Caren Ware's Blog

March 27, 2014


Filed under: Marathon Running,trail running,traveling — Caren Ware @ 11:45 pm

And there was a third thing, I was irritating the group. I had certain footage I had to come home with. Kathy had offered to go in halves on the expense of a camera guy. She suggested someone she knew would make the summit. He had put together media footage of their first trek ten years earlier. My constant, “Hey, let’s shoot a snatch of this” was sometimes ( maybe a lot of times) counter to the vacation agenda. Also, I already know I do not interview people well. I interrogate. I am a police officer’s daughter. I gather information by hammering out questions that are really not for an answer, but to get you to say what I need to hear. Obnoxious. Edgy. Defintely, not invitingly relaxed. But I also knew I would not be using my voice and interview in my final footage. I have in the works an outside commentator that would dress up the project in a very real and professional way. My actions, her calm narration. That is if I could get impressive enough footage and information. I had to be in some of the frames looking like I was gathering information. And to push an idea, you definitely have to self promote; somewhat inflate your own balloon. Proverbs says ,”to seek one’s own glory is not glory.” Prov. 25:26 and “let another man praise you, and not our own mouth.” Prov. 27:2. Why? Because it rubs people the wrong way when you amp up your own importance. And to get the footage for the real story, you have to grab and fabricate a story line that will show the actual story line. You round up the herd you need and choral them for a filming.
The mood the little dinky camera cast (a camera that was not really getting the footage or quality we would need) did something to the dynamics. And my mood and mode of operation did not help. I rubbed our tour group the wrong way, as if I was trying to boast something unattainable or unreal. As if I was trying to do something covert and wrong. It went home unspoken, but I could feel the noose. I knew I was being tried and convicted internally; and that this would have to be worked out after the fact. We were tired, worn out from an incredible feat of tackling a 19,320 foot mountain. The success of that needed to be celebrated, and lasting, and of this moment, not the pressure of camera footage or agendas.
I knew I would need to return to Kilimanjaro with a crew that would have the story line. And I knew I could not ignore a real need here. I saw those that climbed the mountain with a cause got to summit more than one mountain. And I saw a very real way we needed to give back. This was an experience you would wish on anyone to accomplish. And to come back with a name of a porter and his exact boot size would be a gift of a lifetime. Thus is born, PEAK EXPERIENCE. I will explain what I know a PEAK EXPERIENCE will be after I get you blogged through the actual Kilimanjaro climb. The climb is real. And it is real hard but that is what makes it triumphant.
Go to and watch the trailer. This will give you a better jest of what I am trying to do. That was the camera idea we had in mine before I left for Africa. We wanted to ‘capture’ the needs of this area in a real way about real people. Strongtofinish is a guy, a quest, and a determination to run the over 1,000 miles across Mongolia to bring awareness to the needs of that nation. My quest by combing the continents is to bring awareness to the needs of people…and figure out ways we can REALLY help REAL people. Starting with my Hispanic boys and their need for proper papers in the USA. To the aborigines in the Outback who feel western civilization will steal their children and really cares less about them. To a Syberian descendent from Japan that had to raise her child in Hawaii because the kids of her own country kicked and spit at her, in their minds, different and unaccepted daughter. To the Quechuas in the Andes that would carry our belongings across the Andes for the chance to make $5 dollars. To the Galapians on the islands that were so excited to share their new book knowledge as naturalists ,but wanting this single womanIMG_4660




