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.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

12.06 Mount Diablo outside San Francisco: Sentinal in Rock City, family by the bay

Irrational exuberance from our editor

We arrived in San Francisco after spending Shabbos in Merced, California. Now where is that town you might ask. It's about 90 miles west of the great Yosemite National Park. The city is quite depressed businesswise, if the number of empty buildings may be considered a good indication of activity. In the outlying areas, we have noticed over the years how things have changed. Many of the younger generation portray the same characteristics of their counterparts in the big cities. What do we mean by his? For starters, we should have invested in tattoo parlors—who needs gold?

We were in the laundry on Sunday morning before heading to meet our son, Robbie. We had the distinction of being the only English speakers in a rather crowded area. We ran into technical difficulties and were touched when not one but three men rushed to help us with the problem. In a world beset with so many issues, the kindness of strangers never ceases to move us.

We have been to San Francisco a few times but know very little about the city. Suffice to say, we spent twenty-one hours, eight minutes and a few seconds in the city...but who's counting. It was great to be with Robbie. We stayed at a fancy hotel on Fisherman's Wharf, the three of us together in a big room. Truth be told, it was great to get back to a motel again with all the comforts of home and convenience of easy access. Strange but true. We will miss Rob, as well as the walks up those steep hills with him.

We arrived in Walnut Creek, a city north-east of San Francisco. The idea is to enjoy a couple of hikes in the area before heading north. Rob suggested we hike to the peak of Mount Diablo, a local favorite. As we only had a little time today, we 'fooled' around on the boulders, always a favorite pastime of ours. We hope to do the bigger climb tomorrow. The theme of the park is 'a walk through time'. The development of the sandstone formations is examined.

We packed well for this long trip, a third of the clothing for cooler conditions, the rest spring and summer. So far it's worked out well with temperatures reaching 95 degrees today. Summer should be a blast in sweaters. Good thing we packed extra deodorant.

Every now and again or quite often, we get a little silly and like to fool around on the boulders and rocks. Today, was one of those days. You might think we were showing off and you may be correct. However, we had a lot of enjoyment instead of undergoing these 'boring mountain hikes'.

People ask what's going on his mind...not much, actually

Committed even though back foot still on the rock

Flying, what a feeling, thinking of Dr. Norman

Submarine rock below Sentinel Rock

Don't fence me in...Jenni on the Sentinel

Rocks and boulders abound in the section known as Rock City

And now...where's the editor with rope when you need her

Diablo State Park from Sentinel

And now we cross to the city by the bay:

Father and younger son meet on latter's home-ground

From an unusual vantage point, the unmistakable skyline of New San Francisco

Looking towards the bay

Robbie with gorgeous 'girlfriend'

Sunday, April 28, 2013

12.05 Angeles Forest: Mount Williamson: Again, we’ve looked at clouds from both sides now

What's in a name? A pine grows from the clouds in an area filled with Jeffrey Pines

Maybe that's what the 'roadway to heaven' looks like

Jenni below peak, waiting to be enveloped by beautiful clouds

Even a strong editor can be overcome with colds and sore throats. We took a break on Wednesday after the tough Mount Lukens climb of the previous day. Jenni was nearly ready by Thursday but the original idea of climbing Los Angeles’ highest had to be shelved—hopefully, remaining for the way back from Seattle. Thinking of Washington, we have a plane to catch in two weeks and we are a mere two hours north of San Diego—leaving a further twenty to go plus drives to and from hikes. We hope we make the plane at this rate and see Gavin before then.

The hike was quite a distance from Pasadena, our base. Each time we travel on mountain roads, we salute the designers, engineers and builders—it is truly a marvel to macadamize paths to enable vehicles to rise thousands of feet over passes. Highway 2 is no exception; it was an enjoyable experience driving it, especially on the way back. We mentioned the other day: The mountains and scenery beyond La Canada and neighboring cities are stunning. By the way, try and pronounce the city name.

Lost? We didn't know we were supposed to be lost. Mind you, it would not be hard for us. Apparently, it's
the fire-helicopter so maybe we're really 'hot'

Jenni peaks with a great smile and unfortunately, feeling off-color although black seems to suit her

Second 'summiteer': As Maude remarked once before, 'I'd like to walk upon those clouds'. (After you, Maude...)

We left Pasadena heading north-west in cool and cloudy weather. Things became ominous as we climbed until we approached the Pleasant Valley Wilderness area where the sun shone brightly. We were high enough at that stage to be above the clouds. The hike took us to the peak of Mount Williamson, an altitude exceeding 8,800 feet. We only gained, cumulatively speaking, 1,800 feet over 6 miles, return. It was an interesting hike as once again we were on an outside, narrow edge the whole way. Towards the summit, we had to negotiate jagged rocks, moving down to cross a small saddle and then rising again to reach the peak. Once we stood on the top, to the north, we overlooked the Mojave Desert which is as barren as one would expect, sweating under a blue, cloudless sky. Facing to the south (thereabout), things were completely different as the photographs show: Thick clouds covering a mountainous region. These opposite views were available by simply turning the head.

