New Zealand: Along the Ben Lomond Trail.


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.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

31.13 Slovenia, village of Bovec: Svinjak, one of the finest climbs and experiences...really! 13.14 A quieter walk to a slap (waterfall)

Each day, we spend time viewing this magnificent edifice. Each time, we wonder how it's possible to reach the summit.
In fact, the peak is further back and higher than the picture illustrates.

The following day, Jenni returned for a light hike following her bad fall. In the background is our new
4,000 feet 'hero'.

A view from a way still to go to reach the top: the false peaks below and the village of Bovec in the distance.

We are fortunate to come across incredible hiking opportunities. It seems the more one seeks, the more successful one is at finding them. Moving to and between different regions makes a major difference, too—effectively creating different, new and varied experiences. Having written the foregoing, it is clear to us that the world is covered in mountains and to live a thousand years would hardly make a dent on original availability. Still there is nothing like an informative book covering a region as well tips from the locals.

Earlier in the week, while reading of opportunities in the next town to which we were headed, Bovec, we could not help noticing the pyramid shaped mountain dominating the eastern side of the town. We put it on the to-do-list. Upon arriving at the destination, we had clear-vision of the edifice from our patio. What a beautiful view, what an intimidating sight. It is often referred to as Slovenia's Matterhorn. The thing is that when we look at these mountains, it’s not for the aesthetic value; rather, we try to envision ourselves attempting to reach the summits. Observing Svinjak peak, which has an elevation gain of 4,000 feet over a short distance, one is easily intimidated. (There’s a lot of that going around in the Julian Alps.) The average rate of accumulation to reach the summit is 1,600 feet per mile. For those familiar with Iron Mountain in Poway, San Diego, it amounts to 3.3 sequential hikes and over a lesser distance.

I would rate the experience of the day as one of my finest. With Jenni injured, it detracted enormously from the climb and leaves a void. Nevertheless, it was wonderful, strenuous, had tricky rock climbing in places and tired me by the time I reached mid-mountain on the way down. The early going was across some farms, then through a thinly populated forest that made it attractive because of the filtered light and large gaps between trees. Next, I made a right turn and continued along a very steep path, often having vertical drop-offs that were quite sobering. A misstep would be punished harshly. Because of rain the previous evening, the trail had slippery sections which added to risk.

It always seems the case that we never receive surprises that destinations are reached before one anticipates—it’s always a lot further than expected. This was no exception. When I finally cleared the tree line, the peak stood before me and I felt mesmerized. I looked for possible routes upwards and could not work out how it was possible. The climb looked to be nothing short of vertical on a narrow outcrop. There were quite a few technical aspects over the last stretch without any form of assistance by way of ropes, pitons or cables, something that's available on many of the difficult climbs.

I had not seen another person on the trail and in fact did not see anyone else until I was ready to leave the peak. An Austrian couple arrived, we spoke a little, but they were besotted with, as they mentioned, taking ‘selfies’. At no time was I fearful but I was cautious as I climbed toward the top, and even more careful on the way down, as I negotiated that 400 feet or so pinnacle. Once again, I was fooled. There are about 4 false peaks so even the photographs of Svinjak from below do not show the ultimate peak. As I prepared to sing out in joy when I approached the third peak, my face dropped because I noted I had not arrived. Singing would have to wait.

The views of the surrounding mountains, especially as one is obviously closer to their summits at that altitude, are dramatic. The Soca river, winding and wending below, it’s turquoise coloring easy on the eye and its apparent unusual course, make it all fascinating. The town and surrounding villages look like pictures and give one perspective of height. From 4,000 feet, it’s not possible to see people or many objects that one takes seeing for granted at lower altitudes. The layout of the region is also another aspect that provides perspective. I noticed the airport runway seems to have a grass surface, something visibly apparent from height. A helicopter circled above the bowl and was below me for most of its flight, another immaterial but fascinating concept.

Finally, I conclude with some statistics for the week which may seem a little brazen but nevertheless, are factual. During 4 days this week, I accumulated 12,200 feet of elevation gain. Put another way, that’s some 2.3 miles of vertical ascending. While I can feel the effect on my body, the mind feels good about it. Makes sense, the head comes along for the ride, it’s the muscles and bones doing all the work. Actually, I wonder where I fit into the scheme of things.

A view from our patio. The accommodation in Slovenia has been terrific. We always choose to live in the suburbs
or close to the locals. This gives us a flavor of the place while avoiding hotels and 'tourists'. Strange as it may
seem, but within a short while, we usually feel like we're living at home.

Using the telephoto lens, 4,000 feet drop looks tame as we focus on the turquoise Soca River.

Up with the birds. The tree-covered mountain is typical of Slovenia.

I once dealt with a German fellow who told me to 'trust but verify'. So here is proof as I am without my girl.
Note that the full town cannot be viewed from the top as in the second picture because of the false peak below.

A view at the top, facing east.

The final push, the tricky part, three peaks ahead.

Approaching the summit or one of them.

Clouds shielding the mountains from a possible attack.

Jenni feels a fraction better and we take a relaxed hike the next day.

We reach the attractive slap (waterfall), Virje.

I thought my feet had 'frozen off'; I suppose June is too early to swim.

One for the mountains and 'cheers'.


Jenni and Jeffrey

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