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.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

8.18 & 8.19 Kohala Valley Hike, Most Northern Part of Island & Captain Cook Trail…a great workout

Coastal Cliffs, north island

Down and then up again on the other side

Our landlord made us an offer that we did not refuse. It means we are moving back to the west for the remainder
of the trip—he has, as he termed it, an upscale cottage in the City of Refuge. He, being a spiritual man, the
biblical reference is quite apt. The sun made a guest appearance this morning after two solid days of rain as
we prepare to travel. It worked well for us, the weather; on the first rainy day, we were above the clouds on
Mauna Kea and for the second, we needed a rest after four days of hiking.

Peering over the edge

We spent a couple of hours talking with Len, our landlord, who is what we would term a free spirit with a
little free enterprise thrown into the mix. He appears on a television show twice weekly as a minister. He is
a Buddhist, so one thing led to another and he shared some of his experiences and philosophy with us over tea,
while his six small dogs waited impatiently in the car. He left Washington DC twenty-five years ago; he has
not returned to the mainland since. He also provided us with tips on how to deal with the authorities in getting
around the ‘red’ tape, ideas we probably won’t test. From the contacts we experienced in Hawaii over the last
couple of years, it seems that many people leave the mainland to flee invasion of their privacy by government.
Others seek better quality tattoos, it’s a matter of preference.

Last hurdle, one more hill to climb

Peninsula Blue

On our return from Mauna Kea last Sunday, we were obviously elated and feeling quite pleased with life. The blue
light flashing in the rear-view mirror grounded us quickly. What had we done wrong? We waited. Those are difficult
seconds, from the time the police car door opens until receiving the ‘friendly greeting’ through our open window.
Apparently, we had committed three offences which in California might fall under the three strikes and it’s jail
for life. The officer announced the list:

1. Traveling 4 miles over the posted speed limit of 55mph. At first, we were impressed as we did not think our
Chevy had it in her. Then we realized the officer might not care that much about the car’s performance.
2. We were following the car in front. Once again, we did not think we had much option as there is only one
road for all. Further explanation was that we were following too closely.
3. The vehicle’s state inspection was overdue. That was an easy one as it is a rental.

One thing lead to another and we ended up having a ten minute conversation with the officer, who hails from
Boston, likes the warm weather, discussed Mauna Kea and received a recommendation for another hike. We shook
hands and looked forward to our next visit…just shook hands. We have undertaken to get the state inspection
certificate for the landlord. The spirit of cooperation that exists on this young island is terrific.

And then came the rain..for ten minutes

Jenni pulling up her Tarzan before he makes complete fool of himself

Today, we traveled a long distance to the far north. We passed Hawi, descended to the beach and ascended
another two mountains and a valley in between. The scenery is spectacular, the trail very muddy and the
contrasts of the thick green growth set against the blue ocean very attractive. Within seconds, a sunny
day turned into a quick rain, which darkened the area, followed by bright sunshine again. All in all, we
climbed about fifteen hundred feet, walked more than 5 miles and used ropes to descend at one juncture.
Only after using the ropes did we learn that our editor had not arrived earlier to check their
strength for the steep and treacherous trail. We wonder about her at times.


Jenni and Jeffrey

From the first valley

Another coastal view as rain approached from offshore

Jenni going round the bend...for a better view

Peninsula melds into Coastal cliff

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

8.17 Mauna Kea, Finishing 'Unfinished business'; the Call of a Mountain

When our editor asked whether we were ‘psyched up’ for the full Mauna Kea hike, we jumped in the
car and shouted, “Let’s go”. We think that probably counts as ready and willing. The fact that it was late
afternoon meant that she had to haul us from the car saying, ‘I mean next week, not now.’

Sunday: We left our new residence, south of Kailua, and drove two hours to reach the Mauna Kea
Visitors Center, 9,200 feet above sea level. In order to reach the peak on this fine day, it would mean
climbing 4,600 feet over 7-miles through rain, mist, snow flurries, freezing cold at times and powerful
winds at the summit. The wind was so strong at the peak that we crouched as we made our way up the last
100 yards or so. We are not ready for free-flight just yet. We averaged better than 1,000 feet per hour
over 4.25 hours. What else is there to amuse oneself on a slow Sunday.

Scene from the moon, taken from the Mauna Kea Peak

Staggering colors, without any organic growth

Perhaps a majestic sight dusted with snow

Early going on a sunshine day

On completion of the experience, the level of elation was very high—this guy was flying. Like most
things in life however, there is a balance. They tell us it’s the adrenaline. Once it left the body,
the ‘flying’ became more like ‘crop dusting’, for want of a better analogy. Nevertheless, the two ‘sisters’,
Mauna Loa and Kea, have had a profound effect on this ‘pilot’—something personal, something that will endure.

First sighting of human activity, 700 feet below summit

One of the highest lakes (Waiau) in the USA at 13,100 feet. No rain at that altitude. It is permafrost that melts.

Snow covered cone in Hawaii, huh!

