Itz ABOUT TIME I catch you up on what is happening in the journey of Caren Ware.
December 15, 2015
April 20, 2015
But for today, I am learning to be in the moment. BLOG…I will catch you up on the adventure stories from these past years. But for today, I am with Paul. And we are scaling a trail that takes us up the granite walls and to the top of Yosemite Falls. It’s a mini section of Kilimanjaro type intense hike up out of the valley floor. Though nothing of the intensity of hiking high elevation, this is as wicked steep as any hike could be. That’s 1000 feet per mile and a 3,000 foot climb just to the top of the rim of Yosemite Falls. Do gym stair masters or squats and lunges get you ready for the pounding that much vertical up and down will be? The roads are still closed for the winter season up to Tuolumne Meadows, so we hiked there. These few days were epic, and the hikes were memorial. We have to admit. Man, the quads and the soles of our feet are sore, but can you beat the views!!! Yeah, California has an incredible backyard I had almost forgotten about. Today. I am thankful to spend time in Yosemite with a man that balances a business and a love for the outdoors. He said we could ditch Los Angeles and get to Yosemite Valley in less than 6 hours. I didn’t believe him so he proved me wrong.
Yosemite is in full SPRING and is stunning, as it IS one of the world’s wonders. The Yosemite Valley was benefitting from this past trickle of a storm. It at least gave it a dusting of snow to feed the falls. The dogwood trees were doing their best spring display. I am so thankful to be the ‘fit’ type that would blast up there just to hike and enjoy. You don’t have to be an uber athlete. You just have to enjoy being outdoors! Oh, the replenishing joy of sweating, carrying a day pack, eating cheese and crackers while the Sierra Mountains fan a crisp breeze through your hair. Granite rock. Sky scape almost too unimaginable. It was an epic day and a stunt well worth sneaking out of busy Orange County for. I loved the opportunity.
But I need to share the drought in California is blatantly real. We ventured through Bass Lake to peak at the summer camp I worked at. The docks were laying on dirt. And in Yosemite , the Merced River that is snow run off feed and flows through the valley floor… is a meandering mill pond. California…every one of us NEEDS to start doing our part to CONSERVE. We are in one of those real kinds of times.
As you can page back through this blog. I based my journey to a marathon on every continent from Jackson Hole, Wyoming. There, I knew I could re-train to scale mountains, jump streams, handle sub zero temperatures, and just heal the heart by being in wide open spaces. I started on this path by putting most my life in storage. I was 50. I hooked up a small trailer to my truck and headed northwest. My first stop was Bass Lake, to re visit my college summer job spot at a camp. From there, I went through Yosemite Valley and over Tioga Pass. Remember, I ended up in Lee Vining, Nevada near midnight and the few motels were booked. I drove on and got utterly lost in the middle of Nevada in the middle of the night. My phone gps lost signal and I lost my way. I spent the night in the bleak, black night in my over packed truck to awake on a vast, dry salt bed. My road had been paved, became dirt, and dead ended here. Here, being nowhere. It took most the day to retrace and find the only highway across Nevada. And in that day, I was corralled by a Nevada State Police to turn back and hole up in a dinky town I think was called Jack Ass. (Oh, I think it was Jack Pot?) A prairie fire was burning across Nevada and I would be safest there. I have since read that mid Nevada is one of the remotest places on earth. I definitely, unwittingly found that out.
So back to Yosemite. It meant a lot to me to return there, almost three years later. Did I ever think my original trek toward Wyoming and the continent marathons would take this many years? How was I to know? I failed to put a time limit on such a quest. But I don’t think you get to. Life doesn’t give you the window to look ahead on who you get to meet, what you will get to do. Nor does it tell you how long recovery will take, especially if you take a life course wtih no road map. To become the real quest this was, I had to really let go and as the saying goes, let GOD. I have historically needed to be in control. And my shucking the years of all my business to do what most would never dare, (that is to just take off on a new turn) well… this put me on a life route that you can’t control, and of course, catapult you into the unknown. You are bound for surprises. And bound to find yourself lost some of the time. I was definitely on a trip I would not get to orchestra though I thought I secretly could write the future lines of my life. I thought my actions of trekking would write a preconceived, precious story, not a precarious one. I was in a transitional consequence of my life and, to be honest, didn’t know what to do or where to go. So I chose to explore. This means inside and out. I purposed this motion. What does the law of physics say about something in motion? It is at least going to go somewhere.
That somewhere is my very real story still left to be told. It is my life. It is yours. I propelled my inertia with a theme. I had always felt ‘fitness’ offered fit things and made a life that much more interesting. Thus came the MANTRA “FINDING FIT”. And in finding FIT things to do, the reality became the beauty in finding self, albeit , through sometimes very raw, real, and very hard lessons. That’s the story worth being told.
