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.
Tuesday, September 29, 2020
47.06 Nevada: Boulder City: Black Mountain one morning. 47.07 Red Mountain, the next. Including previous visits to Lake Mead, the Magnificent, setting the scene.
From Red Mountain, Las Vegas awakes.
Las Vegas, much earlier in the morning, sun highlights Red Rock Canyon.
From Hamblin Peak, Lake Mead extends.
Thankfully, there are many fascinating inhabitants in our world. The drawback is that during a life, one fails to meet even a fraction of them. Each country has its own flavor, its culture which manifests itself in the people—even those that deny it. With so much acrimony existing within the United States, it’s especially refreshing to come across people, both on the trails and in small towns, who enlighten, entertain and reveal the depths of the positive side of humanity.
As an aside, whereas we are deeply saddened by the hatred, intolerance and nastiness abounding, we don’t think that will change until we change ourselves. It seems so easy and typical to believe one is correct and almost perfect in one’s thinking and views and therefore, every contrary opinion is that of a moron or someone to frown- and look down- upon. Many people display superior, smug and high-and-mighty attitudes that, to be frank, make us want to puke...forgive the outburst...continues below.
For our friend, Yves: 'The Frenchman' outside Las Vegas, viewed from Red and Black Mountains, Boulder City.
The difference of good timing, The Frenchman basking at sunrise.
What's not to like.
Contrast with an early sunset.
Black Mountain Overlook extension.
A glimpse of Las Vegas through the cleft at Red Mountain.
Standing on Fortification Hill, the Arizona side of the border.
A couple of views of the magnificent Lake Mead. A great favorite, both the place and photograph.
While in San Luis Obispo, we met a couple of young men on a mountain recently. They arrived at the peak separately (two minutes apart), one with his arm in a sling, the other with a knee brace. We began chatting to the twins and it did not take long to realize we wanted to meet their parents so we could tell them how impressive their sons are. Strange that the brothers suffered serious injuries within in days of each other but on different body parts. Here they were, in sling and brace, but running on a tough mountain trail. They provided interesting perspectives which became more relevant when Ryan told about his short-term project in South Africa a few years back. We attain a particularly good feeling when meeting young people who give us confidence for the future.
On another peak, we had a view of the latter part of the trail and noticed two women struggling before making it to the top finally...just like us. We greeted each other and took in the enticing views. Shortly thereafter, we began conversing and before we knew it, forty minutes had passed. This meant that our brunch had become lunch. They both had very positive attitudes which they wore on their faces, too. Both had nursing backgrounds and related stories about the negativity of their colleagues. Many, they said, attacked them because they approached life positively, others made fun of them because they preferred to eat healthily and not over indulge, or refuse to engage in gossip. It reminded us of the 'tall poppy syndrome' where it appears people prefer others to conform rather than set higher standards. Is free choice really a desire?
The women were of Mexican origin which has to be mentioned to appreciate some irony. When introducing ourselves, Jacqueline pronounced the 'J' appropriately which allowed Jenni and I to use Spanish pronunciations for our names. The other woman really provided the winner. A proud and delightful young Mexican with the rather difficult name to pronounce: 'Sandra Jane'. It made us all smile. The final bit was her close friend had always thought her middle name to be 'Jenni'. Conclusion: Some days, people are a sheer blessing...continues below.
The full picture. Standing on Red Mountain with Black Mountain overlook in front.
On a slightly negative side, we also come across people who would not share the time of day with a person. Particularly on hikes in and close to cities, people tend to be less well-mannered. We still can't understand why when we stand aside to allow a person to pass, that person will not acknowledge it or us. How do you walk past a person when you're effectively alone on a mountain and refuse to return a greeting or even make eye contact. Heck, we really don't want to stop and converse, the trail takes much of our breath away as it is, but to be so rude?
The other day, we stood aside to allow a family of 3 to pass. They ignored us. Fine. Then while we waited, the husband slipped and fell on this slightly tricky edge. I put out my hand to the wife to help her down. Without hesitation, she took my hand and I steadied and supported her, releasing her when she appeared comfortable. Any issue of virus passing was irrelevant in the circumstances. Not a word was uttered. Strange but then perhaps we are odd. In a subsequent blog, we'll intoduce a woman we met on O'Leary Peak in Flagstaff, someone who really made an unusual impression.
