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.

Sunday, February 27, 2022

53.05 Arizona: Tonto National Forest. Climbing above Roosevelt Lake in awe and sweat. It does not get better than this.

Never been in a better place for visuals, environment and seclusion.

We are fortunate to see much which is good, no, make that incredible, in the natural world. Originally, we wondered what the chances were of capturing something on camera unique to us. After a couple of years of wandering, we began to realize that each day would present at least one good, great or miraculous view. Coupled with the fascinating and at times, difficult or strenuous climbs on the mountains, it makes each day unique in and of itself. Add in meeting some interesting fellow travelers and it rounds off one's days and years living a dream. It's reality. However, there's also another reality that confronts us with more difficult and often unpleasant challenges as we return to what is called civilization. The cynic in us might use a different term. 

  When we read of snow approaching within a few days, we were not pleased. On the other hand, when we realized it was expected to be a one-day-happening, we projected it might do wonders for the landscape and that we were indeed fortunate. For a change, we got it right. I don't think I've witnessed better views and enjoyed an environment as we did on February 24th. I did not include Jenni's opinion because she believes my memory forgets previous occasions when I've made a similar comment. She alleges it's always a few days previously multiplied by ten or twenty times a year. It's a problem when one's credibility is 'shot'. 

  Let me phrase it differently. In my top ten list of photographs, there were, until recently, 184 pictures. I get it—that's a little odd. As I write this, the list has been pared considerably. The list only has 178 photographs today. Nevertheless, I'll stand by my opinion and state these could be our finest set of photographs of a one day's outing. (Essay at end)
Does 'love it' work? Jenni, front, heads down and home.
The Four Peaks, in the wilderness of the same name.
I wanna go higher. Don't fret, you are going up.

An experience in the town of Roosevelt: 'For the Birds' that even Teddy may have approved.

 Jen considers the subject of birds to nearly be taboo but settles for the word 'ducks'—an all-embracing term. I follow the birds, particularly the raptors in the wilderness (ducks), but admit as mentioned in an earlier blog, when they are too close to home, personal and in one's face, for want of a better term, they can be painful. The picture illustrates how fed up I was in deciding to call the gang together and let them have it. 

 Ostensibly, the purpose of our meeting was to set some ground rules. That in and of itself was difficult because walking on the ground outside our room takes enormous dexterity in avoiding their poop. Fortunately, the staff clean the concrete patio daily but that's insufficient care for birds that eat continuously. 

The audience hangs onto every word after the ducks are in a row, well...sort of.
when the audience had congregated, expecting another set of snacks, I exploded into a lecture that may have put the fear of an eagle into their little minds. Firstly, I pointed to the sign that prohibits humans from swimming in their pond. As a courtesy, I mentioned, we don't pee in your pond, please don't defecate in our backyard. Rather pee in your own pond?

 We'll see how that goes but I could tell they were intimidated. Every so often I noticed quivering while flapping their wings in fear. I did feel all powerful, perhaps enjoying the power that must parse through a dictator's blood. They probably felt like putin'.

  Second point I made. The rule in this establishment calls for quiet time soon after the sun sets—this is not a place for teenagers looking for nightlife. Surely the rule applies to you 'orno-anser' types, too. We cannot accept the frequent breakouts that occur. Surely, each time one of you honks out loud or annoys a friend or colleague, the rest of you don't need to break out into deep cackles and honks as if you are big-shot vice-president. We already have one of those and that's too much as it is. Should you not be able to control yourselves, how about squawking in someone else's backyard. Have you not heard of NIMBY? (not in my backyard)

  I'm also sick and tired of your aggressive actions of knocking on our windows begging for food. You should stick to worms, fish and insects as your DNA requires. Oreo cookies are very bad for you while very good for Jen and me. Tough break. We won't ask for your worms, you cut out disturbing us at all hours for our sugar-free sodas. By the way, when we heard Diet Coke was not healthy, we acted swiftly and responsibly switching to Pepsi. If nothing else, you should understand we sure set fine examples of good dietary habits. Guys, learn and digest this wisdom.

  Finally, I notice that one of you in particular, I won't point the goose out for it's not my intention to embarrass anyone. However, I do not like the aggressive manner in which you dart toward my wife, and on occasion, me too. Frankly, I hate to admit it but for a duck, you can be intimidating. I would not know how to defend ourselves, short of kicking out with my legs. That's not something I would like to do but might resort to it should your harassing continue. The audience remained still...not a honk sounded. I could tell they were enraptured by my words. Clearly, I can be intimidating.

  I really believed I had got through to them. I felt a crease across my face as a deep smile attested to the success I enjoyed. It was proving to be a breakthrough. People and animals meeting and talking/chirping together. Perhaps, I had made a discovery and would not be thought of as a nincompoop any longer. I smiled. I had found my vocation.

