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.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Every now and again one waits for a scene that's very special. This was one of them, for the sun only lights the peaks for a short time and not each day or not often, when we are around. That it's of Lake Mead and its surroundings adds to personal satisfaction, for this region is one of our favorites. Truth be told, it's difficult to keep up with the number of favorites one of us has. What a wonderful dilemma to enjoy!

A new addition, another day, an earlier time.

47.32 Nevada and Arizona: Gold Strike Canyon, 1 and 2: Scrapes, bruises, slides, falls, excitement and much humility.

We would sum up the day of walking on soft sand, descending and ascending through, around  and over boulders and mostly dry waterfalls as follows: Our bodies were not impressed, our minds found it exhilarating. Three days later, we learned that it does not augur well for a person when the mind and body are not on speaking terms or at least, in sync. In fact, we've never had to face an internal rebellion previously. It's quite stressful. To be fair, over the previous few days, we had endured some tough hikes which included 'Corkscrew' in Death Valley. 

It brought forward another thought: Have I reached the time at which the physical is now older than the mental state? Should that be the case, it is indeed sad. And then here's the kicker: Jenni has a birthday and I feel older.  

Reaching the endpoint of the bouldering, hiking and sliding: the Colorado River again.

This is a class 4 and 5 climbing rating--the woman is a class act on the boulders.

We could not help reflecting on life as we walked through a slot canyon after a testing day. Gold Strike Canyon begins close to Hoover Dam in Nevada and may cross over into Arizona. Where it does end is at the river, the Colorado, of course. It takes a 6-mile return walk on soft sand for much of the way including scaling down mostly dry waterfalls on the way to the destination and of course, up on the return. The hike is about the journey rather than the destination. Some of the obstacles come with ropes while others, not. Each one is different and after negotiating more than a dozen of them, one arrives at hot pools and thereafter, the Colorado River. 

The river never ceases to amaze us. On this trip alone, we have viewed it from above and alongside on numerous occasions. We mentioned in an earlier blog, whatever it touches, wherever the Colorado flows, it beautifies but of course, it makes rugged, too. Should it be possible to love an object of nature then my love is the river and what it represents...(continues at end) 

Taking the gap.

To be effective through some of the gaps, a person has to diet before undertaking the hike.

Early days as we head down the wash.

Going down one of about 15 obstacles.

Finding the river through a relatively narrow gap. Before this position are the hot springs.

Hugging the boulder because our boots were wet. Made it difficult and dangerous.

Surrounded by towering mountains with massive bodies of water close by.

By way of perspective, Lake Mead is very close to this canyon, being just above and to the side.

Further perspective: On another hike, we rose to the mountains above and to the side of the canyon and lake and had this visual of Hoover Dam. Spectacular and wonderful how it all comes together.

I began with mention of reflecting on life. Ten days ago, I did this hike on my own as Jenni did not feel comfortable undertaking it. She had read about the canyon and it appeared too dangerous for her liking. Thereafter, we left Boulder City and headed for Death Valley but decided to return for a few days should we survive 'Death' Valley. This makes it our third visit to this town on Hike-about 47. One should not presume we like the Lake Mead region. Jen then decided (no pressure applied) she would like to strike gold and try the canyon hike. Rather redundantly, she wished to do it provided I helped and looked after her. Where's she been the last 52 years? 

She does not know this but I developed a quirk about undertaking it on her birthday. How would I feel should something untoward occur? Nevertheless, she exuded confidence that we set out on November 25th. Long story short, she was outstanding on the ropes, the boulders and wherever else we climbed. The problem was that the 'hero' slipped down a boulder once because my boots were wet, and fell from a rope on two other occasions. The rope climbing was relatively easy. However, at these particular positions, the rope moved about ten feet towards the right, throwing me off, with Tarzan landing on rocks, mud and sand. While the falls hurt, other than bruises and scrapes, I was fine and will probably be stiff and sore for a few days. That's the negative. However, the positive is that while lying on my side after the falls, those moments when one takes inventory of damages, one realizes what could have happened and what actually occurred. It made me realize that many of the little things that irritate a person fade into oblivion, or should, when one considers potential disasters that loom about us. 

The wonderful part of another day of wonder is that Jen suffered a mild scrape and no other damage. I don't think she'll forget a birthday that was so meaningful for she accomplished at least two things. She faced her fear and overcame it. That's a sign of courage. And once again, she did something different, challenging, exciting, the need for constant thinking of how and where to climb and actually, had plain old-fashioned fun. We think that's LIFE.  

Searching for a gap.

and finding it.


Jenni and Jeffrey

This picture is dedicated to our good friend, Brian Murray, who composed and sang a wonderful song, "Save My Horny Friends" It's worth listening to...again and again.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

47.30 Nevada: Big Dunes, gorgeous and a time for sport.

On our way to Beatty (gateway to Death Valley), we stopped at Big Dunes, Nevada for a short interlude. We're fond of dunes, their formations, coloring and our activity on them. Who said we're supposed to be adults? 

On a clear day, one can see forever.

All's well on the dunes.

Jen even decides on a run.

On our trip from Boulder City, the winds gusted at a furious pace. The car rocked from side to side.

