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.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

16.09 Contrasts and colors of Hawaii

'Night shades' overlooking Kilauea Caldera at dusk, Volcano National Park, Hawaii.
(For slightly bigger pictures without text, click on any picture.)

The vent within the caldera releases gases at dusk.

Similar to above but flames no longer disguised after sunset. (Clarity lost on uploading photo.)

We have included a collection of pictures contrasting a few colors of Hawaii, fire, always water and
of course, our lovely editor. Unfortunately, when we get a little bored, which occurs when we approach the beach,
even for an hour or two and with great enthusiasm, we seem to falter. Boredom usually leads to a bit of silliness
which can often be enjoyable.

Silhouette, sort of, editor lines up to face flames.

Things started 'hotting' up so we returned home for dinner, cooking on an old-fashioned hot-plate.

A young and growing land, many contrasts. Emerging growth, lava beach and the ever consistent ocean.

The location of the photographs are somewhere in Maui and on the Island of Hawaii itself, more commonly referred to
as the Big Island. Although the latter name was not selected with an awful lot of imagination, it is descriptive.
So we consider that a positive. It's twice the size of the combined area of its sisters. Furthermore, it's also
the youngest, apparently a mere million years old. One does get the impression that it is somewhat immature compared
with the other islands. Of course, one has to be very sensitive to discern that feeling.

Between a tree and a hot place (with respect to Texan metaphors).

If we were in Arches, Utah, we might think of this as the 'devil's garden barbeque pit'.

Looking like the upper shell of an egg, the original "sunny-side up", we suppose.

The other interesting point about Hawaii is that it's growing. The volcanoes, some of them anyway, hiccup regularly,
spewing molten lava into the ocean, thus claiming more land. One wonders for how long this process will continue
before the ocean becomes fed up with it all. We often smile when reminded of what happens in a real estate boom.
The realtors, not all of course, tell us that "'they' are not making any more land," thus encouraging people to buy.
They obviously haven't been to the Big Island. We digress. There are two great reasons to visit this island, inter alia.
We mention this last as we save the best for the end. The great volcanoes Mauna Loa, the Long Mountain and Mauna Kea,
the White Mountain are currently based here. Whether this might change in the future, who knows? However, with the
continuing and expected eruptions, we suggest not waiting too long to visit these massive, almost lovable, mountains.
We do admit we might be considered a trifle biased.

A beach afternoon turned into exploring the low cliffs

A very pleasant sunset in Kihei, Maui.

What can you expect when we get dragged to the beach...continue to sequel...

We suppose try to fly. Look, Mom, no wings.

Every so often it happens when we least expect it. The beach afternoon, as usual, was turning into a
rip-roaring success even before we chose a position. Using this momentum, we decided to explore the cliffs
before collapsing on the beach sand. We don't know what it is but one often senses something is a little
different within seconds of arriving at a new place. As we crested one of the hills, the atmosphere seemed off,
sort of out of place. Then it struck us or something nearly did. We'd arrived at a nudist beach. We try to be
understanding of people's whims and idiosyncrasies. However, we don't do well among crowds of nudists—we have
our share of inhibitions. The irony of it was that we were not in bathing suits but...fully dressed. Guess who
stood out before fleeing for higher, safer ground.

Serenity before bedtime


Jenni and Jeffrey

Monday, January 27, 2014

16.12 Mauna Kea, a return to the 'White Mountain', perhaps the best hiking experience.

Today being Sunday, we were not in San Diego for the burial of a dear friend, Robyn Lichter’s beloved mother,
Essie Katzenellenbogen—a person we will sadly miss, a woman of spirit and always with a twinkle in
her eye. G-d bless your soul, Essie.

A struggle from the beginning, the early stages of a strenuous climb in a harsh but magnificent environment.
The first two thousand feet hits one quickly, the rest just as fast.

Looking towards peak after 6 miles, nearly 3 miles still to walk.

We returned to this glorious volcano/mountain after being turned away on Thursday because of high winds.
We had warned our editor about our diets but would she listen. The velocity had ‘subsided’ from
the eighties to the fifties (m.p.h.) so the trail was re-opened.

