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Published on: Sep. 20, 2011

was like something out of a fairy tale.

I grew up roaming the woods of my grandfather’s 200-acre farm in Douglas County, but I don’t recall ever feeling quite that remote before. There were times it felt like Dylan and I were the only two people on the planet in that forest, and it made me wonder what it must have been like for the first pioneers to settle the area. After a crazy week at work, the solitude was delightful.

The woodland restoration project was fascinating to see, even more so when you read the accompanying explanation from the Department of Conservation website that explains the work that’s gone into ensuring this forest is around for future generations to enjoy.

The scenery was amazing, but the real value of this trip was the time in the car. I’m so busy and Dylan’s growing up so fast. It was good to push the pause button for a day to just go on an adventure with my son. It created the environment for the kinds of conversations that can’t happen in snippets of stolen time.

Little Dixie Lake

By the time we made it to the Little Dixie Lake for our planned fishing expedition, we’d reached that point in fall where plants, animals and human alike are all waiting for the first snowflake to fall. You know it’s coming and can feel it in the air. But there’s just enough sunshine left in the day to make you want to run out and do all the things you didn’t get your fill of in the summer: catch one more fish, hike one more trail, or ride your bike.

With the exception of the rare golden or fiery red tree, the hills were a patchwork of muted fall colors as they faded softly into winter.

When we arrived at the lake, I was surprised by the open, crisp beauty of the place. Just off the parking lot, boats were lined up neatly, dormant for the season and waiting for warm weather and their return to the lake.

We might have missed boat season, but there were still two large, metal docks that were perfect for catching crappie. (I know—I caught the first fish of the day!)

The fishing holes we normally frequent close to our home are tough on novice anglers. There are currents and rocks to contend with. There’s a hog-nose

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