I've always wanted to raise this issue. Particularly in the generations following ours, children have been instructed not to talk to strangers. Like most facets of life, there are circumstances where children should be most cautious. However, nowadays, when are children not in the company of a parent or guardian outdoors? My question is: When will the child ever learn to greet or deal with a stranger? At some magical time do they 'unlearn' that command. Kind of knocks a hole in biblical ethics of helping or showing kindness to strangers or may I be so brazen as to say, at least smile and walk past a stranger.
We remember a time in New Mexico when we had completed a hike and heard a young woman, about 18 years old, talking on the phone with her mother. She was crying as she had no way of getting home. Apparently, the car was left 5 miles away from where she and a friend stood and it was late in the day. When we heard the distresed voice, we walked up to her and asked where she wanted to go. She told us but said it was in a direction away from the distant town. We said she should walk with us to our car. We were strangers. Should she have followed the dictum?
What she did not understand is that she thought she was fortunate. On the contrary, she gave us an opportunity to do something positive—kind—if we are immodest.
Thank heavens for the many wonderful people we come across. Our deepest thanks to David, a person who helped us ten years ago when we were lost on a mountain. We'll never forget you, Stranger.
Jenni and Jeffrey
Thursday, September 24, 2020
The two opening pictures provide perspective of the San Francisco Mountain range taken earlier this year.
We completed our third successful peak climb of Mount Humphreys, a giant that rises to an altitude of 12,633 feet making it the highest in the State of Arizona. On a clear day, a person can see the deepest hole in the state from the peak, the great Grand Canyon. While it does not have difficult climbing sections, it makes up for it by being over ten miles in length, a rocky and treacherous trail surface and an elevation gain of 3,333 feet. One has to be guarded about foot-placings the whole trail. We had been at sea-level for the past month or more so beginning at 9,000 and reaching 12,600 made an impact. We lost appetites, not a bad thing, lost strength, not a good thing but nothing serious. Truth be told, our muscles complained and offered an opinion that the height gain was closer to 4,000 feet. We never argue with muscles.
For reasons not apparent, this was a very meaningful moment for Jeffrey. (Since our last visit, the sign has faded (aged) including 'others'.
Mount Weatherford across the way is actually lower than where we are standing.
Fall (autumn) earlier than most parts.
We reach the saddle and have a tough climb awaiting...rougher than we thought. There are 3 false peaks above the one in the picture.
Little rough up there but a spectacular position.
Homeward bound, a bit of a grind, coming off the peak.
The odd couple of slopes.
Jenni absorbs the colors as she moves down from the top
We thought we were at the top as we came around the 'peak' to the right.
Jen reaches a false peak.
The scenes, the position, were overpowering.
Often think how few ever see the various places tucked out the way.
The rage, power and force of the eruptions of volcanoes is way beyond imaginable. We only see the result.
We remember our first occasion on this mountain some years ago. It’s not that we have to remember because the experience is indelibly fixed within our minds and left scars on certain body parts. On that day, we hiked to the top on black ice without crampons. We spent much time on our rear-ends on the way down or arguing and sometimes both. Over the past couple of years, we have passed through Flagstaff with the intention of reaching Humphreys but each time the weather was poor. We learned our lesson about selecting better opportunities.
We were communicating with Barry Jahn, a distinguished Oregonian hiker, that this might be our last attempt at the particular mountain. It was a rather pessimistic approach which we’d like to believe was a temporary feeling. Fortunately, it went well but while it wasn’t difficult, it took a lot out of us—a day’s rest will put us back in the driver’s seat. Nevertheless, when one observes some of the youngsters in action, mind you not all, it’s a reminder that an extra 40-45 years makes a huge difference. It’s only dawning upon me now that our energy levels, bones and muscle strength, may be on the wane. Add in the injuries, worn out components and the future is not quite what a person desires. While one can easily accept no more ‘football, nightclubbing and other bodily contact sports’, the idea of limitations on walking, climbing and hiking is for us (me) sobering. End of soul searching section.
