Travel

Mother of Scorpions Makes Fabled Return to Montana’s Promised Land

A few days ago I awoke to find an email from The Mother of Scorpions. She, catcher of large fish, eater of insects, wanderer of dark alleys, and my dearest friend, a true enabler in all things daring and unquestioning partner in countless (& counting) acts of civil disobedience, Sarah Cuiksa, was set to arrive in a few days time.

Sarah Cuiksa Catching Big Fish in Alaska

I suppose I didn’t quite receive an email from Cuiksa. Rather, I received an email confirmation from the Greyhound Bus company, telling me that this Saturday, after some 3+ years of traveling to lands unknown, Sarah would return to the set of our last great adventure.

The Last Tango: Cuiksa & I Returning from Old Man Lake. Glacier National Park, Montana.

Cuiksa & I Admiring the Miracle of High-Elevation Sausage Fingers on Hike to Old Man Lake, Glacier NP, 2012.

Hyalite Reservoir, Gallatin Mountains, Bozeman, Montana

Cuiksa & I with Our Favorite Male Caregivers & Adventure Guides at Hyalite Reservoir, Gallatin Mountains, Bozeman, Montana.

Was I surprised? Not quite.

Sarah Cuiksa Adventure Travel Photos

Since finishing college, Sarah’s stints of not traveling have been short-lived, far between, and relatively non-existent. So, this June, when following several years abroad she finally made a comeback to our hometown of Cleveland, Ohio (just days after David, the Dogs and I had left to go back to Montana), I knew it couldn’t be long before sanity and nostalgia drew her back to The Last Best Place. After all, Montana is for badasses and if there ever was one word to describe my Polish sister this would be it.

Montana Is For Badasses Google Search Screenshot

Despite having re-entered American civilization nearly a month ago, Cuiksa had refused to get a cell phone, so our last few weeks of conversations had been limited to short spurts of Google chat messages and failed video chat attempts ruthlessly thwarted by Charter Internet’s AOL dial-up-like cable connection speeds. Traveling throughout south east Asia had also not lent itself to more than occasional updates on still being alive and a few newsworthy life events like Cuiksa’s purchase of “Shit, What? O’Connor” (the six-string acoustic she picked up in Ho Chi Minh City in April, 2014), and my subsequent procurement of baby Dinah last December.

Sarah Cuiksa and Shit Oconner The Six String Acoustic

Sarah with Shit O’Conner, the Six String Acoustic Guitar

Shit What OConner Sarah Cuiksas Guitar

The Man Safely Tucked into His Boating Getup

Consequently, we were nearly 4 years behind on life and our options for catching up looked grim. Thus, despite having deeply contemplated a culinary career in Chicago’s kitchens, Cuiksa noted the increasingly dire circumstances of time and space between us, and boarded a bus headed west.

Her destination? Missoula, Montana: a place where epics are born, heroes are made and new beginnings are daily embarked on, where time moves slowly and the people never grow up. A beautiful amalgam of wishful thinkers and creators sustaining a still enchanted slice of the American dream.

Our 1st Bison Jam

Our 1st Bison Jam – Yellowstone 2012

So, here’s to getting lost, being late, and surviving our next great Montanan adventure with ultimate tact, supreme agility, and an unprecedented array of new wilderness skills.

Dag and Sarah Oldman Lake Hike Glacier National Park Montana

For more Cuiksa, follow her on Sarah Cuiksa on Instagram and check out her blog. Find out how an island, an iPhone, and a backwards tattoo changed her life (Parts I & II), and join her for 30 strange minutes on Khao San Road, or 12 hours in Hanoi, Vietnam.

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