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.

Friday, June 21, 2013

13.23 (441) Passo Falzarego to Refugio Averau, a fine conclusion

'Eyes on the road' at a great destiny deep in the heart of the Dolomites.

We suppose that's a 'medium five' from Jen. On the saddle, a little higher still to go.

Jenni commences the snow channel, part 1 of 3, very much steeper than captured by camera.

Should you be ending a trip to Italy, Europe in general, this hike provides a big finish. It wasn’t the longest,
not difficult but included thick snow causing the nature of the outing to change dramatically. To give
you an idea of the snow: Imagine the weather is warm and you are sweating but feeling comfortable.
Simultaneously, your toes, feet and ankles are so cold that you begin to worry about frostbite and complications.
Traipsing in the snow will do that, especially when the feet sink in deeply. At one stage, we almost sat down and
removed our boots and socks in order to allow the warmth of the sun to alleviate the pain. However, the thought
of our rear-ends sunken in snow wasn’t very attractive either. It was a first for us although Jenni says it happens
often in the normal course—not the snow, the cold feet.

It's rude to point but with your stature, you can get away with it.

Can't remember being so beauty-stunned in one place. Also, not trying to remember either.

So busy with mountain activity. Literally, takes the breath away.

Our time in Italy, more particularly, Cortina di Ampezzo has been outstanding. It will take an army to block
our return to this area. Living in Borca di Cadore, enjoying the local ways and of course, hiking in some of
the most exciting places we have visited, is hard to top. Our landlady, Nica, was most accommodating, adding
to the pleasure of staying in the region. She called some of the hikes we did: "Magic". We agree although we might
not understand this Italian word.

On the negative side, just to provide perspective, we thought we were back in South Africa when driving on
the roads. If nothing else, it certainly kept our eye in practice. Like our fellow South African brethren in
the old country particularly, the white line is one of those great hypothetical concepts. It is ignored.
Overtaking and then cutting in front of the car ahead causing the person to brake is normal. Speed limit postings add
to the scenery on the side of the road but have little practical value. Finally, the freeways are covered in
trucks, 18-wheelers. The drivers, it seems, don’t know that they are not operating Mini-Minors. Whereas we enjoyed
the driving experience and the flexibility it provided us, it was quite an undertaking. Next time, which we hope
is very soon, we might become bikers.

Jenni catches the stumble into 3 feet of snow. Shoots first then asks questions. (Are you okay?)

Closest we've come to fishing—using fish-eye lense

Back to the hike: When we reached a particular junction on the 'path', we noticed the trail number pointing
in a direction that made no sense. “Aha,” we said to the editor, “Someone has moved the directional arrow.”
We said that because it was pointing directly upwards, closer to the sky than the ground.
In addition, the trail was hidden somewhere under many feet of snow. “Should we proceed?” We foolishly asked
our editor. Up we went, wondering once again how we were going to make the return. A better question
surfaced: ‘Is this the right thing to be doing?' When we reached the first ledge, a second lay ahead and then
a third. We negotiated them all and found ourselves on a saddle overlooking the valleys and mountains. As we
had accumulated quite an elevation gain, the mountains that were formerly way above us, were more equal in
height. It could rank as being one of the finest places we have stood.

Jenni reaches a peak, so to speak—warm bodies and cold feet.

On the way home, the last slope to negotiate

We completed the trip, after having incredible experiences in Austria, Switzerland and now Italy. As we
mentioned at the time, perhaps the highlight was the Seefelder Spitze hike in Austria. Nevertheless, we are most
fortunate to have enjoyed situations, travel, experiences and an adventure that we believe exceeds previous ones.
We make such a statement knowing how much we enjoyed the other legs of hike-about.

And now? Which way to go? Always go up, son.

We now leave the Cortina area, drive to Milan, take a plane to London where we are excited at the prospect
of meeting Tarryn, our delightful niece and then onto to San Diego for a week in which we will see the grandchildren.
That’s the plan.
We thank those who traveled with us. You make an enormous difference. We received some wonderful encouragement,
interpretations of places and pictures that made us think again about them including an overwhelming feeling of joy
being able to communicate with such interesting and decent people, our friends and family. Thank you again.

The view towards the horizon.

A fascinating peak as we look down into the valley on the other side of the mountain.

One small guy amongst physical giants


Jenni and Jeffrey

A few more as we say goodbye until next time:

A remarkable place

Jenni on the way home complaining that my stride is too long for her to use the footprints. Guess where
her hiking pole rests.

