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.

Sunday, January 29, 2023

57.02 Tenerife: Parque Rural de Anaga: Punte de Hidalgo to Chinamada but it's really Greek (Spanish?) to us. (Humbled by a great honor bestowed upon the family.)

A truly spectacular hike follows. It had narrow edges, steep climbs, incredible views, fascinating sights, testing moments, weather that appeared rough and worsening but remained reasonable for most of the day and finally, a desire to repeat the adventure...when rested. The great honor bestowed upon the family in Spain, expanded and explained, follows at the conclusion. 

It's not that far...a quick couple of thousand feet down...what's your problem?
Odd few edges...actually, for most of the way we were on edge...actually, edges.
Heading up, we turn around and ascertain where we began.
On and surrounded by high mountains.
Through the gap, too.
A little ocean below, too, for the warm days, while in the early stages of the ascent.
For those who prefer fresh water, then there's an alternative in the distance and far below.
We like a desert environment, so that's provided, too. The Spanish can be very accommodating.
Jen returning, the path below. Shows how steep it really is.
At the top, for the weary, accommodation provided, too.
Or, perhaps remain at the trailhead and think of walking into town for a colorful lunch.
I think if one went over the edge, one could land 'up a tree'. One of us studies the supposition.
Meantime, where is Moses when you want to cross a river...okay, a stream? The funny thing is that a person tries hard to avoid getting the boots and socks wet. However, should it happen, then these crossings become a lot simpler; just walk through the stream and forget about wetness. The idea is one can only be wet once. It's more far important not to be wet behind the ears.
Arches, too.
Found this a very attractive sight from the top.
The colors were that rich and bright—it seemed artificial. It's fascinating to see where people live. Frankly, it would make sense to us, too. Will we miss Starbucks, you might ask?
Only a little way up but nearly mesmerised by the sight.
The widest section from where, soon after, the incline feels vertical.
When we arrived at the trailhead, we thought the peak shown below might be our destination. Ever the optimists. Turns out that wasn't even half-way up and miles short.
The underfoot had many different types of materials.
Destination somewhere at rear/top.

  We suspected something was up during various visits to the internet before leaving US shores. A rumor was circulating in certain circles, the social media block(heads), that after 70 years, our family would be recognized, finally. I was to be the official representative for the clan. In addition, as we would be in Spain at the time, more specifically, the Canary Islands, it made sense that I act as the ‘family man’ or (person, for gender fussy types) to be present for this grand event. That we were to receive an award of this magnitude stunned us—still does. Could it really be true? Deep inside of me, I realized I had earned it and the honor would be fitting. Of course, I have tried to maintain my usual level of humility, even though under the circumstances, it’s awfully difficult—testing might be a superior expression. 

  Jenni has a habit of coming across a little too smart at times. She added, acerbically I thought, that I should not get ahead of myself which of course, I assured her, I don’t and won’t. ‘After all,’ she added, ‘with your attributes, you have much to be humble about.’ I gather there was a little Winston Churchill in her comment but what do I know. I believe she might be a little envious although I don’t know why because she did adopt the family name. I get ahead of myself…oops! 

  Since arriving in Tenerife, we had yet to be contacted. I found this a little surprising, even odd. However, knowing the local culture intimately, contacting me should be imminent, just a matter of time—what do they say: ‘maƱana’. Therefore, I have been patient as we continue to drive around the island in our vehicle and hike extensively in this beautiful place. Thus far, by the way, all hikes have been unique, something quite different from anywhere else we’ve visited. 

  Today, it happened. We were returning from a hike, an experience may be more fitting, when lo and behold, a sign on the freeway confronted us. It was a wondrous sight, still is. We don’t remember seeing that sign previously, so we believe it was erected overnight. The honor bestowed upon the family, well, really me. Sainthood! Furthermore, a precedent no less—a living saint. Rather than go into detail, they say 'a picture is worth (paints) a thousand words' or thereabout. Scroll down to get an understanding of the great honor. I could exaggerate or fabricate but the photograph supports the facts. 


Be aware
that while the ‘w’ is missing, clearly, there was insufficient space to include it on the signboard. Anyway, the 'w' is silent, perhaps just like me. I can live with it. After all, I don’t even desire the honor. My reputation and deeds in and of themselves, say it all (an extensive list follows). Nevertheless, it’s nice to be recognized and for that I’m most grateful to the Spanish nation. 

Muchas Gracias! 

Should there be a presentation ceremony in our honor or perhaps a major holiday declared in Spain, please join us should you be passing this way. Remember friends, no pressure...but it would be nice. 

Extensive list of accomplishments: 


Jenni and Jeffrey

An insight into the diversity of the island: From two hikes to be published soon. 

From Las Carboneras.
And Teide Park.  
  Mount Teide, Spain's highest, a volcano.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

57.01 Tenerife: Mesa del Mar loop, a stunning place. Touched by human kindness; kindness knows no borders.

 Our last overseas trip, in July through early September, took us to Spain, France and Andorra. The latter country has a strong Spanish flavor so let's call it Spain for the moment. This trip, we find ourselves back in Spain, but nowhere near Madrid or Barcelona, certainly not reachable by road. Am I stupid (don't answer it) or is this in fact a riddle?

