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.

Monday, June 29, 2015

23.04 Pradollano, Pico Veleta: An amazing place, an amazing mountain range, an amazing hiking experience, simply...amazing.

Every now and again we mention some of our best experiences. The ascent to (the peak of) Pico Veleta was
one of them. We are able to view the peak from the sitting room in our apartment. It's awesome. The mountains
climb steeply from the base. There is no respite; they go directly upwards—tough and taxing. Although not
easily viewable on pictures, there are three layers of mountains with valleys between them. The distance
is deceptive as we soon realized—there's nothing as sobering as finding this out while on foot. The lower
part of the village, where our apartment is situate, is at 6,890 foot above sea level, while the summit sits
at 11,148 feet. Because we selected our own route, we had to negotiate a further 300 feet as we dropped down
from the communication station and then further below the observatory. The cumulative gain was a meaningful
4,500 feet plus. We enjoyed every moment of it but for maybe 3 or 4 feet. It was one of those days where
whatever they could 'throw at us', we asked for more.

It's a long story how we found the delightful village of Pradollano in the Sierra Nevada.
It is the southernmost ski resort in Europe. Frankly, we have not stayed in a place so quaint
and yet filled with modern low-rise buildings in various colors and shades. The atmosphere, ignoring
the density of the air, is remarkable. During weekdays in summer, it appears to be deserted—wonderful.
This last weekend, a competition of some sort was arranged for cyclists. Cycling is a major sport
on the continent and certainly in Spain. Watching the dare-devils fly down the mountains and
the tough guys pedal up and over the passes is quite relaxing—we could watch for long periods of time
and hardly raise a sweat. In fact, the first meaningful conversation we've had since talking with
our previous landlady, Jeda, occurred with Thomas, a German. Go figure! We also met another cyclist,
Rich, a fireman from Boise with legs like narrow tree-trunks.

(Continue reading at end)

A view from a little below the village of the peak of Veleta, an elevation gain of 4,500 feet
and many miles away. We had no idea what we faced.

Throughout the region, the distinctive peak of Veleta, the registered logo
of Sierra Nevada, is on display.

Jenni reaches a milestone deserving, if I may say, of a salute as she stands on Pico Veleta.

We'd like to say there 'flies' a Springbok but will have to settle for a goat.
For: "Stan the Shabbos Man"—one for the 'bokke'. Peak of (Pico) Veleta, at 11,148 feet.

One can view the Mediterranean from the peak as well as North Africa, on a clear day.

Reaching part-way up the village with no respite in sight...never will be.

Telephoto lens from summit brings the village close.

A little adrenaline rush to provide a boost as we are about to move up an awfully
steep talus face.

Off-trail but not off path as Jen pushes with everything she's got.

An incredible position, the peak of Veleta. Mediterranean behind, North Africa further back.

It took us over 2 hours to reach the observatory below where we had brunch and thereafter,
another 2 plus hours to the peak.

Looking over the edge across to the highest mountain in the range.

A little color to relieve the harshness of the rock, one of the daily marvels.

On the way up, we have to drop down below the observatory ahead, adding extra elevation overall.

Over the other edge, enjoying snow after extreme heat.

Jen rests at peak; memorial picture of youngster who died, at right.

'Scape goat' blurred at speed as he goes for a big jump from peak. Oh for four good legs, heck,
I'll take three.

A later shot than previous above. Good night...sleep tight...

(Continued from above...)

We sometimes
do odd things for reasons that baffle even us. Nevertheless, it doesn't appear this
will change any time soon. We decided to limit our time on the graded but stony road, preferring
to negotiate rougher terrain. Instead we took cycle tracks, goat paths and at times, being fully target
focused, crossed scree and talus at ridiculously acute inclines. The occasions were tough but in
their own way, meaningful. Fellow hikers will understand some of the feelings better than we can explain.
Suffice to say, we spent near on eight hours on the trail and peak including stops for pictures, brunch
and appreciation. We nearly forgot to add: rest. It was a day that will sit somewhere inside where
cherished memories are stored, for a long time.

