasses and shrubs make it look manicured. The houses, so sweetly nestled into the slopes, look like a picture on a Swiss postcard. Hmm! (Forgive us.) Many of their gardens extend into the wilderness of the mountains. Kindly look at some of the pictures—the place is truly exquisite

Finally, our plan was to hike to the destination mentioned above and take the train back. However, our editor seemed full of enthusiasm today. She invited us to walk as ‘it is mostly downhill’, she explained. One would have thought we understood that concept. Never shy of a challenge, we agreed. We sit alongside the computer exhausted, writing this missive very slowly, so please forgive us if it takes you longer to read.

As we say in this part of the world, you Will have a great Shabbos and if you insist, a good weekend, too.

Auf Wiedersehen,
Jenni and Jeffrey

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Rattlesnake Ledge or On the Edge

Living on the Edge

“We’ve been talking about boarding a plane for a while—it’s enough already. Let’s go,” our editor remanded us. “We need to get to Switzerland, I’m getting antsy about those Alps,” she mentioned in her best English. Meantime, one of us still has a foot in the Western United States. That seems to be causing a little problem. With so much to see and do in this part of the world, it’s easy to understand why someone would be reluctant to leave. Well, that’s the writer’s view. Then a thought crossed the mind about Switzerland.

A few years ago, Rabbi Wohlgelernter was giving a talk and he added an anecdote. It went something like this: Rabbi Samson Hirsh, the famous 19th century scholar (and great favorite of ours) was telling his students that he intended going to view the Swiss Alps. ‘But Rebbe,’ they protested, ‘Wouldn’t that amount to wasting Torah study time?’ He answered them. ‘When I come before the Great Master after leaving this world and He asks me whether I enjoyed His beautiful Alps, what am I going to answer?’

In a way, his answer is the rationale for us wishing to visit many beautiful places. Obviously, based upon our less than righteous record, we have to be better prepared than the great Rabbi. When questioned about Angels Landing, Crater Lake, the magnificence of Lake MacDonald and the thousands of other delightful places, we need to be fully informed so we can provide the appropriate reply.

We sometimes wonder if Rav Wohlgelernter regrets telling us that story.
Our few days in Bellevue with our son, Gavin were wonderful. We hiked the last two days; the pictures are from Monday. The distance was 5.5 miles with an elevation gain of 1500 feet to Rattlesnake Ledge and beyond. Our poor editor is dealing well with the animals but it doesn’t seem to end. Never mind seeing the animals, even the mountains carry the names. She admits that sometimes she does not know whether she is Eve with the serpent or Goldilocks.

‘It seems that your friends are a bunch of “softies”’, we mentioned to Gavin. Don’t go and misconstrue this. Many are part of the powerful Microsoft team, hence the name “softies” We caught up with Steve and Carolyn and their ‘cute as a pin’ son, Zack at the indoor soccer bowl. Thereafter, Mike, Candace and their ‘smart as a whip, nearly 2 year old daughter Claire visited us. It made us think even more about little Ellie. Finally, we had dinner with Jon and Theresa--a wonderful evening enjoyed by the older Lazarow’s.
The Ledge from above

We caught up with ‘old’ friends that we made in Dallas, Clive and Gill Midgen. Clive has always raised the great questions of life. He should have been a philosopher. One of his outstanding pronouncements was: ‘If Denny’s Restaurants are open twenty-fours a day, why do they have locks on their doors?’ Perhaps that’s why we left Texas.

Shabbos was at Chabad in Bellevue/Redmond. We nearly classified it as a hike because it is some distance. The determining factor in the end was that we decided not to wear our boots. Our editor didn’t think they matched her beautiful flowing skirt. The week’s reading from the Torah may have the most number of mitzvot of any—it had a powerful effect on us.

We are grateful to Gav who was a gracious host. We will always remember the wonderful time we had in his yard—that’s where he pitched a lovely little tent for Mom and Dad. What a fine gesture, we thought, it saved us having to put up the tent ourselves. Fortunately, it rained only once during our visit. Thanks, Gav, for the REAL hospitality.

Yodeling (almost) Friends,

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Completion of Second Part of Adventure

Hello from Bellevue,

We spent a night and two half-days in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Frankly, we were not impressed with the city but charmed by the wonderful lake. Perhaps we visited the wrong part of town. Nevertheless, the lake is beautiful as well as substantial. We hiked to the top of an overlook in the nature reserve—5.5 miles with an elevation gain of 1100 feet. The views of the water were terrific.

We moved on and passed through Moses’ Lake, spent a little time at the Columbia River near the Gorge in Washington and slept in Ellensburg, a college town. We did some business this morning, quite a lot actually, and thereafter made our way to Bellevue, Washington—our gateway east. The direct route from San Diego to this city is about 1,150 miles. We recorded 3,060 miles for our journey, bearing in mind that we did not get lost, not even once. Perhaps that’s the highlight of the trip. As one ‘wag’ put it, ‘couldn’t you find a closer airport than Seattle?’ We suppose he has a point.

We wish to express thanks to our friends who have maintained contact with us, either by writing or, reading the communications. It is a wonderful feeling because it keeps us part of the community while on temporary leave of absence. Our friends in deepest Africa, including other parts of the world, are most encouraging—thank you. Some of the advice received has been most useful and we wish to share a few of these suggestions with you.

Thank you for helping me over come my Diet Coke malady. It was refreshing to read that instead of Coke, I should try water. I had never thought of that before, so thank you for the original suggestion.

I was a little upset by the comment that Jenni has more attractive legs than me. I suppose people are entitled their opinions, no matter how misdirected.

We thank friends for their concern about being careful around the wildlife. It is great advice but rest assured, we don’t frequent bars or nightclubs.

Others are worried that all mountains are the same and we must be very bored. Each trail, every mountain is unique. They share similar characteristics but they all differ. Besides, we are far too tired to be bored.

Other wanted to know about kosher issues. That’s the easy aspect. It’s lugging the heavy bins of utensils and foodstuffs that’s the problem. The spinoff is that I’m finally beginning to develop biceps—well, sort of.

We are with our son Gavin until very early on Tuesday. From Seattle, we leave for Switzerland and then onto Israel. Please keep in touch, especially should you have some wisdom to impart to us—we are ‘fairly light’ in that department—or anything else to express.

Have a great Shabbos,

Jenni and Jeffrey

PS We’ll be at Chabad in Bellevue for Shabbos, G-d willing.