LAZAROW WORLD HIKE-ABOUT
New Zealand 2017: Tongariro Crossing and Mount Ngauruhoe.
'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 often.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
A very dangerous section. They charge to enter this area. In the USA, liability concerns would demand
that chains be erected or the hike be closed, in our opinion.
Meantime 'our hero' elects to stay grounded and have a smoke.
The concept of relativity comes into play regarding the weather, in Iceland. One learns to change
one's perspective. Living in Southern California means the norm is sunshine mostly, and little rain.
Whereas this is not ideal in itself, one tends to think of it as typical. We learned quickly that when
it was not raining and blowing in this part of the world, it was good weather. Should the sun trickle
through then it's party time. We may be negative, but having a function like an outdoor wedding might
be considered a trifle risky.
Okay, just kidding. Positioned at the low but steep peak, although tricky to get there.
Bleak but attractive, we think.
A view of Mount Hildarfjall, many different landscapes in a small area. It seems small but as they
say: 'Looks can be deceiving.' The trail is near vertical at times.
Accommodation is at a premium in the country, perhaps mainly in summer. A couple of times, especially when
the weather looked bleak, we tested the pricing at hotels, boarding houses and even homeless lots. Prices
are expensive particularly when one evaluates what the service covers. The price of gas is nearly double the US
level although electricity is cheap according to the locals. The internet is superb and is probably the best we
have used anywhere in the world. Someone mentioned to us that the Icelanders take the best from Europe and
America—sounds smart. We offered them our president at no charge. As we said: They're a wise bunch.
Bubbling waters, aromas to go with egg sandwiches, desolation. Something tells us to leave the area.
A view from the summit at this high volume tourist attraction although few people on the slopes.
The final section up to the top after turning inwards from the very slippery edge.
We found it interesting how kindly they take to compliments of their country. Whenever we had something
good to say about Iceland or its people, the person took the comment personally and expressed heartfelt appreciation.
Perhaps when there's less than a 400,000 populace, you are one big family. We come from a country (RSA) that experienced
and still continues to suffer from a high-level of crime. We mention this as we have an awareness of crime levels
and areas that appear dangerous. Anyway, we can't say we have ever been in a place in which we felt safer, both
our person and possessions. It is a wonderful feeling. The naïveté within us always seems to wonder why the biggest
threat to anyone is our fellow man.
After all the bubbling, smelling and near-exploding, cooling off at Godafoss a little later.
Meantime, back at lunch, we think these fellows will develop neck problems as they age, if not sooner.
The Blue Lagoon, another example of discharges from the bowels of the earth.
We'd like to think we'll return to Iceland to visit. This is one of many places we love yet one
in which we'd not like to live. For people who like the outdoors, natural wonders and the challenges, this is
a country to explore. There were many occasions in which we were on our own in what appeared to be the middle
of nowhere. It felt exhilarating, always exciting and at times, spiritual, a personal feeling.
Jenni and Jeffrey
Sunday, July 27, 2014
A view of the first false peak after ascending towards the base. The actual peak is at rear although the
route takes one over the prominent peak in the picture.
A pond of water fed by streams, attracts plant life...and us.
Arguably, it was one of our two or three best hikes and experiences in this country. There we go again,
arguing. The town of Akureyri is in the north of the country, making it closer to the North Pole than Reykjavik.
While we like both cities, the northern town is a delight. It is much smaller than the capital but the second
largest, population wise. It is surrounded by mountains, all snowcapped. It lies on the water, an expanse of
the most desirable blue liquid we have seen. The only people we met on the trail were locals. They are friendly,
speak such good English that one forgets it’s not their mother tongue or father’s for that matter. Talking of
fathers, it appears they don’t use surnames as other westerners do. They follow a system not exactly but in
principle, similar to the Hebrew tradition. Their surnames are a combination of the father’s first name. Fred
Johnson would probably be Fred son of John.
At higher altitudes, the snow is thick and wide. Jenni is above the steep climb negotiated seconds before.
Although it's considered rude, one cannot help staring at such awesome sights.
Jenni thinks it's a haunting scene; one had to stand in her shoes, we suppose.