On the other side of the mountain, the view towards the Mojave Desert. Extraordinary separation

Two old stumps, difficult to tell which one is in worse shape

Trail blazer without jacket, climbing rocky outcrop on way down. Huh?

Late in the hike, we met the only other person we saw on the mountain. He told us he was a dealer working the casinos in Tahoe. He had taken off a few days to walk part of the Pacific Crest Trail. We found his comment interesting if not a little embarrassing: "I wish they’d fire me so I can claim unemployment benefits from the government." It makes one wonder about the welfare state mentality as this is but one of many that we have read or heard about. By the way, does anyone know where we can pick up an unemployment check?

We needed to frame the clouds. Versatile eager-beaver-editor chopped down the tree, then shaped it

Mountains envelop clouds or is it the other way around?

We are excited as we head for San Francisco this Sunday, the city by the bay. Our younger son and third child lives in that city. Robbie does not have a split personality but occupies that position on the family tree. We won’t be hiking with him as he has a soccer injury. However, it should be a cultural couple of days as he shows us around. It makes us think of the time when Barbara Frank wrote us an email while we were in South Africa, the country with one of the highest crime rates in the world. Makes one really proud, holding such a record. At the time, she mentioned she feared for our safety which was most touching. We did not have the heart to tell her that an hour earlier, we learned of Robbie’s mugging in San Francisco.

Feeling the strain of the last push to the top with the surrounding mountains on a par

Every few days, we wake up in a different setting. One of the reasons for this is because we go to sleep in a different setting. While some express the view that it seems onerous and it may well be, there is another side to it. It’s quite an experience waking up in a different bed each morning…that might not sound quite right. What we mean to say is waking in a different environment commences each day as a fresh and new beginning. Just a thought…


Jenni and Jeffrey

One for the road. As we neared the trailhead on our return, the clouds began to move

Thursday, April 25, 2013

12.04 Angeles National Forest. Mount Lukens, a 'wow' of a hike

Past the half-way mark, the sights like this one, were most impressive. A little fire damage fore

For most of the ascent, 'ghost' like mountains looked down upon us until we approached the summit

Overpowering, intimidating but wonderful

Our editor discovered the mountain, actually that happened a long time ago; we mean to say while in San Diego she identified it from a book. The problem, she pointed out, is that to reach the summit we would have to gain 3,300 feet. In an unusual explanation for her, she said it should take 2.5 hours to reach the top—a gain of 1,320 feet per hour. We were thinking at the time: ‘What’s the rush? We’ll take another few hours, if need be’. Ha!

The valley was far below, the edges exhilarating, the mountain across the way, massive

Blue flower 'power' at the higher altitude, red lower down

To put things in perspective, we should mention that anytime we can circumvent, avoid or ignore the Los Angeles area, we will do so. Obviously, our prejudice is showing. However, the mountains along Freeway 210, just for starters, are incredible. The Angeles National Forest looks like a treasure and we have only seen and experienced a tiny taste of it. Nevertheless, we have yet to change our minds about the City of Angels. The other day we wrote about devils in the wilderness and now it’s angels in the city. Hmm! It looks like one could spend a year in this district and not experience the hiking available. Back to our editor who later decided she did not think Mount Lukens was the right climb for us.

“But, Jen,” we said, “it’s also used by hikers training to climb Mount Whitney.” Whitney is the highest in the contiguous United States.
“That’s my point. Are we intending to climb it?” She replied.
“Not this trip but maybe next year.”
“Therefore, we don’t need to practice; let’s skip Lukens.”

In a rather devious scheme, we challenged the editor to an arm wrestle, one hand tied behind the back—the winner has the right to choose. In the end, we chose the tougher climb, Stone Canyon Trail which is spectacular. Good choice, Editor!

We were usually on the edge (not this occasion), a little too close at times as the unmaintained trail sloped towards the canyon and was very narrow

The hazy weather gave the mountains a surreal look—it was captivating

Jen making her way up, stops for a long breath and short smile

We had the trail to ourselves, 7.5 miles in what might rate as one of the finest climbs we have undertaken. Both of us developed sore throats recently so we are not in ideal health. However, there was some mind over matter as we climbed the 3,300 feet along cliff edges the whole way. It is truly an outstanding experience. The trail is rough, the views are spectacular, there are dangerous sections where maintenance is lacking but this seems to add to the adventure. One is surrounded by so many mountains that one feels engulfed. Our particular target only came into view after two hours of climbing. Should this be typical of Los Angeles, then what a fine place it is—the wilderness, of course.

