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, April 28, 2020

45.19 Arizona: Adrenaline, Color and Form--makes the world go round...for us.

It seems the journals are covered in opinions which change frequently on how to counteract the virus. We've had some ideas ourselves. After all, everyone is an expert with the help of 'Google' and so we too are throwing in our expertise. Some of the photographs should help our intelligent readers grasp the issues.

We think the virus can't get to us when we're surrounded by water. Pretty smart, eh Ron and Joanne?

After returning from summit of White Mesa in Rimrock, we find a treasure. The water alone appeared to be a miracle in the dry region. We'd expect the colors to blind the scourge.

We ate breakfast on the ledge. Food okay, location outstanding. The drop is understated by the camera but Jen reckons no virus would be foolish enough to seek us in this position. The question is: "Does Dominoes deliver?"

We’re trying everything to stay ahead of the virus. It’s a little tricky as we can’t really see where it is and so how do you evade it. When it’s inside someone’s body, or on the surface, say after a sneeze or even taking a break on a cheek, maybe both sides or upper and lower cheeks, one can evade the scourge by keeping distance from another person. Should a person turn the other cheek does that in fact help. We’ve met quite a number of people, on the trails and elsewhere, and most of the time we keep our distance. We've noticed that behavior differs depending where one is. In Sedona for instance, the older people tend to give us a wide swath whereas the younger don’t. Generally, over the years we try to give people the right of way. These days, it makes a change as more often than not, people stand aside for us. It helps when your spouse is a big, tough woman...oops.

Some people are very nervous about maintaining distances apart—one can see it in their dispositions. While one cannot and shouldn’t downplay the scourge, one should not act like a overbearing, nervous Nellie. There has to be a balance and cowering behind a tree as we approach is, in our opinion, over-reaction. We're not that ugly or intimidating, surely? Better that such person remains indoors. While walking on the sidewalk in a town recently, a woman exclaimed, “Keep your distance, Bud.” That did not go down well as it was delivered in a rude manner and I had no desire to trip over the rocks to my side to give her wider berth. Perhaps should she have worked on her girth she would find more room. Clearly, much over-reaction occurs as we all try to maintain safety.

We've had more than the usual requests for blogs: Two actually, which is double the norm and so we added a couple of extra. In fact, we have many unpublished. It seems it's easier to hike and climb miles than add a few pictures and words to the computer.

We'd also like to welcome the many Russians who have visited the blog followed by the free people of Hong Kong, and then also from Vietnam and Indonesia. Welcome! Don't be strangers. At worst, you'll get to see a fine selection of Jenni's hats and caps.

By positioning ourselves close to cacti, we believe we could avoid an attack. In order to preserve dwindling cash resources, we've taken to drinking from Coke bottles filled with water. Of course, it's not the 'real thing'.

Cave dwelling seems like a safe refuge. The only problem is the slope is so acute that rolling over in bed would mean a long walk back up the slope.

We thought of a pet snake, a rattler, instead of a vaccine. Forgive us; 'PETA' says we should not call it a pet. Okay, a killer snake. We think this fella, (we managed to halt within 5 feet of it while burning rubber), is an ideal virus killer. Probably the longest we've seen on the trails, Mark L.

Fortunately, 'these boots were made for stomping' and should prove to be a deterrent. By the way, Wilson Mountain completes the picture.

A person with such courage: The virus wouldn't stand a chance. Besides, the ledge was so narrow, there's room for only one. I didn't know whether to be proud of her or cross that she would do such a thing.

45.18: Arizona, Prescott: Granite Mountain, a good experience at anytime.

The target after 30 minutes from the trailhead.

The lake near the trailhead sets the tone.

A magnified view of the lake from the top.

Fire-damaged land but attractive in its own way.

Prescott proved to be another delightful region to visit. Our stay was short which means the next visit, following some wonderful activities, should be longer. We had visited the city some years before, a couple of times in fact, but have tended to bypass it for Sedona. With short duration, we undertook what is a prime and considered a hard hike, that of Granite Mountain. It is a terrific, medium length and elevation gain hike, one worth repeating. As always the views were superb, with the going putting us through our paces while the trail very quiet although it's normally considered well-traveled. Quiet, good trails are always a delight.

