Caren Ware's Blog

November 23, 2014

My Spring as Concierge at SPRING CREEK Ranch in Jackson, Wyoming

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/IMAG0447 - Copy IMAG0449 - Copy IMAG0453 - Copy IMAG0455 IMAG0461 IMAG0463 IMAG0467 IMAG0468 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.

March 27, 2014

FINIDNG FIT and PEAK EXPERIENCES

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 http://www.strongtofinish.com 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

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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 17, 2014

The FACES of the Porter’s of Kilimanjaro

Filed under: A Runner's Story,fitness,hiking,Marathon Running,trail running,traveling — Caren Ware @ 10:24 am

I would rather you read the faces of the porter’s before we climbed the mountain than read my feeble words to describe them. These faces had no names. Just men lined up to do a job. Men hopeful they would not be cut because they did not have the required clothing or equipment. Men that knew what they were getting into. Men that knew they were about to go into a battle with physical demands. Men that knew this was their one way to be fed.
They were my Hispanic boys orphaned in Southern Mexico, who would run half the night collecting cows just to get a sip of milk and chunk of cheese. I was determined to get to know these faces. Trek with me and let these faces became names, and stories, and laughter and sharing. They will become people who have to do what they can do to eat, to bring something home. They have children, and wives, and elder parents. They have determination. They are strong. They, right now, have no other opportunity, but what Kilimanjaro treks bring. IMG_4479

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June 6, 2013

Running all over the place!

How’s this for hill repeats!  Bryce Canyon is 8300 feet.  Touched the valley floor than did 44, 72, and 94 second sprints back up till I reached the top.  This is  travel and training at 100 percent.b4 b5 b7 b9 IMAG0002_COVER IMAG0664 IMAG0665 IMAG0673 IMAG0684

February 7, 2013

Why run? Why try doing the unthinkable. The unstoppable. The improbable? Why not.

It’s not because I have something to prove.  It’s because we have something God given in us to live for. Inspire to. Grasp after. Just try.

I am reading “The Coolest Race on Earth” by John Hanc and getting a first hand account of what I am getting into in Antarctica.  His jacket cover reads, “Muddy, cold, hilly, the race is by all accounts horrible up and down a melted glacier twice, past curious penguins and hostile skuas, and finally to a bleak finish line.  Even the best runners take longer to run the Antarctica Marathon than any other.  Yet the allure of the marathon running combined with the fascinating reputation of the Last Continent has persuaded…” yes, me , “to brave a trip across the world’s most turbulent body of water, the Drake Passage, to a land of extinct volcanoes and craggy mountain peaks, lost explorers and isolated scientists, penguin rookeries and whale sightings, all for a chance to run a crazy 26.2 miles…” in what is known as the world’s most difficult marathon.  I am more afraid of the days at sea than what weather or conditions or arduous hills the continent will throw at us…us being 99 people who put in for a permit over three years ago and will all come to meet each other as we board the Russian crew ship at Ushuaia…fin del mundo.  The end of the world.

We run BECAUSE

February 6, 2013

Lessons learned.

I learned a few things today in my second venture backcountry skiing.  It takes a lot of athleticism and conditioning to ‘skin’ your skis to the base of the Tetons… than even more than that to punch your way up a mountain.  Our destination was a place they coined “25 SHORT”.  The ski line to come down is 25 feet short of 10,000 feet.  It was my first real day of relying on my self and my new equipment.  I dropped my water bladder and it spilled out.  Had I been on a long haul back country venture I would have had to boiled down snow for new water.  I also learned that lakes freeze so solid you can cross them, but they develop a ‘lake’ layer just under the last layer of ice that you can crash through to and get wet enough to be in trouble back here.  The reward of a day out in the backcountry is the backcountry.  It can be serene, quiet, peaceful, stirring.  It can be dangerous.  As the temps rise so does the chance for mountain sides of snow to slide.  Experience tells you to stay on lines near the trees.

