LAZAROW WORLD HIKE-ABOUT
New Zealand: Along the Ben Lomond Trail.
'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 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. Our 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.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
We are fortunate and blessed to have had incredible experiences on the road over the last few years. This trip was no different, perhaps somewhat superior. In fact, we celebrated our first anniversary on the road the week prior to Shavuot. It took us a while to consider how we should enjoy that special day. After racking our brains for a while, our editor’s head popped up, her blue eyes shone like Hawaiian waters, and then a smile creased her face as she announced: ‘Let’s climb a mountain.’ Once again, she trumped us. Why can’t we ever get original ideas like that?
When we were in Maui, we came across a sign one Shabbos that puzzled us. Many do but this one had us thinking more than usual. A person walks around with many questions and puzzling thoughts. The trick is not to be in darkness, not to be confused regarding values. For the rest, that’s okay, well sort of. Unfortunately, we could not take a picture on that day so we’ll set out the approximate wording we read: ‘Stay 100 feet away from whales. Failure….etc will result in a fine of $ 300.’ This got us thinking about the august legislative body that created this law.
Firstly, how does one determine that one is 100 feet from a whale? What if the whale is below the surface? What if one is minding one’s own business and a whale happens to swim past? We became more perplexed the more we pondered. We then moved to the rocks jutting into the ocean to do some whale watching. By the way, we think that is a misnomer in itself. We looked for an hour and did not see a solitary whale. Could we honestly say we were whale watching?
We thought it required deeper contemplation. Let’s say that one is swimming and a whale happens to streak by. A person would find himself within 100 feet of the mammal. Is that subject to a penalty? What happens if a whale attacks a person resulting in death, not the whale—we don’t want to upset the ‘Greens’—but the person. Isn’t this conclusive proof that the person must have been within 100 feet of the whale. Can the government sue the estate of the deceased for the commission of an offense? Let’s be practical, how does one estimate the distance of separation? Who carries a tape measure on his person? If you hold the measure on one side, can you ask the whale to hold the other side of the tape? No wonder we have the headache. And to be fair, we made the presumption that the sign applied to whales only in the ocean. Don’t get us started on land-based creatures.
It goes further. There is an information board explaining the migration of whales. It states that the whales migrate to Alaska, the last of the pods leave each May. That bamboozled us. We understand that the mammal is intelligent but give us a break. A whale uses a calendar? We understand that migrating makes sense from Hawaii to Alaska—the whales remain in the USA but keep away from the mainland. Who can afford to travel outside the USA these days? The whales seem to understand the immigration laws better than many lawmakers. In fact, there is a nice symmetry to it—Alaska and Hawaii being states 49 and 50, the last two to join the Union. Maybe the whales are cleverer than we thought.
We usually have to rely on our editor to bring some closure to these deep and difficult concepts. She is a practical woman. ‘Why don’t you take a hike!!!’ “We thought you’d never ask.”
We have just returned to San Diego. Regrettably, we were unable to find accommodation near our shul. This has created a dilemma because the walk would be ten miles. As our editor cannot carry us on Shabbos outside the eruv, we don’t know what to do.
Thank you as always to those kind souls who gave us encouragement, made us smile because of their humorous emails, shared anecdotes and ‘cheeky’ advice.
Jenni and ‘Shamu’
Monday, June 20, 2011
Where do we begin? Had we known the trail would be so muddy including most sections along very narrow ridges at an altitude of 2,800 feet, would we have undertaken it? Without hesitation, our answer would be—absolutely. Of course, a dry trail would have made it one of the best hikes. What a day! If the question was phrased a little differently, such as: “Are you two a little crazy?” We might have to answer in the affirmative, too. It is very difficult to explain the build of excitement within us as we approach a hike, especially a challenging one. The more strenuous, the more challenging—the greater the elation that follows its completion. Add our concept of when people sweat together, it forges a strong bond especially when an equally strong deodorant is used.
As we returned to the lower trail, a fellow summed it up when he remarked, after looking at our clothing and legs: “You two have seen action today”. Six hours and ten miles on the mountain trail, numerous slips and slides, sun, clouds, rain and wind were with us, too. The climb was terrific but fraught with danger as we crossed the ridges on paths that were at times a mere 12 inches wide with drop-offs of two thousand feet and more. Of course, the real hazard was the mud that created instability, both on the ups and downs. It is quite frightening looking down at a slippery path without handgrips or roots and rocks to place the feet. We both had instances of walking and then suddenly, in a split second, finding ourselves sitting on our ‘bums’ involuntarily. We are most grateful that we are intact, physically; having only discarded pants, boots, socks and much energy.
