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Hidden Lakes and Coworking Spaces

It's the sort of place I really wasn't sure existed in the world any more.

Let’s just call it Lost Lake because, frankly, I don’t want you to know where it is or for you to go there.

It's the kind of place that made up my boyhood daydreams. As far as I’m concerned, it’s still up there with the Hundred Acre Wood and Neverland. 

It was almost a decade ago that my father-in-law took me there. We turned off an already small road onto an even smaller road, its entrance hidden behind a canopy of trees, no street sign to be found.

More sand than dirt, we slid and slipped down a single track road that led us to question more than once whether we were still on a road or just careening off, lost in the woods.

Our guide was certain we were headed in the right direction, but I watched as my brother-in-law-to-be squirmed and winced with each near miss of a tree and I started to run through various contingency plans for rescue - each of which involved me making a long solo trek back to civilization to get help.

Finally (and supposedly, right where it was remembered to be), the unmistakeable sparkle of sunlight on a lake flashed through the trees. 

Lost Lake was worth the trip. 

We stepped out onto a small sandy shore, gazing in uncharacteristic silence onto the mirror-still surface of the storybook perfect lake. An unbroken curtain of trees lined the shore in every direction.

I wondered if anyone else even knew it was there. 

The following year, I took my wife. The entrance was a little easier to find this go around. I navigated the trail with confidence. As we stood together on the shore, the magic and the awe was still there. The only sounds were birds, and the only movement was the breeze gently pushing branches.

There was no cell phone service, but we did take photos. There was a circle of rocks that looked like they may have contained a small fire at some point long ago. I tried to convince myself that it was just pareidolia. 

A few years passed before I visited Lost Lake again. 

The next visit was different. Tent, supplies, and a small child.

There was also a new pressure as I had convinced a new mother, that bringing a one year old child into the middle of the woods, with no cell service, no electricity, no toilet, and no people, was a good idea. 

As we slowed down to look for the small sandy road, I noticed there was now a street sign marking the entrance. Maybe there had always been a street sign? 

I thought that maybe the track was a little wider.

To confirm my suspicion, another vehicle was on it’s way out. We pulled over a little and it passed with ease. Surely that wouldn’t have been possible 6 or 7 years ago? 

For the first time, I noticed small paths leading off the trail and distinctly recognized man-made signs through the trees. No mistaking these for a coincidence of nature. Other people had been here.

As we unpacked and set up our camp a few more cars passed and at one point we noticed we even had a few bars of service on our phones. This was definitely new.

Everything fell away as we held our son’s tiny hands and helped him wade through the calm, inches deep water. Our dog Lady, now a veteran of the Lost Lake waters pranced in the soft sand and kept an eye out for unseen dangers. The magic was still there.

A hole in our air mattress, bugs, the stress of managing a small child near an enticing body of water, and another small child limited our next couple of visits over the years to just a few hours.

On one trip, we noticed a sign on the trail indicating that there was no camping allowed at Lost Lake.  On another, we noticed bright blue paint on the trees ensuring visitors knew they were still on the right path.

On our last trip, we noticed the street sign was new, and the street name had changed. The entrance was wider and at one point we were stuck behind another vehicle that was proceeding with a little too much caution for our liking. They pulled over to let us pass. 

The no camping sign now had another sign beneath it with more rules and there were a couple of navigational signs pointing off road vehicle drivers in the right direction. 

A few years back a tiny dock had appeared on the shore. Just a couple of cinder blocks and a pallet. We found that this year someone had screwed down some plywood on top of the pallet (I once heard that screws were the rich man’s nails and I think it’s critical to point out these were in fact screws and not nails).

Our son asked us if he could take his clothes off and jump off the dock (wait, when did he start being able to communicate his desires to us? I don't know. Time.).

We watched as our boys played in the water with their construction vehicles and we sent some Snapchats to the family group. Lady still patrolled the area vigilantly. Further down the shore we could see another family enjoying Last Lake almost as much as we were. 

As we packed up and drove back to the main road, I couldn’t help but think the path was a bit shorter now.

We noticed someone had recently constructed a nice looking board walk through a particularly swampy section of the woods and it was evident that despite the no camping signs, people had cleared out a few new camping spots with easier access and closer to the road.

I couldn’t help but feel a little melancholy. Lost Lake was a little less lost. 

I’ve seen it happen before. Paradise in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and Havasu Falls in Arizona are two examples that immediately come to mind.

Otherworldly places that exist outside of time. Until time catches up I guess.

After being developed into a number of organized campsites, Paradise had to be closed down due to overuse and the trash left behind. Havasu now has a well known lottery system to limit the number of visitors, which still numbers in the tens of thousands each year.

I partially blame social media. You can’t help but take a photo of the majestic double falls of Havasupai or the volcanic rock formations of the Lake Superior shoreline. And you can’t help but share it to make your friends jealous or show faceless followers from around the world how well traveled you are. 

But it can’t just be Meta’s fault. 

There’s something more at play. More and more people seem to be drawn to these places. More and more people are seeking an escape. They are seeking the things that we’ve effectively eliminated from our day to day lives. 

Nature. Green space. Actual space. Silence. Birds. Bees. Flowers. Trees. A friendly wave. Peace.

We seem to have just accepted the idea that these things can’t coexist in the same places we live and work everyday.

Through regulation and questionable (at best) development we’ve built cities and towns that people feel the need to flee every weekend. And as we flee, we eventually bring the same problems we are escaping to the places to which we escape.

It’s only a matter of time until someone sues the screw wielding rich man who put the plywood on the Lost Lake dock and a new sign goes up in front of the dock. “Do Not Use Dock”. Followed by “No Lifeguard on Duty”. Followed by a lifeguard… 

The dock will probably still be there though, it’s easier to put up a sign than deal with a problem.

Was the dock even a problem to begin with?  


As I always seem to, I know what you’re thinking. What the heck are you talking about? And why am I still reading this?

I think you are still reading, because you’ve seen it too. And it worries you a little bit too. And perhaps you are hoping for an answer or even want to be a part of a solution.


I don’t have the answer you are looking for. The answer. 

I do have a coworking space. 

And it was built on an idea.

And that idea is that we can create places and communities that you don’t need to flee. Communities where you can live, work, and play. And places where you can build and enjoy a well integrated life.

I like to think our coworking space exists a little out of time too. It may not be the Lost Lake of boyhood dreams...but it is sometimes a little hard to find. 

And once you’re here, I think you’ll experience the little bit of magic that happens when you gather together people who are united with the common goal of building a better way of work for a better way of life.

I know.

It's not the answer.

But I do honestly think it's a part of the solution. I do think we can save towns, change lives, and create a better world by embracing coworking and the bigger ideas upon which small town coworking spaces are built.

And in doing so, maybe we can help save some other places along the way.

If you or someone you know is interested in exploring how a coworking space can bring a little bit of magic to your community, please don’t hesitate to schedule a free, casual, no obligation discovery call. 


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