IMG_5084n to marry their uncle so they could buy a hotel on the beach. “You can be HAPPY, like the confused penguins here that chose not to migrate any more”. The boy points as two penguins are mating. To taking the time to meet the Russian crew in the belly of the ship in Antarctica. Helping fold laundry at midnight so we could practice English and learn about each other. I told them about my Russian neighbor in Lake Arrowhead. Aleksandr Zaitsev is the pair skating partner of the figure skating legend Irina Rodnina. They won every competition they entered. They won gold at the 1976 Winter Olympics. They were pleased to hear first hand of his living habits. I gave pictures on flash drives to the crew. They did not get to go ashore or interact with the passengers. They have ship visas and would be out to sea up to 9 months at a time. I literally bumped into a crew member in the stair well. He was in obvious shape and one of Russia’s Greco wrestlers. His deep eyes spoke intelligence and hard work. He had taught himself English, but had never been able to practice with an English speaking person. I stood there on the steps gripping the rail as he stood shyly rolling his cap in his hands. I introduced myself. He said he knew of me. I was the one that put a bikini on and ran around the deck (Antarctica) at 20 below zero for a picture and slipped at hit my head. Yes, that would be me. I was impressed with his command of the language and determination. Something exchanged there in that spark of a moment. It was very much about mutual respect and a hope to just get to know someone…different and from a world so far apart, but internally, on that stair well, we were the same. We finally figured out how to skype with the hope someday to really get to meet each other and spend time despite the hardship of getting visas in remote parts of Russia, praying that he get another chance to work aboard ships to help pay for his simple farmstead and his future. These Russians may not have much, but they have strength, fortitude, discipline, amazing work ethics, and humor. I am attracted.
What a vastness. The ship captain and pilots are Russian and incredible seaman on a different level. They take ‘American” vacations and their careers open the world to them. The owner of the Antarctica Expedition, One Oceans, was one of gentlest looks I have ever been lured by. I got a ridiculous girly crush that only made words stick in my mouth and made me act like a fool in his very presence. He had already owned and sold a fleet and I was described the wooded home he owned on a lake in Whistler. NOt only a wealth of experience, but a keen business man with the highest of quality of equipment and experience. You cannot go wrong on a ONE OCEANS EXPEDITION with Andrew Possin. In Jackson, I had the privilege to introduced to the wonders and awe of young golfing fame, Keegan Bradley through his pro dad, Mark whom also is a pro golfer and a pro skier… and quite the country dancer. His son is becoming a world phenomenon as he excels in almost every PGA golf tournament and is currently ranked 10th in the world. His agents know his image has to parallel his talent, so this young, focused man now lives in Jupiter, Florida across from Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods. He trains and plays with the best. It doesn’t get much richer than that. And yet, we are all the same. Keegan is most in love with his family…his sister’s new babies and takes special care of his girlfriend and his gang of guys that hang out in his golf world. He seems more interested in bettering a golf swing that the sports car in the front driveway, or the yacht tied to the moorings in the backyard.
It has been a year of vastness, in the worlds of the rich… to the world of the rich in heart… to worlds rich in need. Grace. Meaning. Connection. Appreciation. I have to admit in the long run, I be the very one that needs..hugs to wringing heart ache. I have reverence when eating a great meal next to a warm fireplace in a ski lodge with great company and quiet conversation. I realize what we have. And in circumstances I thought never possible, I realize how quickly it can all vanish…in a mudslide, a tsunami, a divorce, or bad economy. It would all begin to mean something as I became in need myself. It was a quant idea to help when I had so much in reserve. It becomes another when you are the one who has used up the reserves.
So , here I am in Africa and there are the Tanzanians. A gentleman that toured with us in Antarctica was from South Africa. Africa was the one continent I had reservations about and I voiced it to him. I perceived it to be ,in my inexperience, tattered and evasive. I had a bad and boding attitude. I really did not want to go to dusty, down Africa. He raised his eyebrows. “Oh, but don’t judge Africa until you have seen Africa. I love my Africa.” He warned me I would love Africa because of the Africans. He was so right. Rory Storyn was Nelson Mandela’s personal body guide. A book just came out about his first hand life with this world changing man. Yes, Rory, I was to be taken by the grace, personalities, personable demeanor of almost everyone I met in Tanzanians. I will forever esteem Bahiti, the Wild Frontiers guide and our three guides up Kilimanjaro: Joel, Epa, and Dawson. What can I say other them. They seemed of Biblical character. They don’t have to be instructed to, they just are. “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another, not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord, rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfast in prayer, distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. “Romans 12:10-13. These men were of that strength and that character, despite the needs of themselves and their country. They were pouring themselves into the one viable opportunity…to guide Kilimanjaro, to be gentle and loving to the people who came to visit it.

