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.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mishpatim at "Magen Avot" in Singapore.

It's about as high as it gets in S.E. Asia

January 30th

What do the following have in common? A Jewish economic adviser to Muslims of Indonesia and Nigeria, an Indian Coca Cola executive residing in Singapore, an owner of ‘The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf’ chain of stores, a mathematician from Heidelberg, an elderly Canadian couple from Winnipeg, formerly of Poland, visiting their son in Saigon, a Bulgarian pianist and a handful of Malaysians and Chinese couples, the men wearing Tzizit. We suppose we should add two wandering Jews whom are full of wonder. So, what’s the answer to the riddle?

In the Forest near the City

We wandered through the ‘green area’ of the city in pouring rain, reaching the highest point in Singapore, Mount Faber and then walked into the adjoining forest. A cable car reaches the top as well as allowing one to travel on it to a nearby island, too. We think we had an elevation gain of 500 feet or so—big deal. However, the gardens and forest are very attractive and provide a respite against the backdrop of the many high-rises dotting the landscape. The density of the housing is quite remarkable. It adds to the wonder of many people living so close to each other in relative harmony. Once again the cleanliness of the city-country made a favorable impression. There must be a lesson somewhere in there.
Rain every day, saves time in the shower

City forest (with concrete)

Being in Shul was quite an experience. The building is 140 years old, a wonderful place although the acoustics caused difficulties. It is a Sephardic community, which made it quite different from our regular services. However, we were just relieved that Rabbi Abergel spoke in English although the concept sounded ‘Chinese’ to us. We are always fascinated that the ‘Chabadniks’ all know each other; it matters little where they are. Sometimes one sits in shul and has to think hard to determine where in the world one is—now we know how Waldo feels. In fact, it is fascinating—may we have this feeling more often. The answer to the riddle is, of course, these were some of the people we met and spoke with during a sit down Kiddush lunch.
A different perspective of the country

For our afternoon walk, we were stunned to see the multitudes filling the malls, underground and street level, sidewalks and every conceivable space. It was a real eye-opener to witness that many people in a confined space. This was in contrast to our walks in the financial district and forest area, which were most comfortable, people wise. Too constricting for us but maybe it’s only the weekends. It reminded us of London or New York at peak except it is orderly, clean and exuberant. One other thing. It was mostly youngsters. The Asia we are seeing is a powerful, emerging force, in our opinion.

Recently, we happened to walk through a golf club en route to a hike in New Zealand and came across the following sign: ‘In the event of lightning, take out a one-iron and hold it towards the heavens—even the Almighty has trouble striking that club.’


Jenni and Jeffrey

Friday, January 28, 2011

One last 'dig' and 'Hello' Singapore

A gardner's pride

What are they selling?

January 28th

“We have a rental car; there are buses, trains, trams, taxis even bicycles. Why are we walking, via the beach from our apartment, to downtown Melbourne?” we gently inquired of our beloved editor. We did not want to appear impolite but 11 or 12 miles on asphalt is somewhat tiring, especially after little sleep and a hectic couple of months hiking. We have been waking in Australia at times that even the ‘streetwalkers’ of Chapel Street might find awkward. “Because there are no mountains to speak of in the area, I’ve got to keep you busy and exercised otherwise I’ll have to listen to your whining,” she replied firmly. We’re sorry we asked—we should know better by now. Keep us ‘exercised and whinnying’? —sounds like horse-talk to us.

"Okay Guys, I got you covered...extra sunscreen in my sidepocket"

We said goodbye to our spunky niece and left Melbourne for the city-state of Singapore. After a hectic start including a torturous route to the airport, we flew to Darwin, changed planes (although we thought that one was just fine) and headed to our first Asian stop. A trip to South Africa will follow. What do New Zealand, Australia, Singapore and South Africa have in common? Yes, they are or were part of the commonwealth. We want to point out that in all four countries, one drives on the left side of the road. Of course, that is if one follows the law. We thought that might be an interesting tidbit. Then again, after writing it, it might not be.

