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.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
'Dear twins' up early for breakfast (young mule deer).
-Click on arrow to listen to Brian Murray sing a song that might be nostalgic, especially for
South Africans. The music will continue playing while scrolling up or down.-
How long is a piece of...stick? Golden tops make me weak at the knees. (Waited a long time for this one.)
The Piute hike is another that we are crazy about, amongst many others. We mentioned in an earlier
blog that catching the mountaintops on fire, that is, with the sun lighting the tips at dawn, is a
favorite pose. It was on this day we were fortunate to get visuals of the phenomenon. We remember a time
many years ago when we were listening to a sermon, a few moments before we dozed. The rabbi made an interesting
observation, although perhaps not practical in our world. He said always look up, never down. Of course,
he probably hadn’t walked on a treacherous trail. Nevertheless, we concur. He said that mining, for example,
meant digging into the bowels of the earth and sinking into the depths. However, searching and climbing upwards
is where the beauty and personal growth are found. Sentimentally and spiritually, we agree that he made a
wonderful point. When we climb up to the heights of the world, especially when combined with the light from
the different sources, the sun, moon, stars and planets, we do indeed see and experience much beauty.
Tunneling into the earth is intimidating. Nevertheless, we still like to hold some gold in our portfolio
even though it’s sourced from below.
On our return from Piute Pass, Jen stops in front of the lake with same name.
Above and over the pass, another Lake by name of Summit.
Life is a narrow bridge—editor not fond of this type of obstacle before breakfast...or after.
Jenni is always amazed when we find ourselves in the middle of nowhere (often), surrounded by beauty,
in areas so vast that one almost wonders whether we are the last surviving humans on the planet. Through the
eyes of two little people, we realize how insignificant we are in the big picture. Nevertheless, the objects
we see and record, elevate us so that instead of feeling like outsiders, we absorb what we witness, making us
so much the better for it.
We arrived before sunrise to try and capture scenes like this. It works out sometimes.
Heading for the pass in a boulder and rock filled bowl below amazing mountains.
Jenni reaches the first of three lakes, Loch Levon.
We have always smiled about not being intellectuals for which we are still grateful. However, we
realize the need for a bit of a brain to survive, to try and understand the issues of life as well as to use
it in decision making. Where is this going? Who knows but perhaps we realize we really are physical people, with souls.
The physical side allows us to explore, struggle, sweat, build, meet challenges, experience and enjoy while pursuing
the adventure that is life—tough but exhilarating. The real highs come from within by pushing oneself to the limit;
pushing the envelope as it's sometimes said. We do believe in a balance within life but find that at the extremes is
where we learn most about ourselves. This is all too philosophical but to repeat, if not for anyone but ourselves,
vigorous participation in life sure beats passivity.
Piute Lake at fore, Loch Levon behind, nearly a mile between the lakes.
One of the reasons we chose this season to visit the Sierras.
Fascinating how many mountains have a lower pedestal before them.
The hike was eleven miles from the car park, inconveniently distanced from the trailhead, and climbs
a little less than 2,000 feet, depending whether ones goes off trail and flits amongst the rocks. Now guess
who likes to do a bit of bouldering from time-to-time.
Finally, we did four hikes in the Bishop region, a most amazing setting in a district that’s magnificent.
This followed our sojourn in the desert cities around Palm Springs, including the adjacent Joshua Tree National Park.
At time of writing, we are experiencing the renowned Yosemite National Park from Lee Vining.
A contrast of lakes. In drought stricken California, water is aplenty at altitude.
A golden moment in the Golden State early in the morning.
Jenni and Jeffrey
Saturday, October 25, 2014
Spot the editor on way down, leave no stone unturned. Legend has it that a Texan lost his way on the
mountain and upon being found exclaimed, "I was stuck between a rock and a hard place."
As we gained height, the lakes came into view (Saddlebag); mountain visuals were spectacular.
We traveled from our lodge in Lee Vining to Yosemite National Park with the intention of climbing
Mount Dana. A maintained trail to the peak does not exist although the mountain forms part of the park.
