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, August 31, 2011
“It happened in Monterey”, so goes the song. This is another beautiful region in California, which we are visiting for the third time in a couple of years. Many more times, we hope.
“No way we’re going on a Harry Potter hike,” we said to our editor assertively. ‘Don’t be so silly,’ she laughed, ‘I said Garrapata’. “Oh!” We keep noticing there’s not a lot of bliss in ignorance.
The notice board at the entrance read: ‘The most beautiful place on earth’. Ha! Where have we seen that before? We were not being cynical but San Diego has ‘the finest’, New York the ‘tallest’, Miami the ‘widest’. You get the point. After hiking through the forest, crossing the river a number of times, casting our eyes on the overpowering mountains, looking out over the ocean, watching the thick, white clouds gently roll over both the land and water while a clear and bright blue sky smiled upon us; who could but agree it is a very beautiful place indeed. We climbed just under 2,000 feet in three miles of this seven-mile loop. There were no switchbacks so the path was directly upwards which made it strenuous but most enjoyable.
The walk along the summit with the views of the ocean and rugged, rocky coastline on the one side, the inland mountains on the other sides, took the breath away. The steep trail is closed, that is, officially. It is in ‘bad shape’ but is unofficially open—whatever that means. It seemed the longer we struggled up the mountain, the stronger we felt. That is indeed a wonderful feeling. We have a beautiful world to inhabit, all of us. B’H.
We once again made one of our less wise pronouncements to our editor. Apparently, we are a little slow to grasp what we should and should not say. “This is one of our top ten hikes,” we mentioned. She of course replied that we already have twenty-two hikes in ‘your’ top-ten and therefore should consider removing at least one if not thirteen before adding another. One thing led to another and before we could have a meaningful argument, we ‘met’ two snakes and that brought some perspective to our discussion as well as closure. As we mentioned yesterday, the snakes are a most unwelcome reminder to us that it is their land, too.
After spending some time working and watching the bulls drool over stocks and shares, we decided to make this a ‘green Monday’. The closest we want to get to a ‘blue Monday’ is on the horizon at the coast. Everyone spends time talking about the weather. So far, we have noticed on the Central California Coast, there is not much sunshine yet it is not cold. The cloud formations, the mist, the mountains and cliffs make this a spectacular place. Frankly, Hawaii has a lot of competition from this region.
We think the pictures substantiate our assertions; they always make up for our lack of ‘pen power’.
Jenni and Jeffrey
Monday, August 29, 2011
We suggest you click on pictures followed by the 'back' button
It seems like the last few days, besides being exhilarating and extremely satisfying, have involved a few snake encounters. Contrary to popular lore among the snake community, we have no desire to befriend or make enemies with it. We’ll tell you later about today’s experience.
After five nights in Morro Bay, we left the gray skies of this wonderful little town and headed north. We debated whether we would in fact stay another night or continue moving. We are already three days behind. “What’s the rush?” We asked our editor. ‘At this rate, we won’t get to Oregon and even Yosemite is looking suspect,’ she informed us. “Hmm! That bad. Perhaps we should leave now,” we agreed. We found an incredible hike for today—rated difficult with the highest level of beauty. Our editor checked the internet to ascertain whether it was open following devastating fires and rock falls in the area. What a disappointment when we arrived to find gates barring us from the trail. We wish the Forest Department would update its website rather than concern itself with broken benches.
We found an alternative trail through a recovering forest. A fire in 2008 played havoc with the trees and flora. However, we can already see the process of renewal taking place. Nature recovers one way or another remarkably. We notice this in many places we visit. What makes it amazing is that it’s done almost without any assistance from Al Gore. Makes one wonder how Hashem manages.
Our trail ran parallel to the creek. We scrambled under and over burned-down trees, over rocks and through the brush. On the return, the trail leader was looking for a path as the trail is in ‘bad-shape’. The concentration lapsed for a moment and said leader placed one foot on a yellow and black object half-hidden in the wild plants. That is when the real action occurred. Said trail leader jumped to all new personal record while slithering, sliding yellow-black object moved in all four directions at the same time. The true length was probably two or three feet but with all the moving parts going in varied directions, ten feet would, at that time, seem appropriate.