Back to the hike. We found the trailhead exactly where it was supposed to be—this always makes for a
nice start. Immediately, we wrapped ourselves in jackets and took up the challenge. Wherever one stands in
the town, the peak is visible. Knowing the intention is to get to the top is a little intimidating, especially
on a day when the self-confidence wanes a little. Only when we got to just before the peak did we learn the
visible part was a false peak—high but not the whole way. At one stage, we were standing in a snowfield
and looked up to see that it rose at an acute angle towards high ground. We were inspired. Get up to that point
and we’d be home. When we reached the end of the snow climb, we realized that nature was playing games with us.
We still had another forty-five minutes to go. The rewards of climbing this mountain far outweighed any struggle.
There are no trees so one is always in the open with views of magnificent scenery including the surrounding
snowcapped peaks, snow fields, the fjord of brilliant blues, flowing streams which we crossed frequently, colorful
plants and the cool, crisp air. Switzerland included, we don’t think we have seen a more beautiful place.
Even the town, viewed from the peak, was a joy.
A view of another side, opposite to the water.
Jenni contemplating the next leg after coming across a few false peaks.
Okay, so you made it. Big deal. We thought so. A good path for the last few hundred feet, a nice change.
The only hikers we met were a few locals. We have said it before. The Icelanders are a hardy bunch. The environment
must have a strengthening effect on the citizens of the country and it shows. The sun is one of the scarce
resources in the country. We could not help notice the clothing worn by the locals. As long as the sun is shining,
no matter how low the temperature, they tend to dress for a regular summer. Jenni sneaked a photograph of one of
us engaged in discussion with local hikers and it shows in the outfits. We looked like we were at the North Pole (nearly)
while they were dressed for Southern California.
Jenni summits at a particularly special place, 3,700 feet higher than the trailhead.
The long and winding road...the earlier stages of the hike.
A spot that has varied landscapes, a delight.
After returning to Reykjavik, we stayed with Sigga, in her small home. We occupied her bedroom while
she slept in her tiny annex. She earns money by renting accommodation on that basis. It seems unusual
but it worked out well including dealing with her two cats who have free run of the home. We left the
bathroom door ajar as the cats use the window in that room for access. We had spent 13 days traveling
around the island and that many consecutive nights in our tent before arriving at our last port of call.
Sleeping in a good bed with a soft mattress, fluffy pillows and thick duvets proved to be anti-climatic.
We believe we slept better on the ground, funnily enough. In fact, we had backache after sleeping in a bed.
Peering above the snow, Eyjafjordur and city in the distance.
If you're going to turn around, this would be a good position, Jen.
Finally, on our second last night in camp, we got a puncture (a flat). Yes, it was a pity but we dealt with
it okay. Our air mattress developed a leak and could not be repaired. Fortunately, we were stationary at the time.
Who knows what could have happened had we been sleep-walking. We slept a little closer to the ground for the remaining
Wrapped and strapped on the peak in a cold environment although the sun shone on the day.
Jenni and Jeffrey
Contemplation after a great climb. The hike commenced on the outskirts of the city.
Friday, July 25, 2014
Going with the flow at Dettifoss, apparently the most voluminous flow in Europe.
Admiring the wide falls at Selfoss, nearly a mile upstream from Dettifoss.
We were worried about round-the-clock light. Although the sun supposedly sets, in a fashion, it’s
always light outside. It’s quite nice and certainly makes walking to the bathroom during the night easy.
Reading in the tent is another plus. However, we don’t think we know too many people who live in tents
so the advantage might be a trifle too specific. Although the saying Mom always used when we were
living at home was something like: “Do you think you live in a tent?” That’s was when we forgot to close
the door. We suppose we could provide a different answer these days. What is a little worrying is that
our editor enjoys this type of lifestyle very much—it augurs well for our cost of living but it might
prove to be a little uncomfortable. In the meantime, we’re thinking of asking anyone out there whether
we could hire a corner of the property to pitch a tent.
Something about this picture gets the juices...water flowing in and out of us.
Power and a cooling spray, in very cool weather.
To break the water flow, we added in something from Skaftafell, the glacier.
