Caren Ware's Blog

March 10, 2015

FINDING FIT in small towns. Meet my friends, the Whitley’s

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 11:42 am

Sandpoint, Idaho. IMG_3011 IMG_3010 IMG_3009 IMG_3004 IMG_3002 IMG_3005 IMG_2998 IMG_2987 IMG_2974 IMG_2982 IMG_2960 IMG_2958 IMG_2957 IMG_2952 IMG_2950 IMG_2949  IMG_2953 IMG_2941 IMG_2942 IMG_2939 IMG_2938

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


Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 10:19 am

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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.IMG_2880 IMG_2878 IMG_2870 IMG_2869 IMG_2876 IMG_2883

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.IMG_2905 IMG_2894 IMG_2900 IMG_2893 IMG_2892 IMG_2889 IMG_2888 3 2

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.

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.IMG_2922 IMG_2918 IMG_2902 1

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