Author Archives: Claire '11

And the dish ran away with the spoon….

Pass. Slap! Pass. Slap! Fifteen card players sit around a 20 person master work of craftsmanship solid Chilean Cyprus table, passing cards, one at a time, to the person on their right. It is dark outside of the open air quincho, a Chilean structure built just for social events and barbecues, and all life seems to be concentrated around this one table. Bugs circle the light above, buzzing their way into oblivion as the twanging strains of mandolin passes through the air. We’ve been kayaking most of the day, and after a delicious asado (barbecue) dinner, our stomachs are sated, though we continue to snack on freshly baked bread and stellar Chilean wine. And so we play Spoons- the best card game ever. With my eyes on the cards in front of me, I venture a half-glance up to monitor the status of the other players. Nada happening. Pass. Slap! We try to pick up and discard as fast as possible, always looking for the next card, for the hopeful completion of a matching hand of four. This is cutthroat—a pisco sour and Spoons street-cred are on the line. Along the middle of the table is an array of cutlery. Fourteen silver spoons, to be exact- one less than the number of players.

I have three queens, two red, one black. I get an eight, discard. I get a four, discard. Where is the queen when I need her? I see a movement out of the corner of my eye, a flash of silver. Blindly, I grab for the spoon in front of me- too late, it’s gone! My hand goes to the left, the right, all taken. There, there at the end of the table! I dive, sprawling to reach for the utensil.  My hand connects, fingers gripping the skinny handle for all they’re worth. I’m still in the game. Player number 15 has been demoted to much laughter and good-natured joshing. One down, fourteen to go. I want that pisco. The bugs buzz and the mandolin continues as I pour another glass of wine, and collect my cards for the next round (taking care to place my wine in a safe spot lest I be slow on the spoon again). Just another sweet night at Pucon Kayak Hostel.

Elementary, my dear Watson

Six months, 45 books, five drafts, and incalcuble cups of coffee later, my Watson Fellowship application is finally turned in.  The Watson is an amazing grant given out each year to a few chosen seniors at select colleges around the U.S. In in a nut-shell it gives the recipient 25,000 dollars to complete their passion- whether is be saving emu’s in Uzbekistan or making a movie about skate-culture around asia; Pretty darn cool if you ask me. For a few of us at CC these past few weeks and months have been consumed by our Watson ideas. Researching, writing, mulling, re-writing, working out kinks in ideas, and getting contacts have many times trumped social time, sports and even class. When you’re competing against students all over the nation for the same money, you can bet your application (finger’s crossed) is a shining beacon of good writing and well-thought out ideas. Soooo anyways, I turned it in last month and a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders- there was no more I could do besides hope to make it into the CC round and get an interview slot.

Two days later I heard from the committee that my Watson quest was at its end.  No CC interview, no National level, no 25,000 dollars, do not pass go, do not collect 200 dollars: done, finito. After so much work I was more than a little crushed. My shoulders sagged a bit, I retreated to the art studio, stared out the window, did a little moping. Then I remembered that, really, what the Watson is about is doing the grunt work, the research, getting the contacts. It’s about understanding what your passions, wants and dreams are. Its isn’t about the end goal. Getting the Watson is the icing on the cake, going out and accomplishing your idea on your own, now that’s a grand plan.

My Watson Idea- Why the Rivers Run Dry- a documentary by kayak of the people and places most affected by climate change.

Uganda, Zambia, Australia, India, Chile, Argentina, Thailand, Turkey



Heat, Snails, Rain- (Italia, France, and the United Kingdom)

CIAO!It’s pouring down rain. Actually, it’s biblical. I’m sitting in by creek-boat at the bottom of a class IV-V Scottish river, grinning from ear to ear, and I couldn’t be more drenched and happy. Sheet of water are careening off the glens around us, the landscape is wild and green, and it’s pretty much like Robert Burns* just walked out from the mountains to greet us- it’s that unbelievable here.

My family moved to Scotland about 4 years ago. When I was packing for my freshman year of college, they were packing for a trip from Corvallis, Oregon, across the Atlantic to the Scottish highlands. Oban and Ft. William are the nearest cities (equidistant), both half an hour away, and the house they rent is situated right on a loch (don’t say lake around here, they’ll know you’re a foreigner, though I don’t think after a summer in italy my skin tone helps- people here are never more than a few shades lighter than milk). (just re-read that sentence and it sounds super hoity-toity, but really, even my family members are so pale!)

It’s been awesome summer. Italy for 7 weeks, staying in Ravenna with a host family (such cool people!) biking to the beach after class, learning the mandolin, sampling every kind of gelato known to man and generally having a swwweeeet time. A few of us joined this gym called ‘The Body House Experience.’ Oh yes, it was quite the place. Probably my favorite part of the day was going there (it may or may not have been the only air-conditioned place in all of Italia).