After things calmed down, said trail leader and black and yellow object went their separate ways. Thereafter, great pow-wow took place between fearless editor and slightly shaken, recently demoted trail leader. The conversation went something like this:
“Are you okay?”
“We notice two little holes in the shin but no pain. It could be regular scratches.”
“Good. Pass me the phone, the water, and the car keys.”
“Here you are,” we said handing them over to our beloved.
"Are you of sound mind and body?"
“Is your last testament (Will) still in the safe?”
“Is the safe combination the same as before?”
“Good. Okay let’s continue now that everything is in order.”
We were most impressed. To have such a practical wife is a blessing. It made us feel so much better. With some luck, we'll receive tender treatment later. We can hope. What an optimist!
Snake-charmer and former trail leader...on pension
On today's incredible hike, to be posted tomorrow, guess what? Yep! Another three snakes.
We have to agree to stop meeting like this. We're sure you are tired of it and funnily enough, we are not enjoying them that much ourselves.
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Two snakes, one fox, a fortune of lizards but no grizzlies. That counts as a ‘win’ for us, especially our dear editor. When growing up, she obviously never got to know Winnie the Pooh intimately. We set off in deep mist wondering what we would be able to view along the way and particularly, at the peaks. ‘Mist,’ our editor informed us. What would we do without her well-rounded knowledge and information.
The hike was amazing. The weather was cool. The visibility was limited in the beginning. However, we were invigorated. We moved up to the first peak of some 1400 feet quite quickly. Thereafter, it was on to the next two peaks, which involved a drop of 500 feet and of course, a climb again to a higher altitude. All in all, we gained well over 2,000 feet in our eight-mile round-trip. The clouds, the mist, the sheer beauty—we look at clouds differently these days. What can a person say or write. Leave it to the pictures. To watch the valleys fill with clouds and mist reminded us of Switzerland and Hawaii. Nora Laiken and Uncle Issy Klein from Melbourne, both pointed out that the previous scenes reminded them of the latter state. Today’s pictures will justify their perception completely.
At one stage, we discussed briefly the chances of getting lost in the mist or perhaps stepping too close to the edge. Our editor provided the solution. She would walk on the risky outside edge and we would remain on the safer inside. It made sense to us and we continued, visiting three peaks.
At Oats Peak, we noticed the bench positioned on the small summit surface. We were fascinated. The bench is chained to the ground. This encouraged us to ponder and think but mostly wonder. In the great State of California, the financial position is precarious. Why should that be the case? Look how the state takes care of its property. Imagine if these priceless benches were not strapped down. A gang of thieves could hike some four miles uphill, lift the bench, carry it all the way down the mountain and probably sell it for twenty or so bucks as scrap. We were embarrassed by our rash judgment as we had often thought the officers of the state were not careful with taxpayers’ money. We do wonder who has the key to the lock, though.
We enjoyed another wonderful Shabbos. The fifth book of the Torah, together with the commentary of R’ Hirsh, is stunning. During our Shabbos afternoon stroll around Morro Bay, we realized that we had only seen a partial view of the famous city rock in five days. The mist is constant and consistent in these parts. We understand that the warmest month of the year is October with a mean temperature of 69 degrees. For those fond of hot, sunny days, that is, indeed, mean.
Jenni and Jeffrey
Friday, August 26, 2011
“We cannot miss this local hike, up and down the 1200 feet morro, can we?” our editor mentioned.
‘Of course not,’ we replied. However, we both knew that was only half an answer. Truth be told, it’s the bouldering at the peak that counts—that gets the juices flowing. Of course, it's where the danger lies so we take extra care when maneuvering on the boulders. We are reminded harshly when we see a memorial on the peak to a deceased youngster who was not careful enough. Our minds don’t need plodding—they are very good in sensing danger.