We were impressed with the system of ‘demerits’ in the country. The government interferes um…involves itself in many aspects of life, we notice. For a moving violation, a person might incur a demerit or two. After a certain number of demerits, the licence privileges are withdrawn. So far so good. However, if caught kissing the wife while driving—two demerits—three if caught kissing the mistress. Oh well!

We never listen to the state of union speeches or speeches from politicians. Words are cheap especially from people who are trying to please or ‘buy’ votes rather than lead. Besides, we know that in all the news articles following, we will read many extracts and interpretations. After a couple days in Singapore, we think that the ‘Old Western’ world is going to have to change its work ethic and attitudes should it wish to compete with the Asian countries. The country, and we reiterate that we have only witnessed a tiny bit of it, is very impressive. It is clean, tidy and attractive. The city has all the features of a modern metropolis but with a difference—an orderliness, a discipline and a look of confidence and success. Our judgment is premature; nevertheless, we are impressed.

Jenni spots Noah's Ark--great eyes.

Okay, we’re moving off the subject. Good. We’re back. On another long walk in a city, we may have solved one of the great mysteries of the world. The solution has been staring people in the face all these years. It takes people of our stature and of course, humility (in spades) to make the discovery. We found the resting place of Noah’s Ark. We kid you not. Have a look at the picture and then try arguing against it. At worst, it is surely a place to find Irv and Sandy or Celia and Nate. We think people never thought to look for a boat 'out of water’. No wonder it was never spotted.

Apparently, nobody knows to whom it belongs--must be the Palestinians

Does anyone know what's going on?

Off to shul for Shabbos tomorrow. We hope there’s not going to be a language barrier. If the davening is in Chinese then we may have to throw a tantrum, never mind whine. We also cannot read those little graphics they call words. Furthermore, we don’t know whether Chinese-Hebrew is read right to left or vice-versa. Man, life is complicated on the road. Maybe we should just arrive in time for Kiddush.

Chinese-Indian-Malaysian Shul

We think this is the Chinese new year of the rabbit so we’ll…never mind.


Jenni and Jeffrey

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Farewell Australia--see you, Mates

Chapel Street

"For a start, get rid of those shorts,” our editor announced gruffly,”and while you’re at it, your stylish hat, too.”
“Oh, no. Not the hat, surely,” we protested strongly. What triggered this assault on our wardrobe you might wonder? It is all about Chapel Street in St Kilda, Melbourne. We have rented an apartment close to that street for five days and have discovered that it may be the ideal place to live. The internet brochure advertising the accommodation was a work of art. Any similarity to the actual apartment is purely coincidental, though. But we really ‘appreciate’ the slick approach. Yeah, right! We have arrived as the saying goes. What made you decide, you might ask? We’re pleased you’re inquisitive. Chapel Street, particularly at night, appeals to us because it’s for the young, hip, the with-it, tattooed, heavy smokers, drinkers, semi-nudists and other upstanding citizens of society. We just feel it’s our kind of town.

We strolled along the sidewalk and were nearly smoked-out. We note the sidewalks are just that—sidewalks—not elaborate boulevards. The main one is filled with smokers and beer swillers at tables and chairs hemmed into narrow gaps. The restaurants are ‘smoke-free’ so the public domain is smoke-smogged. If the smoke does not get you, the beer hops will. It is bureaucratic policy working perhaps a little differently from that intended—'bless them'. Then there are the tattoos. It’s like being at the movies—all one sees are moving pictures. So many people are covered with them, some from head to toe.

We are such a ‘square’. However, we look around at many of the young women and think of the parents of those girls and wonder how they might feel seeing nose rings, tattoos, tongue rings, exhaling smoke from bodies that are barely clothed but often heavily painted. Whew! What a square—you’re so right when you think that. None of this is new to us unfortunately; perhaps our expectations for Australia were different. Anyway, as Fagan of “Oliver Twist” fame might say, “We’re reviewing the situation”…maybe we’ll move on after all.

