In Your Own Back Yard

Now, I’m not originally from North Dakota like most of you. I come from a densely-populated area just Northwest of Seattle. Coming to Killdeer was the biggest culture shock of my entire young life. No skyscrapers, no Starbucks, shoot, practically no people!

By Bryan Katz
But, a person can breathe out here. I look up at the sky after the sun goes down, and I can see countless stars; whereas the city life is so lit up, it’s hard to make out a single one. The wildlife in North Dakota is just that; wild. It isn’t contained or chased away by the constant growth of a city.
There are certain aspects about moving to a small town that are absolutely tossed aside when deciding where to move your young family of four.

My wife, Kelly, and I took a drive Tuesday afternoon. To where? We weren’t exactly sure. But, when we got there, we were shocked at what was practically in our very own back yard. The Little Missouri Arm Recreational Area; only 15 miles North of Dunn Center. And the drive up is almost as beautiful as the view once you’re there.
We moved to Dunn Center last month, after I’d taken a position with the Herald. And to be honest, we weren’t sure what to expect. There’s a bar, a random vending machine on the corner outside of City Hall, a bunch of old clunker cars and a park to take our two toddlers. It’s a quiet, nice place to raise a family.
But on Tuesday, we wanted to be spontaneous, and while grandma was watching one of our kiddos, we decided to skip the left turn to go home, and just keep going straight through Dunn Center. That decision was followed by easily one of the most breathtaking views of wild, open freedom.
Let me tell you guys, when you’re driving down the dirt road towards the boat ramp (and we don’t even own a boat, nor a vehicle capable of hauling one,) your perspective changes a little. Coming from a big city, you just don’t get these moments. These awestruck moments where there’s nothing to do except pull your camera out and shout, “Hey honey! Did you see that?!” Sure, there are big mountains, gigantic fir trees and vast meadows in Western Washington. But, to see a flowing lake or river beckoning through canyons, with trees all around, it’s completely surreal.

Go out and look around you; because 15 miles away, there could be the most wonderful thing you’ve seen in a long, long time. You never know what could be sitting right in your back yard.


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