New Zealand 2017: Tongariro Crossing and Mount Ngauruhoe.


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 often.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

49.01 California: Palos Verdes Coastal Walk.

It seems that in each city hike over the recent past, we have viewed golf courses. We find we are playing much better golf from our hiking positions than when we were on the course. We think it's probably a mental issue.

I'm sure that's the Pacific Ocean...then again, maybe it's Lake Tahoe.
"Hey, blue eyes?" 
We spent the morning rising from, and dropping down to, coastal level repeatedly.
Didn't expect to see a flock of sheep visiting the beach. Sure beats having a garden service. The lawn is trimmed and manured in each session. Loved the swaying, tall grass. 
Final exit from ocean level.
Contrast with San Diego coastline 4 days earlier, some 2 hours south (by car, not per foot).

Early days on the trail as we climb from the beach.

Jenni and Jeffrey

48.28: California: Palm Springs: North Lykken trail.

'Okay! Let's get going.' We stopped for a breather after a sharp incline and faced the next hurdle.
In a number of cities lately, we often spend time determining whether the roads have been aligned correctly. If you have to ask why then clearly you're missing the point. It's a quasi-engineering concept.
This platform allows for closer inspection although we hope he remembers to turn around.
Meanwhile, Jen plods on and up diligently. Strangely enough, she is not concerned whether the roads are correctly in alignment. (It takes all types.)
Looking towards Murray Peak, the region's highest and a good test.
Jen returns safely, just a few minutes to the trailhead.

Jenni and Jeffrey

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

49.04 California: Catalina Island, part 2

When we camp, Jen likes to take our cuckoo clock with us. Time recorded 6.01am. The guy was running late.
That's the transport to and from the island.
From height, the views are superb.
After many weeks of intense physical effort, totally under our control of course, we have nobody to blame, although it would be nice to find a volunteer, we were sitting on a boulder the other day and I happened to mention to Jenni that I was so looking forward to being on our own that evening and enjoying each other’s company. She replied, “What’s different?” 

That's the answer one receives when you marry a practical woman. I had to think about it and realized of course, not much. Nevertheless, most days, actually all of them, it’s just wonderful to spend the night in relaxed mode after intensive active days together. Can you see the difference? Hmm! Admittedly, it is so subtle that it’s easily missed. 

We remember an acquaintance asking how it was possible to spend so much time together. He was not rude; his manner was such that it allows him to ask and respond with frank questions and comments. We thought it a good and relevant question. We don’t know that there’s a simple answer but in a different forum, we might offer an explanation. Nevertheless, we can talk with authority of the past but are unable and even unwilling to attempt to foresee the future. Thus we try to live in the present and hope the future pans out positively. 

The civil action center of the island. The real action is elsewhere and more civil.
We'd agree with the sign, particularly, regarding the female. We spotted this specimen at the bench, by chance. Although there may be some confusion as to the number of legs on the beast, bear in mind (perhaps bison in mind), those are fore legs and not just a pair as some who are too reliant upon their sight might deduce.
Back on track after the diversion above. Love it...the water, that is.
Los Angeles across the water, some 26 miles and change.
This is what happens when you 'defund the water police', blue chaos.
Meanwhile, others go walk-about above the cliffs.
Looking down at recent construction on the island. Interesting.
"Alexa, please assemble the tent", seems to be the expression on her face. Actually, Jen assembled the 'fly component' which was impressive. The other member is still up in the air with regard to the concept.
Jen glances down and prefers to move away from the edge.
Last glance from a ridge above Avalon.
'Framed'. Trying our hands at artistic poses and views. It's been strongly suggested we consider alternative opportunities.
Phew! We'll let you go now. 


Jenni and Jeffrey

48.26 California: Palm Desert: Murray Hill/Peak via Bogert Trail (without Joanne and Ron(aldo)).

What makes
this hike particularly memorable, nostalgic too, is that some 8 years before, we had the honor and pleasure of meeting two wonderful people somewhere on a feeder trail toward Murray Peak. It was indeed a chance meeting that developed into something much more. Joanne and Ron Allegretto of Vancouver, Canada are dear friends, although limited by verbal communication only. We hope to change that soon. However, should people be able to develop a stong bond without physical contact, this is one of those situations. 

When Ron and I communicate, frequently, it's as if we grew up together. Anyway, that's how it feels from my side. Ron(aldo) is such a good guy he probably just humors that 'hybrid southerner' but he does make me laugh often. I suppose it might look silly to anyone observing me sitting before my laptop after receiving one of his emails and hear a burst of laughter. 