We leave Australia tomorrow and head for Singapore. We feel safe about flying from Australia because there are no mountains for the pilot to negotiate in flight. (That was somewhat of a low blow to our hosts.) Below, we set out a few of the critters we came across in the country whose behavior was somewhat better than late-night Chapel Street revelers.

1. We have all our Pelicans in a row—now we are working on the ducks.
We watched a woman feeding chips (french fries) to the Pelicans with disappointment for obvious reasons. However, the cruelest part, we thought, was in not providing ketchup or at least salt and vinegar. Who ever ate fries without ketchup? We ask you.

2. The mist came in strongly, covering the view of the mating kangaroos. What’s a person to do. Some 5 hours later the mist lifted and we “mist” the rest of the action.
Perhaps if you look at the photo long enough you’ll see what we witnessed or missed.

3. Snakes they have in abundance. In fact, some of the most venomous reside over here.
Black Tiger
Eastern Brown

4. There are an abundance of signs warning motorists to be cautious of kangaroos springing across roads.
The closest we came to seeing a kangaroo in Australia is as shown above. We think the 'roo might be a myth.

5. "If you can keep your head while those around you are losing theirs...Rudyard "Kipper"


Jenni and her "Cute Critter"

Monday, January 24, 2011

Family trumps Mountains...of course.

Romy and Jenni, entering the forest after 1,000 steps

January 24th

Hike 27: The Dandenongs and its 1,000 steps

We’re in Melbourne, a large city by any standard. This does not necessarily mean that there are high mountains though. Then again, you can’t have everything. Shabbos was at St Kilda’s Hebrew Congregation, a friendly community with Rabbi Heilbrunn, formerly of South Africa. The Rabbi sounds equally at home as a chazzan, too.

It was a most interesting and uplifting few days. We met family of Jenni’s who live in Australia by the name of Klein (from Springs). Isadore, Bernice, daughters Cheryl and Louise and niece, Jenny. Family like this one doesn’t run away from but rather, one runs to. Then we linked up with Lorraine and Bobby Heilbrunn who are cousins and hosted us at their home for a wonderful dinner. Yes. Bobby is the brother of the rabbi and Lorraine is Jenni’s first cousin. We have met up with quite a few ‘landsman’. What is most interesting is that every South African we spoke with living in Australia has only good things to say of the country.

The 'Groot' Kleins With Lorraine

We go through life looking for heroes, perhaps role models. We look at ‘iron men’, 4-minute milers and other successful celebrities. By focusing in the wrong places, we often miss that which stares us in the face. There are people in our midst who are not famous, not successful by modern measures but who face momentous tasks and challenges each and every day. I can remember holding a spunky little girl in my arms when she was days, weeks and a few years old. What could this little toddler teach me; for that matter, anyone? Yet today, she is a young woman who has lived with difficulties that no child should have to endure. Yet, she stands firm, upright and still spunky. Whereas we may not have agreed with this young woman on every action she took, we stand in awe at her courage, her resilience and ability to face each and every stumbling block that is put before her and vault over it. May Hashem make life better for you incrementally. We salute Romy Klotnick, our niece.

Uncle and niece

It’s a little difficult to talk of hiking after the above sentiments. Nevertheless, because we were with Romy, the Dandenongs and its 1,000 steps will have special significance for us. We climbed the steps which are symbolic of the path that Australian soldiers took in 1942 in Papua New Guinea. Although steep, we had it a darn sight easier. We followed this with a hike through the forest, spotting and listening to the wonderful birds in this part of the world.
We’ll leave it right there.

Beautiful birds abound


Jenni and Jeffrey

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Hike 26: Seeking Snow Once More at the 'Snowies'

Did you hear the ghost?

