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.
Friday, May 27, 2016
We close the South African autumn visit with a video that captures a smidgen of what turned out to be another amazing experience. The hikes we undertook were superb, the weather was good, the accommodation provided us comfort and the people were friendly, helpful and wonderful to be amongst. Catching up with friends and family rounded off this exciting, enjoyable and stimulating period. We count our blessings.
Video follows after the pictures below:
Don't you just hate it when your spouse shows off and makes you feel inadequate? I suppose
Jenni likes to hang out on her own from time-to-time.
Jumping with the devil: Devil's Peak Cape Town.
Leaving the house and off to work, Berg-en-Dal, Kruger National Park.
Called to the 'Table': Table Mountain viewed from Lion's Head.
By the way, Jenni is a little crazy but not 'nuts'—the opening picture is not of her...I don't think.
Click on the icon at the bottom right-hand corner for a full screen.
Jenni and Jeffrey
Wednesday, May 25, 2016
26.31 Witsieshoek: Walk-about on Hike-about beyond Tendele but at altitude. 26.32 Harrismith wanderings.
'Perhaps you'd like to fetch the lounge chair from over there and bring it closer
to this nice spot for me, Jeffrey.'
We can understand that people might question our fascination of mountains. Pictures of mountains, stories -on mountains, -of mountains, -for mountains and volcanoes. What's with these mountains? No doubt, we spend much time on them and think even longer about these giants. What is the attraction of these inanimate objects? The short answer is we don't know. The longer and better answer might be that we are consumed by them. They form, in some way, an integral part of our lives. We love to hike and climb up them, at times to run down and less often, run up. We love to view them at all hours of the day, to observe sights from them, to watch the changing seasons influence them, to witness the effect of the weather on them and in the case of many, their influence over the weather. We watch their moods, some are smoldering beauties, others only attractive with their make-up of snow covering. Each one, shaped and sculptured in a unique way, no two are ever alike. They block the sun, deflect it, reflect and shine in it; they cast shadows on the earth's surface and over clouds; they reflect off lakes and other bodies of water. They are constantly in a stationary dance with the clouds, the mist and fog. Some erupt, most are dormant yet even the latter have an enormous impact on the world without ever changing their positions. Perhaps another feature of their beauty is their consistency—come rain or shine, war or peace, harvest or famine, they are an ever-constant presence throughout the ages. We observe, admire and seek to conquer them in our fleeting lifetimes; they do not know of lifetimes, only eternity.
We've never found a mountain we did not like or one we felt we could not ascend. Perhaps that's where the saying arose with us in mind: 'Often wrong but always optimistic". Truth be told, no mountain is ever easy to hike, climb or scale. The seemingly smooth grassy faces, the gentle rock slopes, the attractive snow and ice coverings are mere illusions. In fact, they are traps for the unwary and those with foolish expectations. Mountains are dangerous, difficult and deceptive. They offer the sojourner no respect. It is a one-way street. The trespasser owes the mountain care, caution and most times, awe.
So when we put a picture of a mountain on the blog, we see more than just the image. After all, it's a whole lot more than just a pile of rocks, boulders and plant life.
These few words hardly touch on our inner feelings but they are a start.
Oh, the mountains we mention so often.
Another shot of a favorite, Cathkin Peak and Monks Cowl, to the left.
The Sentinel on a relatively clear but windy day.
The Sentinel on a relatively clear but windy day (2).
We took a hike without actually being told to do so, surprisingly, of some nine miles along the mountains, above Tendele rest camp. The walk down to Tendele is a terrific one in of itself but instead, we went exploring. The beauty of our travels of exploration is that the day usually becomes one of a surprise or two. Getting lost is no longer a surprise, more of a given. Although we did not lose our way in the sense that we knew our way back to the lodge from all positions, we did not necessarily reach the perceived destination. That could be considered a bit of intellectual gymnastics although some might question the use of intellect and ourselves in the same sentence. Be that as it may, one can wonder over the mountains and not see a soul for hours. In fact, besides birds, the only life we noticed were very shy antelope that scattered when we were about 600 yards from them.
Blame me, not Jen. I can't resist this seldom-sighted view of the sun.
Uh! Oh! When the editor reads on trails it usually means we are having a directional conundrum.
A scene unique to the Drakensberg mountains.
Trying to capture scenes of the sun reflecting off the grass and the Sentinel got in the way.