While the weather has since changed from cool to hot in this region, we began in ideal hiking weather. The motel had a weather forecast on the desk forecasting full-sun and chance of rain: zero. Prior to peaking, the clouds had begun to form and grow large and dark. The wind was fairly strong, too. We encouraged the wind to blow the clouds away: at times the wind listens to us, but often it's downright obnoxious. We spent little time at the summit, enough to eat brunch, take in the sights and a few photographs and decided to get going. When Jen envisages the chance of a storm, she becomes very nervous. Her other peeve is of snakes. Other than that she's quite a 'bok' which loosely translated means: she's a sport and will invariable rise to a challenge except when she doesn't want to. That of course is because she is a woman. Males and perhaps me in particular, don't always understand the function of the mind. Frankly, I don't always understand myself.

What puzzles me is that we have done close to 1,200 hikes over the past ten years. Some have been darn difficult, dangerous, challenging and I could use a whole lot of other adverbs and adjectives, too. So why will she wake up on a morning and decide that a particular challenge intimidates her and she can't do it, usually one she has done at least once before. I'll try and explain that she is an experienced hiker, even a professional. In fact, I try anything to restore her well-earned confidence. Then she'll come across a challenge that's so tough, which has me quivering in my boots, and she'll think nothing of it. Go figure!

We moved down the trail briskly. While Jenni may groan when I walk too fast, she never will when the clouds are forming for a thunderstorm. With about forty minutes to the trailhead, she looked about, took in the black clouds and stated authoritatively: It looks like we'll make it without getting wet or seeing a storm. On the conclusion of the utterance of the last word, a bolt of lightning followed by thunder emanated from above. The timing could not have been more precipitous. I turned about to see my little angel and even in these circumstances, she had to smile. Thereafter, as a show of appreciation for her bravery and humor, I willed away the storm. We took a few drops of rain over the period but made it to the car both safely and mostly dry. Such is the power of positive thinking...until it doesn't work, which of course, is quite often.

Watson Lake through the telephoto, from the summit.

Watson Lake from a 'little closer'.

Jen said I'd been a 'good boy (relative) so I was allowed to show off a little.

Happiness. Nevertheless, the best times and most flow of adrenaline occur along the trails but off the main paths.

Somewhat haunting with the added effect from the closing-in storm.

Jen decides to leave the peak for a quick bite and departure before the storm.

What? We only just reached the peak.

Notice the urgency. Panicking ahead of the storm? No. Fear of the wrath of the little woman.


Jenni and Jeffrey

Friday, April 24, 2020

45. 17 A Pause:

"Oh, but your world is so beautiful."

Watson Lake, boulder climbing paradise, Prescott.

Sitting on 'the Dock of the Bay' (rock) perched high above the canyon at Boynton, Sedona.

The kids at play.

Boulder scrambling at another location, Sedona.

Loved Watson Lake...actually, still do.

Wilson Mountain follows...

45.16 Arizona, Sedona: Wilson Mountain South. 'To celebrate the gift of life, it helps to be a little crazy.' Included is 'The Importance of being Earnest' while settling down in accommodation on the road.

An early Sunday morning on a muddy trail, the poor track and snow stopped us at first bench.

In all the years we have visited Sedona, many, we have never seen a mountain scene as this one.

One of Jenni's favorite hand positions while on an incline.

A view of Wilson Mountain from the buttes across the way.

'The Importance of being Earnest' and settling down in accommodation on the road.

We obviously utilize many different types of accommodation including those managed by groups, companies and individuals. Each one has its distinct flavor. While most have an obvious mission statement, the route traveled to provide the customer with a service otherwise known as a paying guest, differs. By the way, I’ve always been puzzled by the concept of using guest in the context of charging a fee. First there was ‘showbiz’ and now there’s high-powered marketing.

Things have changed over the recent past with the advent of the cursed virus. It is understandable. When we began this latest journey, things were beginning to unravel. We had cancelled two overseas trips, one a replacement for the former, and thereafter decided to move into the interior of the West. But first we decided to return to San Diego to visit family. We booked a motel/inn, under the franchise we often visit. We anticipated breakfast, advertised as a great reason to stay with the hosts, as this gourmet meal is included in the tariff. On our third day, we arrived at the dining room only to find it was closed until further notice. The virus. In the lobby, they provide 24 hour service of tea, coffee and cocoa. Closed. The business center—closed. Gym—closed. Swimming pool—closed. In addition, management withdrew servicing of rooms and unfortunately, the laundry was in a state of disrepair. Only the naïve person would, with the withdrawal of these services as advertised and expected, anticipate a reduction in tariff. We did say naïve person.