Like being in another world, just the two us and a lot of mountains.

A favorite icon as we say 'arrivederci'.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

13.21 & 13.22 (215 and 230) Passo Tre Croci to Refugio Vandelli & Col Festinal (not shown)

Snowfield twins

Panorama view from the outside edge

After reaching the peak of this hike, we were rewarded with quite a treat

Today’s hike was superb, more than that, really. We faced incredible scenes while crossing snow, through
forests, streams, moving along cliff edges and arriving at an alpine lake fed by glaciers, of course.
Words fail us and so we will rely on the pictures to provide superior descriptions.

We breathed a sigh of relief after meeting a couple of Germans and Austrians on the trail today. Mind you,
the trails are very quiet. We suppose this could be for a number of reasons. For one, they are difficult.
We also note there are many cyclists in the region as well as bikers, reducing the potential 'schleppers'
even further. The bikers tickle us as we have written before. We are fortunate that we don’t have any biker
friends or at least, not since we wrote of them. We have many questions for them but will leave it at one
as we have strayed from the initial topic which was…we forget.

We see the many bikers in leather gear driving this way and that way but never on the trails. They only
seem to stop for beers and then ride again but not before examining each others’ hardware. It must be the
journey that excites them. As an aside, the price of gas (petrol) in Italy is $8.50 a US gallon—they can
afford to ride compared with other motorists.

Wonderful features on this hike, a highlight.

One more glacial lake and new friends (admirers).

When we began writing, we mentioned relief. We were worried about the language barrier as we have admitted
a few times. However, now we don’t care much any longer; we are focusing again on English. When we were
talking to the Germans, they said they cannot understand the Swiss Germans, the Austrian said the same
thing, too. Both admitted they don’t even try understand the Italian mind. ‘What about the French?” we asked.
‘Firstly, we see them very seldom on the trails; it appears they sit in the restaurants and drink coffee or wine
while still basking in the glory of the early Napoleonic era.’ The Germans, if anyone, will know that. For the record,
the last thing we want to do is create European tensions. So if none of them understand each other anyway, we’ll stick
with our mother tongue.

Jenni chooses an ideal background in glacier territory.

Color on and amongst the rocks.

Recycling in this continent is a big deal. The bureaucrats in Brussels have got it taped. In the three
countries in which we rented condos, there are about six or twenty bins outside. One for glass, a
container for plastic, cans, wet foods, dry foods, not so-wet-foods, cardboard, garbage…the list goes on.
Many a night, the editor and her husband can be found at the bins sorting. It can get quite complicated
deciding whether something is recyclable, re-edible, calorie-free, garbage or near garbage. Just wait until
the Jews decide to differentiate their garbage by milk and meat products. By that stage, we hope to be on a
very high mountain.

One of the views of the Dolomites, so much more though.

Hitting up against a brick wall

When all is said and done, we cannot remember having a more uplifting, enjoyable and meaningful adventure.
Europe has been incredible. The power of most of the experiences enjoyed or endured, puts a person in
another realm, so to speak. It's a difficult concept to articulate but one feels a dramatic difference in
outlook and perspective. Some of the positions in which we find ourselves provide an opportunity to see who and
what we really are.


Jenni and Jeffrey

View from bedroom window. The quiet is wonderful, we saw a car pass yesterday or maybe the day before.

Another day's hike, note refugio on pinnacle—illustrating why we believe the engineers are so bold.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A slideshow of some highlights

---------------------------> A slideshow follows below: scroll down to view.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

13.20 (405) Refugio Duca di Aosta and Col Druscie

At 5:32am, the sun 'hit' this mountain in an amazing way.

The editor trudges, later she had four limbs on the surface.

Meantime, 'our hero' takes helicopter ride up for photo-shoot

There are a myriad of hikes in this area, some are brutal and others seem impossible. We thought the Swiss
hikes were steep. The difference is that the Italians appear to do little with their trails. They have a
start point and an endpoint and up you go. The trails are wild; switchbacks are rare or unknown. Whereas
in Switzerland, the terrain is very steep, the Swiss take to it like gardeners, tinkering here and there to
make it look well-tended. Both systems have merit. At the time of writing, we’ve only
had four hikes so we are not too qualified to criticize the Italians although that won’t stop us.

Foreground gives an idea of the slope and the surround.