Catching a 'glimpse' of the Amphitheatre.
On our final evening before returning to Mom, to be followed by the journey back to San Diego, we spent the time in a rondawel in Harrismith. Coincidentally, on our first night as wife and husband, we stayed at the Holiday Inn in that town on our way down to the Sani Pass Hotel in Himeville. This should not be confused with the pass of the same name into Lesotho which it often is. The woman I was with in the rondawel is even better than the woman of nearly forty-two years ago—lucky guy.
Editor on a nine mile hike, sprightly on the day.
Love the scenes as one rises and the mountains come into view.
We'll post a video next time of what turned out to be an unbelievable period in South Africa. To those on our revised, trimmed (slimmed) down circulation list, thanks for traveling with us—it's always a pleasure to have someone with whom to correspond.
Jenni and Jeffrey
A few photographs that "might persuade' us to return to South Africa.
The "Wild Coast".
Storms River Camp, view from the trail.
Cascading sunset along the Otter Trail.
Lions Head, Cape Town.
Skildekrans along the Otter Trail.
and then we had to stop...
Saturday, May 21, 2016
26.28 Drakensberg Retreat: Wing Swept Trail. 26.29 New Beginnings. 26.30 Razors Edge, near Bergville.
There are a number of lodges, privately owned, in South Africa that maintain their own trails. The Drakensberg Mountain Retreat is one such establishment. It straddles a number of farms in the region with many domestic and wild animals roaming the land. This trip in general has allowed us to observe a variety of birds and walk near and alongside many animals. It has added to the enjoyment of the hiking experiences very much indeed. Of course, careful placement of feet is always vital for safety and in this type of environment, good footings help to keep the boots relatively clean.
One of our more ambitious climbs on 'New Beginnings 'Trail.
The backdrop of the Drakensberg from our position stretches from beyond the Sentinel in the north
to Cathkin Peak in the south.
Cathkin at sunset, one of our favorite icons.
The editor through the dry waterfall on the tough 'New Beginnings' trail.
We expected proteas mainly in the Cape...got a treat here as well.
The Drakensberg Mountain Retreat is positioned on the border of KwaZulu Natal and the Free State. It gives one a feel of colonial times, like a land stuck in a much earlier period. It's position is unique in that it has a view of the Drakensberg mountains that we have never seen previously. It looks as if the range is one straight line of mountains. Of course, it's an optical illusion but nevertheless an incredible sight. The tranquility of the area provides one with the feeling of living in a different realm, a different period or age. Add the type of accommodation, services and people into the mix, not forgetting some really tough hiking opportunities, and one departs with a tinge of regret knowing one is returning to the 'old reality'. Elna, the manageress, commented that she feels she lives at the entrance to heaven. She'll get no argument from us.
A body coming out of a ravine...one of our toughest hikes.
'From the terrace', a view from a remarkable setting, Drakensberg Retreat.
Sunrise at the retreat.
A rough and tough but not tumble day.
And then the first rope snapped.
Sunset at the Drakensberg.
Jenni and Jeffrey
Stampede! High ground, Girl!
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
26.27 Witsieshoek, Free State: Sentinel Chains Hike and so much more. Plus Mom takes the 'high ground'.
We left one of our favorite places in the Drakensberg for last. Unfortunately, the weather did not allow us to undertake all that we had intended but we still squeezed in more than the minimum we set ourselves. At an altitude of over 10,000 feet, the weather is erratic and dangerous. When we reached the plateau above the chains, we continued climbing further only to find visibility of a few feet. We stopped for breakfast, hoping that the mist would lift. It often does. However, not this time and so we had to return without reaching the Tugela Falls, some twenty minutes further along. We were also intending to try and reach the peak of Mont-aux-Sources. This will have to wait for the next time. We learned that a person broke his leg in that area the previous week and had to be rescued by the defence force.
At the position we met the second set of hikers of the day.
Sun beams penetrate on a day of mist/fog and clouds.
Devils tooth comes into view. Some days, one feels quite intimidated standing below or upon these giants.
Notwithstanding the heavy cloud and mist, nothing remains constant for long up in those hills. It's not unusual to see the sun appear for a short while and then disappear, repeatedly. Although it can be a little frustrating when the mist blocks all visibility, it also creates another form of attractiveness. Crevices fill with cloud, mountains are partly covered but one gets glimpses of sunshine and reflections from penetrating light; it appears to be choreographed in a most sophisticated manner. It's delightful.