When we arrived at the parking area, we searched for a commencement point. No luck. We walked a short
distance to the ranger at the entrance booth, indicated for him to open the window (it was cold) and felt
quite foolish in asking from where the hike commenced. We were worried that he might say, “If you have to ask,
should you be undertaking it?”
First of many knockout mountain views. (Punch 1)
(Punch 2) this one's a painting for Maude.
There's a lot more color outside the park. Evergreens are predominant inside.
“Left of the big tree,” he indicated. Of course, our editor should have known that but sometimes she
slacks off a bit. As you might guess, the mountain is close to the Tioga Pass entrance, the eastern side.
Like many situations with mountains, the peak is often only visible after a couple of hours. Off we went,
on track, meandering slowly through a meadow and the first gentle climb, initially. Actually, it was two
gentle inclines, the first and last. Thereafter, the going was rough and tough. The trail became one of
stones, rocks and slabs. It was a terrific experience but challenging. The bigger issue was the awfully
strong winds. On a couple of occasions, we were literally, blown over although not swept away. Only the
editor has the ability to sweep us away and maybe the tides, too. In many places, the boulders and rocks
formed part of the trail which meant we made our own way towards the summit in places. The ascent was
tiring but the descent, at times, on loose rocks was treacherous.
(Punch 3). We had to stop looking for a while, it was overwhelming.
Blowing in the wind but 'blown away' by the climb and sights. How's dem skyline?
Editor struggles with elements on the way up, the last and longest mile
Mount Dana is the second highest mountain in Yosemite, only 50 feet less than the ‘champ’. The peak sits
at an altitude of 13,061 feet. The climb is over 3,000 feet. The second mile is steep but the final mile, of
this three-mile distance (one-way), rises by 1,500 feet. That is very steep. There is no doubt that when we
stood under the peak, a mile to go with that elevation to negotiate on a stony surface in cold and very windy
conditions, we felt intimidated. It’s been a while since we have been tested as we were today. One tries not
to brag but the editor was outstanding. Less than a month ago, she struggled to walk up stairs because of
knee ailments. The hike, the fourth in a row this week, tested our mettle and Jen came out shining like gold.
Mount Washington in New Hampshire and a couple of toughies in Iceland might match this challenge.
A view of Mono Lake from the peak of Mount Dana, a drop of a mile and a quarter, 12 miles by road.
At lower elevation, it looked like the bird was not welcoming.
We met another couple, Iris and Michael as well as Zack on the way up. That was the sum total of people
we saw in the five hours of trekking, trudging and having an awfully ‘good’ time. Should you sum their ages,
the answer barely exceeded that of the editor’s. However, they were strong, fit and fast—a pleasure to watch.
It would have been nice of the youngsters to offer to carry our packs, though.
Cathedral Peak is in the middle of the range across the way. (Note the smokers' sections of the park.)
The snow fields. At all previous hikes, we looked up to these mountains, from Dana we were level or higher.
The views of Yosemite from height are spectacular. In the four hikes to-date in the park, we have seen
many of the icons from different positions. Cathedral Peak is one we stood below when we hiked to its lakes,
viewed it again from Lembert and North Domes and looked down upon it today. Rather than attempt to describe
the magnificent views, we’ll let the pictures do the work. One thing we will mention is that we saw the whole
of Mono Lake from the peak. It is arguably one of the most spectacular sights after the struggle up the mountain
because one is confronted with the view of a large blue body of water and its tufas, the salt pillars in the
highly salt-concentrated lake. From its altitude of 6,400 feet, only a small part of the lake can be seen.
However, as we stood on the peak at 13,100 feet, the perspective is quite different together with a skyline
of peaks. The reward was worth the effort—it always is; the struggle itself is a reward.
One other point is that the panorama views from Mount Dana gave us a thrill. Whereas we have always had
respect for the park, looking across at many mountains, some with snow fields covering them even before
winter, views of many lakes spread below surrounded by trees, it increased our fascination for this national
A more subtle view of a Saddlebag Lake but always bold mountains, from Dana Peak.