My personality has to FIND. FIND out about people- who you are, situations-what are you up against, and most of all.. activity-what are you doing? Out of this, a very firm theme has formed, FINDING FIT. Wherever and everywhere I go, whether in the states or abroad, or parking a rental car on the last road in Tasmanian with my son…to hike the rest of the way to the very furthest tip of that Australian island just to stand on the end of that point where there is nothing ,but the ocean and Antarctic out there… to visiting a yoga studio in Florida that helps disable kids… to learning to skin up mountains just to ski down… to meeting a lady in LA FITNESS that is working out her body for the first time in her life at age sixty, there is a story. I have a website forming of stories and you are all about to meet each other through it. FINDING FIT will be a live reality series with trailers, documentaries, travel episodes, and it will be about who we find and what fit things we are all about. Fitness is just the enhancer…its the FINIDNG that is the lesson.
And PEAK EXPERIENCES will be what we do about the needs we come across. I, for one, cannot walk by a person in need of a shirt and not give them one, when I have fifty. And the giving is somehow gifted back in getting to know the PERSON who needs your gift, person to person. To reach out and embrace each other, isn’t that something EVERYBODY EVERYWHERE needs!

March 26, 2014


Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 12:47 am



IMG_4629The food was fabulous. There were seasoned potatoes, French fries, chicken (someone from a village brought fresh ones up to the cooks), sautéed vegetables, popcorn, and handmade bread. One thing that happens at altitude is the loss of appetite. We knew enough to try to keep something in our stomachs, but I would have to say that a 15, 500 meal was chewed slowly and carefully. Altitude has the reputation for making a lot of people throw up.
Can we thank the porter’s enough for hauling the fuel, tents, and utensils for all this? A porter from another camp even went by with a backload of plastic red chairs. It got rainy. It got cold. The porters are only taken to 15,500 feet because they do not have the layers, clothing, and are not equipped for the lower temperatures we would encounter in the last 4,000 feet. IMG_4832



The cook tent was toasty, but could not be used for a sleep tent until the cooking duties were over, so many porters just stood in the rain. There were 12 porters to a tent, but they giggled like at a slumber party and said, twelve meant body heat and kept them warm. Its a given that camping out has something about it that draws you close to the people you get to hang with. You talk, you spend hours in the dark, and you figure out ways to make this little protected place your home. I have to thank Mama Pinkie for being a great tent mate as I reach over and turn off her head lamp still attached an on. She is sound asleep and does not move for the few hours we get to sleep before summiting. Yeah, lady. You literally ROCKED today. climbed right up that mountain scramble. IMG_4668







Let me catch MY BREATH!

Filed under: hiking,traveling,Uncategorized,Women Running — Caren Ware @ 12:25 am