Then on to the Scottish Highlands where my fam lives. Drove down to Wales and France to do some surfing and kayaking for a couple weeks, then back up to the highlands for some gnarly boating. I love this place! Scottish creeks are unique (coming from a snowpack fed Colorado system) because they are almost entirely rain-fed. The more it rains the more you boat- bring on the rain! Ten more days here and then back to the Colorado sunshine for my (delayed, haha) senior year! YAY! Can’t wait to be back at school (for real, I miss CC!). I’m living on Yampa field and have awesome roomates. Ciao for now! -Clara

*Robert Burns- Scottish Poet and National Hero, also known as Bobby Burns, renowned for long, complicated poetry touting the beauty of the Scottish Highlands.


In 3 days I will be embarking upon CC’s Summersession Italy. I love Colorado, but really I can’t wait. It’s been a good transition thus far…school ended last wednesday and since then I’ve done some rafting and kayaking with friends (class IV numbers, and the pine creek section of the arkansas) and some play boating in Buena Vista. My knee is still messed up, so no frisbee still, but I’m doing a lot of physical therapy and hopefully the time off athletics this summer will be the cure. I’m beginning research on the Watson application (imagine getting 25,000 dolalrs to explore your passion for a year!). Egads.
Anyhow, the hardest thing about the end of academic year has been twofold. One, saying goodbye to senior friends (who I technically should have graduated with had I not taken almost the whole year off), and packing for the inbetween time of this week. I needed to know how much stuff to bring to italy, but needed alot of the stuff for this week. I know it sounds dumb but it’s the truth! Think of it as a venn diagram limited to the space in my/my friend’s car.
Anyhow, as I was saying….Italy. Eight weeks in Ravenna, wine tastings (mandatory field trip) in Tuscany, host families and language schools. I’ve worked every summer since I was 14 so this is definitely going to be a treat. Oh, and my ticket back is for August 20th (program ends July 11), so we’re going traveling….my family lives in scotland so we might visit them, kayaking in the dolomites, hiking in the swiss alps (a friend offered his flat), ampsterdam, techno and friends. I CAN’T WAIT.



DSC_0347.JPGTaos, NM
Crested Butte  - 104

Crested Butte, CO

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Portland, OR

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View from bedroom to Pike’s Peak, Colorado Springs, CO

Oakwood Apartments, Burbank, LA, CA

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34th and 11th, NYC, NY

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Jersey Shore, from NYC looking west, NYC, NY


Venice, Italy

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Toy Museum, Prague, Czech Republic

Time Time Time

At first glance it seems so easy to blog. You log on, you write, you press publish. In reality,  not that easy- the writing isn’t hard, it’s the finding time part that keeps stymying me.

My world this year has been continually in flux. From August through December, I was at National Geographic Adventure Magazine in New York city, working 45 hour weeks and enjoying every minute of it. Then I was in Scotland visiting my family. Then it was off to Breckenridge for 3 months to work for a photographic gallery and telemark, a lot. Then there was my class in hollywood–utterly amazing- take the class if you ever get the chance. Now I’m in Museum Curatorial studies, and it’s eight block and sunny and beautiful outside. In less than three weeks I’ll be in Ravenna, Italy, with the CC summer program.

Where does the time go???

I know it passes day to day, but where does the cumulative go? I don’t feel rushed but there are still a million and one things I want to do. In the mean-time, I’m writing a Watson Application, enjoying the beautiful people around me, and designing a museum exhibition for my class. Blues and shoes is tomorrow, and Llamapalooza is next weekend, as is regionals for ultimate frisbee. So much to do, so little time, so many cliches- all founded in truth.

Be Present.



So January is almost gone. Excuse me? Where did it go, I would like to know? So much to write about.. I finished up with National Geographic in late December.  It was a completely life-changing experience.  The job itself was great, good people, amazing bosses, yada yada, but I believe the real kicker was how much confidence I gained. In moving around the city, getting my work done, meeting people, hanging out, it all just gelled in the end. After finishing my internship, I took a 1 week, 40 hour bartending class- let me tell you- coolest thing ever. I don’t drink that often (I’m 21) but I sure can make a lot of money off other people’s vices. A bartender on a good night can make upwards of 700 dollars.  Sweet.

 After leaving New York, frantically packing all my boxes of books clothing and odds and ends, I jetted off to Scotland, where my family lives. Christmas was white! Yaya.  I got to see my two younger sisters and my mom, which was so nice. I got to be a kid again. ‘mama, will you make us cookies?’ Suffice to say it was awesome. But I was beginning to sorely miss Colorado. Sunshine, fresh air, and happy people. Scots are a dour lot, I think I saw one bright color (burgundy) in almost 2 weeks. Sheesh!

              Anyhow, the saga continues. After Scotland I booked it back to Seattle to pick up my car and drive the 24 hours to Colorado Springs, where I got my stuff from the storage unit and drove BACK up to Breckenridge, where I’m currently living. The next day I started work at the Todd Powell Gallery, in Frisco, CO. He’s a really neat guy who does large format photography. He owns a 40,000 dollar printer to print them on. Hmm, Land Cruiser, Canon printer, land cruiser, canon printer, which should I choose? He’s teaching me to use it, super complicated color profiles and all, which is really exiting. I’ve got 22 days of telemarking in, and it’s finally starting to dump in the mountains. Poowwddeeerrrrr! I’m at CC today to catch up with people, and practice frisbee with my team, Lysistrata’s Tools. We’re going to Las Vegas in 2 weeks for a tournement entitled, ‘Trouble In Vegas,’ hopefully we’ll have a blast. More to come in the very near future.