Another of Mono Lake, a highly salt-concentrated body of water.
Fortuitous that a couple of hikers were at the peak simultaneously.
We’re most pleased to announce that the editor is showing no animosity following this very challenging climb.
Jenni and Jeffrey
We don't eat meat but could not resist the idea of worms washed down with
cold beer as we took in the delightful lake scenes outside Bishop.
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Jen stands on an edge of North Dome; Half Dome in the background.
Jenni coming down one of the channels as we head for the dome. (Extreme 'Woodson potato chip' on left.)
We arrived at North Dome after 4.5 miles over a trail that moved up and down throughout the hike.
It included climbing over rocks as well as our usual extras on said boulders. After three miles, the famous
Half Dome came into view as well as many other fine sights of Yosemite. North Dome, somewhat lower than
the major icon, stood proudly, too. There’s a history to this icon of Yosemite. The hike, with the final
400 feet on chains to the top, is so popular that a lottery is held to limit the number of participants.
We failed to secure spots for the hike a while ago so we found ourselves gazing at the outcrop from
North Dome, separated by the Yosemite Valley thousands of feet below. Currently, the hike is closed for
the winter season—apparently, the dome takes its vacation in the off-season, quite considerate.
We're coming from above North Dome; upon reaching its base, we'll climb again. It felt like we were positioned
in a cockpit just before landing.
From North Dome, taking in a panorama view of Yosemite.
The official story of the dome, as relayed by geologists and scientists, is that thousands of
years ago, half the dome split off and hence, only half remains. Of course, we dispute this supposition.
Should you believe the official version, we can sell you a bridge in Brooklyn for a few hundred dollars.
Back to the dome. If this split occurred, where is the other half? Did it fly off into the distance,
crumble into nothingness or just plain wear away by having so many hikers traipsing upon it? Sometimes
you need a pair of fresh young minds…okay, not so young…to provide a different perspective. We have
undertaken to disprove the current thinking. So each day we visit the park in search of the missing half.
Should we find it then we shall concede we are wrong about current scientific thinking. However, should we
not discover it, you decide.
Down the road in Mono Basin is the famous lake. It's a fascinating place with a history.
Although the trails are very quiet, we meet people from time-to-time and exchange information,
ideas and have interesting conversations. It adds to the quality of our lives; there are so many fascinating
people about. We learn, get different perspectives and generally, are uplifted. Cindy and John, a couple we
met on a trail have been living in their RV for the last five years and are, as expected, well-traveled both
locally and internationally. We met Michael, a man who, to put it bluntly, is living rough. We spoke a while
about his term, ‘trail magic’. He was hiking from Tahoe, heading towards Berkley. We loved the way he mentioned
that rather than hitch a ride the long way round, he would hike through the Sierras, continuing to the next main
road when he descended finally. Before we parted, we had a ‘magic moment’ together, which we won’t forget.
Morgan told us that Dan proposed to her the previous night, the first of eight days on a trek. This young
couple traveled from Banff, Canada to explore the Sierras. The trail magic continues.
We have written often about the special bonding and trust that exists when one party grasps the other's hand in
difficult or tricky situations. It is a moment of extreme emotion. We are unable to record such incidents for
obvious reasons. Sasha and Jason of New York, helped simulate the idea which allows us to introduce the music
of Brian Murray again. Although the situation was contrived on Lembert Dome today, we faced some tricky
climbs as we hiked on the steep sides of the dome.
The pictures below, but for the first one, were snapped by the editor, randomly. We then selected a few
in a sequence that provided some light relief after um...we were going to say, a serious day of hiking. We tried
to fit captions to pictures of these random shots. Should you have reached this position and are looking for a
mature presentation, we advise you to look elsewhere.
It always begins with Eve who seems to be wrapped up with a serpent again. She spent the day cracking her whip and making the poor 'boy-hero' jump here, there and everywhere. Not that he did not enjoy it, though. Eve sits on an edge at North Dome with the famous Half Dome and other mountains behind. A valley, a few thousand feet below, separates the two.
