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.

Monday, March 28, 2022

53.11 Arizona: Tonto National Forest: A tough day with visuals hard to match: (3 Roosevelt SB.)

 While many shots are of Roosevelt Lake, the surrounding mountains and specific scenes, including the saguaros, other plant life and occasional man-made structures blending in with nature, we believe the coloring, the textures and the hour-to-hour changes that occur because of sunlight and clouds, make this a unique region for the camera. More importantly, it's a unique area for our senses, particularly those of sight and serenity. I often begin the day in this region thinking how different can the scenery be from previous days? 'Perhaps I'll take a mere few shots as the photographs will be similar.' Yet, each time I'm overwhelmed by the variations and the constant and consistent beauty. Maybe it's just me...not the beauty, the perception... (continues below). 

Perhaps, a justification of the opening paragraph.
Always fascinated by the abundance of water in an abundant desert. The cacti add to the paradox.
Returning from the peak above.
It may be harsh but it sure is attractive especially should one not have to sleep there.

Some years ago, who knows when, we reached a stage where city life was one of existing in a concrete jungle in the literal sense and country life became living more peacefully and meaningfully but on an exciting adventure. Admittedly, there's a certain paradox about the latter concept but nevertheless, to us, it makes much sense. I remember as a teenager and thereafter, the skyscrapers, traffic, night clubs, the masses of people, always sports (and girls), all combined to create an atmosphere of excitement.

 I never needed or even thought of stimulants or even a beer (such a 'square') to enjoy the action, the hustle and bustle—it was what life was all about. Perhaps Jen and I have aged suddenly, grown prematurely senile, or maybe, just maybe, we embarked upon the most exciting, fulfilling, stimulating, hopefully a major growth cycle, part of our lives. The only point that's wrong in the previous statement was using the word 'maybe'. 

  I make one qualification: Because this lifestyle suits us as no other, does not make it better than anyone else's. As we have maintained for the past 12 years, when a person finds one's passion, whatever it may be, one has discovered one's purpose. We wish that each person achieves or has reached his/her passion for that leads to a meaningful and fulfilled life. 

Another side of the mountain, Mom.

The first descent came only when we commenced our return from the endpoint. The trail went directly upwards the whole way. We like that.


Jenni and Jeffrey

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

53.10 Arizona: 'Duck, Duck, Goose'...the struggle continues on Hike-About.

Roosevelt Lake from another position (Vineyard 2) this region.

There's always time for some humor even when there's been a very sad event in our family. As we mentioned in an earlier narrative, our Mom passed away on March 14th. We compiled this blog during the latter part of February when humor (if you agree) was easier to produce. When my Dad died more than thirty years ago, it was a tragedy as he departed far too early (Heck, I miss that man each day). My Mom, however, wanted to leave as she had lived a full life (31 years without Dad). It makes sense but nevertheless, she has left a void, a deep one (See end).

Frankly, I don't really care whether it snows tonight, you're not sleeping in our room. I don't even want you on the patio. Got it?
Do you really have to do that outside our room? I suppose it's better than inside our suite.
Don't you dare give me lip...beak. As for turning your backs on me...well, turn tail then and beat it. Such arrogance!
Apache Lake from a high vantage point as we head closer.
No! You cannot shower in our suite tonight. We don't care how chilly the lake is. Now, duck! Okay, take a hike! 
  Bringing the gang around is not going to change our minds. And don't look at me that way.

  No more
duck stories. Deal? Okay, but before we go, let’s agree, last one. It amounts to a confession for which I’m most embarrassed. We understand and respect the concept of embarrassing or hurting the feelings of a person is a terrible action. Perhaps, the beauty of confession is that it partly relieves the grief one carries for committing such transgression. Effectively, I am confessing to you although I realize it’s far more important to apologize to the injured party. 

  Nevertheless, I’ve been informing anyone brave enough to read our blogs about the ongoing tension building with the duck community (Jenni’s encompassing term for birds). Actually, it’s only one gander in reality. It’s aggressive, annoying, persistent and just gets on my nerves. On the other hand, within the gaggle of geese, this fellow is always tagged by a goose. She is actually quite lovely. She carries herself with a kind of dignity as she follows him about. In human terms, she strikes me as being a lady. Why she hangs, or maybe, floats with the gander baffles me. 

 The other morning, after been awakened at 4:30am by this aggressive gander as it honked and then pecked at our sliding door including relieving itself, I’d reached the end of my patience. Later that morning, I could only find the gander, sans mate, wandering close to our patio. I intended to take the initiative and turn the tables on it (him). In a huff, I stormed up to him, looked him directly in the eye, close enough to be nose-to-beak, smelled his worm breath and exclaimed, 

“Your goose is cooked”.