This type of limited service has followed us everywhere but for the Tonto Inn, in the basin of the same name. What really got to us is that when we booked accommodation and received continual welcome notices for ‘our valued guests’ right up to the day before our intended check-in, not one of the communications even hinted at a change of service. We like it when people are direct and mostly, honest.

After stays in Mesa followed by Tonto Basin, we found a terrific place to hunker down in Sedona, a timeshare. We read of all the services and benefits provided which the daily resort fee would cover. Normally, these services are typically part of the offering covered within the tariff of every place we have ever visited. This resort fee included internet service (poor) which every establishment from a hole in the wall in Nepal to sitting in a tent in a national park in Iceland offers. Okay, well that's the deal but it still looked good.

Upon arrival, bold signs and the confirmation of the receptionist instructed us that all the amenities covered by the resort fee were withdrawn but for internet, (now very poor). Strangely, the resort fee remained payable. What were we missing particularly when they tell us in the numerous communications how concerned they are for our safety and comfort, 'What can we do for our valued guests?' Is it a surprising that so much in the fields of advertising and marketing policies are akin to deceit? Just mentioning; not upset because after all, it's the norm.

It's only once you are standing before the receptionist, who at that time has your credit card in her hand, is a person confronted with signage indicating what you can no longer expect. Of course, we understand the situation but it does seem that some are taking advantage of it. Many places are not servicing rooms at all while others, only 3 times per week instead of 7. What difference does it make for passing on a virus if that’s the reason for ceasing service?

One of the vital first steps we take upon entering a room is to read the 'in case of fire' action notice. After our first years in the United States, we came to realize much is fashioned upon and around legal liability. After all, if a person is not warned that coffee or boiling water is hot and may scold a person, how would one know. We are most thankful for these considerate notifications that have our interests at heart.

Unlike many citizens, we believe attorneys are only interested in our well-being. While we have heard about ambulance chasers and the like, we are convinced attorneys follow ambulances to ensure their brake-lights and other parts are in working order to avoid being pulled over by traffic officers. To slow an ambulance in an emergency could be disastrous to a patient.

Getting back to the signs. I think many of these notices are designed overseas, perhaps part of the outsourcing process. Why we write this is because it appears the designers of these signs are not English speakers or writers. Some may not be logical, either. Dare we say that some may be close to brain-dead. Nevertheless, it's not for us to be judgmental as Jenni reminds me.

Anyway, what we have noticed is each room displays a diagram of the hotel/motel. Particularly in motels, most times there are two ways out: through the door or windows, the latter is tricky because many are sealed. There are not a whole lot of options for escape unless one thinks breaking down a wall is a possibility. The instruction is that in case of fire, one should either call reception or the emergency number (911) and let the person know what the problem is. Also, provide an exact location to reception. 'I'm in my bed, on the left side and on my back. My wife is making tea although I hear her relieving herself, as we speak.' 'Don't forget to feel if the door is hot', states the signage. We suppose should it be hot, it confirms a fire. If not hot, then what. Maybe it's a coal (cold) fire.

Thereafter, one should flee the room, not forgetting the room key or card and meet at the designated meeting place shown on the diagram. Don't forget the key. Why? Perhaps you'll need it to get back into your room after the fire. Leave your belongings but perhaps bring a bathing suit. Maybe with all the water from the fire hoses it may be appropriate. Should the door not open, one should block the gaps with a wet cloth and wait for the arrival of help. That seems like an awful lot of trust. What about blocking the door and sealing out the fire so well that it also prevents the firemen from entering? Yes. There seem to be many important issues besides opening the door or window and fleeing to safety. Don’t forget the keycard though—they’re expensive to replace.

Perhaps the best exit drill we heard was on the Kepler trek in New Zealand some years ago. The ranger was giving us 'the talk' and concluded in a typical modern day finish: 'Once we are all out of the hut and standing in the designated meeting place, we'll have group hug...(loved it)...and then figure out what to do.'

We also see signage at the swimming pools. Most establishments have places to jump in (hold-it: no jumping and diving) and refresh oneself. We are unable to ever use the pools which is a shame. There are two reasons for this: The less important one is that the instructions on the signboard make it clear, in some establishments, we should take a shower in our room before entering the pool. This annoys us, for after the shower, we don’t really feel like swimming. Anyway, we are cleaner after the shower than we would be following a swim. However, the main reason for refraining from taking a 'dip' is because of another notification on the board at the pool. Without exception, there is a note stating ‘No lifeguard on duty’. We take the odd risk from time-to-time but this is far too serious to ignore. Nevertheless, we appreciate the proprietors making the effort to inform us otherwise it’s unlikely we would notice the absence of a guard. The fact that in most cases, we are usually the only ones near the pool should not be considered.

