New Zealand: Along the Ben Lomond Trail.


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.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Hike 36: Farewell to The Royal Natal Park

Rain or falls--not sunshine


Peering into the Valley

February 18th

Hello and Goodbye,

It’s time for a holiday as we complete another leg of Hike-About. Throw away the editor’s red pen, wash the smelly boots and head off to Ellie and the children. We left Los Angeles, flying west on December 5th and are due to fly into Los Angeles from the east, still flying west. The world must be round, we think. We doubt whether this discovery will be attributed to us but it is a fascinating thought. In earlier days, it took tremendous courage and skill to circumvent the world. Nowadays, it takes patience and a few ‘bucks’—actually quite a few.

Tiger Falls

Our visit to South Africa was filled with much emotion as we met wonderful people, our family and friends, experienced natural wonders and beauty and of course, spent time with Mom. We feel revitalized about the country and hope to make further visits in the near future. The Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal are regions with fantastic hiking opportunities, something that excites us and is the catalyst for our renewed enthusiasm.

Clothes and body--all in one shower

Our last hike of this phase was in a rather wet Royal Natal Park. The views are spectacular, the hiking is endless but there is something more. It is quiet and tranquil. It struck us as being a place where one could take temporary leave of absence from formal life and refresh oneself in paradise. We stayed in a bungalow for three days that contained the basic amenities we required. However, for the rest, it was quiet but for the many birds (Thendele) singing and chirping, especially in the early morning. The guinea fowl joined us for breakfast on our patio, the baboons were close by, always seeking an opportunity to eat our food.
Sharing the trail or co-existing

Tranquil home for three days--Thendele

We were without internet reach in the camp, so on two occasions following our hikes, we drove into the village where we discovered an internet café. In the various establishments in South Africa where we have used the internet, it provided us with an opportunity to observe and listen to the locals—quite a fascinating experience. One can learn much by just watching—of course, a diet Coke makes it all the more enjoyable.

Our final hike took place under wet conditions. The trail towards Tiger Falls and beyond to the Crack, some eight miles, encompassed jungle like terrain. At times, the grass was not much under six feet high. It appeared that our editor was playing hide-and-go-seek except when she cried out that she had stood on something ‘squishy’. We crossed streams again, stood behind the waterfall and observed the heavy cloud sheltering the mountain ranges. The world is truly a wonder, a fascinating place.

Trees about to take a shower

In a fitting climax to an incredible three-month experience, we spent the afternoon at the Meyerowitz wedding. Russell, son of Aubrey and Sheree, married Amy Schneider. In a nutshell, it was a wedding of pure joy, of simcha, of happiness and celebration that encompassed the essence of Jewish values. The family did themselves proud and we think, Am Yisrael, too. The bride and groom are a delightful couple.

One of my 'all-time' favorites--the climber, too

To those who have kept us company over the last three months, we have enjoyed having you close. Thank you. We look forward to renewing our acquaintances in person very soon—N’H.


Jenni and Jeffrey

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Hikes 34 and 35: Thendele, Northern Drakensberg--An African Experience at the Amphitheatre

Magnificent Drakensberg

Small in a large environment

A chain is only as strong as its weakest....

Hi All,

February 14th

We left Cape Town reluctantly but not before meeting with Dani and Gill Saks, their sweet, young children, Jacob and Ruby. We saw Dani some 17 years ago when he visited San Diego for Natalie’s bat mitzvah. Dani is our nephew through Jenni’s sister.
Jungle Jen...again

The problem with overseas travel is that one is forced to buy return-tickets which ‘cramps one’s style’ when wishing to remain in a place for an extended period. Nevertheless, we’re working on a plan. Meanwhile, we flew a little north and mostly east to the port city of Durban. Colyn and Sharon Levin invited us to visit them in La Lucia on our way to the Royal National Park of KwaZulu-Natal. The difference, in our opinion, between La Lucia and La Jolla is that the former is modern, very well planned and at a third of the price or less. We also mentioned we lunched with the Levin’s last week in Johannesburg. The have two homes, we have none. However, we calculate it as an average of one house each. Makes sense, we think. Their home in this delightful enclave is near perfect and their hospitality was superb. Thank you, Levin’s.