We arrived at the dunes and the winds stopped; we had near perfect weather. Lucky us.

On our way back to the car, we met the only other person in the area. He had parked beyond the informal parking lot and was struggling to drive his vehicle from the sand surface. It would not budge. When we drove into the Big Dunes lot, Jen indicated we should park next to that vehicle, saving some walking time. I declined the suggestion. It appeared he had been in his car a while because our paths had crossed on our way to the dunes. Fortunately, we were able to assist and he left the dunes safely. Before doing so, we chatted with this rather interesting man, an explorer/photographer, Bruce. He related some of his experiences in our discussion, proving once again just how many fascinating personalities one can meet in different parts of the world. 

As he drove off, the wind storm returned. Hats flew off heads, sand blew in our eyes and remaining upright was challenging. It was frightening to be standing in the calm and open territory and within seconds, feel like a hurricane was en route. 

The pictures below show the progression.
For contrast, add in a lake (Powell) and desert; the beauty abounds.

Lake Mead from a new angle, Kingman Wash, Arizona...all terrific.

'Macho Man' ahem. Toward the end of a hike, it's nice to pick up a car or so to build the upper body muscles...Yeh right! What a whet. (By the way, our other car is a Jag. 😂)

Let's end on a better note. Jenni on the way up.


Jenni and Jeffrey

47.28 Arizona: Grand Canyon, the greatest of them all. Kaibab Trail...going deep.


Let's get going.


It's almost a principle that we established some time ago that a person has to get a taste of the Grand Canyon, at least annually. It seems odd that we are unable to do without so many things, many meaningless, and yet a premier world wonder is not on the wish list of many. We wonder why that is the case. We'll go a step further and urge those who visit this spectacle to venture down into the canyon, at least for a mile or less. It would be a real tragedy to pass through this world and not have experienced a little of this massive fissure that contains a glorious river, mountains, hills, plant life, animals and myriad of other features, not forgetting a number of memorable trails. The coloring, whether during the dull periods of the day or stunningly beautiful at the day's extremes, will awaken something inside of a person. We joked the other day that while we struggled up some 3,500 feet from Tip Off Point, while our bodies burned calories, our souls filled and probably gained weight. 

The last hour, after a fairly fast climb from the endpoint, became a struggle. Our legs cried out for rest as the muscles strained with every move. Unfortunately, besides the 9-miles return hike, we parked a mile from the trailhead, adding on a further 2 miles. The last mile, after reaching the surface took much perseverance or as we might say in the Old Country, "Vasbyt". I think even those without knowledge of the Afrikaans language could appreciate this descriptive word and concept. 

When we stood at the bottom, above the river, and looked up, we were unable to see our return destination. Only once we got much further up did the surface come into view. Looking up to a position 3,500 feet from where we stood is almost intimidating. The only way home is to make it back to the top, the surface. When climbing a mountain, should one want to quit, the way back is downhill. Not so from a canyon. Nevertheless, when the pain and the tiredness dissipate by the following day, the good feeling remains and the accomplishment, no matter how small, resides within forever. 

Each visit to the Canyon proves to us that we are certainly aging and the 'lady' is becoming more attractive. It seems unfair but never bet against nature. She's going to be growing thousands of years after we have left the world. Makes one wonder how important we think ourselves.



This was the second pack of mules we crossed. A woman leading the first pack engaged in conversation which always adds to the hike and leaves us something to think about, a chuckle or two and always an opportunity to learn something. What was rewarding was to learn that she was living her girlhood dream. Wonderful!

First sighting of the Colorado River, on the day.
River deep, river spectacular, in one of a thousand places.
One of the many paths down toward the bottom. Higher up on the trail the mule train we passed earlier is visible.

Whoever passes this way is impressed.
'I'm not a mule...I have rights...this is America. And by the way, I have arthritis; the joints in my legs are killing me.'
Shadows tell us it's getting late in the day.

Jenni and Jeffrey

47.25: Arizona, Marble Canyon: Lower Cathedral trail to reach the Colorado River.

Jen enters the canyon...the fun begins.

Are you looking to make your own way, within limits, to the river? Which one? We thought there was only one in the west...the Colorado, of course. A person makes his/her own way through the slot canyon, heading in one direction between the walls. Obstacles present themselves, usually in the form of dry-waterfalls, for want of a better term, and getting past, below or over them is the challenge. In addition, narrow edges keep one on one's toes or least, feet on the small cliff edges otherwise, the way to the canyon floor will be quick and mostly, painful. There's always a way down (or up) but sometimes it involves using a rope, ladder or the seat of the pants. Fortunately, during the hike, there was a reasonable route although often it required thinking of the options. We would say that on each occasion, a person is likely to vary the route for it's impossible to repeat an exact path. The challenge is terrific adding to the variety of hiking experiences. Truth be told, until about twenty years ago, we had never been in a slot canyon. Not to experience one would be another pity.

At times it looks worse than it is and other times, just the reverse.

Not unlike golf, keep the head down.

Double reflections.

You don't want to slip from there: The fall is short and sharp.

Soon after the exit, the Colorado confronts one. Always a superb sight, always a great experience.


Rapids begin.


 Jenni and Jeffrey