When I finally got to the highest point on ’25 Short”  it was time to convert the nordic set up to downhill, and the chance to SKI the mountain and its virgin snow.  I pulled the skins off the skis, twisted the binding to lock in and stepped in.  I went to do the same with the other ski…and it wasn’t there.  I looked all around my feet, bewildered.   A track lead down, down the steep slope and into a ravine. I had knocked my ski off its perch and it quietly took the thrill ride down without me.   There is no way to ski in thick powder on one ski. I had to straddle my lone ski and toboggan down to my lost ski.  So much for all the physical outlay to get to the top of a mountain…to be reduced to sliding and IMAG0217 IMAG0216 IMAG0218 IMAG0220 IMAG0222 IMAG0225 IMAG0226 IMAG0231tobogganing, and tumbling down.  At least I was able to retrieve the ski and appreciate that the protocol is to turn the skis upside down on slopes so the bindings act as a brake and it doesn’t slide.  I still can feel that stunned , and very stupid feeling when I looked down and that ski was gone!

 

What color is run?

IMAG0200IMAG0202IMAG0209A week has gone by and I am back to another LONG run.  21 miles today.  I  literally RAN into a moose this week on one of my 8 mile runs along a frozen creek on a snowed over bike path.   I came around a corner and startled this, huger than a horse ,female.  She never expected a crazed runner to be out in her winter territory. She stomped her hooves and puffed her sides.  No question she was disturbed. These are not good signs.  I did a dance around a bush with this frothing, oversized, very funky, but very mad  beast.  I had to plunge over a wood fence and into someone’s backyard.  Only in Jackson!

But yeah Jackson.  I run by deer and elk today…and cows and horses.  All with their extra winter coats…and me with mine.

And, yeah Jackson, it is the workout capital.  There are private gyms, yoga, and Pilates on every other street corner.  I am thankful for the solid options.  What I am not telling you about is that divorce is a tsunami.  It is a huge wave that careens through lives and obliterates, leaving a wake of emotional, financial, and relational debris.  Not only have I been training and restrengthening.  I am thankful to take the time to pick through some of the aftermath.  It has not been easy.  This runs with me and keeps me company more than I would like.

The temperatures have risen to reasonable.  Days have been between 20 to 40 degrees.  We are having what I called ‘sparkle’ days.  At least the hands and face can bear being bare in these temperatures… for a short amount of time. And the snow is pristine white.  And the skies are deep, deep blue.  And the afternoons  are pink, pink, purple.  And the hues harden into bold, solid, hard sunsets.  I run all through the valleys and tackle a 2 mile hill that ascends nearly 2000 feet.  They say we will be having to run up two glaciers in Antarctica.  There is the classiest of restuarants called the Grannary at Spring Creek Ranch that I KNOW has the best perched view in our nation.   That was my 11 mile turn around point.  It was one of the prettiest runs and rewards with a sunset.  By the way, I learned The Grannary has live Jazz, incredible musicians on Friday nights.  And it was the most rewarding place to watch the SUPERBOWL.  A fireplace, a vaulted glass view of the TETON Mountains and the game playing in the corner TVIMAG0196.  First time in 20 years I was not timing a race on this ‘national’ holiday. IMAG0206IMAG0179IMAG0197IMAG0185

January 21, 2013

Caren Ware will attempt to run 26.2 miles in Antartica. March 7, 2013

IMAG2476Living a year in Jackson definitely is adding a  winter experience.  I am getting ready to run my THIRD REMOTE CONTINENT marathon… in Antarctica. Not hard to simualte  when this winter has dipped as low as -28. Negative temperatures can turn into negative situations real fast.  They warrant caution and  preparation.  They are teaching me to include an avalanche shovel,  emergency sleeping bag,  and extra gloves, wool, and down jackets stashed in the truck and put into emergency packs whenever going ‘backcountry’.  And they are showing me that freeze framed beauty is so contrast to the summer beauty of wild flowers, meadow grasses, and waterfalls. Up here, in winter the animals are furry.  Thousands of elk have made their winter migration.  They know digging through the snow will lead to grass .   The big horn sheep are herded up on their winter bluffs. And moose and buffalo are instantly spotted, dark on a white scape , unable to hide from their hoof printed trails left in the soft snow.  The lakes are frozen and steam rises from the few rivers still flowing. The Teton Range stands like a stunning bride dressed in its white gown.  I wanted to see what a winter looked like.  More than that, I needed to FEEL what a winter was like.