Some good bonding

South Africa is a dilemma for us. To be honest, which is the only way we think one should be, Johannesburg is a…well, not a desirable city. However, the natural attractions and beauty of the Cape and the appeal of KwaZulu-Natal have aroused our interest greatly. We mentioned it earlier. The Cape above ground level is another world—an exquisite one. The north coast of KZ-Natal is also a very desirable area within which to live. The dilemma is thus simmering. Perhaps we should engage in a cooling off period, say a winter in North Dakota, to clear our minds. Anyway, we pondered as we sat on the boulevard of La Lucia, coffee in the left hand, index finger on the keyboard while wondering ‘buy, sell, hold or order another cup’. Coffee seemed the least risk to take. The breeze came off the Indian Ocean, cooled the face, the coffee too and made us realize again how fortunate we are.

Water from Heaven

We left ‘Durbs by the Sea’ and drove to the Royal Natal National Park near Bergville. From the moment we approached this district, we could already feel the knees quivering. It is another beautiful part of the country, of the world. Time allowed us a short hike before sunset, especially as our internet system, purchased earlier in the day, did not operate. Instead of being able to do some work, we were forced to enjoy an early evening hike in the foothills. No! It’s not easy.

Crossing number 10 of the day

Another fascinating place

In the morning, we set off for the Gorge and beyond. We hiked over 10 miles, which included viewing spectacular scenery, mountains soaking in mists, greenery, rivers crossed on at least 10 occasions, waterfalls of incredible height and so much more. The variation from the Cape was drastic but this place is dramatic in itself.

Tiny view of amphitheatre

There goes another pair of boots

To get to an internet café, we passed through small villages and watched children returning from school. The main road is a thoroughfare for the inhabitants, livestock, baboons, all and sundry. It could have been a scene from the 19th century. We spoke with locals and enjoyed their banter. The African people are friendly, humble and refreshing. Of course, we are not referring to the ‘city slickers’, the unruly elements and the criminal class. Another of life’s tragedies occurs when all are lumped together and compared with the criminal few. One can see the changes that have occurred over the last two decades, many of them easily apparent and for the better.

That's really high

The African blood may have hibernated for a few years but it seems to be pumping through our arteries again…vigorously. Hmm!


Jenni and Jeffrey

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Hike 33: Chapman’s Peak and a peek at Marais Street Shul

Jenni at the Peak--what a view
Take cover
Part way up Chapman's Peak

February 11th, 2010

Hi All,

It was more than we expected—the climb to the summit at Chapman’s peak. Once again, the views were nothing less than spectacular.
G-d willing, this is a place we will return. The mountain ranges are endless, the bays are attractive, the climbs are challenging, the Atlantic is distinctive, and the rocks and boulders are a ‘kiddies’ delight’. What else is there to ‘say’? Did we mention the low clouds and mist that filled the crevices and the bay, only to rise and clear, repeatedly. It reminded us of a day in Grindelwald, another recent highlight. On day one, we were captivated, day two enthralled and then finally, it ‘got better’.
Editor blowing smoke

Cloud and Mist Filling the Gap

After four days in the mountains, including walks on the boardwalk and town, it was time to welcome the Shabbos with relief. We visited the Sea Point/Green Point Shul on Marais Street. It is a typical South African structure including a warm and welcoming community. Rabbi Wineberg is the new leader on the block—a man of Chabad origin. He spoke eloquently and too welcomed us warmly. We’ve had quite a ‘run’ in shuls over the last few weeks—Melbourne, Singapore, Lyndhurst (JHB) and Sea Point (CT) with the intention of completing the trip at Lyndhurst again next Shabbos. The latter three shuls had Chabad Rabbis although two were traditional orthodox. A special thanks to Mercia Strieman who spent enjoyable time informing us of the local community.
Just before the Peak
Through saddle--final ascent