  We shall have spent much time in Spain over the last 6 months but not much more time in Europe and an even a lesser amount within the borders of the Spanish mainland. Surely that makes no sense. (See Teide Volcano photograph toward the end for a possible explanation.) 

  Of course, it begs the question: Where is Wenni...I mean Waldo? Forgive me, I just could not resist, no matter how silly it sounds...I enjoyed it.) Fortunately, I have gotten through my mid-life crisis...I may now be entering the next phase. 

  Above and...
below and...
in between.
First impression was of Roman gardens.
Many cacti on what has been for us thus far: Rain each day. How does a cactus cope?
Resonates with one of us.
Therefore, let's get down there and try it out.
From sea-level, the top in view is a third of the elevation of our return trip.
This is living or perhaps, viewing, maybe the ultimate 'room with a view'.
We try a different route home. Nothing wrong with this Bay Area.
Looking into backyards on the way up.
We suppose looking into front-yards provides more color. All we are certain of is that our legs tell us it's steep.
We hiked down from the west and returned up via the east. (Showing off our directional skills). The building, our marker, provides perspective. We believe there is no officially declared drought as we write although it has only rained 3 times today.
Teide Volcano, the highest mountain in Spain comes into view. Although we are in Spain, we are not in Europe and therefore, not on the mainland. Go figure! It's a similar situation to that of France and La Reunion. The Canary Islands are in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of North-west Africa. La Reunion is French territory in the Indian Ocean off the coast of South-east Africa. Both are beautiful. (Some may add: The US has similar situations).
We call this the lower East side...doesn't look as fancy and spacious as in the west. Probably wouldn't mention it aloud, though, or write the comment in Espanol.
Island communities seem to favor multi-colors. We like it. Viewed from above, the west side.

 ‘People are basically good’ are the gentle sounding words that provide comfort to our souls. After all, the tragedies of the world since the beginning could surely not be perpetrated by fellow humans. People are basically decent. Certainly, it sets the mood in a better dimension than should we utter, ‘It’s people that give humanity a bad name’. Now isn’t that a negative way of looking at humans, the world and life in general? It certainly is. But it’s far worse to kid oneself and think something is a certain way because I say it’s so, because it suits my agenda. Why be negative? 

  Truth. It’s a phenomenal concept but of course, it’s harsh, uncomfortable and revealing. 

  Does this mean everyone is bad or expressed less harshly but clumsily, not bad? Not at all. Behavior is a choice and so it should be. Nothing worth doing or accomplishing is easy. That’s what makes it worthwhile and invariably correct. Therefore, to lump everyone together in stating we are all good, is an insult to those who make efforts, small and large, to be decent. Otherwise, what would be the point of doing good. (Of course, many will be decent because that’s who they are and stand for). 

  Sometimes, to appreciate true goodness and kindness of people, one should not only see the deed but gain perspective of the deed in context. Within that context, it becomes clear that good deeds are even greater than they appear. 

  We have written in the past of witnessing and benefiting from the kindness of strangers. We have also mentioned the argument between G-d and Abraham when the latter argues with G-d that He should not destroy the world should there be a hundred good people in it. The argument continues until Abraham whittles the number down to ten. (Smart guy). We look to this precedent often and have thought that the good deeds of just one person make the world a worthwhile place. 

  This brings us to another incident that prompted the writing of this essay. We arrived in Spain, on the island of Tenerife, after long but pleasant flights. We prepared ourselves for the drive to our apartment, near on an hour from the airport, a bigger island than expected. In case we might experience GPS issues, we took along some handwritten directions, too. This was a first in years. We do not trust our Espanol, for excellent reasons. Long story short: The GPS failed to function. In addition, unfortunately, the traffic was busier than expected, it began to rain, we were extremely tired and were driving at night. We got close to the destination but not close enough. What to do? 

  We have times when we face tough situations and it can become extremely frustrating, sometimes one feels hopeless and helpless. And that’s before we even think of a tough climb. State of mind is a vital concept. What to do (again)? We recall arriving in Budapest and facing a locked door, the same thing in Romania, lost in Greece, on mainland Spain, too, an incorrect address in Tel Aviv, and so many other places. What saved us? A little thinking and much kindness of strangers. Yes, we understand the wickedness of so many inhabitants of our planet now and over the ages. Nevertheless, we stand in awe at the generosity of those who will come to the aid of a stranger and provide him/her with necessary help. It is indeed a beautiful world because of humans who choose to undertake good. 

  Meantime, we have to get to the apartment so will you please focus. Jenni suggested we talk to a taxi driver. We found a rank, parked illegally as there was nowhere else to stop and I then approached the line of cars. The first one was empty. The second one ‘did not have the English’. I then spotted three fellows talking besides one of the vehicles. It was a fair assumption to presume they were the drivers. I explained our situation to one of the men. He struck me as the person to approach. As an aside, one can deduce that the English language can be awkward if used literally. He did not strike me, of course. Communication was difficult but I showed him our written destination address which turned out to be incomplete. Our landlady had left off a number. After discussion with his colleagues and a well-placed call, he got into his car and beckoned me to follow. 