The whole hike was challenging but the last march to the peak was the steepest and very enjoyable. The view was a spectacular 360 degrees. One feels enveloped by these beautiful mountains, completely covered in plants and trees. To the south, we could see Honolulu including Pearl Harbor. We had traveled from the north shore to undertake the hike today. Many of the pictures look similar to what we have posted over the weeks. However, when a person stands in the middle of it all, each view is unique, each one is a blessing for the viewer. To stand alone, atop a mountain high looking out at the other mountains and scenery with no human in sight, gives one a different perspective on life.
We had an experience today that answered a question that we are sure many face from time to time. At the peak, the clouds moved in fast, creating a somewhat eerie feeling, particularly as the velocity of the wind rose sharply. By the way, the frequent changes in the weather make Hawaii interesting and enjoyable. One day is never the same as another. Back to the incident. The stylish hat flew from the head and landed in a thorn bush on the edge of the peak. Much of the growth at the ledges, edges and ridges has its roots in the sidewalls. While it may look like the bush is sitting on the summit surface, it’s often on the side. One can easily stand on such a bush and tumble over the edge. In fact, two slips today had our one leg over the edge. What to do? Should we walk to the soft edge to retrieve a 20 dollar hat, no matter how stylish with the smell of its owner worked well in by now? Or, should one say ‘goodbye’. After all, a life is worth somewhat more than a lousy hat. Anyone knows that.
We think the issue is not a material concept. Perhaps it is more to do with challenges in life. If we evaluated everything on the basis that a life is greater than this or that, would we ever do anything? Would we ever take any risks? Of course, we should evaluate each and every risk with some degree of care. One should never act blindly. However, one of life’s components is the unknown, is risk. Anyway, that is why, we think, we went after the ‘stupid but very stylish hat'.
We have probably tired you with our philosophy. Nevertheless, should you reach this paragraph, we shall be more than delighted. A comment on this issue or any other would be most welcome, too.
Enjoy the week!
Jenni and Jeffrey
Sunday, June 19, 2011
“What do you want for lunch today?” asked our caring Editor. We don’t usually worry about lunch on the trails. A good breakfast followed by delicious dinner meals that Jenni prepares keeps us well nourished and most satisfied. Who could be so fortunate? We are amazed at what she can do with a microwave. Add a stovetop, some aluminum foil and she makes ‘magic’. Then we remembered why she asked. Lately, we have been finding wild fruit in the mountains. It is delightful to pick a guava, passion fruit or strawberry-guava from a tree and put it directly into the mouth, in the wild. It helps if you know whether it is poisonous or not—but let’s not get too technical.
We think of‘Ashrei’, the 3-times a day prayer that tells us Hashem will provide for those that follow Him. We have enjoyed the fresh fruit immensely; we are now quite spoilt, not the fruit. It reminds us of our youth. Pinching the neighbors’ fruit from the trees always seemed to be an exciting experience. Should one even be thinking that? Notice we use pinching instead of stea…
We enjoyed two ‘shortish’ hikes on the eastern side of the island today. They were both delightful as they took us up and along the mountain ridges. The underfoot was soft on our tender feet which was welcome after a tough week. The outside edges gave us pleasant exposure to the beautiful interior tree-covered mountains as well as the ocean. A combined total of seven miles and 1,500 feet elevation was most comfortable for the end of the week. We look forward to an extremely restful Shabbos. Our only disappointment in Hawaii is that uninhabited areas are beautiful while many of the locals tend to litter their homes and yards with all kinds of debris. Perhaps we are too harsh.
Next week, which will bring the trip to an end, might involve an incredible hike which is also rated dangerous. What to do about it has been on our minds. Oh Shelach! With this week’s Torah portion dealing with sending out spies to scout the land, we realized that the solution is at hand. Let’s send out our editor to climb and scout the dangerous cliffs, have her report back to base after which time we will be in a better position to make an intelligent decision. What’s the point of us both taking a risk? If she returns with a negative report, we won’t even hold that against her.
Chuck is a ‘hybrid’ if we may use such a term in jest. His father, a Samoan, served with the armed forces in Germany. Guess the nationality of his mom. We had a good chat with him before we opened our mouth and spoke of guavas. ‘Follow me,’ he said. Off we trudged along the road following Chuck past the school and into the cemetery where we picked guavas as “padkos” (food for the road). A donation was obviously expected for the information, tour of the cemetery, assistance in picking a handful of guavas and guiding us back to the car, a distance of some 200 yards. No more shopping for us. Our editor laughed— ‘ $4 per guava’—we laughed even harder.