March 10, 2015
As I whirl through this year ( pulling together the real stories and the realities of travel, the raising of my kids and ‘the boys’, taking in so many exchange students and needs, working on my daughter’s wedding and graduation) I see what is so charactieriscally me… one open weekend and a small sliver window of time. And what do I do? I am on an airplane headed to Spokane, a rental car in reserve, and driving toward the Canadian border. I am taking Paul to meet a town and my friends, in Sandpoint, Idaho. Sandpoint nestles along a corner of Lake Pend Oreille, the fifth deepest lake in our nation with silhouetted mountains as the backdrop. You can hear the Canadian honkers and watch Bald Eagles soar while dodging the deer and moose. Feel hometown American; hard working people that ride their mountain bikes and ski Schweitzer Mountain Resort. A banner announces the Gun and Horn Show. Great restaurants with live music are just part of Sandpoint, Idaho. But it’s the Whitley’s that draw me here. They are dear friends and amazing athletes.One of the daughter’s and the mom coach a gymnastics studio. Another does graphic, fashion design and her beauty and poise is amazing when captured on film. And the son fights fires, skis back country, and did hugs, hellos, and a bar be que than headed off on an all night drive to Seattle to be able to compete in that city’s stair climb. Not to compete, but to win it. I have plenty to say able the depth and uniqueness of this family, but in one sentence. They give back. They coach, mentor, and build confidences in whomever has the privilege to brush with their talents in an obscure, almost hidden place. We shared treasured moments at the tippy top handle of Idaho. A pure delight to witness kids giggling and team cheering at their gymnastics studio . Being homeschooled, the mom built in a lifestyle long before daily workouts became a popular norm. The years of layering makes extraordinary. To see the conditioning and craft of silk acrobatics by Chantel Whitley. Disciplined and driven beyond most, but balanced with the ability to enjoy, celebrate living, and relax. We chat over specialty roasted coffee at the ranch with Bo and Michael. Witness the love for their Lord and livestock. Oh, to find Schweitzer mushy and pitted with mud. Skiing did not take on the form of worthwhile snowfall this season. But you know what? I had a better time just spending time with people. And learning Adventure is not always on other continents. It can be in what we make of our own backyards. I am enjoying exploring the USA. I am enjoying rekindling friendships. It really is about the people.
March 3, 2015
Joshua Tree National Park is only hours away from Los Angeles and worlds away from people. Well, save the campgrounds. It’s a tactical game to get a site. Most play hooky from work and come out on a Thursday. Avid climbers rotate their sites with friends making arrangements to pull in when they pull out. We left on a Friday morning, arrived well after noon, and were told at the entrance we would possibly have to drive out the other end of the park. We could search through the five camp grounds, pitch camp on BLM land past the protected wilderness, or park in the few backcountry areas and hike in a mile. We specifically came for the experience of car camping with the luxuries of a walk in tent, Coleman stoves, a bar be que, firewood, and blow up mattresses. I left my lightweight, headroom only backpack tent, my beloved jet boil stove, and thermorest pad behind.
We came to erect a comfy temporary shelter and a fully functioning outdoor kitchen as a base camp. And from it, wander the desert wilderness. I had never been into the Little San Bernardino Mountains. There was a storm coming. A big one that would bring rare precipitation to the desert. I knew the clouds, mood sunsets, and crisp air would be the perfect formula for surreal photography. I was about to be treated to just that, save we had to secure our real estate for a camp site. Joseph and Mary style we spent the afternoon finding “no room in the inn”. Finally near sunset, and near giving up we found possible the only two spots left in all of Joshua Tree in an area called JUMBO ROCKS. It had over hundred sites and only two left. This area has brittle rock that is hard on the hands and hard to climb. The climbers were all hunkered in at Hidden Valley.
We nestled the jeep next to an enterprise rental van. A creative pod of girls from Los Angeles had decorated the inside of the van and had it lined with the exact blow up mattresses we had just bought. That’s actually some of the draw of Joshua Tree. Camping around the voices, music, fires, and fun of other people. People were out there in all shapes and sizes. House size motorhomes to bubble trailers, and then… the tents. Two more girls arrived in a pick up full of firewood and a borrowed army camo shelter that proved to be a challenge to set up in the wind. The wind is a sure prelude to a storm and the temperatures were well below freezing. But not for these gals. All seven of them piled in the van and it bounced with giggles and muffled conversation and who knows what else. Camaraderie.