               Yours Truly,


                                 Claire Montana Jencks


NYC Halloween Advertisment

Halloween is almost upon us in the city, and spirit (and decorations) abound. I took the F train to the land of Brooklyn a couple of days ago, just so I could wear my hipster apparel and use my trendy messenger bag, and when I stepped out at the Carrol Gardens stop, the world had changed. In place of Manhattan’s impressive buildings, wide bustling streets and frenetic horn-honking-people scurrying-cars swerving vibe, a human sized environment had emerged: narrow shady streets with families out for walks, couples with their hands in each-others pockets, dog walkers and stroller pushers galore. If I ever needed a family vibe to set me right, I should come here. Most of the brownstones (2-3 story connected houses built out of brown sandstone) had tons of decorations. No. I mean TONS. I couldn’t even see facade of one entire house it was so loaded with skulls and fake spiderwebs and scythes and pumpkins and plastic tombstones and whew, I could go on. This happens to be a post of run on sentences, but it fits my vibe right now, so hang tight.

I kept wandering and found these things:

Forty-three carved pumpkins, numerous spider webs (hard to count for obvious reasons), 2 children who decided to dress up early (1 michael jackson and 1 sesame street bigbird, related?), 20 cozy coffee cafes, many hipsters, 1 Trader Joes, 1 3rd floor balcony with a giant ladder leading to the ground (break-in? bored tenants? fire!?) and 40 people on bikes.

Thousands of golden orange leaves dotted the asphalt, with most trees in that lazy stage of half-dress, where thousands of the leaves are gone but many still remain. So many people whizzed by on bicycles that I though I might be back in Colorado or even the NW. Here, though, people do the craziest things on bikes. They shoot through intersections, don’t wear helmets, wear helmets from the 1960’s (did they even have helmets back then?), and lock their bikes with the thickest chains I’ve ever seen. Crazy stuff. At least they ride their bikes and the subway, though. One of the ads on the F train states that NYC residents use 75% less energy than the majority of Americans, simply because they use public transportation. It’s one of the things only things I hate about Colorado- public transportation sucks. To get into the mountains takes more gas than I care to admit and though CC’s ski union does offer a ski-bus, it only goes to a couple resorts and fills up fast. That said, if you have a friend with a car, you’re set for 4 years of POWDDEEERRRR and great company. Long story short, I wish Amtrak was as reliable and widespread in the West as it is here in the Eastern Corridor.

To conclude this conglomeration of random thoughts, I shall orate on the celebration of this coming weekend. NYC has, no not the world’s largest ball of twine (1,475 miles long, Cawker City, Kansas), not the world’s largest rocking chair (Cuba, MO), nope, not even the world’s largest yogic circle (unknowable because yogis don’t care about such things). NYC does have the biggest baddest Halloween parade, fo sho. It’s in the west village, near where I live and it’s been an institution for 36 years. Needless to say:

I AM STOKED for this weekend.

More Halloween NYC news at–its-halloween_b_338233.html

POST SCRIPT:  If you don’t read the HUFFINGTON POST, you should. While it sounds like a bad dream from the 241th Harry Potter movie, the Huff is actually a very well respected news organization, second (in my book) only to the behemoth of the New York Times. The great thing about the former company, is that it is strictly online- and free. (Question of the day: how are newspapers like the NYTimes staying afloat?)



The President Came to Town

The President of the United States, home of the free, land of the brave, visited New York City yesterday. People thronged along 34th street between 8th and 9th that evening as I walked home, pressing up against the long metal barricades erected by NYC’s finest. Black school girls did chants, white Rastafarians looked cool and grungy, holding up big ‘Make it Legal’ signs and I went to the YMCA and did yoga instead. I know, I know, I go to college for a reason, but 10 hours of staring at a computer screen will do that to a girl. And besides, with Obama in the media so much, I can probably YouTube him tonight and get a better view than if I had stayed with the hordes.
We’re shipping articles to Washington DC (National Geographic headquarters) this week and the pace at work is frantic. I got to work at 9:30am (we usually start around 10) and except for taking a few minutes for lunch with the other interns, my butt was firmly planted to my red yoga ball until 6:30. My eyeballs must be getting muscles of steel worked into them. Ok, so maybe I did cycle between my yoga ball and the copy machine, but that was it, I swear! And every time I came back to my desk another stack of something was waiting for me to fix in Illustrator, Quark (who names their computer program Quark?) or Photoshop. I love the pace! The people I work with are awesome, and we got through the day with Pandora (my favorite internet site EVER) and a little bit of laughter. So anyhow, that’s why I skipped the Pres’ and did some down dogs instead. In New York City, life goes on.
Claire, the Art and Production Intern