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.

Friday, June 23, 2023

59.02 San Diego: A number of hikes in the Mission Hills Regional Park, including the surrounding colorful suburbs. How the region fits together, an "inexpert" interpretation.

We will publish part 2 of the Colorado River experience next week—it is a blog we would recommend highly. In the meantime, at least 7 hikes within the San Diego County are mixed together to provide a different perspective of local conditions. We are embarrassed to admit that in all the years we've lived within the county, some of these places experienced recently are virgin territory. Nevertheless, the Mission Hills area is a most enjoyable hiking location. Based upon where we are currently living temporarily, it is positioned ideally. 

At the end, we close with a feature, 'The Times are a changing.' 

If you've seen one bougainvillea, you've definitely not seen them all.
On our return from Climber's Hill, we try to understand the moss below the water surface of the San Diego River.
Approaching Lake Murray after departing from Allied the coal face for want of a better expression.
A week later, better weather.
Lake Murray viewed from Cowles Mountain peak. The peak can be reached from at least 3 different trails, probably more.
Cowles Mountain viewed from above Admiral Baker military base.
Cowles Mountain and other ranges in the distance as Jen passed through Del Cerro with eyes on the beautiful flora. Flora stepped into her house a second ago but take it from us, she's very colorful.
On the short but steep peak of Kwaay Paay, Jen sits and faces the Fortuna Mountains. The path is visible in the distance.
Jen takes to the 'color' or is it 'trooping of the color'.
Kwaay Paay Peak in view.
"For Whom the Bells Hang".
After returning from Kwaay Paay Peak, we face toward the Fortuna mountains in the far distance.
...and come across this gem. Lakes are not a common sight in the county. Guess where we ate brunch? The tranquility emanating from the scene was a treat.
Jen negotiating steep Fortuna trail, the approach from Clairemont, the CA52-Freeway below.
From Cowles Peak, a decent view of downtown San Diego although not on a clear day.
Returning from Lake Murray on another occasion, a view of the skyline on a clearer day.
Beyond Cowles Mountain, we peer into the neighborhoods. 
  Heading toward Fortuna North from the Clairemont side, we look behind us...well worth it.
We cut through the bush and 'What was it we said about bougainvilleas?'

Jenni and Jeffrey

The Times are a Changing!

 The title is misleading. Rather, perhaps the times have changed. These days, each morning after waking, I go through a routine. Firstly, I try to remember where we are. Then I check the time for the hour, sometimes even the year, occasionally the century. Thereafter, I wonder which natural, biblical and constitutional laws were scrapped or amended overnight. Frankly, I have much difficulty in adapting mainly because they’re making me rebellious. Nevertheless, I have a fervent desire to avoid jail and although I don’t wish to be ‘cancelled’ (whatever that means), I also would not like to be postponed.

 In practical terms, I visited the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) today. My driver’s licence is due to expire and hence the need to renew it. Because I have reached the biblical age of 3-score-and-ten, a new set of rules applies for the elders or very senior citizens. No renewals are permitted online, unfortunately. Should I be more of a cynic, by the way I am working on that diligently, I thank the modern age for helping me in this direction. I should be a fully qualified cynic within a few months, if not sooner. I will say this though, well write it, I mean type it, or should that be key it, whatever: I believe we seniors are experiencing age discrimination. Briefly, once a person reaches the age of seventy, that expiring-driver has to present him/herself in person at the DMV office. Internet privileges are suspended indefinitely. Is this fair or even correct? In fact, the older one gets, the more difficult the task becomes just to reach the office, yet the youngsters are excused. We oldsters, while needing respite, are not receiving it. Is that not discrimination? Heck, I’m only playing by their rules. Americans have taught me well.

 How about this? I’ve decided that in future, biology be damned, I intend to identify as a much younger man. Correction. I should have written (typed) younger person. If we can change our gender identification on a whim, by filling in a form or announcing it, why not age? In fact, I propose attaching to future legislation and new societal and state laws a bill which I’ve termed “The Fountain of Youth Amendment”. Clearly, should you choose to adopt an age below seventy, a former elderly person can skip the visit to the DMV office. By the way, too much time in that office can add years to one’s life…and not enjoyable ones either.

