Caren Ware's Blog

August 25, 2012


Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 9:42 pm

Yahoo.  This place is becoming a KNOWN.  I have worked to allow it to be.  A little corner of the world to call ‘cabin home.”

There is so much outdoors here…a landscape too large for any lifetime.  It is a rush to juggle the choices before the winter freeze sets in and those choices have to be stored away for the long winter months. Good-bye bikes.  But the buzz is, that winter brings a whole host of other activities that get to come out in the form of Nordic, skate, or Alpine skis.  And there’s snow mobiles and fat tire winter bikes.  Hello, skis!

I got my bike adjusted.  Took my son and his girlfriend white water rafting.  Spent quality time with my daughter.  Had a lunch on the lift for captured time to jabber about our summers of growth.  It was good.  This was a good place to do that in.  Just because I am blogging… “bragging”… about this area, do not think that I am not working.  I have commuted back and forth to California more times than I care to afford.  I am developing future potentials.  And I am establishing a timing company and setting up a chip timing system for this area.  I will tell you soon about “ITz ABOUT TIME.” I have to be honest, it is exciting and daunting at the same time.  I am adventurous and scared in the same moment.  I guess that is what they call pioneering.

August 21, 2012

I’m not the only one in the dark…nor the only one missing the boat!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 9:20 pm

I enjoyed my race pace hike to Paintbrush Divide and Lake Solitude.  It is a busy trail. You can chat to pods of people all day long, coming and going, but as the day disappears and the distance from the boat dock increases, the people thin out.  I spent a half hour cooking lunch in my jetboil at Lake Solitude.  I took by boots and socks off and went in the lake past my waist.  It is snow run off, so cold, but invigorating; and the  reward is the dirt gets washed off. I put my outer shells on quickly.  The day was getting late and the wind was kicking up.

I hoofed it back down to the cutoff. It’s the best direction.  The GRAND just looms right before you. I now have the trail completely to myself.  The permitted packers have made their camps.  I have just enough time to make it back to the last boat.  At the cutoff there are two guys readjusting their packs and still heading up the canyon.  They were surprised to see me, inquiring as to how I did that mileage in one day.” And hey, by the way, our friend is heading down the canyon you are going.  He’s going back to the car.  His knee is hurting and he doesn’t want to finish this hike. ” “Where is your car?”  They tell me String Lake.  This canyon leads to Jenny Lake.  His car is miles about 10 miles away.  “You know, he will never make it there before dark.”  The buddies almost hoped to not hear me.  They shouldered their packs, and too enthused to be stopped by someone’s bum knee, took off hiking.  I overtook the limping guy with his metal frame pack miles above the boat dock.  I gently let him know his plan at the limp pace he was able to go would leave him hiking most the night, well in the dark.  So what to do with him?  I couldn’t just hike on like his buddies did.   I had to give up my idea of a day hiking alone and give him plan ‘B’.    His knee was making progress steady, but slow. We were not fast enough  to catch the boat.  We actually were able to take a picture of the last parting  boat from Inspiration Point.  It was kind of a funny, forboding feeling.  Good-bye boat.  And then we walked on,  for miles in the hues of sunset.  Right before we hit the parking lot.  It got dark.  Real dark.  I think he was amazed. I snapped a picture of the bridge to the parking area.  We could hardly make it out.  We still had half a mile to go. He thanked me for giving him a ride from Jenny Lake trailhead to String Lake trailhead.  As I drove away, I mulled the potential disaster when parties split up.  Sometimes, it is good to have friends to lean on, help each other out…stick together.  Should you split up?

That’s one of the things that gnaws at my heart this summer.  I had a special person come along side me and was willing to help me through my business reorganization and divorce.  He had been the person of character that would pick up a gun and fight  battles just because people needed protecting.  He is the type of person who would jump in front of attacking forces without a thought for his life because a life needed saving. Well, one of those lives needing saving was mine. Having gone through the pain of divorce himself, he knew more than I what I was about to go through.  He knew the stabs of wandering that path alone can kill a person emotionally. I would need support and a special someone in my corner. I didn’t even know it.  He made that sacrifice.  He slowed down his pace to allow me to limp along.

And yet when we came to a  trail cutoff in life, I picked to  hike up a different canyon.  Wonder what trailheads we will end up at?  Tears dropped in my lap as I drove.  Yes, if it weren’t for that warrior would I be scaling these heights?  I will be forever thankful. Looking past the headlights  I tried to assure I did not hit a deer, elk, or moose.  It was dark.

August 20, 2012

The place is blooming

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 8:18 pm

My favorite hike is in the Tetons.  There are boats in the summer that cross Jenny Lake every 20 minutes from 8am to 7pm.  This cuts off 2.5 miles of hiking and disembarks only  .5 miles for Hidden Falls and 1 mile for an inspirational overlook.  From there the trail is a tame gradual ascent up a canyon.  It skirts a river that has pools reflecting the silhouette of the mountain walls. It walks through forests and flower covered meadows.  It takes a right and climbs above the tree line to a perfectly perched lake called Solitude Lake.  The trail takes a sweeping huge switch back up the side of the range and goes over Paintbrush Divide at nearly 12,000 feet.  Today, I decide to pack just a light day pack and Camelback for water, leave on an early boat and do the 20 miles in one day.