Thanks, Joanne and Ron. In some silly way, I was hoping that we might bump into them again on that very trail. It wasn't to be as Ron could have been participating in a Curling event or pursuing his passion of enjoying automobile collections or chasing after Maria, their cute granddaughter.

After an hour or more on trail, we see the peak to the left in the distance.
Early stages of a 'volcanic eruption' that never made the news.

Jenni and Jeffrey

Friday, April 23, 2021

49.03 California: Lake Forest: Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park: Red Rock destination via Mustard Trail. 49.04 Dreaded Hill Trail.

Spring is in the air.
Early days as we head down and then up toward the red (pink) rocks.
Beautiful...the plant life, too.
Upon returning from our camping excursion to Catalina Island, we thought of stopping close to the mainland port to undertake some hiking in this virgin territory, that is, for us. Jen found a gem of a park which provides wonderful hiking opportunities with some steep sections, unusual rock formations and all close to the town. In fact, much housing development surrounds this large regional park. Amazing how many treasures fill the land just off the beaten paths. Add in the blooming spring flora and we enjoyed 2 wonderful days before returning to ??? 

The scenery is lovely...a little surprising in this dry region.
Caught off-guard, it appears.
1.2 miles sharply up. The camera cannot capture the slope (heard that one before).
Spring confirmed.
Aha! The rocks finally.
The day before in the same region, different hike (Dreaded Hill, anything but dreadful), we met Terry and his mare. Terry was most inspiring and his pinto with large blue eyes was quite charming. The scene reflected below is moments before we told Terry to get off his high-horse and let Jen and me ride off into the sunset. Terry replied that sunset was 8 hours distant and he had no intention of sitting around talking with us until then. Nice!

Jenni and Jeffrey

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

49.02 California: Catalina Island, a mini-adventure: Part 1

If you're going to sit somewhere, can't think of a better place...just yet, following a stiff climb.
A successful dwelling builder...home sweet home.
The advantage
of being a quick learner is that it does not take long to determine certain likely outcomes. Surprisingly, this past week we found out that ground/earth is very hard. It does not have much cushion to it unless of course, it’s muddy. Then again, the smart person will pitch camp ensuring that he not only has a tent, sleeping bag, gas cannister and teddy bear to ensure a restful night’s sleep, but also a foam contraption on which to place the said sleeping bag and by extension, the occupant. So far, so good. However, when the contraption has a slow leak which leak became less slow with each passing night, the brilliant mind of the said sleeper did not take long to reach the appropriate conclusion about the denseness of the ground. In fact, it became a toss-up as to which part or whom was more dense. That’s a topic for another occasion...continues below. 

One of us gets told by the other where to go place oneself quite often...not that one of us minds in the least.
Camera focuses on one of the subjects.

The city/port of Avalon through the telephoto from a peak.
Early morning sunshine off the grasses.
From the trail, we join a road to ?
Could be a scene from Hawaii or La Reunion.
Amazing colors.
Unusual sights and sites.
'Wake' me when it calms.
From one ridge to another.
Jen climbs...steeply.
'Tell me young fella, do they pay you to knock on wood per strike? Do you go home at 5pm, hopefully?'
Breakfast in bed.
Rugged and attractive scenes from a peak on the south-east section.

There’s something special about sleeping outdoors even with a piece of material covering a couple and their priceless possessions. Of course, in instances of high winds, rain and snow, the use of the word ‘special’ is perhaps out of place and an appropriate synonym might be at best, crazy and at worst, dumb. Jen and I have spent much time sleeping in many different abodes, particularly over the past 11 years. Before then, our clearest memories of places of shut eye outside the home, we suppose, were school classrooms, synagogues and during long speeches, including my own. You could say we have generally been well-rested. 

Sleeping in huts, outdoors, automobiles, tents, refuges, mountain cabins and a host of other less formal accommodation, has given us a much better appreciation of the luxury of modern living. While many might snigger and say our accommodation in towns and cities is hardly luxurious as it is, we believe having hot-and-cold running water, an indoor toilet that flushes plus tub/shower, a bed with mattress and linen, a microwave, refrigerator, electric lighting and a few other items, is pure luxury. In a way, there’s a need to live a little roughly from time-to-time to remind ourselves how fortunate we are having access to the ‘good life’. Well, should you be reading this, I would not be surprised to expect some ‘rolling of eyes’ and the thought ‘when did those two go wrong?’ 

Arriving at the camp office.