As we climbed, we took photographs of a few points that could be used as objective measures. We began
at the bottom of the village, reaching above it after some 1,200 feet. It's hard to describe the climb
other than to express the feeling that it felt vertical at times. Our next key points were the
communication station and observatory. We used the village buildings and the latter structures to gauge
our ascent progress and thereafter to look back and see how far we had climbed. Ideally, we would like
to show the objects from our perspective at the different positions as we moved higher. It may not
be practical, being a little too specialized but we tried using the village buildings as an example.

A helicopter put on a show for us, a couple of goats contributed much to the enjoyment but the views
were spectacular. Good weather was another boon. The temperature variation from Granada at the extreme
was close to forty degrees. Although we sweated profusely at times, the breeze cooled the mountain air.
A memorial picture to a young man who lost his life at the dangerous peak was sobering. When we noticed
his date of birth (1994-2014), it seemed as if he barely lived. When a person is born forty-two years
earlier than the deceased, it seems surreal—we had to calculate that someone born in 1994 could already
be an adult.

Jenni who had not been feeling at her best after suffering from an ailment, proved that hidden under that
quiet persona is a resilient young woman. Okay, something in there may be a little inaccurate. After twelve
miles plus, an elevation gain of 800 feet-less-than-a-mile on a rough track reaching over 11,000 feet is
commendable, even if I have to be the one showering the praise. Is that good enough, Editor or do I need
to add more? Don't stop me, I'm on a roll.

Hike-about provides us with opportunities and experiences that are often profound, testing and growth
challenges. Obviously, we fail on many occasions but when we succeed, it sure picks one up and allows
us to reach for the sky, stretching outside our comfort zones. One of life's anomalies is that a person
can only bask in the satisfaction for a day or so—one has to move ahead and face the next challenge.


Jenni and Jeffrey

Saturday, June 27, 2015

23.03 Silleta de Padul, up and over in the Sierra Nevada.

The Lower peak of Silleta de Padul from above, somewhere in the...okay, somewhere 2,500 feet
above ground level.

As we move up, the soft light provides the best views of the Sierras thus far.

We approached this hike trying to avoid the intense heat as much as possible; we left
the apartment early. However, one small thing that interfered with the plan was the directions.
Although we had good instructions, it only takes a small error, even one very close to the destination,
to add additional time to the journey. However, on the upside, and there are a lot of hills and inclines,
we got to see more of the villages and towns clustered on, around and below the mountains. The elevation
gain was a solid 2,500 feet, the climbing segment a little over two miles, causing a sweat. On a rustic
but terrific track, with frequent moves through the forest, we kept our cool.

Reaching the peak, which allows for surrounding views that are quite breathless.

Field of dreams on the mountain to the fore, a further 800 feet to reach peak.

The first shot of the day with subdued lighting.

Following day, Sierra Nevada, we get a treat at sunset. The last shot of the day in a different
form of subdued lighting

We have noticed over the period of Hike-about that Europeans are not open and friendly. Perhaps we
should not generalize—we did meet two 'smilers' and one with half a grin some years ago. We like to greet
every person we pass, whether on the trails or the city. Americans and Africans are friendly and Mexicans,
on the local mountains in San Diego, are the warmest of all. Spaniards take note. One year in Grindelwald,
we were worried. A woman we passed gave us a heartwarming smile. We feared for her. What if the
'misery police' had seen that frowned upon action.

Fortunately, we hiked with two Swiss (German) in New Zealand one period, Todd and Adrien, who are delightful
young men. The following year in the same country, we came across Yves, a Swiss (French). He was quite a loner.
A person could be walking with him and before you knew it, he had disappeared. 'What happened to Yves?—he was
here a second ago' Anyway, one night he must have been feeling awfully down. He hooked up with us as we were
about to have an abridged Channukah service on the Milford Track. After watching us light candles and sing
a little, (joined by three Israelis and two New Zealand farmers), Yves sidled up to Jenni and wanted to know
how he could become Jewish. To this day, I don't know what she replied.

Jenni commences descent...suggested I stay up a few days to cool off.

