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Weekend Adventures: Recharging the internal battery

I am fortunate to have a life where I get to spend a lot of time outdoors and take on new adventures. I would say this lifestyle is by choice and not something that just 'happens.'

Winter is one of my favorite seasons. I love the snow, the way the forest looks when covered under a white blanket, the cold sunrises with exaggerated sun dogs streaming up through the sky, and especially hoarfrost when the sun hits it in the morning.

Our family moved to Park Rapids in 2009, and a really good friend explained to us that you will never want to leave the area during winter if you figure out what your winter hobby is. We have explored a lot of the usual hobbies of snowshoeing, skiing, sledding and ice fishing.

For me, ice fishing is paramount. I love to ice fish. I spend most of my free time in the winter trying to introduce people to the experience of the sport. Somewhere along the winter timeline, the thought hits me: I have not taken the time to really go out and spend the time fishing for myself.

I made an effort to go out with a friend around a week ago. We needed to go fishing. Both of us were dealing with the pressures of our 'real lives' and we needed to decompress: two guys on the ice, trying to catch fish.

My friend and I connected on the phone and sorted our mental Rolodex of lakes and which species we could have a fun time chasing in the limited time we had.  We decided on one, and committed to meeting at the bait shop.

Twenty minutes or better later, my friend walks in and after asking how he was, he said, "Do you ever have a day where you just get fed up?"

Knowing this is a guy who one of the most genuine and generous people around, I could tell he was venting in good humor, and this fishing experience was overdue for him, too. We sorted through what we needed for the day trip and I realize that I left several items out of my fish house that we needed, including batteries for my auger. He empathetically retold his last few minutes of having to go back home because he forgot various items.

We chuckled and likely amused the guys in the bait store and decided we better get going.  Three steps into the parking lot, I asked him, "Did you grab the minnows?"

He exclaimed something, and I turned back and secured our bait.

Upon getting to the access, I was getting the fish house ready and a vehicle was pulling off the lake. A few sentences in the conversation, we were informed we were wasting our time, and there were no more fish in the lake, and the ones that were there weren't biting a thing.  We were told we might as well just pack up and go home.

My friend looked at me, I smirked and said, "Game on!"

He laughed back and said, 'Oh yeah, I love when people say that. Let's go catch a bunch of them."

We adventured out. We laughed a lot. We fished a lot. We talked about life. We dialed in what was important to us, reclaimed our strength to go back to our real lives and discussed how we could make a difference on the next generation. The Northwoods and the lakes always recharge my spirit. I am fortunate to live here, and I am grateful for great friends that feel the same.

Oh, and as for the fish, we caught a ton of them!