Monthly Archives: July 2013

Five Days In The Wilderness


Hello! Today I’d like to share with you our backpacking trip in the Beartooths. I’ll keep this post rather short as the pictures speak for themselves.

We hiked a trail called The Beaten Path trail in the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness. The trail is situated Northeast of Yellowstone National Park, in a rugged and remote mountain range.

Screen Shot 2013-07-27 at 7.02.07 AMWe took five days to do twenty-six miles because there is so much to see. Waterfalls, mountain peaks, hidden lakes, snow fields. But I am talking too much. Take a look at the photos!


Technically the sign at the end of the trail for us, but it makes for a good intro.


Lots and lots of stream crossings!



This was near Fossil Lake as we were getting above tree line.


The weather held out, and it was gorgeous.


Here we are skirting the edge of Fossil Lake, above 10,000 feet in elevation!



Fossil Lake.



We set up camp one night shortly after Fossil Lake. While the sun was glowing and the temperatures were warm, there were still hundreds of snowfields everywhere.



This is Dewey Lake, which had incredible views.



Impasse Falls, shortly after Dewey Lake.



A gorgeous lake named Lake-At-Falls.


On our way out, hiking past Rimrock Lake.



We were able to find enough downed wood to build a hefty campfire on our final night!

After we got off the trail, we played tourist for a day at Yellowstone National Park.


Old Faithful, and a very pretty doggy.

26Perfect beverages for the perfect vacation.

There you have it! Thus concludes our trip in the Beartooths. It was lovely, and I’d hike The Beaten Path again in a heartbeat. If you ever find yourself looking to plan a trip in the Montana/Wyoming area, I’d highly recommend it!


Next Up: Cambodia! We’ve been living here for five days, and I’ve got LOTS to share! Check back again for beautiful photos and captivating stories!


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The Art of Racing in the Beartooth Mountains

All right, all right, all right. Big changes here at Aloha Kuwait. After much counseling from my loved ones, I’ve reconsidered changing my blog title. You are now visiting the new and improved—or more geographically accurate—blog, “Angkors Away: Teaching in Cambodia, Trekking the Planet”. Love it, hate it, let me know in the comments below! The web address will always be so don’t worry. You can also still access all the old blog posts here on this site. We just decided to create a blog title that fused our present with our past. Hope you continue to enjoy reading as much as I do sharing!

Onto the news…

I’m currently reading a book called “The Art of Racing in the Rain,” by Garth Stein. Maybe you’ve heard of it. Been on myriad best-seller lists, I stumbled on it through the $3.99 specials in the iBooks store. The reason—I think—the book is so popular is that it’s told through the perspective of a dog, and has some pretty profound realizations on reality.

Seems fitting, right? That man’s (and woman’s) best friend holds the wisdom of the world. But, some dogs seem more promising than others, if you know what I mean. We all know the difference between wise, sage dogs and the crazy, glossy-eyed dogs. Kind of like people, I guess. But I digress.

About half-way through the novel the dog, Enzo, reflects on humankind’s obsession with time:

“People are always worried about what’s happening next. They often find it difficult to stand still, to occupy the now without worrying about the future. People are not generally satisfied with what they have; they are very concerned with what they are going to have”

I’m sitting on a plane to Guangzhou, China. My summer in Wisconsin is officially over. Sean and I are about to begin the saga of our travels in Southeast Asia. Enzo’s reflections affected me so much because we are flying, hundreds of miles an hour, towards a future we have been obsessing over for months.

When I was in Kuwait, I obsessed about Wisconsin.

When I was in Wisconsin, I obsessed about the upcoming responsibilities of Southeast Asia.

Now, on the plane, I am sorting through photographs of the epic summer that it was, and longing for the past.

Life sure moves quickly, doesn’t it? I am thankful for my blog so that I can take moments of my life to reflect on the memories I’ve made, and the beauty of all that surrounds me. Hopefully I can be more like Enzo and not worry about what’s happening next. If you genuinely—and prudently—live in the moment, the future will take care of itself.

On to the photographs! I will wrap up this summer in two posts on the Beartooth Mountains. I hope to be updating you on Cambodia within the next week, so I want to share the events of the summer before moving on.

It’s an annual… journey. Trip. Excursion. Jaunt. Wandering. Odyssey. Pilgrimage.  Yes, certainly a pilgrimage. “A journey to a place associated with someone or something well known or respected.” Our annual pilgrimage is to the mountains. My family and I started our pilgrimage to the Beartooth mountains by driving the long and not-so-lonely road from Madison to Montana along I90.


Our first stop was in the National Grasslands outside of Badlands National Park in South Dakota. We went dispersed camping, which is when a national forest or national grassland allows camping spread over a wide area, pretty much anywhere you’d like so long as it’s not too near a busy road or destroying the natural landscape. The dogs ran, we sat outside watching the sun set, and my mom found a blooming cactus she wanted to take home, hence the plastic bag.


These blooming cacti were all over. You really had to watch where you were walking!


Next we made our annual stop at Wall Drug. Having started as a drugstore offering free ice water in the early 1900’s, it is now a popular stop on folks’ journeys West. I love the jackalope and the five cent coffee.