Jenni and Jeffrey

Love is a many splendid site/sight.

52.06 Nevada: Old Vegas Trail on the outskirts of the city.

The glorious desert. Any disagreements? Black Butte's at rear, a free climb challenge we have enjoyed...sort of.
Reaching one of numerous small peaks.
Jen's on a cliff edge but it's missed by the camera (more behind her than the side).
A view of the fabulous Frenchman, another favorite hike. (However, not as nice as our friend Yves Bouchet whom we met in New Zealand.)
Ascending the Frenchman (see above).
Some cross the desert on a horse with no name, others aren't so smart.
Over the mountains is a 'town' they call: Las Vegas.
And even some snow on Mount Charleston.

Jenni and Jeffrey

Friday, March 18, 2022

Life on the other side of the Mountain pre- and post- Mom, plus her successes and successors.

We suppose this narrative, including photographs, makes a change from postings of nature but it's something worthwhile as we sit around and contemplate. Truth be told, once a person reaches an age where she has accomplished most of her goals, is both mentally and physically frail and tired and above all, considers she's had enough of this world, then a full life has been lived and moving onwards makes sense. Should this be accomplished before one deteriorates and suffers to an extent one can no longer function meaningfully and without pain, then perhaps that is a full life. An essay of sorts, relating the first days of our return to visit Mom, follows at the end. 

Granny Ruth feeds her great-grandson Benny (2013). 

Ellie, my favorite little girl in the universe. Heck, I could 'eat her up'. (About to turn 13).

Unfortunately, Granny Ruth never met her great-grandson, Casey (2021). (Robert and Shelby)

I was most fortunate to have a second mother. Meet Katy Bokaba.

Aged, sad, jet-lagged, but still standing alongside Katy before heading to the funeral.

Lousy photography, immediate family with Katy. (Gavin, Natalie and Robert) 1995.

Our extended family which includes Jemina, Audrey, Johannes, Katy, Rosalie and of course, Mark.

We ran out of chairs. Katy takes a breather from lecturing me.

How the times are changing. Baike, Katy's great grandson.

Darkened legs and feet indicate her decline circa 2020.
Maid of Honor, Late Wendy, dear sister, and the groom, December 1974.

Mom and Dad, more than double missing you.

Natalie, the Late Aunt Wendy and Huey, D...1992. (The only ones that have not aged are 'Jenni's ducks'.)

Breaking bread with Jemina, Katy's older daughter, a grandmother herself. 

We planned on visiting the new South Africa to spend time with my Mom (the ‘my’ should read ‘our’ for Jenni and Mom had a special relationship). Someone mentioned that Jenni filled the gap left by my late sister, Wendy. It’s a beautiful sentiment and well received. However, it’s not true. Jenni became a daughter to Mom many years before. And if you want to know something special, Jen’s relationship with my Dad was that of a true daughter, even stronger. While still courting, I could see that my father loved Jenni—it was special. 

We were due to arrive in Johannesburg on Thursday, March 17th in the afternoon. We last spoke to Mom on the Sunday morning in which she remembered we were due to visit her in 4 days. It indicated she was quite well. At 2:30 am on the Monday morning, we learned of the awful news and that the visit would be to praise and bury Mom rather than enjoy her company and presence. In addition, we would no longer receive her more than occasional instructions, criticisms and questions why a 69-year-old wasn’t wearing shoes and socks, why he was working in the so-called dark and a host of other lessons he had since forgotten after marriage. I never realized how I would miss the guidance that followed freely as I continued to get basic living wrong. I had been tempted in earlier years to ask her how we should invest our portfolio seeing that she had better knowledge of most things than her son.

 We won’t go into any details of the funeral but rather focus on a fascinating aspect of life in South Africa, certainly from a Lazarow perspective. When we finally gained admittance to the house, (issues with communication from the gate), a human story evolved. Mark, my brother, had arrived earlier. Mom’s caregiver of 14 months, Catherine, proceeded to update us. Following this, my second ‘mother’ arrived unexpectantly together with one of her daughters. Katy Bokaba of Hammanskraal, a person who had been our housekeeper since I was 4, had decided she might never see us again as she is in her 92nd year. She has her full faculties and despite aging and being doubled-over has become even wiser and totally intolerant of fools, lazy individuals and city life. Jemina her elder daughter accompanied her. In a way, Katy is a firebrand and continued to both praise and lecture me throughout the period. I always learn from her as she has something that is lacking in many people nowadays, both wisdom and understanding. She kept harping on when we would be returning to the USA. She intimated she had little time to live and wanted to spend time with Jenni and me and I’m sure, Mark. Time with Jenni I could understand.

