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.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

46.17 Taft, California: Where? Tule Elk Trail into the heat. 46.18 Morro Bay and Valencia Peak in Montana de Oro, a contrast.

Less than 100 miles between the interior harsh land and the coastal (cute) town, the contrast is clear but each has its own attributes. Nevertheless, the latter, Morro Bay wins by a mile (probably a 100, at least.) The hike (Tule Elk), close on 9 miles (we added on extra), with a decent climb surrounded by attractive sights, provided a surprisingly good experience notwithstanding the high temperatures. The Wind Wolves Preserve, home to the trail, reaches temperatures well over 100 degrees. In Morro Bay, the highs sometimes might be a shade above the 60's. It's hard to beat that unless of course you're a sunbather and wishes to avoid shade.

Valencia Peak, one of many, is a dominant feature of the park, Montana de Oro. It's a place where one can immerse oneself in tranquility while exposed to ocean, bay and morro views, plus a whole host of other opportunities. We have learned over the years that by exercising some patience, views will change and previously clouded over areas may clear within minutes. Don't rush nature.

Harsh but most attractive views as the light allows for surprisingly good opportunities in Wind Wolves Preserve.

In the meantime, see you on the morro(w).

Taking a hike on the wild side. After reaching the first section of about 700 feet, it levels out before commencing the next climb.

Show us what you got: at the bay.

'Well, there's me on the Tule Elk trail and'

'Mom and my little sister up above on the ridge.'

From the peak of Valencia, looking toward Morro Bay (2 for the price of 1).

Put the head down and fly as free as a bird.

We were struck by the rich colors of the grass.

Back in Montana de Oro, the weather cleared for a short while revealing part of the trail.

Then it reverted to the earlier period.

'Boy, did I take a wrong turn.' Jenni approaching a high point. (One wonders whether residents of Taft ever see clouds.)

Rolling hills and color dominated the day with the "occasional perspiration", near Taft.


Jenni and Jeffrey

A person may sit on a peak hoping and waiting for an eagle to perch itself close-by or even fly past, slowly. These occurrences are most infrequent that one cannot be faulted for thinking they never occur. The remedy is eventually, whatever flies past can look like anything one wants it to be. While we did see hawks during the hike, we had to cast our minds back 4 weeks to project 'an eagle on Valencia'. I think that's termed desperation but it's also a great method of keeping the image fresh. (As an aside: Salute to Gavin, our son, who finds and takes great eagle shots in his territory.)

Saturday, July 25, 2020

46.15 Morro Bay: Laguna Lake to Cerro San Luis Obispo and the 'bear trap'. A Hunting we shall go...

Laguna Lake from the peak per telephoto.

Contrary to popular belief, probably unpopular sentiments too, one of Jenni's strongest attributes is tracking. (She found me, didn't she? Huh? Okay, some you win, some you lose.) Back to this powerful feature of hers. Ever since we emigrated to the bush, she developed a knack for following animals. She has her own style, perhaps differing from the skills of formal trackers but they seem to work. Just yesterday, we went into an area in San Luis Obispo where heavy bear activity has been experienced lately. We wanted to find the said bear or bears and explain to them their activity was not conducive to making the locals happy. With the added pressure on residents caused by ol' Covid, people need an avenue of release and what better place than climbing the various morros in the region. However, bear activity would of course, discourage many from pursuing this important pastime.

We found the hike, it turned out to be wonderful, and set off for the peak of Cerro SLO via a beautiful lake, Laguna. This region is delightful and we hope the photographs attest to this. Not long into the hike, we came across animal droppings. Without hesitation, Jenni dropped to her haunches and began the intricate process. Of course, I'm not sure what it's all about but I think the first test is to gauge the temperature. Obviously, if it's steaming, it's a recent drop. She also scrapes the matter and keeps a bit under her nail. In this way, she has the smell under her nose constantly. (Not that she is a snob, of course.) It's useful because she is able to keep checking that we're on track. Naturally, she has not got the sensory power of an animal so she has to have this reminder close at hand or finger, to be more accurate.

We were crossing private land at one stage, obviously a farm, because we saw a large herd of cows, although no bulls. Yes. No bull. Some of them were monster sizes and when we walked through, they checked us out carefully. Cows are very nosy and their inquisitiveness is more than just being alert—we have noticed this all over the world. I should reveal that our tracker was a little nervous. I thought the cattle were nervous in turn because they might have been smelling bear which we believed, traces existed under her nail. By the way, when we stop for brunch, this under the nail issue becomes a little contentious. I understand she can't wash her hands because she'll lose the scent so we compromise. She wears gloves. Fortunately, she washes those often—at least once per month.