We knew we had a tough hike ahead of us but thought whatever happens: This one’s dedicated to Essie
so we dare not fail. The route gains more than 4,500 feet, over 8.5 miles on rough terrain. It never seems
to let up. We are not embarrassed to admit that at times we were tested thoroughly—to put it bluntly, it’s
one ‘helluva’ challenge. We deal well with the lower air pressure at high altitude and were fine today.
However, the impact was strongly felt especially towards the end where the trail remains very steep and the
oxygen is rationed. We don’t like to make personal plugs for the editor (although we love to) but when she
puts her mind to it, she is a tough and determined woman with a shy and gentle nature—it seems paradoxical,
whatever that might mean. (Suggestion to right deals with standardization of photo's)

Mauna Loa from Kea, the scene of Thursday's dramatic hike. We reach the summit, 119 feet higher than
the neighbor across the way.

He stays in high winds on summit to take photos, editor shoots from 1,200 feet away. Peak is
13,803 feet above sea-level, highest point in Hawaii.

We found this view from the peak, quite simply, stunning.

There were three other hikers on the trail, pharmacy students, who we met and conversed with at different
times along the way. At the climax, we met a soldier who drove to the lower summit and then hiked the
remaining few hundred feet to gain the spectacular views. We spent time conversing with him too. Once again,
we find that hike-about provides an incredible forum for us as we meet so many people from different countries,
cultures and walks-of-life—it makes life very interesting and stimulating. As we mention often, when we come
across people doing good things for others, it changes the balance in the world for the better.

We climbed for five hours which surprisingly, went quite quickly. However, as mentioned earlier, it wasn’t
difficult but very strenuous. To reach the highest observatories—they are on two-levels— we hiked up eight miles,
another half-mile to the small peak which is the highest point in Hawaii at 13,803 feet and then back to the
lower summit. Part of our deal, between spouses, was that we would hitch down if possible—we did get a ride
from the soldier. This is the only place in which we have done the one-way hike—a person could get used to it.

After 6.5 miles uphill, another 2.5 miles still to the summit, Jenni gives a 'signal'. Approaching
nearly 14,000 feet altitude, there is doubt whether she is inhaling sufficient air.

From the summit of Mauna Kea, looking north we see hills or mountains on a volcano below.

This time a picture from the summit of Jenni returning to lower-summit in high winds.

At about the 6.5 mile marker, we were confronted by a science fiction scene—numerous modern observatories
dotted on the summit of a volcano—it is quite spectacular. The road to these observatories is incredibly steep;
we can attest to it after hiking up the trail. (The trail only reaches the road at the lower summit after
seven miles.) The speed limit is 10mph (for motorized transport, not hikers) and 4-wheel drive vehicles are
encouraged strongly. It is quite an ordeal. The observatories, representing at least eleven participating
countries, are positioned in one of the world’s best locations for this type of research. Should you look at
the pictures from the Mauna Loa blog (previous), you’ll see the observatories slightly below the peak.

One of many colorful scenes on a volcano that erupted 4,600 years ago, 'kinda' lazy type.

We came across this 'little guy' after three hours, thereafter, it was never out of sight.

Weather changes are the most consistent aspects of these massive volcanoes.

Perhaps the most fascinating part of the adventure, should one have some concentration remaining after
dealing with the strenuous climb and the powerful winds, particularly on the peak, are the volcanic
desert scenes. To view the colored mounds, hills and mountains on the volcano and especially from the
summit is an unforgettable experience. Add in backdrops of the massive Mauna Loa and a third volcano,
clouds and ocean, Haleakala, observatories and an array of colors is nothing short of an out-of-world
delight. Surreal is a feeling one has standing on the peak of this amazing volcano. The only negative
aspect is the power of the winds which make it, at times, a challenge to remain on one’s feet. When Jen
left the summit first, she knew should the velocity increase further, she should ‘hit the deck’. On our
last visit to Mauna Kea Peak and this time, too, are the only occasions we have felt that we could be
blown off the mountain on the final ascent and top.

After crossing the road, we look at the Mauna Loa backdrop.

Lake Waiau, a small shrinking body of water at 13,020 feet. Two years ago, we viewed it at capacity.

Landscapes of such beauty, where you least likely expect them.

When we read the brochure about visiting Mauna Kea and then hiking to the summit, we realized the only
thing more dangerous to one’s health would be eating a double cheeseburger and fries, with all the trimmings.
Should you read the list of warnings contained therein, one might prefer to cuddle in bed for the day
instead—there’s a thought. Oh, the risk-free society or litigation is our game. We’ll stop there as the
editor is giving us the eye. We’ll end by sticking out one of our necks and state for the record: Arguably,
this was one of our five best outings.


Jenni and Jeffrey

A scarf and balaclava for the 'ice-age' as we rest before 'the longest mile'.