IMG_4845There is wisdom in the choices to settle on camps. There are two days hovering at 12,000 to 13,500 before the base camp of 15,500. Things change here. The temperatures, the severity of storm patterns, and how your body handles the thin air. I discovered two scary things at this base camp. One, I had been thinking I was putting purifying tablets in my drinking water and they ended up being pills that make the water ‘taste’ good. They were in the same size and shade bottle as purifying tablets. Everyone got a good laugh and said if I was going to get sick I would have by than. Luckily, all other drinking water I had put in my bottles had come from the boiled hot water they were serving. I had done that to be doubly safe. Good thing. But days after the return to the states, my ingestion was to rebel at some amoebas I ingested. I would have to take the travel pills and antibiotics to combat my untreated water sips. I lost some more precious pounds in the battle of getting through that huge mistake. Be forewarned to read the fine print on the tablet bottles! There are ones that purify, and ones that make the water taste good.
And “pole, pole”. This is something my hyped energy level does not naturally do. So I would forget. Like a ferret, I would see a group come into camp and I would have to bounce up and meet them. Try doing that at 15, 500 feet. Bound, bound, fast step and, ugggghhh. I can’t greet you. In fact, I can’t even talk to you. Gasp. Gasp. Gurgle. Bend over and near collapse, like I had just run an Olympic 400 meter all out race. Embarrassing. Humbling. I took off to my tent once and had a near full blown panic attack because I couldn’t catch my breath. Joel, the guide walked by and gently squeezed my arm. “Pole, pole, dear.”
So summit round up just prior to midnight required headlamps and packs and very layered clothing. I forgot the neck buff and went ‘running’ back to my tent to get it and ‘running’ back up to the group to get going on our 4,000 foot ascent. And than, I realized I was being drowned without any water. I could not breath. I could not get air just as if I was under water. I started to panic, which induced my very rare athlete’s asthma. Seriously?! Was I really having an asthma attack or just a panic attack. Both, I decided. Because I couldn’t catch my breath from running I was starting to panic. I threw my pack off and put my head on my knees and commanded my body to calm down. It took a few minutes. And those few minutes I thought, what if this does not let up and I am not able to climb this beast of a mountain after all…the travel, the expense, the time, the tales. I am sure it has happened to the fit and best of them. I am sharing this, just so you know not to ‘run’ around a mountain above 15,000 feet. And if you do, try not to panic when you do fall short of breath. It makes it worse.


Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 12:04 am

Mamma Pinkie gritted her teeth and grabbed ahold of the mountain and climbed it. She kept saying she didn’t like the rock climbing, but she was so sweet and attune to the experience at hand that she made every rock obstacle fun. And so did the entire Kathy Loper trekkers. The guides have one rock they call the kissing rock because you have to hug it to get by it. Now, picture doing that with a 40 pound duffle bag balanced on your head!IMG_4712







March 25, 2014

Meet the guides

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 11:48 pm

Guiding Kilimanjaro is a prestigious job that requires leadership, wilderness schooling and training, and people patience. Our guides were natural, beloved, and had everything to do with our successful summiting.
“Pole, Pole” for sure helped. We were blessed to get “Joel”, a strikingly handsome man with depth of character that matched his looks. I heard the gal who lives in Tanzania say that she had never seen someone from Joel’s tribe that wasn’t handsome. You can tell Joel is a solid athlete; very agile and sturdy, a natural leader you trust to follow.
Guide number two was Dawson, a no nonsense, explain the facts, make sure everyone is taken care of person. He too, had lines of wisdom etched in his eyes.
And than there was Epa. You had no choice, but to love Epa. The world loved Epa. Every second was an opportunity to greet with a smile, a clever joke, a handshake, a hug, a slap on the back. Even the stern officials and rangers loved Epa. He was just one of those great people you are so glad to get to spend time with. Why? Because he enjoyed himself. He sincerely enjoyed his job. And he sincerely loved people. These men had something more to them. A faith they hummed along the way. A resolution with the Creator they revered that made this mountain they considered a privilege and opportunity. Ovdawson1









joel3er 60,000 people attempt to summit this mountain each year. Most succeed because of the guides. The 60,000 come for a pilgrimage of all sorts …for varying causes and reasons. It is the only free standing mountain of its height that a non mountaineered could experience altitude.

Joel, Epa, and Dawson guide for the Key’s Hotel. Expeditions can be booked through the hotel, which is nice because you than have a place to come and return to with a shower and the rarest of things…a pool. Kathy Loper from can give you more details.


Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 11:19 pm

Camping out at 12,500 feet. My boots started out grey. We are having a ‘remind me to take my Malaria pill” party. Malaria pills have to be taken days prior to arriving and for a week after coming home from Malaria infested areas. My son has a high school friend that did not take the entire Malaria regiment and got deathly ill weeks after returning from Africa. We had been in mosquito areas on the Safari so it became the daily chat. “Did you take your Malaria pill today?” And now, we were adding pills to prevent altitude sickness. Those that had already started taken them were telling us their hands tingled.
Journal jots:
These sturdy ravens have actually been found as high as the summit at 19,320.
I have never seen thistles like these.
We crossed a stream, climbed up and over a lot of terrain, and finally got to 12,500. We were told that stream is the last water source. The porter’s draw straws as to who gets to go back a day’s hike to fetch water.