Hello Mates,

January 20th

Less visited Snowy trail

Time to leave Jindabyne, New South Wales and give Victoria a try. But first, let’s attempt one more approach to a summit in the Snowy Mountains, we decided. All day traveling without activity makes Jen and Jeff even more dull. We packed and headed for the quaint village of Threadbo. In our next ‘life', we are thinking of asking Hashem to appoint us a place-name supervisor. We also want to be able to make up names like those in Australasia. A person could have a lot of fun in this field—what’d you say Tutukaka?
Our best hike in the Snowy Mountains

We found a hike that was partly closed because a bridge had been washed away. We checked it, finding the crossing sans bridge wouldn’t be a problem. We always feel safe when holding our editor’s hand. Yes, we did commit a transgression. However, we do think the Australians are very cautious about things like that. The hike was terrific. One of the reasons is that the trail was a regular ‘bush walk’, no luxury features included. We climbed some 1,900 feet and enjoyed spectacular views of the ‘Snowies’ again. It really is a beautiful place. We witnessed the recovering trees from previous fires in the area. They are now grey and leafless, no longer blackened. It is both attractive and haunting. Most people take the cableway from the village to the base of Mt. Kosciuszko and then hike down, an option we suppose.
Returning through recovering fire-damaged trees

Back in the car, we traveled a difficult alpine scenic route, passed Lake Hume, a wonder of water and arrived in Wangaratta for the night. The following day we left for Melbourne and found ourselves in a traffic jam twenty miles outside the city. Not that we needed the reminder, but that’s another reason for our fondness for the small towns—their traffic jams are more palatable.

Even death is attractive in nature

One cannot help but compare countries, cultures and people. However, we don’t want to be too specific because we don’t have sufficient experience or knowledge. In any case, it is not our function to render judgments—that we leave to Caesar. Nevertheless, an interesting difference we found is in the checking-in process at places of accommodation. In Australia, much like the United States, the receptionist reaches across the front desk and puts his/her hand in the pocket, seeking the credit card. An immediate charge is implemented. Whereas in New Zealand, in every place we stayed, all they want is your name. Nothing else. When you are ready to depart they ask for payment. It is very trusting which may not be ‘good business’ but it certainly makes one feel comfortable. As we said, no big deal, but a nice reflection of the hosts.
We have to admit our consciences are not clear. You see we sneaked out in the early hours of the morning from some motels and hotels, long before the front-desk opened. Not nice, we suppose. However, it gets even worse, we’re sorry to admit. We had previously checked in as Gary and Barbara Frank on one occasion and Denise and Gary Sneag on the other. That’s not the bad part though. The problem is that we can’t figure which couple to use next. Relax Mom, our friends are forgiving. Anyway, we are no longer in New Zealand.
Lake Hume


Jenni and Jeffrey

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mount Kosciuszko--Australia's "biggie"

Australia's highest, Our finest

Hike 25: January 18th

Dressed for Snow at Peak

Back into the park to face Mount Kosciu...chefsky, no that’s wrong, Poland’s…, we mean Australia’s, highest. We might also add, one of the country’s most difficult names. If one mentioned to a person from Colorado that the highest mountain in Australia is 7,320 feet, the person would ‘crack-up’. He/she would be rolling on the ground hysterically. We, however, don’t even raise an eyebrow. As we mentioned in the last narrative, it’s the beauty in this area that counts and we think it’s particular beautiful. We walked 12 miles today and there was nothing funny about it, Mr. Colorado. Looking down and across into the valleys gave us a very satisfying feeling even without binoculars. Our expectations were on the low side so we have been most pleasantly surprised. By the way, the elevation gain from the base at Charlotte’s Pass was a mere 1,300 feet. Hey, don’t laugh. The Australians are sensitive about their height issues.
Now that's a snake

Down into Valley, up to Peak

On the way up, we came across the family we met the day before on Mount Caruthers. It was quite a coincidence and gave us further opportunity to exchange stories. They looked fine except Mike who had one day’s extra growth on his face; the rest of the family didn’t. Kids of 12 and 14—what a great way to bond. It follows our philosophy that the more you sweat together, the deeper the bond. Plays havoc with the deodorant bill but so what.
Ex-Malawian, two days in a row

At Peak of Mount Kosciuszko

We enjoyed the forest and gorges of the Blue Mountains but much prefer the open alpine regions. The Snowy Mountains fits the bill. It also helps because we think we can spot snakes a lot easier than in the tight jungle type terrain. We made extremely good time down today, averaging a brisk four miles an hour. Our only complaint, should we have one, is that the trails are too luxurious in the ‘Snowies’. The authorities have withdrawn some of the challenges by making it too ‘comfortable’. The peak is far too easy to reach. Nevertheless, after 12 miles, our editor proclaimed: “I intend to lay on my bed and moan when we return.” We were only too happy to hear her say that. It gets lonely whining all on our own.