After seeing some of the cableways over the last few days, we think it’s not only the Swiss that are ‘nuts’;
the Italians are also into the idea of building refugios, restaurants and gymnastic cableways at and to peaks.
We saw one on today’s hike that caused us to gape in awe. It extends nearly 8,000 feet in two sections, a
single span type of cable system between mountains. There are no supporting pylons, just hanging steel rope.
Our editor expressed her feelings well while balancing on the steepest incline we have ever undertaken: “You
won’t catch me on that.” We wanted to add, “Have you any idea where you are standing, climbing and at times,
crawling on all fours as you make the comment?”

When we saw the lonely tree at our peak, it resonated with us. We can't always choose our circumstances
but survivors/fighters 'deal with the hand they hold'. The tree provides a lesson for us.

We are becoming quite upset with her courage. She is proving to be fearless which puts much stress on us. Why?
We can’t snivel, whine and moan that we want to return when the going gets scary. She appears to take these
dangerous slopes in her stride. We wish one of her friends would give her a hint that maybe an ‘old woman’
shouldn’t be accumulating 2,600 feet per mile on very slippery inclines. We’ll try anything, that’s how
desperate we are. Besides, hasn’t she learned it’s not smart to outshine the husband?
Today, as we made our way up the ski-slope, we suggested that perhaps it is too dangerous for her. Of course,
we were really thinking about our own fears. When she answered that it was a great challenge, we thought perhaps
we had married a ‘monster’.

Editor continues, approaching and crossing snow, on steep incline

"Hero' is tired of waiting. Shouts to editor he is going to ride down.

The hike was short (not on a trail) but gained 1,500 feet in elevation, crossing snowfields, near and at the
top. The short length made the angle of ascent almost impossible—we estimate 2,600 feet per mile. (We normally
rate 1,000 feet per mile as strenuous.) We arrived at a deserted refugio, a hut or rustic hotel, at which
hikers rent a bunk and purchase a meal. We were surrounded by mountains, ski slopes, both above and below us,
the town of Cortina in the valley and beauty everywhere. It's another of the world’s many treasures.

Changes mind and agrees to walk down provided editor holds his hand

When we reached the top, after breathtaking views all the way up, we were even more staggered to see the
wonders. The mountains are high, rugged, a few somewhat refined in having smooth shapes but all with slippery,
rough paths to below peak levels. It was a humbling feeling standing below these magnificent specimens. There
are few peaks attainable for the ordinary hiker; in addition, it requires much guts, determination and strength.
We felt very small, both figuratively and literally, speaking. Standing in the shadows of these giants put a lot
into perspective, once again.

At peak, editor looks like it was a walk in the park

Our editor, probably sensing our melancholy, suggested when (if) we got down safely that we climb a further
500 feet to Col Druscie, just to show we were not quite that useless. When we arrived at the pinnacle, again we
were amazed to see another two cable systems reaching that point before continuing further up to a ski-slope and the top
of Mount Tofana di Mezzo respectively. Man’s ingenuity never ceases to astound us. Man’s destructive nature
never ceases to depress us.

This hike took place the following day. As we have not seen much water, we wished to
include a few pictures of a glacial lake that stunned us.

Jen contemplates a dive into partly ice-covered glacial lake

When we saw the color of the water, we gasped...when we touched it, we gasped again

From another angle, color changes slightly.


Jenni and Jeffrey

A little Italian daring, single span cableway...'loco' at Tofana di Mezzo.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

13.19 A journey to Italy…Pomagagnon Hike: a new amici, the Dolomiti.

An introduction to the Dolomites...pleased to meet you, indeed.

Through the channel, a spectacular and somewhat dangerous place (extreme gradient not captured)

Illustrates the gradient on our 'favorite' surface...slippery, loose stones. How's that slope?

We spent 10 days in Austria, nearly three weeks in the Berner Oberland and have a week planned for
Northeast Italy. Until we left Grindelwald, our accommodation, if not luxurious, was at least very
comfortable—we find that ideal. Then we hit Interlaken and got a taste of Swiss prices. Suffice to say,
short-term stays in hotels are either: very expensive and comfortable, expensive and not always comfortable or
relatively expensive and very, very basic. We hit the latter in Interlaken. This reminds us of our stay
in Rome a few years ago, prior to Hike-about days, when we still owned a tie and high-heels...respectively.

Some variation in the landscapes

Are you serious? We're going up there? Sloping beauty...part way up, about 1,800 feet above ground-level

The Europeans have a thing about space. Of course, land is a scarce resource. We found that out when we
stayed in what seemed a comfortable hotel in Rome. When we went for a shower, no matter how hard we tried,
we could not wash our lower legs and feet. It was not possible to lift the legs or bend from the waist without
striking the wall or glass of the cubicle. It was like being in a straitjacket as we would imagine the feeling,
having not yet tried one. We summoned our yet-to-be editor and illustrated the problem. We were seeking advice
not hysterical laughter. That’s when we discovered an alternative use for the bidet—washing of feet.