You have to love the irony. She has a 'Free Hawaii' (from America) bumper sticker and the only person
that stops to help her is an American soldier—Isaac Healy. Well done, soldier. (We spent 30 minutes with Isaac.)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

16.10 Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa, Moaner Jeffrey - Lost and found on the Island of Hawaii.

Volcano and clouds, Island of Hawaii.

Clouds below the mountain at dawn.

Imagine the scene.
You are standing alone after descending to approximately 13,000 feet above sea level,
the wind is gusting vigorously—across the way on a neighboring mountain, it’s recorded at 81 miles per hour.
The noon temperature is near freezing point so evening and later, should get down lower.
Your feet are aching from walking on volcanic cone and rocks. As far as the eye can see, you are surrounded
by lava rock colored black and gray. Some of the places that you step on collapse under your weight as there
is no support under the surface covering. You have now been on this mountain for nearly four hours and you
don’t know the way back to the trailhead. To put it quite bluntly, you are lost. You should understand the
area is vast, covered entirely with volcanic rock and nothing else. Wherever you look on the mountain, it's
the same, not providing any indication of familiarity. In the early stages of discovering one is lost, a certain
helplessness pervades one.

The last thing I would like to do is dramatize the situation—it detracts from its seriousness. What goes on
in a person’s mind in this position? It’s not a good feeling. That may be an understatement. To look around
and see hundreds if not thousands of square miles of lava rock without a path down to the starting point is
quite frightening. Maybe you say to yourself: ‘The main thing is not to panic. Remain calm and let me work
this out although I’ve lost all sense of direction.’ In my case, the problem is that I don’t start with much
sense in that field so it compounds the problem further.

A view into the caldera from the lower side, below the peak of Mauna Loa, an active (resting) volcano.

Mauna Kea from Mauna Loa, some of the observatories in view as I move upwards (cairns in view).

"Hey, Good morning sunshine". Position is at 9,200 feet above sea level with wonderful cloud cover below.

Some strange thoughts enter the mind. I have a fascination for Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, the world’s highest
mountains. You might think I’m building this for the sake of a good story. However, from the seabed, Mauna Loa
stands 56,000 feet high and is the earth's most massive mountain—U.S. National Park Service, protruding
nearly 14,000 feet above the ocean surface. Because I have a strong feeling for these amazing mountains, I think
that should a person depart this earth, these volcanoes would be as good an exit point as any. Perhaps, a little
morbid but nevertheless, the situation wasn’t good. At the time, I didn’t want to try an emergency number,
(the phone seldom has reception in the wild), before spending time trying to figure out what to do. Also, a little
pride prevents one waving down helicopters although that’s a little more difficult to do than it sounds.

I continued to think where I went wrong because I feel very comfortable on this mountain. In fact, it only took
one small error because an indicator was knocked down. The blame lies entirely with me but this unfortunate
small error became compounded when I continued along a path I knew was incorrect. I thought by following the
jeep track, rather than the cairns-marked trail, I would arrive at a position in reasonable proximity to the
trailhead. One of my shortcomings, inter alia, is that I hate to turn back. In retrospect, I should have done
that, collected my thoughts and regained the earlier correct position although I had already wondered far from
that vicinity.

By this stage, I had figured I was too far west and needed to cut across the lava. It turned out that I was,
in fact, too far east. The further east I walked over dangerous terrain, the worse things became. The added
hazard presented by the surface compounded the discomfort underfoot. After stumbling a little, I decided to
do the obvious: Go to higher ground. Although the way out was to move down, I needed to get higher in order
to see what lay below me. My position at the time was limited to views of miles and miles of the same, dark
volcanic rock. This detour added about three miles to the hike. By that time, I was feeling hungry and cold
but refused to stop as it would delay things further—I wanted to find a way off the mountain but in the
correct direction. Getting down is one thing although there were many places impassable because of the terrain.
Returning to the trailhead was proving to be another thing. I realized should no one come for me, I would be
sleeping in freezing temperature without suitable clothing or shelter. I would need food later and so I delayed
eating. I have been lost with the editor before but this time it had an ominous feel to it. An additional
complication was that I had Jenni’s lunch with me.
That’s unforgivable. I was more intimidated by that than being lost. I had doubts whether she would ever
forgive me. It was motivation indeed to find my way to the trailhead.

The massive crater or caldera walls at summit.

Contrasting the harsh lava with the soft clouds.

The sun flares and the day comes alive at high elevation.