There are other signs, too. Particularly in California, a list of legal jargon is displayed prominently on the door setting out the innkeeper's rights and obligations, the guests rights and responsibilities and any other pertinent information that should allay any fears one might have about the forthcoming stay. (There is usually, of equal importance, a take-out menu). It's a complex type of document but nevertheless it's posted for our benefit and therefore behooves us to read and understand it. On many occasions, I’ve had to ‘call’ Norman Smith of San Diego to go through some of the more onerous aspects. Norman probably appreciates this as I know he'd hate Jenni and me to worry ourselves sick about our ignorance of the law.

Of course, it also makes the point of all this legal jargon. Oops! Being judgmental again. In the end, it still beats sleeping in a most instances, even though the legal implications often keep us awake with worry.

When all is said and done, the apparent few gripes filtering through are meaningless in the great adventure of life.

Oak Creek below the trailhead.

Had a schoolmaster seen this pose you can bet that boy would be in trouble.

Scenes from the unique town of Sedona (Wilson Mountain). Midgley Bridge in the distance (over Highway 89A).

After good rains, the rocks were washed, the air cleaned and cleared and the greenery sharp and distinctive contrasting with the hues of red and orange. The cactus needles felt even sharper than normal on our rears.


Jenni and Jeffrey

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

45.15 Arizona: Rimrock, a short hike above spring colors, contrasting with a palette of Bulgarian shades last fall (autumn).

Rimrock is situate twenty minutes south of Oak Creek which is nearly the same distance south of Sedona. The red rocks show it's part of that distinct region. And what a region it is. Within a relatively small area, Sedona contains mountains and buttes, a little water, but the shapes, formations and colors of the rocks, boulders and edifices are renowned. With only a little imagination, one can project many lifeforms from the 'rocks'. These pictures precede some more exciting blogs to follow but not as colorful and touching.

In the meantime, a little color is called for as people contemplate, we would think, the meaning of life and how precarious it is. It reinforces our philosophy that while we would like to live a reasonable length of time, we much prefer a shorter life of high quality. But we’ll grab whatever we can attain regarding length.

Preparing for breakfast at the end point.

'Eagle Eye' in southern Bulgaria.

Includes a creek below.

A memorable hiking adventure in Eastern Europe.

On a dull day, expecting rain, we got some sunlight.

Sometimes, a person wishes to absorb the surroundings and let them fill one with the tranquility flowing therefrom. Then there is the noise...

It seems so obvious that scenes like these 'cry out for peace and tranquility on our planet', exclaim a naïve couple.


Jenni and Jeffrey

Friday, April 17, 2020

45.14 Humphreys Peak and the San Francisco Mountain Range...our history and fascination with this range.

Mount Humphreys of the San Francisco range at 12,633 feet is the highest peak in the state of Arizona. Not far from it, is the world's greatest hole in the ground which digs even deeper than Humphreys protrudes skywards. We won't insult your intelligence by identifying this great canyon. Fortunately, when covered in snow, Humphreys is also a wonderous icon, certainly to us and especially, one of us in particular. We have reached the peak twice, once when the trail comprised much black ice, making it treacherous. Besides being on the mountain, we have viewed it from Sedona after reaching Bear Mountain, Wilson Peak and AB Young summit on every occasion. Each time it stirred our souls. When driving toward Flagstaff from various directions and on numerous occasions, the range is always prominent and stirring. Returning from the Grand Canyon toward Williams or back to Flagstaff is always an opportunity to check for snowfall and determine whether the snow covering has increased or melted. From the peaks of Mount Kendrick and Mount Elden we've seen stunning sights and from close-by. Recently, we have even had views from our bedroom. That is and has been a wow.

We have a conflict: The more snow, the more attractive but of course, the more difficult to hike. Unfortunately, we have been stopped from hiking it because of snow on a couple of occasions.

Set out below are a group of photographs that capture the beauty we absorb. Some are from this latest trip, others from earlier adventures.

No explanation necessary.

One of many falls of a 'brave girl'.

On Humphreys, looking at Weatherford.

From Mount Elden, Flagstaff.

From Bear Mountain Peak, Sedona.

From A B Young summit, Sedona.

From Mount Kendrick, Flagstaff.

From Mount Wilson, Sedona.

From ground-level

About to summit Mount Humphreys.


Jenni and Jeffrey