For those who have played sport at competitive levels, it is not news that the test is both physical
and, very much mental. In sport, a simple honesty exists that allows truth to surface. To compete against
one another, the clock or perhaps more importantly, to test oneself, is the ultimate. It takes away
rationalization that is prevalent as we often seek excuses for our inadequacies, failings or plain fooling
ourselves. Today, was such a test. The conclusion, of course, is only pertinent to us, whatever that may be.
The experience was as tough as we have ever faced; we think the pictures provide some idea of the variety and
magnificence of this mountain. Bear in mind, mist shielded the views of the great Mauna Loa, which was a slight
disappointment. The latter mountain is overwhelming.

Nature after destruction, no care of time

Snow dusted cone was elusive, never seeming to reach although sighted early on trail

Mauna Kea is a premier astronomy station housing the finest international observatories, below the
peak. On first sighting, one could believe one had arrived on a different planet because of the remarkably
shaped white buildings in the middle of ‘nowhere’. In addition, following the tough climb and we suppose,
change of oxygen mixture, the emotions tend to be a little volatile. As we crested, the laughter burst forth
together with a few tears. Perhaps, the latter were only raindrops mixed with perspiration.

Team's last bit of energy at summit, Mauna Kea

The final ascent—snow, high winds, bitter cold and triumph

The proof, Surveyor General's Mark and dirty boot at 13,796

We passed three people on the trail, the only hikers for the day according to the rangers, and met
up with two on the summit. We reciprocated the taking of photographs at the peak on this memorable mountain
and trail with a mixed couple, an American male married to a New Zealand woman. An interesting aspect is
that we were all between the ages of 55 and 65. Where are the ‘young ones’?

Incredible scenes hidden at the summit

We are finished with Mauna Kea...for a while; she's one tough woman.


Jenni and Jeffrey

Scenes on Mauna Kea, most near summit:

Don't weep, Mr. Mountain Cone

Monday, March 26, 2012

Scenes from our cottage in Kona-Paradise

Click to enlarge

There is a Pacific Ocean here as well. You'd think they could come up with an original name for their ocean

Looking for Pebble Beach—we think the golf course was washed away

Unlike Blacks nude beach in San Diego, this black pebble beach has more class


You have no idea how steep—no different from Mauna Kea

A rather large pool

Sunday, March 25, 2012

8.16 Mauna Kea, sister of Mona Loa, two incredible mountains and volcanoes

We have no idea what Heaven is like. However, like many people, we have a little imagination and
use it to conjure images in our mind. Sometimes we share these ideas; other times we avoid making a fool
of ‘ourself’. Standing across from the largest mountain mass in the world, at an altitude of 12,500 feet,
1,200 below the peak, with thick white clouds straddling the saddle between the two Maunas, Loa and Kea,
it felt like Heaven. On one side, volcano cones stood proud, the sand and stones swept smooth by the winds,
devoid of any flora. Beyond the red and dark brown sand interspersed with cinder stones, the low clouds
provided an ideal backdrop in virgin white. As we turned again, Mauna Loa’s peak, a place we sat last week,
peered above the clouds, the rest of her great body dressed in shrouds. At one stage, its massive size felt
so intimidating and overpowering that we almost raised arms and exclaimed, ‘We surrender’. The dynamics of
the weather moved mist and clouds back and forth, changing the scene constantly. We were in awe.

Mauna Loa, from Kea, partly shielded by clouds

Doesn't get much steeper than this

When the going gets tough...

Each time we continued climbing, after watching the dramatic performances, we found that Heaven is much like
earth when it comes to physical endurance—it's tough. We mentioned in an earlier blog that we gained 3,300
feet on the hike but did not attempt to reach the summit. We began late and after hiking Mauna Loa the
previous week, we visited this equally magnificent mountain more out of curiosity. It means we have some
unfinished business on the island. Nevertheless, it was a superior hike; we consider one of our finest.

Trying to absorb the dynamics of an incredible place

Many cones scattered over the mountain—this one with cloud background

Some consider the many observatories positioned a little below the summit to be the finest in the
world and on the premier viewing spot, too. The University of Hawaii manages the location, which houses
observatories owned by various countries including, Britain, Japan and quite a few others.
It is the place where the real stars ‘hang out’.

The return down to the Visitor’s Center was a breeze. The pace was fast as we struggled to keep our feet
on the ground—the steepness encouraged our legs to break into a jog, something we had to fight. In the
distance, we observed cars struggling towards the observatories close to the peak. A ‘four-wheel drive’
vehicle is encouraged when taking this road, both up and down. What a mountain. What a treasure!

The early going, the promise of good sights

Barren but attractive, shaped so naturally

Take a break, you earned it, Jen

“Please hurry along, we’ll be late,” shouted our editor.
“Won’t be a minute, we’re just watching the last of this movie,” we answered.
“Movie? You’re sitting outside the supermarket. What are you talking about?” Jenni wanted to know.
“Look at all the moving pictures. Every second person is covered with tattoos in this state,” we answered.
At the time, we wanted to see if the eagle on the one fellow’s arm would attack his buddy’s snake as they
shook hands.

Of course, we are trying not to be judgmental but we wonder why people desecrate their bodies in this fashion.
Hell, you want to harm your body healthily, go climb a mountain.

"Loneliness of a long distance Walker" (a borrowed title), or how to trudge and drag.


Jenni and Jeffrey

Did you notice what's behind you?

Attractive desolation

Playing hide-and-go seek again