The other night we went for a stroll in the town. We noticed every house had a warning sign regarding dogs. “Beware of dog; attack-dog on premises and more”. The accompanying barking sounds, which were quite intimidating, made us certain that there were many canines watching us. The enjoyable part of the outing was of the editor holding on tight—makes a person want to learn to bark. A few days later, we came across the sign below on the other side of the island with a different perspective:
Jenni and Jeffrey
Friday, June 17, 2011
It is not often that our dear and delightful editor resorts to whining. We do encourage it though, as it gives us precedent to have periodic sessions ourselves. Who doesn’t need a ‘good whine’ from time-to-time? Anyway, she had good cause. The previous day’s eleven miles through rugged terrain was testing. By late afternoon, the feet, legs and back were feeling the strain. During the night, relief was found wanting.
‘We went kayaking the other day so maybe we should do that beach hike today—something nice and relaxing without a climb,’ we mentioned. ‘Great idea,’ she replied. Off we went to reach the western most point of the island where the albatrosses nest, the seals sunbath and ‘humpbacks’ hmm...hang around. The road is not passable with a sedan; rental cars are forbidden. This prevents a person making a tour around the island on regular wheels. Good thing we have feet.
The area is very attractive with a rugged rock coastline, powerful waves, strong winds and the usual exquisite blue water. We meandered here and there and enjoyed the sights at a slower pace. However, on our left we happened by chance to notice the mountain range that we find most attractive. It’s covered with lava rock and much greenery, giving it an artist’s appreciation for contrast. “Could there be a path leading to that peak,” we wondered aloud. Of course, we had no ulterior motive in mind. Hey, one mountain is just like another to us. Anyway, our editor was in recovery mode so it was off-limits. There was no mention of trails in the guidebook either. ‘Look at that indentation going up the mountain,’ we spoke out aloud, to nobody in particular.
We always mention our courageous editor and for good reason. She dragged us up that path which appeared to be an abandoned trail. There was something thrilling following it as it took us a little past half-way up that very attractive mountain. What a win, we thought. After all, we were supposed to be on the ‘level’ today. Any time we are able to help our editor realize her aims and dreams, we are always prepared to make the sacrifice. What can we do? We’re just like that.
We returned to our ‘home’ in Waialua after completing more than seven miles of ‘relaxed’ hiking and climbing. We are based in an area devoid of tourists. It is enjoyable as we are getting the flavor of the locals. Clearly, one needs to surf the breakers to break into this community. We had been thinking of getting earrings, maybe a nose ring and of course, the tattoos. These are adornments that are very important and prominent in Hawaii. Tattoos are everywhere. A person could walk around reading bodies all day—so many people cover themselves with pictures and messages. Sometimes it seems we are in cyberspace with instant messages and images floating around us. As our editor pointed out, the Torah forbids defacing the body so we might have to buy a surfboard instead.
Have a great Shabbos.
Jenni and Jeffrey
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Down we go. Wow! Even further down. Will this path ever take us up again. Yes! We are rising now. Oops! Down again, this time we are going to hit the valley floor. Hikes are never as tricky as the stock market over the last three days. It is becoming even more unpredictable especially as the ‘experts’ inform us what needs to be done while the government meddles. This week’s issue, which of course has been around for years, is about grease. What do we know? It’s all Greek to us anyway. “Back to the real ‘ups and downs’”, we declare as we headed off to a trail through military property.
‘We need a permit according to the book,” our editor informed us. The locals said ‘don’t worry about it’. Who to believe? The government or the people? How high is the fence? we wondered. We sometimes hone in on the critical issues when we are alert. Our editor had doubts at one stage, particularly when a low flying military helicopter hovered near us. ‘You see’, she said, ‘they’re on to us—maybe we should have got the permit’.
‘Don’t worry’, we answered, ‘they have their hands full chasing after Bin Laden and his band of terrorists.’ We were confident that we’d put our editor’s fears to rest. Ever the calming and stable influence, we thought. ‘But they killed him less than two months ago,” she said, just a little hysterically.
‘Hmm! Perhaps we should worry after all. Maybe...panic.'
The hike was a tough one as we climbed steeply, crossed through the ‘jungle like territory’, over and through streams, maneuvered around muddy pools, successfully most of the time. Our editor surprises us with her endurance and courage. We wish she did not have so much—it’s killing us. Eleven miles is a long distance especially in the terrain we hiked. Nevertheless, it was enjoyable although the pictures will not give one an appreciation of the day.