The internet, computers and so many types of electronic gadgets continue to astound us. We are in awe
of the ingenuity of humans. We are also ashamed of the behavior of mankind, too. However, we do see the social
negatives of the electronic age, too. Wherever we go, people are on the phone or wiggling their fingers over a
keypad. Groups of youngsters stand around looking down into their hands while oblivious to what’s occurring about
them. It has also made us do some strange things. In the search for power, that is electricity, we have had to
be quite resourceful. The other day at the campsite, we pushed a cable through a window into the bathroom to connect.
We spent a couple of hours working outside the men’s bathroom. The work was interesting but the sounds and odors
emanating therefrom were less interesting. Should have sat outside the other gender's facilities.
Jen in the thick of things.
Somewhere over the rainbow...
We always like to stop on the road after hikes or between towns, buy a cuppa and connect to
our business commitments. It often requires sitting, like the earlier mention, in unusual places. We were
at a camp with few power points. We gave a contractor, a man who was building an enclosure for the camp,
a little help with something. Two minutes later, he walked back into the incomplete enclosure carrying
a chord of power for us to use. We were touched. It seems there is always a way to remain connected should
one look for the gap.
As we begin a climb at Skaftafell, we watch a different water flow, a very interesting one.
Who let the water out? If we didn't know better we'd have said sluice gates instead.
Quite remarkable. What can a little guy say while facing an awesome sight, incredible power.
At the biggest campground we’ve ever seen, there was a buzz, giving the place a good atmosphere. It was
filled with people from all over Europe, young and old. The locals love to go on camping trips. One evening,
we took ourselves to a lounge area—it is a big plus although not often provided. We sat, deciding to read.
We were the only ones reading old-fashioned print. The rest, and there were many, were on I-phones, I-pods,
I don’t know but all using hand-held gadgets. Once again, the scramble for power points became quite an art
if not, a shove and scrum.
Dr. Livingstone? On the day, the sun shone although it was cold. We have since determined that Icelanders don't dress for
cold but rather, for sunshine. We were also the object of mirth when the locals noticed that we put on semi-crampons after reaching a steep snow incline. We were a little surprised they weren't barefoot.
Jenni and Jeffrey
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
A haunting Sunday afternoon on our own.
The water keeps on flowing and flowing as we wend our way back to the trailhead.
The Blue Lagoon, a distraction from this hike. The water is a geothermal mixture of liquid from 7,000 feet
below together with ocean water, chemical reactions and a little help from man. What it means is that it's
hot and beautifully blue.
Clearly, we are in the height of summer although it rains a few times a day and the temperature never
goes above the low 50’s, during a good moment. This latter couple of words were chosen specifically. The wind
blows constantly. So why is it, from our perspective, a hot summer? Ice cream. The locals are always eating
ice cream. We presume it must be in order to keep cool during this unseasonably warm period. It does matter
where you stand. Sometimes on the trails, it's even more important where you sit.
One to watch closely. This is the view, behind Jenni, when we commenced the hike.
On our return, suddenly, the clouds begin to lift.
Voila! A town appears from the mist, sunshine on Seydisfjordjur.
The Icelanders speak such good English that it’s almost embarrassing that we can hardly pronounce
a word in their language. English seems to be the second official language—we make this judgment on the
basis that all signs are in the two languages. It makes life much easier for us although it hasn’t helped
us communicate any better with the French. Another interesting factoid is that many people travel the ring
road (1) and we bump into quite a few time-and-time again. Whilst we don’t see many hikers on the trails,
the tour buses are busy transporting people to and from the various points of interest. One can stay off the
beaten track, as we mostly do, or have a more formal tour. Whatever your choice, it is an amazing and
We included this one because it produces an amazing bonding. Unfortunately, the rocks were
wet on the day, probably are all the time. When a partner climbs and reaches down to clasp the
hand of the other, a tremendous energy and trust forms between them. The anchor has to be confident
of the position and for the grasper, confidence in the anchor is essential. The feelings are unique.
Intermission and the curtain comes down again.
Another distraction from a wonderful day in of itself. This area is the south-western corner
Another flow of water, we think number 786,045, give or take a couple.