We set off for Catalina Island, the town of Avalon, from Dana Point. We struggled to carry our backpacks which contained 4-days worth of food, our utensils, the teddy bear, tent and sleep equipment, besides a host of other items. We know we are aging but did not realize how quickly. It’s one thing to carry a large backpack with tent but try lifting it from the ground and onto the back. We had intended to hike the Catalina traverse but were unable to secure camp accommodation for 2 of the nights. This would have meant Jenni having to stand guard each evening while I slept. Even I thought it not fair. Instead, we camped at Hermit Gulch and used that spot as our base. We think we were fortunate there was no accommodation otherwise, we would have endured much pain. As it was, we did some stiff hikes on this remarkable island. 

The ‘remarkable’ qualifies the magnificent mountains that rise almost vertically and provide exquisite views of the island itself, the sharp cliffs, the town and across the ocean, views of Los Angeles. While the latter city is not a favorite by a long shot, from distance with the mountain backdrops, lack of visibility of smog and traffic chaos, it’s magnificent. (I tried not to display any prejudice but fear I may have failed.) Expressed another way, Los Angeles does not make me feel fulfilled as does Page, Boulder City and a host of other places...about a million. 

The island is approximately 26 miles from the mainland, which is reached by ferry in eighty minutes. In the new environment, passengers and crew, mostly sit with faces covered in masks. It’s a lovely experience with the advantage one does not have to be embarrassed because of newly formed pimples, failure to wash one’s face or be recognized by someone a person would prefer to avoid. Once arriving at the island and repeating the loading of luggage onto backs, we had to determine where to head. The few people we asked had no idea where the campground was situate. Our presumption had been that it would be known to most. After some success in that department, we walked, ambled, perhaps struggled would be a good word, toward our destination, some 1.5 miles inland, passing through the town, along a golf course, beyond the conservatory, finally reaching camp. 

We met Regina, the ranger, who proved over 4 days to be a delightful woman. On our last day, she related some stories of behavior and incidents occurring in the camp over the years. None of this surprised us as on two nights, there were some unruly campers. We did not expect that as usually, people sleeping in the wilderness, have a level of respect both for nature and fellow humans. Truth be told, in most other countries we have camped or stayed in huts and refuges, behavior has been of a high standard. I suppose we could blame Trump.

One of the highlights of the campground were the showers and toilets, probably the best we’ve seen. You could say they were luxury level. Upon entering the shower, one inserts quarters and behold, hot water flows from the head. That’s a big deal. In many places we’ve camped, the best available was cold water, usually freezing, or mostly, none at all.

(We passed a bank, seeking quarters, on the way to the ferry from Palos Verde, after visiting our special friend, Jerry Bongard. What a man. He’s in his 96th year and has been a source of much pleasure and guidance for Jenni and me over the years. As an aside, his son took him on a two-seater flight within the area a couple of weeks ago. G-d bless you, Jerry.)

Anyway, the bank was closed because of COVID and so we were unable to obtain change for the showers. A pity. Nevertheless, on the walk to the camp site, we passed a vending machine displaying sodas. We decided we’d earned a treat and inserted notes into the machine. We also calculated that for each purchase we would receive 3 quarters in change. Heck, the more Cokes we purchased, the more quarters. This would be the first time we could argue that Coca Cola was good for our hygiene. Unfortunately, the machine did not dispense the bottle selected. Then we got an idea. Should we hit the ‘reject’ button, especially as the machine wasn’t working, we would receive twelve coins back instead of 3 notes. Look at the upside: We’d have plenty of coins for showers and would not be forced to drink ‘unhealthy Diet Coke’. What a win…well, sort of. Later, we ended with the change we needed as well as Coke. Who said you can’t have your Coke and drink it? 

We loved the hiking; the views as mentioned earlier were a delight which lifted our spirits, (a change from our backpacks), and many of the people we met were as usual, interesting and informative. Tours of the island are provided for visitors as one would expect. A driver will take people to various spots allowing them to attain a perspective, particularly from height. Because the main road was under construction, these tour vehicles diverted to some of the paths on which we walked. At one point, I greeted a driver. He then approached and asked me a series of innocuous questions that required one-word answers. I wondered what that was about until he proclaimed in a loud voice and a high-elbow tap, “You’re South African”. 

I must add that I’ve never taken the test before. One woman wanted to know how we had held onto our accents for 32 years. Without wishing to be flippant (or too flippant), we replied that we took regular lessons. 

On the final morning, we broke camp, ‘trashed’ our air mattresses, collected the rest of our belongings, and concluded the weight of our backpacks, despite having eaten, disposed of certain items and strengthened our muscles with all the activities, were not much lighter. Seems like you can’t win. (Second hike pictures in next posting or so).


Jenni and Jeffrey