Joshua Tree National Park. You can jeep in it.. Whatever happened to having to get out and set the four wheel drive hubs? Paul is a pilot and specifically choose his jeep with bells and whistles. It’s all about pushing the right buttons and raising the clearance while putting it in auto mode to brake down over boulders. So thrilled to be introduced to a new world of wilderness I had never explored before. Thank you, Paul, for taking me out here. Berdoo Canyon would only be accessible by the heartiest of four wheel drive vehicles. And Paul knew his favorite spots because he spent a lot of time searching through this wilderness by air, jeep, and on foot.
I had always come to Joshua Tree to climb. BUT YOU can HIKE IT! This arid place is idea to explore all fall, winter, and spring. Summer temperatures are life threateningly high. They remain above 100 degrees most the summer. The storm we ventured through proved winter can bring temperatures well below freezing and wind chill factors to zero, but the winter can, within a day, rise to the pleasant seventies, eighties, and even nineties. A real draw for what America calls the ‘snowbirds’, a population of Midwest middle age and over, who own motorhomes, and flock this way to avoid sub zero winters back home. 2014-2015 was a good year to get out of the cold.
Get a map out and look at the almost endless Mojave Wilderness. The two of us hiked all day and into the sunset and never saw another person. Trekking ahead of the storm front was breathtaking and snap worthy! Most any BODY can walk.
My blog is to encourage people to explore…anywhere and everywhere. And reap the benefits of casual fitness and the fullness this brings. You don’t have to be an athlete. You don’t even have to be disciplined. You just have to choose to start DOING IT.
Joshua Tree took on a new interest to me and became a new one of my wildernesses.
Joshua Tree National Park covers a land area of 790,636 acres – an area slightly larger than the state of Rhode Island. A large part of the park, some 429,690 acres, is a designated wilderness area. Straddling the San Bernardino County/Riverside County border, the park includes parts of two deserts, each an ecosystem whose characteristics are determined primarily by elevation: the higher Mojave Desert and lower Colorado Desert. From Wikipedia on JT. http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joshua_Tree_National_Park
NOW, HERE’S THE BLOG QUESTION. How in the WORLD did I get from the top of Kilimanjaro, basing all my past two year’s expeditions from Jackson Hole Wyoming to trekking across Joshua Tree? It’s another many stories. Stay tuned for the fill in year. Life transpiring and inspired by the seven continents endeavor.
December 10, 2014
Exum Mountain Guides allows for an amazing experience in the Tetons. Without having to worry about your own equipment and level of ability…or getting yourself in a situation that may be hard to get out of, or over your head (a common occurrence in my life!) I love spending time in the Tetons with EXUM. They do training days and bucket list climbs like summiting THE GRAND and MT MORAN, or a simple, blissful day crawling up crags and hanging over precipices. Exum Mountain guides all gifted guides…certified and trained. They are of the stock that summit all over the world. It’s my hope to raise funds to bridge the world between EXUM guides and the guides I met and have learned to love that are from Tanzania and guide Mt. Kilimanjaro. I am working to bring two to the United States just for the experience of seeing where their clients live and come from. They will get to speak and meet with adventurers. It is the first step to form a foundation that will help them be a business that self supports and employs people in their country. Thank you, Exum Guide Scottie McGee for a restful, inspiring day in the mountains.
November 24, 2014
There are many ranches throughout the Teton Valley. And many more heading out toward Pinedale or past Moran. All within a beautiful hour’s drive. But right in Wilson, only 20 minutes from Jackson is the Snake River Ranch that herds over 4,000 cattle. The ranch hands are true American cowboys and cowgirls, headed up by the Putman Family. They brand, rope, ride, and are one of our nation’s best barrel racers and rodeo steer ropers. And they came up with an experience of a lifetime, Introduction to Rodeo. http://www.introductiontorodeo.com/. It is a chance to drive onto a real working ranch and saddle up. But not on any ole trail horse. On an athletic, trained 1500 pound plus animal. The Putmans and ranch hands make a morning or afternoon of teaching to rope, herd steers, and race barrels. It is a privileges to just be with professionals who live their craft and give tourists a try. Just the setting of grass, flowers, trees, the Snake River running by, and the Tetons as the back drop is refreshing. Jamie, the owner, is a pleasure of solid instruction and useful sharing. And ELMO, the muscle ripped quarter horse I got to ride. Well, love at first sight! I loved this opportunity so much, I signed my college son up, flew other girlfriends up to try, and got Mark Bradley to use that smooth flowing golf swing to rope some steers. I got all A plus reports from them for this rare opportunity to play cowboy for the day. My son and his cousin were entertained by the cute cowgirl that about broke their fingers in a gripped handshake when introducing. Surprising the experience of being on a trained horse, doing something so uniquely American. I think the twang
November 23, 2014
Before, during, and after Africa I made sure I had ‘those” resumes out. I heard so often that I ought to get a “real” job. I was chosen to interview for many recreation management positions, but knew three things: I was older than the hiring age they sought, I was an entrepreneur and feared as having too much experience in the private business sector, and I was used to running my own company and working for myself. The job search reminded be of Dallas airport when it got shut down in an electrical storm. It took through the next day to get the thousands of stranded passengers onto other flights and missed connections. People by the hundreds ran from counter to counter trying to get on lists for the few seats left. I had no idea how many people were queuing for jobs…any job despite the education and back ground experience. And trying to interview and be chosen in the pile of hundreds and hundreds of applications was…well, like Dallas Airport after an electrical storm. So while I took the time to soak in what I was going to do with all my projects, I took this coveted job as a concierge at a priceless piece of property with the billion dollar view, Spring Creek Ranch. I would be designing and booking people’s grandest experiences; a ‘to do’ list while vacationing in the Tetons and Yellowstone. I would do so while pulling together the scripts, journals, pictures, and projects of “FINDING FIT”, starting up an event production company, an adventure travel company, and putting in motion the non profit agency to help the needs I saw in my travels. Now, there is a lot of “to do’s”!!!
