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.

Friday, June 23, 2017

31.16 Krasji Vrh, a wonderful hike to the summit and a summary of our stay in Slovenia.

Action on the peak of Krasji Vrh.

A view from ground level of the first false peak.

A view of the villages from the peak. Note the church building dominating the village to the fore. (See next picture below)

Reversal of positions some 3,150 feet gain from church to peak.

Slovenia provided a full schedule of hiking, some insights into the people, the workings and layout of the villages, the proximity to other European countries, the importance of history, monuments and memorials to the martyrs of the struggles, the predominance of, if not the Church, then certainly the number of churches that cover the country including on mountains and even perched on peaks. The only downside of so many churches, as mentioned in an earlier piece, was the time checks pealed every fifteen minutes. In some towns, this occurred throughout the dark hours, too. While we may not have slept that well, we always knew what ‘day’ it was. On the sporting side, water activities abound, particularly in and around the Soca River, a turquoise flow of water through and near the national park. People jump from planes, glide off mountaintops as well as ride bicycles on the narrow roads and up-and-down mountain trails. Skiing the slopes is another favorite sport of a country which shows no shortage of places in which a person can try to break his/her neck. Riding on the roads, in our opinion, takes a lot of courage and hopefully, a good life-insurance policy in favor of loved ones is in existence before mounting the saddle . Motor bikers, many from other European countries, also seem to be a big part of the scene and scenery although there’s not much to compliment them for but then we might be showing a little prejudice. Actually, it’s only a ‘little display of harshness’ which means we do show some control on our part.

We’ve mentioned a number of times the Julian Alps are unique, spectacular, rugged, rough, unforgiving, steep, beautiful but we’ll stop there for wont of not becoming repetitive. With forests nestled below the higher altitudes, forests that seem to be ideally planted thus allowing for light to filter through to the ground creating enchanting scenes, colored light and on those hot, balmy days, cool temperatures. Alpine lakes appear sporadically, creating opportunities to observe peak reflections on their surfaces in colors that seem designed artificially, inviting even the reluctant bather to freeze into the early summer waters. Admittedly, the lakes are relatively sparse compared with other regions but they the rivers, gorges and waterfalls provide sights that ‘hit one between the eyes’ on first approach. The locals use the gorges as another opportunity to dive and jump from bridges into the cold, turquoise water.

We obviously focus on mountains and hiking and climbing to their peaks, whenever possible. It became clear that the opportunities for such activity was limitless, testing, trying, at times dangerous and always steep and at other times, steeper. Something that struck us after a few hikes was that whenever we broke the tree line, (of course never deliberately wishing to be destructive), the sights of the various ranges of mountains was so distinctive that one felt as if one was dreaming. The mountains come alive, stand out sharply and forcefully, colors seemed brighter and more distinctive than when viewed from ground level. No matter how often we saw the sights from higher ground, the surprise of unique views each time left the impressions we are struggling to provide a reader.

There are a number of overpowering icons in the north-west region in the form of mountains with Triglav being dominant. When Jenni suffered an injury, it put paid to any hope that we would undertake the two-day hike with a stay at a dom (refugio). Maybe it was a relief, not the injury of course, but that we did not hike although I’d like to believe otherwise. As mentioned in another narrative, we did achieve some 40,000 feet of elevation gain on tough tracks, often covered in scree, so we had a full set of challenges including facing some risky situations. Nevertheless, there has to be something special about undertaking the king of Slovenian hikes. I did take a walk in the shadow of Triglav and it was quite challenging in of itself as well as spectacular.

A nation is influenced by its land. Like New Zealand, the land is hardy or at least mountainous, with very steep slopes and trails that do not favor switchbacks to ease the pain and punishment of the muscles and sometimes, the mind. Should a sizeable portion of the populace partake in hiking, climbing and frolicking on their mountains, then we would give them an unqualified nod that they are a tough nation. To this end, we would add that we did see what we considered reckless and foolish behavior on occasions. Parents had children and babies accompanying them on narrow and dangerous edges and slippery slopes. We suppose it takes all types. Nevertheless, whenever we saw families together, and that was often, the bonding looked warm and tight. In fact, what we saw of family life was enviable.

In our five weeks traversing the Alps, we lived among residents of the region, in all but one case, living in sectioned off areas of rather large houses. Fortunately, most, if not all the people we ‘lived’ with were kind, warm and treated us well—in one case, we were flattered when the couple wrote a review saying that we complemented their family and made them feet whole. As we wrote earlier, there’s no accounting for taste or judgment. In fact, in another of those coincidences, we climbed to Black Lake, a sheer climb above the large Bohinj Lake and crossed paths with an English couple who were on their way up. They had run out of water; they misjudged the strenuous nature of the mountain. Jen provided them with half-a-bottle of water. That night, we were sitting on the patio and we heard an English accent. It turned out the people we assisted were in fact also staying in the same house. Over the years we have experienced so many coincidences of this nature; they provide another fascinating dimension to life on the road and trails.

The Slovenian people may not be the best drivers we have come across, not unlike the Italians, South Africans and Spaniards, who seem to enjoy the thrill of speeding on narrow roads and ignoring the implications of passing (overtaking) on solid white lines. We should not omit the truck drivers of New Zealand in this dubious category of notoriety who also tend to race on narrow roads. But the Slovenian do ‘take the cake’ for their apparent careless speeding on roads that seem much too narrow to be considered dual carriageways. There were times when the immediate reaction was to suck in one’s breath in order to make a smaller target for the oncoming car that looked like it would remove our fender as it passed.

We suppose we could write a lot more about this fascinating, small country in area and size of population but with mountains that put many other countries to shame. However, we will stop while we still have energy to make our way to the bedroom and seek relaxation and sustenance to meet the next challenge of this amazing country.

Jenni stops for a breather at the mid-section with the mighty Mount Krn behind.

'Reach for the sky'...the sights as we broke above the tree line were tantalizing.

We think a black kite...but the birds provided entertainment whatever the species.

'Human birds' also took to the air with the Soca River below.

My kingdom for a mountain, actually, Slovenia is a kingdom of mountains.

Jenni now approaches the peak, injuries and all.

One more of this amazing vista from the peak.


Jenni and Jeffrey

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