Doug Morton, an interesting man we met in Natal recently who is also an architect and photographer,
commented as follows: ‘When I see volumes of water like this (Iceland) I realize South Africa is an arid
country.’ In fact, wherever we travel, we continue to witness massive lakes, strongly flowing rivers and
an abundance of waterfalls. The occasional spot of rain is another daily source of water. Man, this place
is wet. We are diligently working on a plan to divert some of the water to the dry San Diego region.
Stay tuned. Doug also reminded us following mention of the Reagan/Gorbachev summit, not on a peak of course,
that Fischer/Spassky grandmasters dueled in this city, too. We can't see our contribution to the city, unfortunately.
One more with the full mountain backdrop behind the town of Seydisfjordjur.
Jenni and Jeffrey
Sunday, July 20, 2014
Destination viewed after 3 miles of ascending, as we get below peak.
Jenni reaches target, Mount Hildarfjall—Myvatn in the background. (A lake of midges)
We've passed through regions where the impact of volcanoes have left their marks. In one spot, the remnants
of the 1996 eruption is still clearly visible. One explosion caused blocks of ice, weighing many tons, to fly
through the air and destroy all and anything in their flight path. These beyond-comprehension-objects create
enormous damage to the environment, even to people with the hardest of heads. An interesting aspect we've noticed
is that it appears the recovery of the land takes less time than in other parts of the world. For instance,
in Hawaii, the land appears to take a lot longer to regenerate growth and recovery. Bear in mind, we make this
observation as untrained laymen. Obviously, everyone is aware of pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicavolcanoconiosis,
the danger from silica particles. We humbly admit we were not familiar with the word.
The long and winding road as Jen edges up. The last section before the peak, facing towards volcano territory.
One of many gorgeous views from the top. Sun?...sun, shadows and snow.
It looks like the editor is leaning into the wind or just resting on her hiking pole in the beginning
of an incredibly steep scree path.
The Icelanders don’t like to fool around—well, maybe they do. It’s when they build a trail to a peak,
they don’t consider using the switchback concept. The rough, stony paths head straight to the top, no
divergences. They do mark the trails well—a great help. We have climbed a few mountains on this trip and
have found them to be challenging, rough but outstanding occasions. The views are diverse and most attractive.
They include, sometimes all in one place, rivers, lakes, waterfalls, volcanoes, lava rock, snow-capped mountains,
villages, glaciers, icebergs—to itemize the landscapes. The afterglow of the tougher climbs endures and we believe
we won’t forget the experiences. Today's hike had many of these features, which we witnessed over the eight-mile
walk and climb.
A view of the peak from a hike on the following day.
Blowing in the wind, that is, the hat, not a fashion statement. The peak of Mount Hildarfjall.
Views in all four directions, this one towards the volcano.
We are currently circumventing the island, in a fashion. The single carriageway makes a ring, obviously
inside the country, also skipping some of the fjords and at times, cutting corners. The road covers a
distance of about 860 miles. It is well maintained with many offshoots heading into the interior. These
ancillary roads tend to be gravel but also maintained reasonably well. Our car, together with the tent,
provides adequate protection against the elements, so far. Living on the road has taken on an added dimension
for us in this land. It’s a fascinating experience. While we have been comfortable, we realize that living
this way gives one a better appreciation of the luxury of a more formal life. It’s a worthwhile endeavor,
if only to keep us 'grounded'.
Myvatn, eutrophic body of water (full of nutrients) in shades of blue, different each day.
Editor, steady and strong, makes her way to the peak with relative ease.
Snow pockets remaining from last winter as the forthcoming winter approaches.
The locals speak very good English so it’s never a problem to communicate. Currently, we are finding the
dominant visitors to the island are French. Funnily enough, we had an Inspector Poirot moment the other day.
We offered to take a photograph of a fellow as we stood at Selfoss admiring the Niagara style water flow.
It was on Bastille Day so we mentioned it in passing to which the young man replied, “I’m Belgian.” With the
number of French people in Iceland, one must presume many are visiting other countries, too; it begs
the question: Who is left in France? Actually, who cares.
Jenni returns to camp; our tent with the 'designer red top' in foreground. Reykjahlio town behind.
Crater further back. White car in the parking area. What more do we need?
A steep and rocky path all the way up. (False peak)
Jenni and Jeffrey