August 13, 2012

Hiking instead of biking

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 12:13 am

So here’s my experience of solo trekking. The park’s majestically glacier carved canyons and faulted, jagged peaks makes it a popular place to acquire backpacking permits. .  Teton National Park only allows overnight camping in limited zones in the mountains. I respect that.  This helps preserve and protect from overuse of wilderness areas and lets me relax.  When I pack in, I will always find only a few tents and parties in each canyon or by only certain lakes. We all hope that this beauty remains for years and years and years to come.  This is one way to try.

There were no permits available the days I was free to hike.  I had picked up a few hours at a store in Jackson called SKINNY SKIS.  Skinny skis is an outdoor apparel and product store in the summer.  It becomes the leading expert store in Nordic skis in the winter…thus the name SKINNY SKIS.  It is owned by Jeff Crabtree and Phil Leeds, accomplished Nordic skiers, great business men, family men, and active members of the community.    I feel privileged to be given the opportunity to learn about amazing products made by key outdoor companies like Patagonia ( Climber, Yvon Chouinard , still owns and buys up land to preserve for parks), Marmot (leader in 900 proof down, a lightweight, warm down that blasts to the end of the factory room when tested with a fan, Mamut (not to be confused with Marmot), Ice breaker (New Zealand wool that doesn’t carry body odor) , and Arcteryx (that bird fossil emblem is used by a company that makes nicely fitting  outdoor clothes)  There is not a lot of pay in store floor retail, but I am meeting people.  And getting to sell all the cool things that make people enjoy being outside.  And I get pro discounts on product.  I needed to end my backpack excursion in time to get to work by 10am in a few days. I also wanted to test out some new product I had acquired.  Mainly, do the boots fit?  Does the Jet Boil stove work?  Is the pack adjusted to my hips and shoulders?  I was told by the rangers I could enter through the park up Death Canyon, cross Alaska Basin and camp in the Jedidiah Wilderness, an area known for Grizzlies, remoteness, and horrendous lightning and hail storms, but didn’t require permits.  I accepted.

It took too long to get away.  I had to buy packable meals, find my socks, dig through boxes to retrieve my sleeping pad and stuff sack.  Who knows what kept me so long.  I found myself bumping up the dirt road to Phelps/Death Canyon Trail head around 5:30 pm.  I would be hiking by head lamp. I was already leery.  I passed a few hikers returning to their cars and knew those were my last folks to cross paths with.  There would not be any overnight campers in this canyon.  They were not permitted.  I would have to make it all the way over the pass and into Alaska Basin.  The viewpoint over Phelps Lake is quite spectacular.  After it, there is a huge section of ravines and avalanche torn rubble and bushes.  Then the trail climbs through a narrow canyon with a cascading brook.

I didn’t make it to the pass.  Dusk, turned to darkness.  Although I had a head lamp, I was tripping over the rocks and it became futile to keep going.  I also had checked the weather and knew I had a window of no rain.  Taking my chances, I had brought no tent.  I was going to camp solo style under rock overhangs very common in this area.  Now I couldn’t  even make out the rock formations.  I was stuck.  And it was that same dark, dark that I had been introduced to when getting lost in Nevada.  I didn’t like it than, and I certainly wasn’t enjoying it now.  Again, I was to feel that dreadful feeling of the UNKNOWN, not knowing what you couldn’t see.   I punishingly told myself.  ‘Why did I do this, knowing I don’t like the dark?”  And I don’t.  This darkness asks all  kinds of pasts in…and the very real, present fear of bears.  They are out this time of year trying to eat as much berries and food as they can find.  I didn’t want to be an option for a food choice.  And I certainly didn’t want to flush one out on the trail as I tried to stumble up it in the dark.  So I hunkered down on a very lumpy rock and spent the night reading a book, Teewinot, Climbing and Contemplating the Teton Range by Jack Turner with my headlamp; which was really an excuse to keep the headlamp on and scan the trail as far as the little beam would reach.  I had to put up with an occasional moth.

This is as much help as the moon gave.

The moon did eventually appear from behind a peak, but it was just a taunt.  It was a little speck of light barely in competition with the little beam of light my headlamp could throw.  “Thanks a lot.  I whimpered” and read to the first rays of light started to calm my world.  What was I to fear anyway?  See, I was fine in the morning.  The brook bubbled nearby.  I cooked breakfast and headed on.The next day, I packed out before dawn could be called dawn because I needed to be at work by 10am.  I nearly ran the descent with my pack on.  When I came to the avalanche torn area I knew I was within a mile to the truck. Yahoo.  That’s when I saw movement.  It was black and it was a black bear.  He stood up on his haunches to get a look at me. He was very little.  I skirted by his berry picking area and only 400 yards later ran smack into another.  This one had a radio collar on and he was agitated.  He popped up on the trail and did what I hoped no bear would do….took two leaping lunges at me.  But it did not seem an attempt to get near me.  It seemed a move to get me away from him.  He was scared.  Instead of grabbing my bear spray hooked to my hip belt, I reached back and un-foiled my hiking map and wave it like a matador.  That bear is probably still running.  I have never seen something tuck its buns, spin on its quarters, and leave a county faster than that little bear.  Both bears were young.  I wanted out of there and to my truck before I encountered their sow.   I noisily scurried to my vehicle.  A week later, the forest service closed that area and canyon for a week.  ‘To give the bears time to move through.  We are experiencing a high number of bears.”, the newpaper reported.  When I inquired about them with the locals, they said the closure wasn’t due to little nuisance black bears.  There were three grizzlies sighted and they wanted them to keep moving past that canyon where I had been.  I don’t think my map matadoring would have worked on a grizzly.It’s rare for the bears to be this low.  But we are having a rare drought year.

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