March 19, 2014

Back to the Porters

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 10:04 am






When I got into base camp the cook tent smelled so good. Makanja was making ‘pancakes’, a delicious crepe that he poured expertly into a hot pan and rolled until the sides started to bake. He said he added onions and turmeric or some sort of spice I have never heard of. Yum. Than he popped pop corn and heated peanuts. Who doesn’t get a feels good from popcorn?! Especially at 15, 500 feet. The tent was toasty from the cook stove, but even warmer was the rapport. The guides and porters were enjoying each other and the conversation that so easily flows when you have trek time on your hands.IMG_4615




“We brought nothing in this world and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. ” I Timothy 6:6-8.
Timothy 6:17-18. “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share.”…….

(Being back in the states is almost a culture shock. I have had to do business in Orange County with its 6 lane streets, manicured palm trees, Starbucks on every corner, clean stately buildings, blue sky, fresh ocean air. I went to Mariner’s Church on Sunday. I got picked up by a shuttle crew and dropped off at the pond and coffee area leading into the active church. I had worked the four summers while in college for a great camp in Bass Lake, California that the kids came to from this church. Today, everyone was wearing shirts that said, “FEARLESS”. Fearless is a theme they put in action to show the church that they could impact needs in the community instantly. They asked the church members to each give no less than $40 for a one time gift they could just hand out to legitimate needs. Slickly, they had hand held phones with credit card swipes…not as a scam or ploy, but as an instant tool to mobilize. They raised $840,000 in two services. Than, the following week they are going to ask the members to give TIME. They said, watch…it will be easier for you to give money than TIME. “Give, and share…” that is what God’s word is asking those that are rich in this day to do.

Galapogos Islands Marthon and exploration Excursion October 17-27, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 8:41 am

In the midst of the climb, here’s a side addition. Before I headed to Africa, I got an email from Rick and Bere, an American married to a Galapian that runs a travel agency with the commitment to preserve and respect the islands and their culture. He is introducing a marathon with the invitation to come and REALLY get to see the islands and REALLY get hands on interaction with the people. He is asking that those that come adopt a Galapian. (I am not sure if that is what you call a native born islander). They do not have the excess funds to run in an event. He is asking that each person bring shoes and pay their entry into a race. Having been there, run that event, be totally taken by the love and respect of Rick and Bere, I KNOW this will be a PEAK EXPERIENCE. So I am adding this to the commitment. I will find 20 people who want to explore the Galapagos, walk, run, or just shop in town during the run, but come with a certain size shoe, shorts, and a shirt, and the chance for an islander to run. Visit and click on MARATHONPACKAGE2014. When signing up, mention you are a PEAK EXPERIENCE. Rick will give you the name and shoe size of your adopted islander. galapagos is offering a trip, trek, and marathon in Peru in September 2014. Remember the climb over the Andes the Quechuas? Let me tell you about some great needs there. But first, let’s actually summit this mountain. I think we have no idea what we are getting into. We are heading to the next camp called BASE CAMP. It will be at 15, 500 feet. This is the highest elevation I have slept at and the highest elevation I have been to. We packed our daughter and son over the Andes from the Amazon so they would get to see and know the Quechuas that lived on the elevated plains of the Andes. Their only source of fuel was Alpaca (Llama) dung. And their delicacy is Guinnea Pig. They live in low level mud and rock huts. In fact, they live in mud. And they weave bright red, berry, purple color cloth. My children were the first North American kids they had ever seen. But as the Quechuas carried our supplies on horseback, we got to experience altitude. It takes slow even steps to get anywhere and even the slightest extra effort throws the heart and breathing into a panic. As we huffed by on the trail, we would see Quechua kids kicking around a taped up wad for a ball and playing soccer. Huff. Huff. As we approached the highest pass, almost 16,000 feet, my than, eleven year old, huffed, “Why can’t we have a normal vacation…like the ones I see in magazines where people hang in this mess between two palm trees and read a book. I don’t even know what that thing is called!” But did my daughter choose to hang in a hammock during high school? No, she came back to Peru and spent the summer helping orphanages in Peru.


Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 8:04 am












I have an assignment. I am coming back to Tanzania/Kilimanjaro in end of Feb/March 2015 and promised by name, to bring boots, a jacket, wool socks, and a backpack with a hip belt for each of the 25 porters and 4 tents for the guides. To do so, I have to bring 25 people that will benefit from a trip of a lifetime. The only way the Tanzanians gets to benefit directly is if each person brings an extra duffle bag full of this equipment and we personally hand it to the porters. If you send second hand or first hand supplies to Tanzania they get stopped at the shipping point and TAXED. They cannot even afford the tax and than the gift becomes something that burdens and takes food money away. So they beg not to think we are helping by sending boxes of things. If you ship directly to an establishment, like say the host hotel, all the supplies are pilfered before the guides get back down the mountain. A very giving gal in Colorado did so and the guides said they never saw one jacket, or tent. It was just gone when they got there. I am not sure how this CAUSE PROJECT will play out, but I am going to set it in motion. We will call it PEAK EXPERIENCES. I think those that gave legitimately back to this land like had a double summit experience. I think everyone that comes here gives back. You can not climb a mountain without knowing that you are doing so because the guides and the porters are helping you get there. It is a huge part of the experience. There are programs that are being put in place that help in real ways. They have a program that equipment is pooled and can be checked out and returned so it is always there for the next porter in need. The guides gave me a name of the woman in Colorado that has figured out how to get supplies directly to them. She set up a non profit called NORETURNS. I am going to look her up, go meet with her. So follow the blog and lets see who these 25 people end up being. I am hoping it is YOU! You can travel to Tanzania with She has set up the best of adventures. But add this extra commitment to find sponsorship to bring this gear. We can work on getting manufacture cost of the items. Email me ideas and interest. Thanks in advance. We will be holding a banner on the mountain in 2015 and making it a double summit experience for ourselves and a banded group of guides and porters. We will give them an opportunity to safely continue to provide income and food for themselves, their parents, their children…and their future.


Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 12:18 am

We climbed over rocks, up crevices, across moonscape they called desert. We piled onto a ledge where we finally caught up with a group called WHOA…Women High On Adventure. These two gals from New York were so impressed with the experience that Kilimanjaro can bring that they went home, made a website, formed a travel excursions company just for women, and came back with 28 gals from around the world to summit on International Women’s Day. They were literally dancing when we came upon them. They would repeat this victory dance at camps and on the summit. It was fun to see all their colorful hats and packs. It was nice to hear their laughter and buzz drifting over the trail. The trail merged here with other routes. A pre base camp appeared high on a open ridge. Our tents were perched 13,000 feet above Moshi. The view was so expansive you felt like you could slip right down to the little town. It was picture perfect. Rain, pitted with ice, came and went. And so did the wind. The clouds made for a stunning sunset over another volcano across the valley.
I met another group in camp that were wearing matching beanies. They worked for a company called This successful German based company GAVE BACK. It had its employees pick causes and gave money and time back to those causes. These four guys were zealously tackling Kilimanjaro and helping a project called Charity Water. They were having fun.
Night fell and the buzz of camp wrapped you like a warm blanket. Conversations lullabying. Though you couldn’t make out words, you could feel people getting to know each other. Porters sandwiched 10 to a tent, laughing and jesting, humming and singing. All the girls in their tents talking into quieter and quieter subjects until all that was speaking back were the twinkling stars. This made Kilimanjaro…well Kilimanjaro, an experience like no other.IMG_4636







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