Our final destination was Cooke City, Montana.  It’s a tiny town between I94 and Yellowstone National Park. The Beartooths offer wilderness areas, high mountain peaks, waterfalls, cascades, and great camping and hiking. We loved the Bearclaw  café as they had great pastries and free wifi.


The family with a nice vista of the Beartooth range. The pointy mountain is Pilot Peak.


The most famous aspect of the Beartooth region is Beartooth Pass. It’s a highway that runs from through the heart of the mountains, and the pass tops out at over 10,000 feet!


Our first day hike was to Round Lake. (Exciting name, huh?) We wanted to test our gear before the five-day backpacking trip we were planning to undertake. That’s also what’s great about National Forests and wilderness areas—dogs can hike on the trail with you.


My Dad picked up a fishing license in Cooke City and caught a ton of beautiful trout.


Emily and I marveling at the grandeur.


Along the Beartooth Highway, there is the beautifully restored Clay Butte fire tower. It has been restored through donations and using all original materials. If you notice, I am sitting on a stool with glass cups on the bottom. This was for when the ranger had to be in the fire tower during a lightening strike. The glass protected the ranger from electrocution!


Emily on the lookout balcony of the Clay Butte fire tower.


Then we went on a five-day backpacking trip. BUT, that excitement must be reserved for next time. There is a lot of turbulence, and I’ve been on this plane for nine hours with no end in sight. Is this an example of when I should be living in the moment?

See you again soon!

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Ten Things I Love About Summers In Wisconsin

Happy July! Sorry it’s been a month since my last post, and I know I promised to keep you updated on all that is an expat’s summer in America. Well, that sounds a little grandiose. Today I’ve got the top 10 things I love about summer in Wisconsin. I am typing this on my iPad, so I’ll unfortunately have to brief. I like the WordPress app and all, but tapping out letters on a touchscreen grows tedious. Anyways, that’s not what you care about. You are interested in what makes Wisconsin so great! So, forgive me for the awkward autocompletes that I will probably overlook, and enjoy my Wisco Top 10.

#1. Watching critters cross the road.


We saw this little guy as we were driving between Lake Mills and Watertown on some backroads. I have always been afraid of turtles as I’ve heard they’ve got massive chomping power, so we herded him off the road into the grass as best we could.


#2. Day trips to nearby towns.

I love America for the ease at which you can drive anywhere. You can just get in a car and go, no strings attached. No passport, no currency to exchange, no language to learn. (That last one sounds a bit ethnocentric, but I mean it in the most polite way. Try describing travelers diarrhea to a pharmacist in a foreign count for once, and you’ll know what I mean!)

My dad and I took a day trip to Galena, Illinois in early June. He was meeting a friend for business, and he thought I’d like getting to see the town. Galena is the natural form of lead, which is how the town got its big boom back in the day. It is incredibly well preserved, from every manicured lawn to every old fashioned home and restaurant.

The Desoto House Hotel was built in 1855, and Abe Lincoln gave a speech from the main balcony in support of John Fremont’s bid for presidency. Galena also holds the home of Ulysses S. Grant, which you can still tour to this day. I love exploring around the Midwest!

The Main Street in Galena. Picturesque, isn’t it?

#3. My parents backyard.
#4. Sitting on the deck with my husband and my family in my parents backyard.


#5. Trivia Nights! This was at Tyranena Brewery in Lake Mills, home to one of my favorite IPA’s, Bitter Woman. Needless to say, we did not triumph in trivia.


#6. Watching my sister play with her horses. However, that’s an understatement. My sister is pretty much a horse whisperer. Ever since she was six, she has professionally shown horses. She went to the American Pony Finals in Kentucky when she was ten, and came in the top 50% in the nation. Not bad for a peewee, huh? This horse’s name is Luna, and Emily bought her “green”, which means the horse isn’t used to being ridden… Or brushed… Or trailered… Or anything. The day I took this photo was the day Luna took her first steps with Emily on her back. I am so proud of my little sister!


#7. The Old Fashioned. If you’re a Madison native, I need not say no more. If you’re not, it’s a restaurant on the capital square that serves everything that is quintessentially Wisco. Their old fashioned are to die for, and I am in love with their portobello burger. They serve everything from deep fried cheese curds to Schlitz to Wisconsin chili and local burgers. Emily loves them for their cookies.
#7.5 Playing cribbage in a place where everyone knows cribbage and every bar has a cribbage board.


#8. Korth County Park in Lake Mills. Sean and I had our two-year anniversary picnic there this year. Due to his knee surgery, we haven’t done anything too adventurous this summer, so a picnic was a perfect romantic afternoon. Korth Park overlooks Rock Lake, and is the perfect way to enjoy the glacial hills of southern Wisconsin. (If you look hard enough, you can see the pyramids in the bottom of Rock Lake…. Look it up…)


#9. Going out for Friday fish frys. This was at Donny’s Girl, Southeast of Watertown.


#10. Gearing up for our annual summer backpacking trip! This year we struck out for the Beartooth Mountains in Southern Montana. As I type this I am sitting in the Bearclaw Bakery as it is pouring rain. We were supposed to leave for a five-day backpacking trip today, but the weather had other plans. I am not even in Wisconsin, but I always post my blogs in chronological order. Maybe it’s a teacher thing.


What is your favorite thing about how you like to spend your summer? Post in the comments below, and stay tuned for our adventure in the Beartooths!

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