 I was also informed through Jenni that Katy would be spending two nights with us. She had decided Jen and me would be sleeping in my parent’s bed, she and Jemina would occupy the second bedroom, Mark would have the couch and Catherine, the outside room. Well, that was that. The day of the funeral, Rosalie (weekly maid service) joined us, and we took two cars to West Park Cemetery. I must add that Rosalie who we saw once per annum for over twenty-years dressed in an outfit that made this woman in her fifties look like a gorgeous, African Mary Poppins. Mark, Jenni and I felt privileged at this show of support and may I say, love and respect for Mom. I found it interesting that many people had wonderful things to say of Mom and yet the attendance at her resting place was sparse. Just mentioning.

It has always been our wish that Mom’s household effects, many items of high quality, should be distributed primarily amongst Katy’s family which included Audrey, the youngest child who was waiting for us at the house after the funeral. Katy’s first child, Patrick, had died some 54 years earlier. I have never forgotten the day when the news filtered through to Katy. As I returned from a vacation job, with great trepidation I entered her small room outside our main house and saw her sitting with some family members and friends. Nothing prepares a person for death and particularly, the sight of a mother whose child has been taken away, forever. The beauty of life has many extremely cruel obstacles positioned along its path. I cannot remember many things these days but cannot forget every moment of my short journey to her room, our embrace, superfluous words and return to my room.

 The distribution and allocation of the household assets proceeded in an orderly manner tinged with occasional chaos. There is so much that it’s an ongoing process. My Mom hoarded much. Just in dinner services, she could have hosted parties for more than a hundred people. The recipients were at all times well-mannered, courteous, helpful, with only the occasional outbursts of exuberance. For us, during a period of suffering a great loss, watching people who had been in the service of my Mother receive rich rewards, although tiny in the grand scheme of things, was a blessing. While they may have felt materially blessed, recognized for their years of great effort, Jenni, Mark and me were the most fortunate.

 Watching the clothing being carried out, while we all packed crockery, cutlery, furniture, appliances and television sets to mention a few items, was to see the free market operate at its most efficient mixed with human love. We had three stipulations: The first was that Katy had first choice, followed by her family and then anyone else. The second proviso was to leave us with sufficient bedding etc. so that we could remain in the townhouse temporarily after which time they would retrieve the rest. The final proviso was that our Sugar-free Cokes were off-limits. No exceptions. 

In a moment of silliness, an idea from the bible came to me. When Joseph’s brothers visited Egypt and pleaded for food, Joseph, the viceroy, instructed his men to hide ‘stolen wheat’ in the youngest child’s saddlebag (Benjamin). I hid a bottle of Coke in the one truck and of course confronted them on their way out. I was being very religious, of course. I suppose I’ve been known to be literal at times.

The family spent two nights with us which turned a period of mourning into one of meaning, of intimate stories of life, struggle, hard times for the black nation and above all, a show of pure hearts, may I say love, respect and humanity, at its best. I had to stop Katy trying to wash the tub after she had taken a bath one evening. She gave us lectures of how little food she normally consumed but she did not show any reluctance in accepting cakes, muffins, and other sweet dishes between meals. During these times while filling her teacup, I continued as did the others, to learn some of the lessons of life. While Katy spends much time working in her garden in Hamanskraal growing vegetables and flowers, I was ordered at the crack of dawn into Mom’s lovely, but small garden, to remove plants she would take back home and transplant. Some of the situations that arose as we interacted with each other were quite unique. Later, when her son-in-law arrived with her great-grandchild of 4, things got even more exciting once the kid realized these ‘white dudes’ were kinda okay.

 I should mention on the second day, Katy had lost patience with ordinary food. She felt her energy sapping. She needed red meat and the great African staple of mealie pap. Katy gave instructions for Catherine to get to the shops and make sure that dinner would comprise real food. Catherine, in typical African tradition, obeyed her elder. On her return, she got carried away talking and Jenni smelled the pap burning. Oy Vey! There could be a riot when the queen learned of this foolish behavior. Fortunately, enough pap was saved which allowed Katy to get to bed sated. A miracle had occurred. 

  Jen loved the fact of having some of the family joining us for the Sabbath meal, this time she preparing, cooking and serving them. How apt. Katy also educated us on Jewish traditions and customs, some even new to us...and rabbis.