  Just then, Jenni opened the door and called out: "Dinner!" A cacophony of sound broke out which I took to be well-earned applause. Instead, eleven geese in unison, released gas (pleased John Kerry not around; actually, always delighted when he's in his jet), followed by a poop extravaganza. They then began cackling and honking at full blast that it hurt the eardrums. Thereafter, they rushed as one toward Jenni like a Russian troop, leaving me standing in the dust which was fast turning into become smelly mud. 

I suppose it's back to hiking for me and in future, I'll continue 'talking to the trees'.


Jenni and Jeffrey

Thursday, February 24, 2022

53.04 Arizona: Roosevelt, Tonto National Forest: Moved by these 'spicy' photographs along the Salt River.

We were moved by the sights of the day, particularly some of the scenes photographed, and included in this posting. We hope you grasp what we enjoyed, understanding that tastes differ—we have been called some strange names. Funnily enough, many we liked but then again there's no accounting for taste. 

It also struck us that some of these scenes would be something to which Doug Morton, a professional photographer in South Africa, might relate. Not that we intimate this regarding the quality but rather, only the subject matter.

A double or an intimate couple? 
For perspective: From the Vineyard hike (to be published) looking down at the Salt River.
Jen stands below the photographer amongst the scrub.
The most 'arms' we've ever seen on a saguaro.

 This was
our third visit to Tonto National Forest, specifically, to the Roosevelt Lake region. We’ve also visited the Superstition Mountains, some distance from the lake, always ensuring not being there on a particular Friday. We’re boarding in what is termed a resort, which comprises, cabins, motel type of rooms and a permanent RV park. We overlook a small lake which is the home of mostly ducks and geese. While the water does not lap up to our sliding door onto the patio, it’s close. Over the years, Jenni often laughed at me as I observe and try to shoot the bird life, visually, of course. While I’d love to enjoy visits from raptors, it seems only the ducks/geese occupy this habitat. 

  We have a big room which is spacious and comfortable. We believe the region is gorgeous because of its seclusion, the incredible Roosevelt Lake and Dam, the Salt River, wonderful mountains, all creating hiking opportunities to enjoy this wilderness. Naturally, we’d recommend a visit to the forest highly. However, should you seek luxury (and hot water) then we might withdraw the recommendation. 

  I’ve been a bit put off by a certain class of geese that reside here permanently. It’s a group of eleven further broken down into five, four and two. The latter couple are probably recently married as they are aloof from the group. Anyway, the birds, particular one fella, is aggressive. Like most animals, people too, the geese are always on the lookout for a snack or meal. So much so that this fella arrives at our sliding door and pecks the glass with his beak vigorously. He has no shame and will keep knocking. He is, like most people I know, not the least bit intimidated by me. At 5am the other morning, he arrived begging once again. Admittedly, its normal routine is to visit when he sees us in the room. That I’ve taken to hiding under the bed in daylight when we are not in the wilderness says a lot about both me and the 'bloody' duck. Between you and me, I don't like the anser at all. 

  We noticed that at night they congregate in a circle, tuck their heads into their sides and look like snow 'turkeys' on a Thanksgiving table or even better, a football huddle. This includes the married couple, too. Invariably, one will break out in a squawk and the other ten will respond, probably telling it to 'shut-up' which results in an awful disturbance of the peace. It's tough being a human in such an environment.

  I will add that I’ve taken a stand in principle about not feeding them. Over the years, we have observed that when people feed animals, understandably out of compassion in most instances, it harms the creature. That’s not a lesson for now. Having said that, we recently fed a couple of wild horses in Natal—a little hypocritical, we’ll admit. Long story short: The noise these birds generate each day and night, the droppings they leave on our doorstep, and their aggressive begging have changed my outlook (not gmail) a little. I’m beginning to think Jen was correct all along about me and my birds. (See end).

 Desert type of plant that does not require much water. Must be a 'freak' or at least, tempting.
Reaching a minor high physically, but even higher...

Jenni and Jeffrey 

The 'birds' having a friendly chat.

The boys: Not so good.

"Oh, when the saints, oh when the saints come marching in."

Monday, February 21, 2022

53.01 Arizona: Corona de Loma, South Mountain, Tempe. The scene of a tense struggle between the spouses, besides the sweat of a mountain trail.

A person knows it's Arizona.
A couple of weeks ago we viewed Las Vegas from mountain tops; this time it's the sprawling city of Phoenix.
Jen takes on the challenge.
Reaches the peak, one of many in the park.
Jen sets the bar at a high level.

We headed up the trail to a peak outside of Tempe, AZ. The gap between us widened as we climbed. Because it was a safe trail, nothing dangerous in the way of cliff edges, bears, striking points for snakes, sharks or African lions, I was not concerned with separation. As I reached a junction, I had the option to make a right to ascend to a peak or follow the left path to another peak. I decided to turn right and signal Jen from the top. Unfortunately, the signage only indicated a trail to the left.

 I reached the top, took a few photographs and looked over the edge to indicate to Jen which route she should follow. Unfortunately, she was not in view. I then headed back toward the junction to meet her. Before descending, I spotted her at the junction. (See exhibit A.) 