South African Jews know how to throw a “Kiddush meal’ or brocha as they call it. We walked into the hall and were overwhelmed by the spread. We thought we could feel the ‘love handles’ over our waist growing as we breathed in the aroma. Afterwards, the Rabbi approached us and asked whether we had a place for lunch. “Wasn’t that lunch? We exclaimed. He looked at us with sadness, shook his head and walked off. Aren’t three meals on Shabbos enough, we wanted to know.
Jenni at Chapman's Peak

The hike to the peak had characteristics that we believe make it one of the nicest we have enjoyed although it was not as difficult as expected. When we arrived at the car park, only two cars were in the area together with a sign that ‘tickled’ us.
We were confused for a change

How were we to tackle the hike if someone had to remain attending the car? What if a person arrived for a lone hike? Should we carry the car up the mountain but take the valuables from it? On the way we up, we met the two couples and had the whole trail to ourselves thereafter. We suppose it would have been better if more people were around (security). We spoke with a Scot and his local girlfriend, the first of the two couples, about water issues on trails. We loved his subtle comment that one should always have sufficient water while hiking. Even in Scotland, he said, where it might not be as hot as Cape Town, one should carry plenty of water. Did we doubt that Scotland might not get too warm?
Triumphant Editor

Chapman's Peak--the longest yard
We spent time playing on the boulders and even took a ‘second leap of faith’. When our camerawoman failed in her duty to capture our photo’ for posterity, we were forced to take leaps three and four. We must be going through a mid-life crisis else why would we show-off like that. Truth be told, it was a lot of fun and only a yard of ‘flight’.
And now the rest


Jenni and Jeffrey

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Hike 32: Two oceans, one president & many wives' tales

Good Hope from Lighthouse

Editor taking it all in
Point of Cape of Good Hope

Hi All,

February 10th

Having the answers might not be as critical as knowing the right questions to ask. For years, we have been practising our ‘questions’. Today, we think we have the right question to ask. Here goes: If a person loves the beauty of the mountain ranges, the oceans and the wonder of a great coastline, why would such a person live in Johannesburg? What were we thinking? Were we in fact thinking? There you have another two questions—we’re on a ‘roll’.

Some symmetry

We spent an incredible day at Cape Point Nature Reserve. What an exquisite place. We walked to the original lighthouse then down to Cape Point, near the new beacon and across to the Cape of Good Hope. The Atlantic and Indian oceans are reputed to meet at the Point. It is also the southern extremity of the African continent, if not also the most beautiful. When it came time to leave, we decided to play on the rocks for another hour or so. The cliffs are quite daring and caused the adrenaline to flow a little…too much. At one stage, we lay with our heads over the cliff edge and watched the bird life. They were very active, the little feathered creatures, flying this way and that while appearing to chirp and jabber with each other. For a while, they made us feel guilty because of our inactivity. Fortunately, we got over it rather quickly—such is our power of recovery.

Bird watching...yeah right.
Sitting on the dock of the bay

On our return to the mother city, we were stuck in a major traffic ‘jam’—parliament was about to open. In fact, a fellow by the name of Jake Zuma was going to give a state of the republic address to the nation. Apparently, when this happens, they close roads, planes fly overhead, cannons are fired and ‘life is great’. This pomp and ceremony is all very well but what about those poor sods stuck in their cars. From the positive side, it enabled us to see more of Cape Town as we ‘ducked and dived’ all over the place. We think our editor ducked when she heard the cannons sound but we’re not sure. Let’s listen to the speech, we thought, we might get a taste of ‘wisdom’ from the political class. Well, for the first ten minutes, the president identified all the dignitaries. At one stage, we thought he might mention each citizen of the country by name, including all the illegal Nigerians.

Hello...C'mon over

Two points struck us before we had to switch off the radio with great relief…er reluctance—we had arrived at our apartment, not a moment too soon. The first was that the murder rate was 8.3% down over last year. Is that a good number? The other was the announcement of the arrival of the first lady by the radio commentator. That struck a chord. We feel for the president. We would not like to be in his shoes. What was he going to say to his second, third, fourth…lady? We know his many talents are only exceeded by the number of his wives and girlfriends. It’s not easy being a president, especially having to placate so many women. And we thought the Mormon men lived dangerously.