We were fortunate to stop on 3 occasions on our way down from the top and enjoy refreshing conversations. The interactions really add to the experience. The first lot was with an Afghan war veteran and his sister. It was a privilege to meet them initially and thereafter a few hours later. We passed them going up as we were returning. We hope they had flashlights as they were making heavy work of the trip.
The next lot were a group of hikers from Alabama. They mentioned they were from the deep south. When they asked from where we hailed, our reply was even deeper south than them. They made some interesting observations and our banter was light and caused much creasing of our faces. One guy even mentioned a South African whom he had worked with some years ago, a fellow we probably know of. Real small world—until you have to walk it.
We were trying to make the trailhead and get back to the car when we halted for John and Mary who had stopped early on the trail because they are a sane couple. They loved the concept of reaching the top but not the effort required. It’s fascinating the exchanges we have with people and what we all share together. Sometimes you wonder why relationships, obviously with strangers which we concede are easier, shouldn’t be much better than they are. We think when people are less judgmental and more open, we become nicer humans and have more enjoyable lives.
A rather rough day completed, we had a delightful evening and nearly restful sleep. You might ask, as we occasionally do, what’s the whole point of hiking in general and tough ones in particular. Surely you could find something more productive in your lives. We submit besides the involvement in nature, humanity, challenges and experiences and many other aspects, you cannot measure the incredible feeling that overwhelms the mind, body and soul at the end of the day—it's a temporary visit to Heaven.
A realistic perspective as one of us approaches the first false peak.
Jenni and Jeffrey
Monday, September 21, 2020
"Hey Jen, isn't that an incredible position to perch?"
We received a note from Gail Edelstein suggesting: As you are aging (straight-shooter she is) perhaps you should begin 'photo-shopping instead of risky climbs." Well, good advice should not go unheeded. Our first experience with trick photography below, although the legs still felt wobbly. 😕
I can't remember whether this is a genuine photograph or...
Our new attitude is 'not to sweat it'.
We're still trying to separate the trees from the forest or the wood from the trees or something like that.
From one peak to another: Bishop Peak across from where we stood, on a clear day for a change.
Our current peak position on Madonna as seen from Bishop Peak, last week. The low clouds provided incredible scenes.
'Okay, now what?' Apparently, awaiting the bird's return.
We were walking down a mountain path shared with cyclists the other day. After being on trail for 4 hours and with a few minutes to go, we saw three youngsters approaching. By the way, the trail was narrow. We thus moved to the right showing them they should take the opposite side. These days, it’s more critical than previously, because of course, it’s possible for a virus to spring from somebody and attach itself to another. That’s why some tend to wear masks especially when you notice virus carriers approaching. (We attach masks when we close in on someone and remove them soon after passing.)
Anyway, I moved to the side and because the shape of the path was concave, apparently misjudged my footing. This happens from time-to-time but invariably I recover. The trick, I think, is to go with the momentum rather than halt the movement. This time the stupid accident did not work out well. I fell into a bush to the side which happened to be of the thorn kind. When I fall, it usually occurs from slipping where my feet slide out from under causing me to land on my rear-end. This time it was a full frontal, in a manner of speaking, into a thorn bush. My right-hand came out to cushion the fall and unfortunately, I got ripped by numerous thorns in a few places. (This is not an appeal for sympathy, just to be clear.)
I felt like a complete idiot lying on the ground while these youngsters passed. Surprisingly, only the third guy offered to help me up. I refused help but wishing to have a retort after my foolish fall, apologized for not greeting them formally by getting up. What an unnecessary accident. Now would a necessary accident be better?
To conclude, I would offer that all hurt is terrible. However, I submit it’s a better 'suffering' after doing something positive or heroic than undergoing the pain and suffering for an idiotic deed.
Jenni and Jeffrey
The coastal beauty of the region.
Thursday, September 17, 2020
'We've looked at clouds from both sides now...'
Leaving the bench: Jenni steeling herself for some boulder climbing.
Looking across to Madonna Mountain on the way up to Bishop Peak, a religious route.
Bishop Peak: A tricky climb to reach the top...so he says.
Cloud cover thick.
Clouds begin to dissipate.
'She'll be coming (going) round the bend when...'
The sun still continues to shine in Morro Bay, perhaps a little erratically, particularly when supporting it.
Jenni and Jeffrey