Exhibit 1. The body language was over-powering.

 It was relatively easy to gauge her mood, even from above. To put it rather subtly, she was not a happy woman (52 years together, including courting, gives one an edge). I made my way down which took less than 5 minutes. My interpretation of her body movements observed earlier were, unfortunately, accurate. She was smoking, nothing to do with cigarettes.

  "Will all attendees rise, the court is now in session,' the bailiff announced and continued further.

  "Plaintiff (Jenni) alleges that the Defendant (Pathetic guy) broke a cardinal rule in that upon arriving at a junction on said mountain: He failed to wait for Plaintiff, or failed to indicate route selected, or failed to show due concern when parties reconnected."

  "The defendant alleges he showed concern at all times for the Plaintiff; the Plaintiff was in his sight always but for thirty seconds, give or take; should the Plaintiff had made the right turn at the signage, the parties would have met; should she have turned left then the Defendant would have seen her from above and indicated for her to wait or join him."

 "The Plaintiff alleges she can prove the Defendant would not have seen her for long periods should she have continued."

  "The Plaintiff alleges further that the Defendant did not display both the level of humility and apology appropriate for such a dereliction of responsibility. Furthermore, she felt the Defendant had all but abandoned her, a woman of seventy, to spend a might alone on a mountain without food, water and sleeping equipment or a tent."

  "The Defendant alleges that the Plaintiff was less than 90 minutes from the trailhead; he concedes that she is an old woman but that in his eyes she looks less than sixty, and is quite gorgeous. Furthermore, should anyone lose their way, it's more likely to be the Defendant who tends to wander in wonder on mountains."

 "Furthermore, the Defendant feels insulted in many ways but will only offer support for this allegation using one example. The Defendant offered to hug the Plaintiff and beg, maybe ask, for forgiveness but concede poor judgment on his part rather than malicious intent."

  "The Plaintiff refused the offer of a hug. In fact, her response caused the Defendant irreparable harm for which he expects an apology. The Plaintiff, when asked about the offer of an embrace of love and forgiveness, responded, 'I would rather hug a saguaro cactus (see exhibit 2).

  Exhibit 2: Rejected for a saguaro, the ultimate prick of one's ego. 

 "The Defendant, when he saw the Plaintiff with her arms wrapped about the saguaro, is alleged to have remarked, "Indeed, what a prickly pair."

  "The Plaintiff seeks further damages on two counts: She finds the remark disparaging in the first degree; in the alternative, there is an insinuation that her figure may be interpreted as 'pear-shaped' which she too finds insulting.

  At the conclusion of the hearing, the judge found for the Plaintiff, the Defendant apologized again for his insensitivity and poor attitude and as a form of damages, the judge suggested that both the Plaintiff and Defendant take a hike...together.

Another city that doesn't waste space.
Another part of the city viewed from surrounding mountains.
Jen catches Southwest Airlines taking off from Sky Harbor Airport after refusing to wait for me while singing "I'm leaving on a jet plane, won't be back...". 
 I knew all was well again when Jenni made her usual fabulous meal (for me, too). Beats bread and water. 


Jenni and Jeffrey

Coming up shortly are blogs from our latest destination: Roosevelt Lake, Arizona, another incredible region. Here's a taste:

San Diego: Fortuna North, Mission Trails Regional Park, a perspective of other mountains from this position.

As the heading intimates, we stood on North Fortuna and spotted various peaks we have reached. It provides a perspective as to how the mountainous region fits together relative to where we've hiked and the city itself. We threw in some scenes from only three of such mountains viewed from Fortuna North. 

To the south, Downtown San Diego.
Everything from height looks better, likewise, a lot of things in the dark do, too. Freeway 52 below.
This puzzled us. At first, we thought it was a great lake with the sky lit up at sunset. Then we realized there isn't a lake in that vicinity. Of course, it's the ocean. No it's not. On second or third thoughts, we thought it may be sky. But how can you look down upon the sky. Arrogant or what? Then we saw clouds even further down (bottom of photo). Hang on, we're not that high. Puzzling. How about the horizon? Talk about being confused.
Old-fashioned fire in the sky at sunset.
Mount Woodson: Reached the summit on more occasions than any other mountain.
On Mount Woodson: In the background is Fortuna North and others at the Mission Trails Regional Park.
Jen stands above the clouds—a great place to be.
From Mount Woodson, looking west toward the ocean.
Here comes Benny climbing above the nudist beach. We only reopen our eyes after 5 minutes of climbing.
There's more to Woodson than the 'Potato Chip'.
El Cajon Mountain, probably the toughest for us in San Diego.
Jen heading to peak of El Cajon Mountain, facing toward the Fortuna North position.
From Fortuna, Mount Woodson on the left and then Iron Mountain.
Some cloudy views from peak of Iron Mountain.
Sunrise at the Iron.
Iron Mountain's shadow reflects off the clouds.

Jenni and Jeffrey