‘Look at those giant golf balls over the ridge,’ our editor exclaimed. ‘What do you think they are?’ she wanted to know.
We are getting tired of all these questions. The disadvantage of being so wealthy in knowledge and understanding is that one is called upon constantly to solve the world’s problems, to provide answers. Of course, we only say this with utmost humility. Who could be more humble than we?
'Let me explain this logically,’ we began. ‘Hawaii is a big tourist destination, ‘saturated’ with golf courses. Many tourists visit to play and enjoy golf. Are you still with us?’ we wanted know. We often lose people with our sophisticated thinking. ‘Okay, what do you think would happen if they ran out of golf balls? Aha! So they have built a factory on this mountain. Those big white balls are the company’s logo. Why on the mountain, you ask? The reason is quite simple. The Americans do not want the Japanese to obtain the formula used in this lucrative manufacturing process. We should not forget Pearl Harbor.’
‘But why are there marines guarding a golf ball factory?’ the inquisitive editor prodded.
‘Aha! The point exactly. Don’t you see its importance? They have such high security needs, hence the Armed Forces. Need we add anything further?
Hopefully, we can now get on with important things. What’s for lunch?’
Jenni and Jeffrey
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Sunday & Monday
We were thinking as we drove towards the north shore about liberation. We remarked to our beloved passenger alongside that we love the feeling of freedom as we move from place to place doing, seeing, hearing and learning every day. Here today, somewhere else tomorrow; each day is an experience with variety, interest, challenges, change, always something strenuous and of course, a refreshing can of…we ‘blew’ that. It got us pondering of another liberation movement. When it surfaced, it created more movement in itself. ‘Burn the bras’, they yelled. Well, we suppose not all liberation can be equated, some are more equal than others.
(Click on pics to enlarge & then 'back button)
We had a wonderful day (Sunday) but it was not without its challenges. Three, in fact—at least that we know of. We started the day by taking a taxi to collect our rental car, the fourth rental, not taxi, on this trip. Perhaps we are becoming overconfident. When we arrived at the Dollar Rental counter, we were told there was no reservation in our name. We couldn’t think of any reason why we would make a reservation in anyone else’s name. Fortunately, he was able to provide us with a car at nearly three times the price we were originally quoted. What a deal! Anyway, Denver is a good guy so he looked on his system diligently and was able to find our reservation after all—at Thrifty Car rental. Oops! We tried to explain to our editor that after much cheesecake during Shavuot, the brain ferments a little. ‘Better just say you’re sorry,’ she replied, ‘particularly because you don’t eat cheese.’ “Sorry”, my Precious. We’re pleased no one knows us on the roads. There we were, on Nimitz Highway, flagging down a Thrifty shuttle bus. The guy actually stopped. Some of things that happen on our travels…
Upon arriving at North Shore, the house we booked, or the downstairs part of the house, suffered a leaking septic tank. That left us seriously in the um, in a pickle. Off we went for a walk along the beach while the cleaning and fixing process continued. There are advantages of not owning a house. Along the narrow, sloping beach, we struggled in our soaked boots as the waves were quite wild. After two miles, we sat for refreshments and reading. It was most pleasant with a gentle (for a change) breeze off the ocean cooling us. ‘We need to change our route back. We cannot deal with that soft sand again,’ we suggested to our editor. ‘Leave it to us; we’ll get you back via a firm footing.’ Two miles out and over five miles back sounds about right. We got lost for a change—horribly. Our editor was not happy to hear one of the fellows we asked for directions say, ‘You should be okay’, he replied, ‘the sun won’t set for another two hours at least.’ This was after three miles of the return journey. The funny thing is that it should not have been complicated at all. You have to hand it to our editor. She gives us leeway and when we mess up, she smiles and forgives us instantly. We can learn much from her. Above all, we think we must get an internal GPS inserted surgically into our bodies.
Up we trudged in what turned out to be a wonderful experience. We enjoyed a great climb, rock scrambling, steep hills, edges and ledges and some of the most spectacular sights possible. There are so many hidden and not so hidden gems in this blue-water and green-covered state. We gained over 2,000 feet, joined two other trails and completed just on 10 miles, the first and last part over protruding stones and rocks—tough on the soles but most rewarding for the souls. Our editor laughs when we proclaim each sighting as better than the last. She’s probably correct. Hashem’s world can really get the blood flowing.
Jenni and her 'lost' Soul-mate