  Fortunately, we were close but unless a person is right there, it helps not. You cannot sleep in a bed when you’re close but still a mile distant. When we approached the building finally, we recognized it from the picture on the website. Relief. The driver, Antonio, rushed from his vehicle toward the apartment entrance, making sure we’d find the correct door. We obviously looked and behaved less than competent. The key was in a lockbox so he waited until I removed it and ensured the key did its magic with the lock. We were in. 

  Obviously, we were going to pay Antonio and hopefully, generously. It felt that any amount we paid would be less than adequate. Try sleeping in the car…it’s sobering. We once spent a night at 10,000 feet on Mauna Loa, Hawaii, but that was deliberate. (It was worth it for the sunset/sunrise). Antonio refused payment. Let me repeat that: Antonio had switched from a professional rendering a service in a typical business manner to what is referred to in Jewish circles as a mensch or Tzaddik. I don’t think I need to translate the words. 

  Fortunately, we came to an understanding that Jenni and I could live with. For, had we not made payment it would have meant that Antonio provided a generous service and that he had also made a donation to us. Unacceptable. He had the decency to accept our payment, my hug and words of humility and leave us with at least a tiny bit of pleasure. We have often found such payment provides far more joy to the giver than the receiver. In fact, we had double joy and almost feel badly for it. Not only did Antonio save us from a disastrous night, but he allowed us great joy of paying for the service. Whatever we paid, it was insufficient. 

  Once again, the world has many beautiful people in it. You’re one of them, Antonio and we add you to David, a man who helped us when we were lost on a mountain in Durango, Colorado. 

  Thank you, kind souls. 

And then we face the real the heart of the mountains, as Jen nears the end of a tough and exhilarating adventure. More next time.

Jenni and Jeffrey

Friday, January 20, 2023

San Diego: The "Lake District", the reservoirs and their relationship to the mountains, particularly, Mount Woodson.

 Hiking toward mountain tops allows a person to enjoy the topography first-hand. Water always makes a wonderful impression, more so in an arid region. Although in the past few months, the rains have turned the land greener than witnessed in many years, we'll have to wait to determine whether this is a semi-permanent change. Some years ago, we met a man who informed us that up until 30 years ago, San Diego was quite a lush area. It seems since then, there's been a lot less drinking locally. 

 To residents, this may be informative from a perspective point of view, while at worst, to outsiders it might be aesthetically pleasing...not necessarily the few shots of Jeffrey but definitely of Jenni. 

  The photographs cover a small part of the county but should provide an indication of its depth, variation so to speak, (and height) of this region.

Poway Lake sits below Mount Woodson. This is viewed on the way down, close to the surface.
Ramona Lake, viewed from the peak of Mount Woodson. The color prominent is the picture is green. We mention this as San Diegans don't often see much of green on the mountains. After we hiked to the position above Ramona last week (picture), we tried to convince ourselves that from that position to Woodson peak would not be that long and steep. What kidders!
Woodson viewed from Ramona Lake, the latter already at about 1,000 feet of elevation gain.
A short distance above Ramona Lake.
From Ramona Lake, a view of Poway Lake, the latter some 2,400 feet below Woodson.
Jen closes in on the peak of Woodson with some refraction, a few years ago.
Lake Hodges from Mount Woodson peak.
Lake Hodges viewed from Bernardo Mountain.
Lake Hodges, a few years ago...a more colorful time. (I-15 Freeway behind)
Lake Murray from Cowles Peak.
El Capitan Mountain, arguably, San Diego's toughest hike: El Capitan reservoir.
Olivenhain Lake, Elfin Forest Preserve, across the way from Bernardo Mountain.
Close to Woodson is Iron Mountain, usually has wonderful cloud formations and sun displays. Here we stand above the clouds.
and sunrises.
Another reservoir viewed from Iron Mountain at sunrise.
On San Miguel, Jenni seeks her ball after a vicious hook. (Not from me). 
  East Lake Reservoir, San Miguel, with downtown San Diego in the distance.
The area between and surrounding Mount Woodson and Iron Mountain is unique...there's always something refreshing to absorb.

From Denk Tank in an evening, one of San Diego's bigger reservoirs. We think they call it the 'Pacific something'.
Mount Woodson Peak from Bernardo Mountain top.
On Double Peak, San Marcos.
Lake San Marcos Reservoir.
Mount Woodson Peak above the clouds, Ramona Lake bathing below.

From Fortuna Peak (north), Mission Trails Regional Park, we look toward El Cajon (El Capitan) Peak.
As in the above, but visual adjustment toward the west (left) to view Mount Woodson. The distances are many miles.
Cuyamaca Peak...a view of the county...well, part of it.
Lake Cuyamaca with Jenni boulder hopping.
Garnett Peak, Cleveland National Forest...Salton Sea in the distance.
This is San Diego's major 'body of water' and one its biggest drips.

Jenni and Jeffrey