 I was standing in a queue (line) and asked a question of one of the clerks. The man behind me heard and asked is the process in New Zealand as bad as at our DMV? He recognized my foreign accent and guessed it to be from that country. Should a reader not be aware that I have a South African accent, he might have thought I was dressed all in black. Please don’t get your knickers in a twist. This is not of a racial bent, but rather, the world-class rugby team is affectionately known as the ‘All Blacks’. For the record, I wore an all-blue outfit, knowing it would be that type of day at the DMV.

 Things began to move ahead quite nicely considering I had pre-booked a 10:30am appointment two months earlier and my first contact at check-in was a few minutes before 11am. Had I not scheduled an appointment, you probably would be reading this (thank you, by the way) a few days later. After a further half-hour wait, I proceeded after being called to desk 21. A very helpful gentleman checked all the details, took some money, had me re-check that the information was correct after seeking residential details. After all, ‘you cannot live in a post office box’, he had remarked. I hate to think what would have occurred had I tried to explain where Jen has us living. 

 Having completed the paperwork and after taking a 3-part eye test, I was sent off for another test, something unexpected. You must remember, after seventy, one begins to…what was I about to mention? I had to undertake a written test, too. I suppose that’s quite a good idea because how much experience does one have after 52 years behind the wheel.

  I did not realize I would be expected to know some theory about driving and I suppose, the rules of the road, too. Frankly, should the test be introduced into Nepal, I don’t believe there would be an eligible driver remaining in the whole country. This does not reflect on their humility and decency but rather, their driving competence. Back to the test. I did not recall needing to pass a test. I did a quick recap. Drive on the right side of the road, don’t speed and adhere to the signage. Got it. Then things turned ugly.

 I began the test on the computer screen. The first two questions had me beat. Three errors and I would fail the test. We are traveling overseas soon and I need the licence. Yikes! At least locally, Jen could do the driving. Double Yikes! I withdraw that comment. However, I was also a little upset and much surprised by the questions. 

 The first provided 3 options for driving within the legal limit of alcohol in the bloodstream. Another asked where one should keep an open bottle of alcohol in the car while in motion. I had the option of: In the passenger’s cubby, the trunk or the passenger’s hands. At first, it seemed a trick question. After all, who would place an open bottle in the trunk or cubby—it would spill. I mean I try to drive smoothly but… As I could only choose one answer without providing an explanation, what could I do? The legal question got me. Another: What jail sentence would a driver receive should he not stop after ‘knocking over a pedestrian’ and then having to be chased by a police officer? Frankly, I was puzzled by the relevance of some of the questions.

 Okay. Those are the excuses. I failed. Then I learned that one was entitled to three separate tests after two-minute breaks between them. Thereafter, one probably needs to apply for a bicycle licence. Worse than that. How would I explain my ignorance to our grandchildren. I approached the next test with much trepidation and was most relieved to succeed. When I returned to the third clerk of the day to receive some more paperwork, I mentioned that as I’m a boring teetotaler, I did not attach much importance to alcohol focused questions. However, I did offer a reply to her rejoinder that following a visit to the DMV, I am encouraged to begin drinking. I'll try a Bud-light.

 Thanks for your indulgence.

Jen's head/cap pops above the color.