Jenni has a great sense of humor (weird), so she tells me. While climbing a rather steep section of the mountain or morro, she asked me whether I'd like pie for dinner. I always enjoy one of those vegetarian pies filled with her special sauce. However, it worried me when I saw her heading to a rather large cow pie and then removing a container from her backpack. I could not bear to look, bears notwithstanding. I think she was trying to be humorous but who's to know. I never question her tasty cooking especially her delightful pies. In the ghastly event that she does doctor cow pies, would they be vegetarian or in fact, meat-based? Just another dilemma for me.

By that time,
we had come across a group of horse riders amongst the cattle but still hadn't noticed any bears. In order to prove the authenticity of this narrative, take a look at the photographs. Okay, let's move on.

Following bear spoor, Jenni checks for heat or something...

A posse also follows the bears but we ran past them as Jen was hot on the trail.

And you thought I was kidding. This is rather serious stuff. You can ask Mark Michelow, an honorable man whom I met before turning ten in the old country. He’ll tell you how earnest I am when serious. If Oscar was serious about being Earnest then you ain’t seen nothing as Wilde yet.

The big question
is whether we saw and if so, were able to convince the marauding bears of a need to give the locals some space. Of course, we realize Bear Lives Matter but the locals also need their space. Unfortunately, we did not come across bears but we did spot ticks, hares, hawks and a few other specimens.

With the uncertainty and strange behavior permeating the country, it got us thinking again…always a little precarious. We’ve been extremely busy so we barely had time to write this. What about the bears, we’ve been pondering. We understand three main species exist. The black, brown and white, the latter are the polar types. Let’s discount the white ones which are generally considered insensitive and horrid as well as being out of favor for reasons unbeknown to us. The brown bears were hunted and chased out of California. Therefore, the California flag that features the image of a brown bear on it should obviously be toppled, well, maybe just changed to a black bear or perhaps, a monkey would be more appropriate.

To be more serious, there is the issue of Covid 19 and the bears. Are we as sensitive as we make out? We think not. To this end, wouldn’t it be nice if we cared more about the creatures? We devised a program called Kovod 18, derived from the Hebrew word for ‘honor’ and ‘18’, the symbol for life. Where do the poor bears go to hibernate? With winter around the corner, we think offering the animals a ‘shelter in place’ under Kovod 18 is the humane thing to do. Of course, we’d be the first to offer our basement or attic for hibernation but as we do not have a residence, we cannot do it. Instead, we appeal to those who have the interest of bears at heart to step forward and offer shelter in place under Kovod 18 to avoid Covid 19. We trust it makes sense and hope even further that you understand the concept. Please bear this in mind as the bears could be in for a torrid winter and may barely survive. And by the way, can we have the Chicago Bears change their name? Be bear aware!

It’s becoming difficult to end this text because I have a build-up of verbal diarrhea so I’ll end at the next period…Oh by the way, Jen thought of inviting all our friends and family for a casual dinner on our return. Nice idea. I did not have the fortitude to ask what she would be serving.

A view of the lake and neighborhood from the peak. Loved the still waters which accentuated the reflections.

Bishop Peak takes cover, a favorite of the region, viewed from Cerro SLO (Peak).

A few months ago, we passed through SLO and stopped for a climb on Bishop Peak (See above photo).

Chasing the bear (I feel sorry for him).

Almost there.

Reaching the peak and finding it bare.

Please don't be so bashful...turn around and if you must, cover your face.

Thank you.

Another trail on the way down.

Jenni's spotter on the lookout. He had to get into the act at the top. He definitely has some issues.

A town scene using the telephoto from the peak.

To the far west, the ocean.

One more with a full backdrop.


Jenni and Jeffrey

46.16 California: Desolation Wilderness. Twin Lakes and up to Islands in the Sky Lake.

More than a fine all-round hike which, had we not had a previous booking, would have camped at the lake that night. Rated tough and beautiful, we would agree entirely. Day-in, day-out, the treasures abound. This location, some 8 miles above Highway 50, is covered in lakes, mountains and boulders and probably a lot more. Gorgeous is a word that springs to mind. My dear wife has limited my use of the word 'beautiful'. Perhaps she wants me to reserve it for her...I can live with that.

Reaching the first 'twin' before heading beyond and above it to other lakes.

Clarity of the water up high.

On the way up, we missed the waterfall. Really an observant couple.

At the time we spotted this sight, we were on the hike and thought it was a cloud, the first seen in ten days. We then traveled to Nevada and it became clear it was smoke. We stopped on the road to observe the destructive forces of nature.


Jenni and Jeffrey

Thursday, July 23, 2020

46.14 Morro Bay: An hour at the beach after Valencia Peak.

Life can't be all fun, I mean, serious. There has to be a time for the dunes.