We’d had left the town of Volcano at 5am earlier that morning, traveled to Mauna Kea for the hike to the
summit. However, after commencing, we were pulled from the trail as the high winds were considered too
dangerous. The authorities closed the trail and road to the summit. We then set off for Mauna Loa, the
sister mountain across the way, but at least forty minutes by car. As we commenced the hike, Jenni decided
to withdraw because of the wind. I was unhappy with her decision but thought I would go for a short hike to
cool off after this change in arrangement. It was lonely without her, cold and windy; I considered returning.
However, I pressed on and began to enjoy the hike immensely until I remembered about the lunch. The good news
was that Jenni wasn’t with me and so I knew she was safe. She was reading in the car. Later she told me her feet
got a little chilly so she stretched out to catch the warming rays of the sun on the driver's side—that's my side.
Oh for life's little comforts.

My return to the point-of-error position, or to reacquire height was obviously the correct thing to do although
adding many miles to the journey—another lesson learned. It was then I noticed a sign had been knocked over.
The trail crosses solid lava rocks and cones with a small part extending on a rough-stone jeep road. I should
have diverted from the road earlier. However, I missed the fallen-sign after taking a set of pictures—the
concentration distracted. I looked down and saw a golden sight. Approximately a mile away, as the crow flies,
the Mauna Loa Observatory stood in all its glory. Relief! I knew the trailhead was about a mile to the
west of the building and here I was, on the right of the building, that is, to the east.

The symmetry of Mauna Kea across the way.

Miles and miles of lava cover and no flora. It is one of the most barren places visited but always attractive.

A different angle into the caldera.

Once I retraced
my footsteps, it was easy going direction-wise from thereon. However, by the time I arrived at the
trailhead and then the car, I had completed over 12 miles, gained a cumulative 2,600 feet in a little over five
hours, not forgetting taking a whole lot of photographs. The original intention was to go for a short hike.
With a half-hour to go to the trailhead, the phone rang—it was my brother and cousin calling from Dallas to
say 'hello'. The phone was working after all although Jen did not have one.

Life is a narrow bridge but the main thing is not fear, not to panic, thoughts with which I tried to steel
myself while lost. Easier in theory. B’H. Thank G-d.

They say all’s well that ends well. Jenni forgave me for the lunch…just this once.


Jenni and Jeffrey

A favorite of sun reflecting off clouds, couldn't resist even with a few sunrises already on the blog.

Mauna Kea, through the cleft.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

16.08 And now for something completely different...or birds in (of) paradise.

We noticed two Nene geese through the window of the cabin and decided to observe their behavior.
We had no idea what to expect but nevertheless, they are interesting subjects so we thought, why not.
Within seconds, it became clear they were not about to fulfill their typical daily function of eating.
With this short background introduction, we have set out a collection of pictures together with our
interpretation of the little event. We think some may even relate to this.

Oops, we nearly forgot. This is for mature viewers only. If you are under 17, you should be sitting next
to an adult or, if older but somewhat immature, call Mom for a ruling:

The fellow on the left, we presume the male, undertakes what we've noticed many humans do, particularly,
the male gender. He begins by checking out the equipment. Logically, we would think this is an appropriate
approach. Truth be told, they all look alike to us, the birds, the winged ones, of course.

We did notice that both birds underwent a process of bending their necks for a minute or so. We have no
idea what that means so we put it down to necking, not unlike the term used during the last century
by affectionate couples.

Not satisfied with a cursory glance, the fellow thinks he'll check out front and back. We know the Nene
mates for life so we suppose he wants to make sure. Obviously, she is not a feminist and so she puts up with
his nonsense.

A little time elapsed and then the male took to the air. Our first thought: he was disappointed
and had smelled something 'off', for want of a better term. Continue below:

It turns out he was not taking-off but flying into position. We've heard of rushing these situations
in excitement but we think flying in low for the action has a certain style. Something to think about for
those wishing to improve their techniques.

Within ten or fifteen seconds, it was over, somewhat premature, we thought.

We would prefer not to comment on this picture as we feel somewhat embarrassed for the lad. However,
we hope he'll get dressed soon, at least don a pair of shorts.

It's time to clean up. Let's hurry it up, I think that's your Mom approaching.

Are you still cleaning? You can redo your feathers later... Have you had lunch yet? How about a side of worms?

Us? You're not serious. We've around. Join us for lunch, Mom.

Something's going on in her mind. Yes, we can see the image.

She imagines the family running around on the plot, a little grass covering, an attentive hubby...and
darling chicks. Does life get any better?

We believe we were fortunate to witness the above episode. Should we have misinterpreted what we witnessed, we offer
apologies to those two ninnies, um...Nene geese.


Jenni and Jeffrey