 With some of our guests departing, others arriving to collect additional items, the traffic was rather unusual in a rather peaceful and quiet development. This continued the next day, too. The only items difficult to distribute were the books on Mom’s shelves we had published—the potential recipients had gone coy. Go Figure! Thereafter, Catherine took an Uber, Mark left for the airport to return to Dallas and Jen and I remained to absorb the peace and quiet of a home that had experienced pain and some suffering, the coming together of friends who had unique bonds dating back 65 years, memories to treasure and I would think a group of people that looked at each other’s hearts and souls rather than superficial differences.

 I wondered what Katy and her family thought. They had lived (suffered) through the Apartheid era (error). Katy had assisted the family and become a second mother to me, met Jenni and they took to each other. Our immediate family seemed to get ahead in life, emigrated, visited regularly, remained in contact, met every now and again, tried to assist with her financial needs and now shared a few days together following Mom’s departure. Did her family wonder whether we had changed, considered ourselves superior, snooty or special? Or did they look at us and see that we had developed in a direction different from earlier years but were still the same people they knew and we think, liked. That was an important and obviously, unasked question. In fact, it was more than important to us—it’s vital.

 Things were said, emotions were expressed, Audrey returned the next day to continue collecting items and so did Rosalie and her husband Frank. Within 5 minutes, I knew that Frank was a person I’d like as a friend. The question remains unanswered, but we felt a kinship with these former employees of Mom and Dad that remain stronger than ever. While they were enormously appreciative of the treasures they received, we believe we were the truly blessed and fortunate recipients of something far more than their material gifts. It almost seems unfair that we received more than they did.

 ‘We believe you would have been satisfied, Mom, perhaps not seeing others in your clothes, but overall, content that you added something else positive to the world. After all, your good deeds are sufficient to change the world.’


Jenni and Jeffrey

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Goodbye, Mom. Why did you leave us?

Paying tribute to one’s mother in public is a little embarrassing. Nevertheless, the one forum for which I have access is Jenni’s blog.

December 7th, 2021. Age 93. Bless you! Lilian Ruth Lazarow, a mere 3 months before.

Lilian Ruth nee Ludman was to the world an ordinary woman. I have no argument with that. I, her son, am an ordinary man, too. However, to me, she was a very special woman. Frankly, that’s the only thing important to me and the only aspect that counted. She had qualities that remained hidden to most people and only a few that she should have hidden. I will not recount our relationship. However, I should add she was caring without being emotional, guiding without demanding, loving but not demonstrative. I’ll quit at this juncture but not before mentioning a brief incident that occurred the day after she left us.

 I communicated with a dear friend of ours in South Africa about the sad news. Colyn Levin then sent me an email of sympathy followed by another an hour later. A little history: Mom was a golfer for many years. She rose to become the club captain. When she retired, in recognition of her many contributions to the club, she was awarded honorary life membership of the club. 

Back to Colyn who passed this message onto Jen and me. The Club’s flag will be flying at half-mast in honor of Ruth.

 My first thought when I read the tribute was to think: If I had one wish it would not be for me to see her again but rather, that she could have a few more seconds on Earth to catch a glimpse of that flag.

 My Dad and I were golfers at the club. Had they flown a flag at half-mast for me, it would be apt for some of the terrible games I had played on those links. 

Rest in Peace, Mom, you deserve it. 

Humbly, yours.

Speaks for itself.

53.06 Arizona: Tonto National Forest: Cottonwood Trail from Frazier Trailhead.

Never tire of these guys. This is Arizona, Saguaro country (state).
Returning: An overpowering sight, not Jenni this time.
Climbing out of the wash but still feeling dirty and sweaty.
The ever present and amazing Roosevelt Lake.
Rugged and yet gorgeous. 
  A bridge too far. 
 The gang congregates for another day of peace and harmony on the slopes.
'Reach for the sky, cowboy,' seems appropriate for Arizona.
Each view of Roosevelt Lake from height amounts to a privilege.
Even the stalks are fascinating.
The sights are overpowering.
We'd been searching for bears all week. Finally, we find one and we face-off. We refuse to be intimidated showing incredible courage and fortitude (although we say ourselves). Who will blink first? The black bear seems to tremble. I wink at Jen. Looks like we're going to win this round. We decide to approach the animal in order to see it more clearly and perhaps gloat a bit. No bull...actually, a mere cow. Win some, lose some but high marks for trying...very trying.


Jenni and Jeffrey