Thirty minutes later, Cowboy Bob lost his hat over the edge. Mom, send money for a replacement, please.

The trails continue to be almost exclusively for our use. We see so few people that we wonder what
we could have done or said to upset them. Fortunately, after time in towns and cities, the calm, serenity
and peace of the 'uncivilized' wilds is a wonder. Even without having stayed in the towns, our sentiments
would be the same. We live in a beautiful natural world. Grab a part!

We are often asked about our night-life. Without giving away secrets, here's something from Pradollano.

Arable land at lower levels in the mountains.

Sunset before a planned major hike to Pico Veleta. Goodnight.


Jenni and Jeffrey

PS 'Hats off' to Michael Sneag who hiked Mount Whitney last week, highest mountain in contiguous United States.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

23.02 Vereda de la Estrella to Cabanas Viejas and a walk in Granada: A mix of mountain and city life.

Grab power, tax the people, build a palace, loot the treasury followed by conscripting the peasants,
attacking the enemy, killing, conquering and building another fortune. Repeat as often as the people will
allow it or until the next power-hungry despot succeeds.

Forgive us for the negativity but this scenario plays over and over; the only change is in the constantly
improving technology and slick propaganda. So whereas we are enormously impressed with man's ingenuity
over the years, we are rather depressed at the behavior. We believe we don't (hope) come across negative
in the blogs but beg your indulgence for the rant after a palace and fortress visit. In order to get
the feeling out of our minds, we'll borrow a favorite phrase from John Muir: "We hear the mountains calling..."

The pictures below provide a mix from a fairly tough hike on the outskirts of the Sierra Nevada National Park
and city scenes in the south of Spain. We walked to and around the Alhambra Palace and fortress in Andalucia,
Granada. The Moors constructed these edifices in the 9th, 11th and early 14th centuries.

Early stages of the climb in the Sierra Nevada.

Walking up to the Alhambra as we cut through the city.

The rain in Spain missed this 'plain'...Jen arrives at the plateau after a tough climb.

Granada, the city, viewed from the Alhambra.

Our command of the local language has hardly improved since we last wrote. For that matter, the locals
have done nothing to improve their grasp of English either. We have a stand off brewing and we could mention
who's not going to win. Wherever we go, except for Southern Spain and in Peru thus far, English is well
understood, even in Britain. We thought it was only the French who were not fond of the English...and
maybe the Quebecans.

A genuine gripe we have is finding street names. What ever happened to placing them where a motorist could
see them while watching the car ahead, the traffic lights, pedestrians and weaving bikes. Why position them
high up on buildings and inconsistently? Only asking.

Our garage door is giving problems. On arrival at the gate, one of us jumps from the hobbles,
inserts said key into lock and turns it. Day 1 it worked. The following day, said lock resisted.
Someone mentioned it was the heat. Aha! Siesta time for people and locks. We parked in the street and walked
up four flights. Then we realized we might need to buy parking permits. Ran down stairs and tried lock again.
Of course, the editor forgot to pack WD-40 which would have repaired the mechanism. Lock did not budge
no matter what language we tried, including French. We spoke to bistro manger who knows our landlord but
not English—no luck. When we returned to the garage door for the third time, we found and introduced
ourselves to the pharmacist who was unlocking it, after her siesta—we followed her in to park the car.

A little later, realizing we are growing old, accelerating somewhat in Spain, we ran down the stairs again
to check whether the lights of the car were switched off. Everything in the building is on a timer. Lights
go off quickly so we have to turn on the headlights. Of course, we were thinking that sometimes we forget
to reverse the process. Thus far we are fortunate because the toilets are not an automatic flushing system
or we are limiting our time 'on potty'. This green world can drive one potty—aha! Double use of the word.
Back to gate and of course, the key did not turn the lock. A revisit to the young pharmacist who surprisingly
also does not 'have' the English. By gesticulating (and begging) she showed us a neat trick—the woman has potential.

We returned up the flight of stairs for the fourth time and bathed for the second time in thirty minutes.
We were so looking forward to the next day's physical activities.

Waiting for room service at the turnaround point.....the wait is probably indefinite.

