To celebrate the end of the school year my friend Laura and I took our 5 children north for an overnight adventure on Byers Lake within Denali State Park. We carried our gear and provisions along the 0.5 mile wooded trail to our cabin, then took to the lake by canoe and kayak to explore and keep an eye out for wild creatures.
Laura took my son Bryce in a tandem kayak to teach him the basics, while her highly skilled daughter paddled her own boat. As a former canoe guide I took the two little girls in my canoe, with my 10 year old son as my front paddler. We gave all the kids a rundown on safety, made sure we were well prepared, and headed out onto the lake in warm sunshine.
About an hour into our paddle we came face to face with the mighty lake dragon who tried to pin us to the north shore of the lake, far from the safety of our cabin, with his powerful breath. His strong winds formed whitecaps on the lake and forced us to take refuge on a small sand bar.
Fortunate to have brought extra gear and provisions, we huddled together to formulate a plan. Experience and knowledge of the area told us that the lake dragon often took off in the evening, seeking dinner and refuge elsewhere. Sure enough, around 5:30pm that evening his mighty winds calmed down. We pointed our boats towards the south shore of the lake where dinner was waiting.
After a tough paddle with our brave crew we made it back to the safety and calm of our wooden castle for rest, food, games and conversation. After dinner around the campfire we toasted to the lake dragon and commended ourselves for keeping a cool head and for being well prepared.
The following morning we kept an eye out for the lake dragon but he was nowhere to be found. We enjoyed a peaceful paddle around the lake watching a family of loons before making the return trip home.
Byers Lake makes for an excellent family adventure for those who are well prepared. Just keep an eye out for that lake dragon!