When we arrived at Witsieshoek, we met most of the staff from previous visits. It's like meeting old friends which adds another dimension of a visit to the region. Once again, Sampson joined us for breakfast; we spent time with Ezekiel as well as an older gentleman, Hosea, who uplifted our spirits when we came across him at the trailhead guardhouse. His eyes gleamed although Jenni says it was probably the light. Over the period, we have developed a special relationship with some of the employees at the lodge. We did get some good input on race relations in general as well as the relationship between the Zulus and the rest of the nations in the surrounding areas. Once again, when we visited and passed through local towns, we were invariably the only white faces out of thousands. We felt we did not stand out...much. Then again, we're biased.
Here comes a very focused editor emerging from the mist. She's on the second set of chains. Below to the right
is the steeper initial set (if you look carefully).
It's a very special place is the amphitheatre.
On the day, every nook and cranny filled with clouds and mist. Jenni tucked in the side (bottom-right) provides
some perspective on size.
Sun breaks through as we go boulder hopping. Closing in on the trailhead below.
Does this woman ever get enough of these chains? Picture taken from as far as possible without
tumbling back over the edge.
Another interesting and overpowering scene on trail.
On a grey day, never a dull moment.
Whatever the reason and there are many, we love this place.
Last one of the chains as Jen nears the top.
Jenni and Jeffrey
A story of the times with at least a positive ending.
The pity is that the next deserving person of charity or assistance is likely to suffer. Sounds harsh. It's sad but reality or at least what one does for self-preservation. I know our Mom is a kind woman and she has become stronger as she has had to fend for herself for many years, since my Dad left this world. I remember the time she was robbed of jewelry in a bank by a policeman-you don't have to read that again, it's no typing error. On another occasion at an ATM, a 'kind gentleman' helped her with a withdrawal and managed to steal her debit card and of course, much money in the process.
Today, she was stopped at a traffic light on her way to the office. Yes, she is still active at her age. A man approached her handing out advertising flyers. He then begged and pleaded with her for a ride. Normally, an elderly woman would not provide a lift (ride) to a younger man. It's a matter of survival. He continued to beg, the traffic was building, the horns were honking and Mom beckoned him to hop into the car. How can one do wrong in showing kindness. He positioned himself on the backseat. Mom kept hearing him jumping around in the back, making a noise and appearing to fidget vigorously. At that stage, whether she was suspicious or not, there was not much she could do as she had committed herself to a dangerous situation.
Fortunately, he departed from the car at the destination point. That was crucial. The rest is very upsetting but manageable. Mom noticed when watching him in the rear view mirror that he had placed something into his carry bag-it was her purse.
In South Africa, women tend to lock their purses in the trunk of the car for safety. This scoundrel was able to get his hands into the trunk (boot) from the back seat and grab hold of her purse and pull it through to his position. Said purse contained, money, credit cards, phone, female items (exhaustive list), driver's licence, house-keys and of course, a beautiful, irreplaceable picture of her eldest child. Fortunately, she showed tremendous fortitude as she went about the rest of day dealing with the issues that arose from this unfortunate incident. Jen and I are heartbroken over the events of the day but full of admiration for the way Mom handled it. I don't think we'll ever forget the crestfallen expression on her face when we walked into her home and saw her sitting next to the telephone. We hope we have even a little of her strength in our souls.
Sunday, May 15, 2016
26.25 Swaziland: Mlilwani Nature Reserve, a hike along the Hippo Trail with the animals. 25.26 Drakensberg Retreat: Razor edge Hike, plus some animal perspectives. A tribute to Linda Weaver.
When moving through the grass, chances of noticing the animals/birds improves. Our lack of identification
skills continues to be a problem.
Reflections...on the hippo trail...but mind the crocs.
Driving in Swaziland was fine except many drivers tend to position two wheels of their vehicles over the center-divide. This is hazardous on the narrow roads or on any roadway. It made us drive more carefully, always expecting the worst, sometimes leaning towards the left...hmm! That's not at all true. Nevertheless, it was a pleasure driving on the MR3, a freeway/highway. Except for pedestrians, including young children, crowding the shoulder, it was very quiet. While we're on the subject, cattle, sheep and goats are also frequent users of these roads. An interesting dilemma will occur when tolls are introduced. It's so unusual to travel on a wide main road with few cars about in general. Thinking of the Interstate 5 in California after Swaziland's relative tranquility, is enough to intimidate a person.