The inclines in Granada are like San Francisco, sister cities?

The same city at dusk.

We drove to the trailhead without missing a beat or a turnoff. However, the closer we approached
the endpoint, the more dangerous the driving became. It astounded us to be traveling on a supposedly
two-lane road winding down a mountain which could barely cater for a single small car. We hoped we would
not face oncoming traffic. Until five minutes from the end we did not. However, when we saw a truck approaching,
did a double-take. At that stage, on our left was a cliff-face, to our right, a river 50 feet below. Jenni,
who is obviously comfortable with sheer drop-offs, panicked as she looked to her right. She jumped from the car
while we were a foot from the edge. Thereafter, the truck driver explained how we were going to negotiate
the maneuver but not before folding in the side-mirrors of both vehicles. He then guided me to within inches
of the edge. By that stage, the car was well positioned for a river wash. Jenni obviously took a photograph.
(See below.)

Tight! The story above relates the situation although the picture may do a better job.

Jen! I think I found an outside loo in Spain. Double relief at Cabanas Viejas.

Natural color on the mountains.

Enter at your own risk. Two-way traffic but no parking in the tunnel, please.

The city begins to cool...hopefully, we will, too.


Jenni and Jeffrey

Sunday, June 21, 2015

23.01 Hiking in Sierra Nevada, Spain: El Dornajo

We don't 'have' the Spanish and they don't 'have' the English. We last experienced summer weather ten months ago
so we have been spoilt in enjoying mostly moderate climes for a while. They have 100 degree weather in Granada;
we don't have the energy. We have the wonderful apartment on the roof garden, fourth or fifth floor, depending
which country you come from. They don't have the elevator.

We have heavy baggage initially and shopping bags to help us climb the stairs. They have the garage for our car
in the basement. Parking bay (space) designed for a motorbike (small one). We ask the people all sorts of questions;
they give us all sorts of blank stares. They have towns and cities that are more than a thousand years old.
It appears the advent of the automobile was not anticipated that early. Poor town planning. Driving the car
in town is only a little easier than parking it in the garage.

Now try and find a hike. We headed to the Sierra Nevada National Park and after a few corrections ended up
on the trail we sought but not before diverting from a path going nowhere. Man, we live in interesting times.
Wouldn't mind a little boredom occasionally, though. The last part of the hike took us straight up, no switchbacks,
no elevator, not even an escalator. With jet lag, irregular sleeping patterns and the intensive heat, it got
the pulse gyrating. Are we having fun or what?

Hiking above the town of Guejar Sierra, Spain.

We took a walk along this dam while lost—it was well worth it, Emb. de Canales.

Many of the houses appear to be wobbly. Sierra Nevada National Park behind.

Getting higher, Guejar Sierra going lower.

Another dam angle.

Hospital from our apartment. We hope only ever to view it, particularly at sunset.

Following tough hike, about to enter a bar to order drinks. Nervous as he prepares to say: "Hola"
again and receive blank stare.


Jenni and Jeffrey

Friday, June 19, 2015

Sunrise, sunset between New York and Madrid, sunset in Granada, Spain.

Before a person can undertake a hike or two, you have to get to the trailhead. In our case,
we crossed the United States followed by a crossing of The Pond, sometimes called the Atlantic
Ocean. Then we drove from Madrid to Granada, a fair distance on little sleep but fortunately, with
a full tank of gas, that is, the car not us. Thanks to Delta and Iberia Airlines, the flights
were superb. Nevertheless, air travel is for the birds although a lot more convenient than

We can't remember, in a long time at least, waking and deciding the lowest priority in our lives
would be going on a hike. This occurred today. Hopefully, with some sleep under our pillows,
we hope to regain the zest. In the meantime, we posted a few, what we think, are interesting
photographs of the journey.

Morning dawns on Madrid as we observe from thousands of feet above.

Setting sun over the Atlantic, midway between New York and Madrid.

Notice the partial, parting of clouds to reveal a partly-lit city below.

'Birds of pray'.

A magical moment at 5:30am approaching Madrid.


Jenni and Jeffrey