Most of the hikers are locals at Bishops and just like us, ‘mere youngsters’. Many are college students, exuberant and athletic. We notice that the young men like to remove their tops and either show off their manly builds or tan their skin. We don’t know which or maybe it’s both. We asked of our editor whether we should get with the program and remove our shirt, too. After all, our imagination tells us that the body is still young and firm. ‘Great idea,’ she replies. We wait for her follow through and sure enough, she never fails us. “Perhaps you should ask Gavin whether you can borrow his broad shoulders and large muscles.” In future, we think we should cease requesting her opinions. We sulked a little and then wondered why only the boys removed their shirts. This so-called egalitarian society confuses us immensely in its inconsistencies.
“How’s the bouldering going for you?” We asked our editor, trying to be friendly. ‘I like the SLO bouldering,’ she replied. ‘There’s nothing slow about this activity. In fact, it’s quite dangerous but thrilling,” we replied to her nonchalant comment. ‘Once again you miss the point. SLO is the name of the city—San Luis Obispo. Everyone knows that…well nearly everyone.’
Contrary to our earlier nonsense, we were the oldest on the trail. The day before there was only one other person on Cerro Alto. However, on town hikes, we find that many locals use the track as a fitness-building tool. Just like the trail at Koko Head on Oahu, many young people come out to test their prowess. We test whether the majority of our organs are functioning. We conversed with quite a few young people on the boulders at the peak. Back ‘home’ wherever that is, we seldom have an opportunity to listen to the younger generation. We had a good chat across the rocks with Chris and Levi yesterday. Chris reminded us of our son, Robbie.
Well, we finally went green. Note the color of the short pants. Thank you. What about the shirt? Black. Everyone knows that black absorbs the heat thus helping to conserve energy while re-charging the batteries. ‘What batteries are those?’ Our editor wants to know. Inquisitive dame she is. “Perhaps you spent too much time smelling the vines in Santa Maria. You may be a little tipsy,” she declares. Honestly, we are beginning to think that we are a real tzadik—the way we put up with the abuse. And do we ever say anything bad or nasty to our editor. Who? Us?
A great Shabbos and good weekend to all.
Jenni and Jeffrey
Thursday, August 25, 2011
“Can you see the rock?” we asked our lovely editor.
‘On the morrow, probably,’ she replied. “We know it’s called a morro—please don’t be so smart.”
‘I’m not. Well…maybe just a little ahead of you. With the thick mist-covering, we may have to wait until tomorrow to see it.’
She is far too quick for us. Anyway, we will focus on the ‘physical’ as our brain is less agile than the body. (We don’t mean to imply the body is that supple either). We mentioned how quaint this town is in yesterday’s narrative. Well today, it’s still lovely. Some things never change.
We set out in warm clothes as the temperature at 'the Bay' was only in the sixties. A mere 7 miles inland, we began our climb of about 1700 feet in temperatures that reached into the nineties. It is a wonderful hike but the sweat dripped everywhere, especially in the eyes. As the trail follows along the edge of the mountain, we were exposed to great views the whole way. An amazing aspect was the contrast of a cloudless sky against an ocean covered completely in cloud. In fact, the layer of these beautiful, white clouds rested on the ocean surface—clouds of glory from our perspective. The last time we saw such clouding was in Maui.
We turned the adventure of getting to the summit into a more adventurous activity by moving along the ridge, enjoying the narrow edge and then ‘bouldering’ at the second peak. At times, when the wind rose to say ‘hello’, it became only a little scary. All in all, it turned into an exhilarating experience. We learn that when one pushes a little above the comfort zone, the rewards often multiply. (Always careful, though).
We returned to the ‘village’ to find it covered in mist and low clouds, too. Big surprise. This is our third visit to Morro Bay. We find it very attractive—it has an atmosphere that provides tranquility and joy. We arrived for two nights and after one of them, we have decided to stay five. This will take us through Shabbos. Excuse us now. We must rush off as our editor is itching to climb some rocks at Bishop’s Peak. Far be it for us to argue with her.
“We’re coming—just strapping on the parachute if you don’t mind.”
Jenni and Jeffrey