We returned to Morro Bay after 6 weeks in the Eastern Sierra Nevada region. Why would we leave? Spectacular period would not be the slightest exaggeration. Although there are many hikes still to come, a little difference in color, pace and location makes for a change.

Rolling up the sleeves before nearly rolling down the dune.

Imagine the task Jenni had in cleaning out his boots.

Ever so grateful I did not have to carry a beach umbrella and bar-b-que as well. Incredible position, experience and delightful.

One of the steepest short climbs on very soft sand. Did not resist the dare so it was my own always.

Facing a tough climb back.


Jenni and Jeffrey

46.13: Nevada: Mount Rose Peak above Lake Tahoe and the city of Reno.

Finding the perfect life is the endeavor of an extreme optimist or to put it harshly, that of a fool. It's fair to state that life presents difficulties, tests and a myriad of challenges. It's something we understand and experience. Should one take the opposite view of the optimist, knowing of the trials and tribulations that abound, it would not be unreasonable to consider that perhaps the miracle of life is a tad overrated. However, we believe both views are incorrect. What reminded us of this thinking (for a change) are our weeks in the Desolation Wilderness, the Eastern Sierra Nevada in general and the broad region surrounding Lake Tahoe. What a place, what a period! (continues at end...)

I got talking to a few people at the peak and it appears someone got a little impatient. A few moments earlier, Joe said to me, "What do you think it means when a woman folds her arms across the chest and looks a little haughty?" I wasn't having a good day with Jenni. Another fellow, Dwayne, remarked that I might be sleeping on the couch that night. I had to correct him. The night before was the couch. 'Tonight might be outside'.

A tough and pretty hike.

Back on track from the top after a false-start or two.

Lake Tahoe below.

The city of Reno in the distance.

Loved this position as we were twenty minutes into the descent.

Dwayne offered to take the shot. He's a phenomenon. At age of 77, he runs marathons and hikes up mountains...and takes photographs, too.

Not long now. When she gets that look and step it means she is chasing after her husband which tends to irritate her, so I'm told.

Tends to have extremely high winds on the peak.

Lake Tahoe is a truly blue body of water. 'Keep Tahoe Blue' seems to be working.

We were most fortunate, enjoying a light breeze. Ground temperatures in the 90's, 60-70's on the mountain.

A waterflow at this time of the year was a treat.

The surrounding mountains make the lake. We climbed a few on that side.

Of course, we could identify many other very attractive regions in different countries, too. Nevertheless, the rugged beauty and challenges presented in this magnificent part of the world sets the backdrop for our premise. Specifically, although this is but one example, we sat on the peak of Mount Rose, and gazed at a number of eye-catching sights. Nevertheless, it is often much more than the aesthetics—it's invariably a composite experience of struggle, tests, sights, animals and birds, people and the land, to mention a few aspects of life in nature.

To the south, the azure water of lake Tahoe, surrounded by towering mountains that seemed to roll toward the water with light basking them in a blue haze was tantalizing. To the west, we counted 6 other small lakes which probably included a reservoir. We find the higher one reaches, the more attractive the views below as the perspective of shapes comes into better focus. The immediate mountains before us, close and clear, shaped differently from others and covered in vast clumps of trees, provided contrasts. Some of the high ground reminded of dunes—they were close to barren.

We had passed a waterfall 2.5 miles into the hike and although we could not see the flow of water from the peak, we judged its position clearly. It gets back to the point of height providing perspective. The buildings of Reno, some 40 miles north of our position, were visible, contrasting with nature's display of natural beauty. The highway built into the mountains showed off man's ingenuity and engineering skills as the macadamized surface snaked in what seemed impossible situations. Such engineering feats allow us to realize our dreams in the mountains and elsewhere.

Above all, it's always the challenge of reaching these difficult destinations that gives one the true high. We sat on the peak, probably number 1,300 of Hike-about, feeling privileged to be at that position, blessed that we have the health and desire to do what we do and fortunate to absorb such magnificence. In addition, we observe and learn of the world's natural attributes and their functioning and interactions. We have often mentioned that each day is unique—we see and absorb something new every time we hit the slopes.

What added much to the day was meeting a number of fine and interesting people. Such occasions are always uplifting and each person brings something fresh and different to the table or in this case, the trail or peak. It's no wonder that we feel privileged to pursue our passion.

Down into the channel.

Usually the roughest areas on the mountains/volcanoes are close to the peaks.


Jenni and Jeffrey

Mary and Dwayne were refreshing. John Jeffrey, a man with a great name, has a sharp wit, Marta out-hiked her astute husband, Joe. There were others, too.