"You're losing weight," our editor commented, and then went on to add, "Which makes you even more unattractive."
'Lovely', we thought. Little did she know we were being practical realizing the challenges we would face in
Italian shower cubicles.

Mountains at rear, Cortina in the valley, the Lazarow's 'slip, sliding away'.

After touching the walls, time to negotiate way down the mountain.

On Monday morning we were setting up for a paraglide. The rain came (phew!) and instead, we caught a couple
of trains, heading for Italy. Before continuing, it is interesting to see the differences between the two
countries. Take a Germanic perfectionist and a volatile romantic and the contrast is dramatic. Vast differences
are apparent as one crosses between the countries. We make no judgments of people on Hike-about although it
precludes politicians, a universal class or more accurately, a classless group. We should get back on track in
a manner of speaking. We arrived at Milan Central, disembarked and hit the tumultuous masses. Boy, did we miss
the mountain calm and tranquility. With a certain earnestness, we remarked that it felt like 'a railway station’.

With a drive towards Brescia ahead and the need to find the car rental office, we decided to satisfy the needs
of our bladders first. Each with three pieces of luggage, one hanging from the body, one being pushed and the other
carried, we followed the signs which took us on a tour of Milano Centralo. Lo and behold, we needed a
Euro each ($1.35) to enter. Unfortunately, we were without local coinage and therefore had to hold on to our
surplus liquid resources. Apparently, you cannot buy instant relief on credit…yet. Then we remembered it had
happened once before—we don’t learn.

Rather pointy features but has a nice personality

We need to relax the muscles as the Lazarows are weary. Before we continue, we must add that we accomplished
some of our biggest triumphs on this trip. The first was getting from Zurich Airport to Seefeld, Austria without
getting lost, not once. Second success. We reached Interlaken from Seefeld with one error which we corrected
after realizing we had made a mistake. In addition, no blows between the editor and driver were traded. Finally,
although we still have quite a few moves ahead, we drove out of the Avis Car rental depot in Central Milan at
peak hour and arrived in Brescia after only a few minor errors. We should mention that Italian roads, especially
in the older parts are unusual (we are being extremely tactful); the Italian drivers are also a ‘little different’,
in attitude and temperament (tactful again).

Fascinating position and we think, picture

Inside the channel, unique and a little scary.

Whenever we ask whether the person we are addressing is able to speak English, the answer is the standard:
“A little”. They are usually most helpful. However, directions is quite an issue. The same street can change
names ten times in a matter of a few miles. Roundabouts abound. As you enter one, each exit points to '18' place
names. With an irate Fiat tooting at rear, one eye on the road, one on the sign, another looking towards the next
exit with its multiple names, one becomes somewhat confused, deranged and perhaps, a little unsettled. Otherwise,
it’s a lot of fun. We call them growth experiences and we find we have many of them.

Up she goes...steep as can be, on loose stones. Wonderful! Hiking pole resting comfortably
in the trunk (boot) of the car.

"Say Mister, can you spare a mule..."

When we left Brescia, we found the freeway roughly where it was supposed to be, headed on the A4 towards
Venezia; we don’t say Venice any longer as we are trying to keep everything in Italian. Today, when we
went for our first hike in Italy, the great Dolomites, we sought out an information office. Ha! Ha! After
arriving in Cortina D’ampezzo, finding the whole town consists of a maze of one-way roads that seem to go
everywhere but to our destination, we were frustrated. For parking, one needs a special permit. So how do
you find the trailhead when the road doesn’t go to the information office, there’s nowhere to park the car
and when you speak to the guy in charge, he casually explains, moving a marker on the map that you go here,
there, round this way, up the hill down the road, round the bend…no problem…prego.

We were leaning like Pisa but still opportunity to look across at our neighbors.

Suffice to say, we found our own hike, which as an opener, nearly closed us down. On a near 2,500 feet
climb on skree or loose stones up a gradient that seemed impossibly steep, we enjoyed another incredible
outing. The thought, while we went upwards, was focused on how we were going to hike down. Whereas all
our hikes in Switzerland were tough, this was tough and difficult because of the surface condition as well
as the extreme gradient. In the end, it worked out well. A safe and successful finish proved to be quite
a start in the Dolomites.


Jenni and Jeffrey