We were a little tired after the day’s activities, particularly the drive. However, we were enchanted by the beauty of the Cape at mountain level or from high elevations. The climbs, the rock scrambling, the vistas…are stunning; they give one an amazing perspective of both the natural wonders, which are paramount for us and the towns and cities nestled between mountains, ocean and bays. It is an awe-inspiring position. Tomorrow, we are hiking up Chapman’s Peak, something we expect to be breathtaking.
What's the 'Point'

See you at the bottom on our return.


Jenni and Jeffrey

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Hike 31: An absolute treat at the Table

Table Mountain, a perspective

Hike up there? You can't be serious
No 'blues' for us

February 9th

Hi All,

There are many reasons not to hike up that overpowering mountain but then we might as well sit on the couch and eat potato chips—the fat-free ones, of course. “That’s not going to happen,” our editor remarked, “Isn’t that so?”
“No, Boss, it sure ain’t,” we answered.

Lion's Head--the hike from day before

We decided on the Platte Klip Gorge trail to the summit. Wow! It was particularly strenuous because of the heat (above 90 degrees). However, we prefer it to the winds and rain. We were strongly motivated and the spirit soared to be in such a beautiful but rugged place. The elevation gain was well over 2,000 feet but in a short span. We often climb double that distance on a hike but never as steep. Our editor does herself proud. With the sinus congestion, the stomach bug and her ‘creeping age’, she showed courage that made us stand by in awe. At times, we wished we were standing ‘by’ the apartment, rather. No, never. Sometimes we get a bit carried away. However, today the climb reached into the soul and as we struggled up the ‘Stairway to Heaven’, we realized it ought to be difficult. What is worth achieving that comes without a struggle? On arrival at the summit, we paused to absorb the words on a plaque from Psalms. It always helps to have some perspective. Nice touch in South Africa.

Here comes the Editor
A well earned rest

Addressing the Mountain Tops--no one else listens

Doesn't get much better

Barry Kassar replied: “You are as close to Heaven as one can be on earth”. We would never argue with Barry. He is too smart and strong for us and besides, he could be correct. However, we would say that the world has many Heavenly attributes—our senses are not always open to them.”

Approaching the Gorge in trapped hot air

We met Joan Love from Washington at the top of the mountain, a fellow African-American. She loves this country (and potato chips); she is excited to be away from DC in the snow. In fact, we met people on the trail and at the top, mostly Germans and a few English. People were particularly charming. We even had a German couple tell us a joke but we had to complete the ‘punch-line’. However, it’s a start. One young woman announced this as her last ‘Table Mountain hike’—she will retain boasting rights, however. We came across another woman who was delirious (for a moment we thought it was because we were looking particular attractive today) but it turns out she had no water. Yesterday, we met young Erik from Sweden on the Lion’s Head hike. Today, we bumped into him on Table Mountain and again shared stories and a drink. He then decided to walk down the mountain with us. He had wonderful stories to relate of endurance and adventure. Youngsters who don’t spend their time in front of television sets have great experiences.
Rugged and staggering

We seldom fall on a hike but today it occurred not once but twice. The hike down is quite treacherous and we found ourselves on the rear end both times, the second occasion saved by our ‘pinky’. We are thankful that we only need two fingers with which to type. For the upward climb, we stood before the massive mountain and wondered how we would reach the peak. It is an awesome, humbling and exciting sight. We are obviously back down; nevertheless, the spirit remains perched at the summit…for a few moments more.
Fairest Cape

“How did all these people climb to the top?” we asked our sweaty editor when arriving at the ‘table top’. “They look so fresh and clean.”
“Don’t be a dummy—they have the good sense to ride the cable car.” Something to look forward to for our 80’s, N’H.
Looking down at the Lion...with respect

Finally, there are people who are poor and might feel justified being aggrieved. The “mixed-race” of South Africa are perhaps the most ‘colorful’ and entertaining people we have met...anywhere. The fellow in the picture earned a gratuity today in looking after our car while we hiked. We all had a good laugh when we returned and he showed us the car in the condition we left it. “But,” we asked, “does it still have an engine?”

A friend in need


Jenni and Jeffrey