Beyond and above the mountains at right rear, our destination

A snake slithered across our path so quickly today that we did not realize it until it reached the bush. On Sunday, a young snake ambled past us and then sprang into the air at least two feet to try and reach a low hanging branch of a shrub. We have no idea of its game plan; it was most surprising to see such movement.

We enjoyed some cloudy conditions, mist or fog at the outset which provided magnificent scenery. Upon reaching the peak, the fog was quite thick so views of Los Angeles, the ocean and Catalina Island were blocked. We remember reading that on a clear day, a person could obtain those views from the peak. A clear day in Los Angeles seems like an oxymoron to us. Then again, we did mention our prejudice. At the summit, where we saw more antennae and equipment than ever before, we were unable to attain telephone reception. Go figure!

Standing and probably gaping, or gasping for air

One more hazy, lazy day of spring

Homeward bound, twenty minutes into descent. Always look up even when going down.

In South Africa, there is an expression that we used frequently during our army days—‘Vasbyt’. Loosely translated, it means: Bite hard, hang-tough, push yourself…. Once again, our editor was remarkable as she soared up that steep monster without a whine.
Vasbyt, Jenni.


Jenni and Jeffrey

Color, serenity and fragrance, very calming

Editor climbing fast, steep and...very serious

The mountains were deserted. We thought we had discovered a new frontier. Then at the summit, we saw this...apparently
someone had been before

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Fall trip in the USA (west), October-December 2012

Set out below is a slideshow of some highlights from hike-about 10: Scroll down and click on 'start' button to view:

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

12.03 Idyllwild conclusion: Black Mountain, one tough so and so...

Framed photo of San Jacinto Peak from Black Mountain summit. We stood on that peak during December (may we humbly admit)

Our 'humble admission': San Jacinto last December

Jenni stands straight after a mean and strenuous climb. She was so hot she cut off her sleeves. (see above)

We knew it was going to be steep. Truth be told, we like it that way. Man, this was one tough climb. From the commencement or as the locals like to say: the get-go, the trail went straight up. The problem is that to get to the peak, one has to follow the path; there is no negotiation. As our editor often remarks, she can tell how steep a climb is from the return because her brakes tend to fail down these treacherous paths. We are much clearer: The perspiration on the brow and pain in the muscles on the ascent are sufficient indication.

Rocking before Mount Gorgonio, monster mountain between the cracks

There is a secret to Black Mountain. At the peak, a fire lookout tower stands proud. Because of this and perhaps some laziness of California rangers, a fire road exists which stops a half-mile from the peak. We know this because we met a young family just beyond the car park as we came through the bush. They had driven up from the other side of the mountain. Although the various trails looked busy when we passed them in the car on the way to this one, we were the only two climbing to the top. With weather approaching that of summer, we found the going tough but as always, challenging and enjoyable. Our editor assures us she had no intention of hitching a ride down to the car.

A view of Mount San Gorgonia from Black Mountain

The views of San Gorgonio are quite remarkable and in sight for most of the trail. Close to the summit of Black Mountain, the peak of the San Jacinto Mountain comes into view. It too, is stunning. We hiked to that peak during December in another outstanding day. The San Gabriel Mountains are also in view from the peak. It is a wonderful place to station oneself. We were thinking that a sunrise or sunset from that position should be outstanding.

Flower power, the hippie woman of the 2000's. Can you see the relief on her face as we approach the end?

Jenni on Black Mountain summit but below San Jacinto Peak on this occasion

Carl and his family who we met near the peak were a delight. They gave up us an insight into the names of the various peaks and places of interest surrounding us. This turned out to be a good thing as we'd apparently renamed the various mountains and towns surrounding us. Most of all, he showed us a more direct route back to our motel, something we appreciated. Earlier we made a bold statement about the apparent laziness of local rangers. While in Arizona and New Zealand as examples, we found that rangers and firewatchers have to make their way to the observation points on foot with provisions carried on their backs for a week's stay.

Let’s get the statistics out the way. The length is 8 miles with an elevation gain of 2,700 feet—a very solid 2,700 feet, whatever that means. The first two miles are known in genteel terms as: A butt kicker. How do we know that? You should take a look at our... On second thoughts, that's not a good idea.

After misbehaving, editor inserts offender in a web

It’s time to move on to our next stop: The Angeles National Forest. See you then…


Jenni and Jeffrey

Another of Mount San Gorgonia from Black Mountain Fire-Watch Tower. Notice the building on the bottom left—an Indian Casino with the loosest...slots