My quest to run a remote marathon with remote people on every continent would have to pardon the remote people for one continent….Antarctica.  There are only two marathon opportunities on the most remote of remote places.  There are only 100 slots for each of these two.  Due to the popularity to do all 7 continents as a bucket list of life to dos, making the waiting list now takes three to four years.  Buzz back to the origin of my blog and see that I put that permit in 4 years ago.  It has just come up as ‘my turn’ to be running in Antarctica on March 7, 2013.  I will share with you the training I have found here amoung a region of mountain athletes.

Going to Antartica to run is a commitment.  It takes almost a month to travel to and from and involves a lot of days out at sea in seas known only as the roaring forties.  Waves.  Wind. Cold. Anything can happen on that one day we get to disembark and RUN 26.2 miles on a huge slab of ice.  And it takes some hefty coins.  Luckily, I started paying for it four years ago.  But in those four years, an additonal 2,800 to go was tacked on.

So I am training in Jackson, Wyoming. Try running in this!!! I have been experimenting with what I would need in Antarctica.  Good thing.  Though I had a Patagonia down hoodie sweater, a Northface Windstopper zip up, and an Arcteryx shell jacket as outer layers, I ran in -2 with a cotton jog bra and cotton panties.  About 6 miles into a twelve mile run I started to crunch.  My sweat was freezing the under garments to my body! Wow. Really. These were not the idea places to invite potential frost bite.  I now own Icebreaker wool briefs and bras.  This is a New Zealand wool from high mountain sheep that does not itch…kinda.   I also added Smartwood socks to my collection. Another respectable wool product company that  doesn’t itch.  Kinda.

Try this for a combination training goal…to run this remotest of remote Antarctica marathon and than return and hit the track and be trained for the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS in Track & Field to be held in Brazil, October of 2013.  Follow the blog to see how I will possibly make that happen.  But for now, blog along as I get ready for Antarctica.  Im testing out clothing in these pictures. It is -15 degrees. My fingers and face are questioning my choice to do this.  Watch the video below and get an idea of the terrain I will be running on.IMAG2481

December 5, 2012

GOBBLED UP!

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Thanksgiving Day is the biggest results timing day of the year.   Teton Valley had a Turkey Chase on the weekend and Jackson, Wyoming had a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day.  I had the immense privilege to get to work with the Teton County/ Jackson Parks & Recreation and Jill Harkness and crew. They put a lot of pre prep to making this a festive event for the entire community.  The crowd was treated to a sunny day and unseasonable higher temperatures than normal for this time of year. Two years ago it had to be cancelled when temperatures fell to minus 20 degrees.  The day prior to this year’s race it was snowing. Today, and so much a reason to be thankful for, it was sunny.  But for me, I was most thankful, thankful for this year was Itz About Time’s new Techy, Nick.  He is the BEST.  He comes from a background in successful cinema filming, producing feature films, and now operates a high action video company.  Check out www.Jacksonadventurevideo.com.  He, and his identical twin brother, have  put the successful rigors of Hollywood aside to enjoy this region, and we are blessed to have the  talent. Check out our new website.  www.itzabouttime.com.  Participants were delighted to be ‘officially’ timed with RFID chip timing.  Their almost standard comment was, “It’s about time we got professional timing.”  Get it.  The MC did, and the pun for the morning was…IT’S ABOUT TIME we got timing with ITz ABOUT TIME.  Gotta love it.About-us-Nick-1024x731

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