A Break on the Way Up
Facing Destination after a mile

While we write this we are acting innkeepers. Why's that? We booked ahead for our room, fearing the school holidays would create havoc with accommodation. Pretty wise of us. Tonight we are the only ‘guests’ in the motel. (Don’t you love that term used in the hospitality industry. If we are guests, why do we pay?) Earlier, the owner asked us rather shyly whether we would mind if she and her husband went out to movies and left us alone. We were very excited. Our editor all to ourselves...the imagination pales... We asked them to let us know when they return home...we don’t wish to spend the night worrying about someone else’s children as well our own.
Rolling Mountains, very attractive


The Innkeepers

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

He Works Hard for a Living or Get rid of the Camera!

Santa Fe, NM

Mt. Kosciuszko, Snowy Mts.

Tarrigal Beach, Sydney (north)

Zion, Ut (Great favorite)

You may gather it was a rest day.

The Snowy Mountains. Nu? Where's the snow

The Snowy Mountains from Atop

Summit Mt. Caruthers

High winds well below summit

Hike 24: January 17th

‘Snowy Mountains here we come,’ we shouted as we sped off from Leura, traveling south through the capital, Canberra and then on to Jindabyne. We spent seven nights in the Blue Mountains, a similar amount of days, too. We had a wonderful experience in the region, although after a very slow start, we were beginning to wonder about our stay in Australia. Canberra, the parts that we saw, were very pretty. It looks like a well-cared for city. “Why are you holding your wallet like that?” our editor asked as we entered the capital. “We once wrote a dissertation on taxes, so we know how things work with politicians,” we answered. “There are only two things certain in life, death and taxes, and not necessarily in that order. When we enter a town filled with politicians, we hold onto our wallet.” With the usual rolling of the eyes, we were told to drive towards Jindabyne, a village with a cute name and a large lake.
One of the summits-wonderful

Highest body of water in Australia

..and opposite the country's highest mountain
“Where’s the snow?” we wanted to know as we viewed the grass covered mountains in Australia’s alpine region. The Kosciuszko National Park is some 15 miles from where we are, which houses the highest mountains in Australia. The title belongs to the mountain with the same name as the park. These Aussie names are really tricky—what happened to the old colonial names like “Smith, Jones and even Cohen”? Turns out it is named after a Polish freedom fighter. Go figure! Now don’t get too excited about mountains in Australia. Geologists tell us that mountains on this continent are collapsing whereas those in New Zealand are rising. We wish they had told us this before we arrived. Nevertheless, the Snowy Mountain area is, in our opinion, very beautiful. Admittedly, the mountains are not that high. However, for an alpine area, the soil is very good allowing the grass and vegetation to cover the mountains gracefully. The rolling blue ranges, look well manicured, and together with rocky outcrops, give one the feeling that one can see the whole world and in a most tranquil way. It is wonderful rather than a spectacular place.

A lot further to go, my Sweet
We commenced our hike at Charlotte Pass, headed down into the valley, crossed the Snowy River (stream) a few times and ascended for the rest of the time to the peak. We passed Blue Lake, the highest body of water in Australia. Thereafter, we made our way to Mount Caruthers in winds that were unpleasantly strong. At the summit, we met a local, young family who are ‘tramping’ about the area. The husband/father hales from Malawi, a neighbor to South Africa. It was interesting talking with them. The distance of the hike was nine miles in full sunshine but the wind made it a bit of a struggle, at times. We woke this morning with stiff necks and aching muscles—compliments of the biting wind, we think.
Not the Mississippi

So where’s the snow?