Editor taking a chance. She wanted to know whether the warning was addressed to crocodiles instructing them to
keep away from the edge. I wasn't sure myself.
They're not kidding!
They always move (sleep) in pairs. Where's the mate...behind where?...oh no!
We moved along the trail amongst the animals, most of them quite timid. When we entered thick brush in a forest environment, a family of warthogs confronted us. We understand that it's a dangerous animal, known to defend itself against lions feverishly. What to do? Remember not to roar. Attempt to remove the camera from the bag and then think about establishing a friendly environment. The result: these tough little buggers ran away. I suppose having the editor around made the difference. One should interpret the last statement as one wishes; more tact than the writer is probably advisable.
A very horny scene.
Blesbokke intimidated by the stalking editor...well, nearly.
Meantime, on the Wing Swept Trail at the 'Drakensberg Retreat', Cowboy Bob prepares to take the proverbial 'gap'.
Bambi, a love story. A tender scene in the bush. Hoping the editor learned something.
When we left Mbabane, it was not easy bidding Veki and David farewell so we hope to bump into them again somewhere in the world. It was a lot easier crossing the border although there was so much stamping and exchanging of papers that for a minute we felt very important or was it a feeling that refugees experience. In fact, there was more formality in respect of the paperwork for the car than us. In a near tense moment, we somehow entered the immigration office without a piece of paper for the Chevvy which we suppose could have resulted in us spending some additional time in the kingdom without the option of hiking.
At the final gate, a female officer halted us. She was both fascinated or suspicious of the clothing spread upon the dashboard top. Fortunately, she bought our explanation that our clothes were not contraband but rather, the previous night's washing laid out to dry. We did not have to explain that it would be difficult, if not impossible, for the editor to carry and travel with a washer and dryer although nice.
Serenity although danger lurks below the surface.
May not be 'Breakfast at Tiffanys' but the location is spectacular—Drakensberg Retreat, Razor Edge trail. After
negotiating some dangerous positions both up and down the cliffs, the meal was a just reward.
A few more pictures from the Kruger National Park.
Where the zebras check their stripes.
Impromptu lager forms; zebras catch the scent of an editor. Just thought of a better place for a black stripe.
Who or what is taking whom or what for a ride? An animal shuttle.
We’ve seen many beautiful birds and graceful animals, especially the antelope in the case of the latter. To watch antelope in motion is pure delight. However, when we saw the African fish-eagle perched in a tree, it struck us that this was an incredibly majestic creature, perhaps the supreme bird. The eagle seems to portray so much that is admirable in the wilderness, the world. When the eagle was chosen as an emblem of the United States, maybe that’s what such leaders had in mind. The eagle still portrays such majesty.
Unfortunately, we could not get closer.
Many pictures of zebra but it's our opinion that it's the character of the photo that counts rather than the
subject. (A 'rationalization' as we saw no big cats.)
Impala in the process of motion.
Jenni and Jeffrey
A Tribute to Linda Weaver.
We have just heard the tragic news of the passing of Linda Weaver. We hardly knew her but sufficiently enough to be impressed and motivated by her. A few years ago, Jenni and I were hiking up towards Helen Lake on Mount Shasta when flashes of lightning bolted from the sky. Wisely, Jenni decided to remain in the hut along the trail. I continued until I reached the lake. A while later, on the return, I noticed a woman standing near an edge and sketching scenes of the volcano and life upon it. We spoke for a while and when I turned to bid her farewell, she replied, “Hold it, Jeffrey. I’ll walk down with you.”
I had a dilemma. I needed to get back to Jenni so she would not be concerned while I could not leave Linda either—it was not right. Besides, I was enjoying talking with her. So, we walked down together while engaged in interesting conversation. She was a fascinating, gregarious woman who charmed and impressed me. She’d had a knee replacement a short while before—tough woman. I’ll never forget when she needed to relieve herself.
“Jeffrey,” she said, “Turn yourself around, I need to go to the bathroom.”
We kept in touch over the years and she always had inspiring words for us, even when she did not feel well. We're grateful for having met Linda. We’ll miss her.
Rest in peace.