My good appetite for adventure was perfect for devoting to finding out what super things one could discover DOING in this Wyoming region. I found many fascinating things. Paragliding for one. Since the Tetons are a slip fault mountain range, there are no foothills. This is what makes them so awe posing and dynamic. They stand erect from the valley floor. They are perfect for thermal updrafts and perfect for paragliding. The guides take the guests by tram to the top of Jackson Hole Ski Resort at near 11,000 feet. They tether tandem for a jump, fluff out the chutes, run a short distance until the wind just lift all three, the guide, the guest, and the paraglide kite.
I ordered a girlfriend from So California to come test out these activities with me. Her great response. In a heartbeat. She arrived a few days later. If she could do these in her high heeled boots and tiny physique, than any of our guests could. Thank you, girlfriend, for being so game. Paragliding ended up being a surreal and pleasant surprise. It is not one hundred mile an hour winds in your face and terrifying free falls of parachute jumping. It is placid swirling and ebbing high in the sky with the sound of the flapping strings and the ruffling ballooning of the kite. Soaring! Peaceful. Until the pilot thinks to thrill you with an upside down 360 degrees. I was impressed with the athleticism and caliber of the guides that loved this sport of kiting. They seemed fit, enthused, very knowledgeable , yet easy going. Patient to wait out the proper weather and winds. http://www.jhparagliding.com/ Paragliding requires pretty much the same training as being a pilot of an airplane. They call them ‘pilots’ and the ‘pilots’ I met in Jackson impressed me as masters of their craft.
August 16, 2014
Most people draw a line down the middle of a paper and write PRO and CONS. Not me. I have to draw that line down life and live the pros and cons out until I feel I have completely exhausted the options. …’like this, don’t like that.” “ Tried this, didn’t try that”. “Experienced this. Than experienced that.” I saw an Oceanography van drive by and its tag line across the side of the vehicle said, “Experience is the Teacher.” It’s kind of like the eye exam. “Is this clearer, or that?” “Now, how about this? Clearer still or the same?”. That is how I have lived the past year and half. So why would coming back from Africa be any different? I needed to decide if locating in Orange County, California was going to be a better foundation for the new business launch and the set up of Peak Experiences and Finding Fit? Or was remaining in Jackson, working the seasonal surges, and using the off time to set these new projects in motion. Both, I was to find had the exact same strength of vision.
After the RABBIT RUN, I remained in So California and sent out resumes, interviewed for a few jobs I almost hoped I would not get, got my nails done, ran the stairs at all the beaches, and started working for Roadrunner Sports as a side gig while starting up a new fitness event company.
I have to catch you up on the projects and the results of the vision test on life.
April 21, 2014
SUNRun PRODUCTIONS and ITzABOUTTIME staged THE RABBIT RUN in Irvine, California. These events will help fund PEAK EXPERIENCES and projects on TORETURN for the porters guides, and their children. It was HOPPING. Racers, runners, joggers, walkers, strollers and loads of helpful family, vendors, and volunteers made this happen!
Putting a smile on everyone’s face while putting a smile on faces in foreign places. Adverse conditions are universal and can make anyone frown. They are in the states. They are abroad. What it takes is acknowledging needs and doing something about it. I choose to do so in a FUN way. Keep blogging and see where I am taking you..and me…and our character.