"There? Have you looked at the few thousand feet drop to the ground? You think I'm a chicken?" I wish I could just say 'yes' and leave it at that.
"I'm thinking of commencing from over there as it's a better position...unless, of course, you object."
"This is sort of okay, I suppose. You're sure you want me to do this? No, I'm not whining."
"I don't want to lose my hat, if you don't mind. Are you still sure you want me to do this? Tell the kids I love them."
"I'm just getting better positioned. I want to do this correctly, okay? Give me a break, will you."
The eagle has landed...almost.
Sometimes, we have a need to reverse our age numbers and have a bit of fun. Who wants to grow up?.
Jenni and Jeffrey
And now for our true favorites, mountain climbers in training:
Monday, October 20, 2014
"Hi Jen." Looks like she found her twin from down-under.
Clarity, reflections and shadows
A powerful visual as we commence the down trail from Table Mountain.
Sitting in the car in the pre-dawn dark, we listened to the music of Brian Murray. Our timing was off as
we arrived a little early—better that way as the sun does not give one a second chance on the same day. We eased
into the darkness to put on our boots, last minute checks, flashlights ready, lock the car and head to the trailhead.
The changes are subtle. From darkness, the move towards light comes about very slowly, at first. A person notices the
clouds are suddenly visible, there’s a mountain ahead, trees appear and where did that path come from? This occurs
very quietly without the dazzle and noise of a Hollywood spectacular—that’s what makes it a double miracle.
Colors, reflections and joy...and brain overload.
One of the powerful visuals that held the eye.
Rushing to find an opening to pay respects to the magnificence.
Looking towards the horizon, the sky changes from black to dark blue and hues of yellow with some red.
Should it be a spectacular morning sun, throw in pink and purple. By this time, especially if one is
in a forest, the heart is racing and the legs are charging in search of an opening to take it all in
through a wider arc. Meantime, the seemingly passive mountains to the west, south and north are basking
in the early sunlight, warming themselves, after a cold night. The change is also slow. First, the sun
hits the tips of the mountain creating a golden thread. As it continues to rise, the gold band widens
and replaces the dark shadows below the top. Before long, the golden tip is less prominent; nevertheless,
the whole mountain is basking in golden sunlight. In moments, it’s gone and the sights are less stunning
but still good. And then one feels guilty for complaining about awakening so early. As an aside, we complain
far too frequently notwithstanding the blessings we have in life. We continue to learn much from people who
are far less fortunate than ourselves; people whose shoes we could not fill.
On a personal photographic level, we always strive to catch the gold alight the mountain tips and peaks but
alas, it tends to be elusive. Patience and effort have allowed us to attain the reward lately. (See following blogs.)
Sun catches mountain that looks like a smaller Table Mountain of Cape Town.
Too much sun at Mono Lake, showing that many lakes in the region are exquisite.
This fellow brought up the rear, perhaps in two ways, as we suddenly noticed them quite far ahead.
The hike to five Tyee Lakes is one of the best provided we add the final climb onto Table Mountain, a place
of serenity, wide-open spaces and color. We know we often seem foolish especially when we have a bucket of
fifty best hikes—forgive us the enthusiasm. However, this one is special, particularly with the autumn colors
in full show. The water is crystal clear, in colors of blue, emerald, azure, turquoise, green…we could go on
for a while in that vein. The mountains, trees and other fauna reflect off the lakes making the scene surreal.
The aspens are a treat in a touch of green, bright and strong yellows, oranges and developing reds. Should one
stare at the lake surfaces long enough, one forgets whether one’s looking at the reflected image or the real
object. All are surrounded by the distinctive Sierras, the jagged edges reaching for the sky. We often think
that G-d had a personal interest in the design of Switzerland. The Eastern Sierras, in our opinion, is another
area He might have walked through, too.
Loan Rock takes a dip before winter at Tyee Lake One.
Old favorite from Table Mountain, actually both old favorites.
A thousand trees above and on the lake
The hike with extras was a little under 3,000 feet elevation gain over nine or ten miles return. We did it
early last week; the mind is not what it used to be.
Jenni and Jeffrey