About Adrienne Ward

I was raised in the Bronx, NYC – first in a 1-bedroom apartment in the middle of the Bronx, and then in Riverdale, on a large estate facing the river. My grandparents had worked there for many years, so they were willed a life estate in the little laundry cottage. As they grew older, their children took turns living with them, so in 1950 it was my dad’s turn. I wandered the woods, swam in the Hudson, and developed my constant addiction to wild places.

I attended public school, and in eighth grade took the tests for NYC’s specialized high schools. I was accepted at Bronx High School of Science and at Hunter College High School. I chose Hunter because it was all girls, and it was a simpler commute.

After high school, I had a NYS Regents scholarship but no other money. So I went to Hunter College, Bronx campus. Somehow I discovered MIOCA (Metropolitan Intercollegiate Outing Clubs Association) which ran many hiking and camping trips with other college outing clubs. There I met people from RPI, MIT, Smith, Queens, CCNY, and lots of other colleges. Lifelong friendships resulted from these trips, to Lake George, to the Adirondacks, to the Shawangunks, and eventually to the Tetons. In 1959 I first climbed the Grand, and knew I wanted to live with these mountains.

After college, I first worked as a draftsman, and then as an elementary school teacher to help put my husband, Ron Brown, through grad school. We moved to Hanover, New Hampshire where he was enrolled at Thayer School of Engineering, at Dartmouth. However, after one year they took his grad stipend away and we could not afford the tuition. Subsequently he concentrated on aviation (flight instruction) as a career and I continued to teach. But this gave me the summers off, to climb in the West. Ron found flying work in the area in summers. We climbed and camped all over the Rockies, every summer, from 1960 right up to the year he died (1989).

After that, I worked a few more years, and then had enough money to buy a small house in Jackson, where I lived, still hiking and climbing and eventually whitewater river running. I started singing with the Hoot in 1993. I met Peter Ward in 1995. We married, at Transfiguration Chapel, in 1996, and continued to run rivers, he in raft or canoe, me in solo canoe. Before he was able to retire from the USGS, we lived in California and Washington DC for a while, but we knew we wanted to come back to Jackson. We bought our current house in 1998. For the next ten years we averaged two months a year on rivers in the West. We don’t do many rivers anymore, but we both sing at the Hoot relatively regularly. I write songs, read books, and try to grow tomatoes. Peter hikes, writes and researches climate change, and enjoys his children and grandchildren. It is a good life.

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