Sunday, June 11, 2023

59.01Touched by the Colorado River, including the lakes and dams it fills along its epic journey. (Part 1 of 2)

The Colorado River feeds Lake Powell.
For a long while, I have wished to pay tribute to one of our favorite parts of the United States. In fact, Jenni reminded me that I had produced a blog along those lines two years ago. I wish she hadn't. Life is much better when one can amble about not being reminded of an absent mind. Anyway, before I forget, the concept covers the regions through which the Colorado River flows. Whatever and wherever the river touches, it beautifies the land whether it's deserts (plenty of those) or forests. It provides a visual beauty, opportunity for water activities, as well as surrounding cliffs to climb which it created through the strength of its flow. In addition, one should never take for granted that it sustains human lives as well as those of animals and birds (fish too) just as do most rivers. Unfortunately, some counties and cities, not to mention a name such as Los Angeles, take ('steal') a disproportionate amount of its water. 
  The Colorado River begins its journey of approximately 1,450 miles at Lake Granby in Colorado, is joined/supplemented along the way by many tributaries, enters Utah, Arizona, Nevada, California and then 'emigrates' to Mexico (makes a change). There is also a connection with Wyoming and New Mexico although I can't see it—perhaps it's the inclusion of the tributaries sourced from those states. The dam/lakes we've visited and enjoyed intimately along the way include Powell, Glen Canyon, Mead, Hoover, Mojave, Davis, Parker, Havasu and we even spotted some water in Yuma, a very dry hotspot. There are many other reservoirs, some we have passed, but not yet visited. The days are still young...well, it's a nice thought anyway. 

  In the unlikely event that someone was to pose this question: 'What in or about the United States has made a memorable impression upon you?' I would think the scenes and experiences along the river would be my reply. So much for Biltong, Braaivleis and Chevrolet. 'Oops, wrong country.' 

Page, Arizona:  Cathedral Wash near Lees Ferry, in Arizona but close to the border with Utah.
One of many hurdles to overcome to reach the river.

Worth every hurdle as Jen sits on a rock of the bay.

A glimpse of Lake Mead.

Perhaps, a favorite spot of the river, Spenser Trail from Lees Ferry. Should do this hike once a week.

In Page, the river takes one of its frequent 'horseshoe bends' at this very popular spot. There are many other occasions in which it does this and fortunately, to-date, we've not come across any hikers at these remote, latter places.

Jenni closing in on the river.
A view of Hoover Dam from a mountain across the way.

Following a kayak trip on Lake Powell, Jen hikes in Antelope Canyon. This part of the canyon can only be accessed via water.

An example of the route followed in the kayak during the initial stage.

Navigating toward Antelope Canyon.

Lake Mead in the distance from a free climb of Lava Butte in Nevada.

Nightfall at Lake Mead.
Jen climbs upstream at hot springs off the river. She shouts out that 'she hates her outfit.' "Why don't you change," I replied facetiously. She thought about it.
Then did it including backpack.

"Do you come here often? I'm thinking, you and me should hang out together." Unfortunately, on the way over here, I got 'sandbagged.'
Grand Canyon with the Colorado River below as we try our luck climbing at Plateau Point, the end of the Bright Angel Trail.
Part to get down safely. As a Texan might utter, "How dem mountains!"

Bullhead City, Nevada, border with Arizona: Davis Dam.

Back to the top of Spenser Trail above Lees Ferry.

The river flows into and from Lake Havusu while Jen reaches Lizard Peak.

Jen trudges up a stunning trail in an incredible place.

Our favorite 'horseshoe bend' although we have quite a few of these outstanding sights/sites.

The river even visits Yuma, one of the hottest and driest places in the country. (Picture included for logistics rather than artistic value.)

Lake Powell, a truly wonderful position as sunset closes in on the lake while Jen walks the ridge.

Parker Dam on the border of California and Arizona.

Fooling around on the boulders at Glen Canyon Dam, Page.

A remote trail we found, Mesa Back, Utah, as the river continually attempts to avoid us and mostly, succeeds. It goes through places, as it is said, "Where no man has been."

Jen goes hopping on Fortification Mountain with stunning views of Lake Mead. Jumping about in Arizona with the view across the lake into Nevada.

From the peak of Hamblin, Nevada, we view the extended Lake Mead.

Hot Springs, alongside the river.
Dusk at Lake Powell.

Another approach to Lake Powell, free climb up-and-down.  
The river visits Utah and reflects on what it sees.

Love this horseshoe bend, too...on outskirts of Page, Arizona.
Off to the races below.

 Jenni and Jeffrey be continued...