27 May, 2009

Memorial Weekend @ Byer's Lake - Part I

I have so many fantastic pictures that I'm going to break this post into two - just so I get to show off more of the eye candy we enjoyed over the weekend... I left a lot of the scenic pictures at full size instead of compressing them, so feel free to view them full screen - it's worth it! =)

For the first campout of the season, we headed back to Byer's Lake. I wasn't sure I was going to like it - last year was cold, with lots of snow still, and I couldn't sleep because my nose & toes were frozen... (you can read about it here). This year, we rented two of the cabins. First time I've been cabin camping - we still hauled in too much gear. Having to prepare for all the different possibilities translated into lots of extra stuff. I took two sweatshirts, a jacket, and a vest - could have left half that home. Took two different propane space heaters - never even used them. Somehow, even packing lighter than normal (no tent, no blow-up mattress on a frame... we really rough it when we camp...), the car was still jammed full of stuff.

To be fair, the kayak took up a good portion of space, and we don't normally pack it around. It's a put-together kayak, not the hard sided kind. So it comes in two green duffle bags, and takes 20-30 minutes to put together. Why would we need that? (Aside from being at the lake, I mean...) Well, the cabins are across the lake. There's a service road to them, but it's not open to vehicles. So we either hike in all the gear, or send it across the water. Fortunately for us, there were several boats in our party. Canoes definitely work better for hauling coolers & action packers - if we only had the kayak, we would've had to pack that stuff in over the 1/2 mile trail. (Oh! And Greg set up a geocaching event in the middle of the lake on Saturday - definitely needed some kind of watercraft for that...)

We couldn't have asked for better weather. And the views from the cabin were just... stunning. It was *great*! There were still spots of snow, but nothing like last year. I woke up Saturday morning (warm & toasty!), stepped outside the cabin, and just had to spend some time contemplating the beauty surrounding me.

Check out the trees reflected in the lake (in the picture just above) - it's almost a perfect replica. I caught this shot when I was up early. I don't think the water was quite that calm again all weekend - but we had plenty of tranquil waters for rowing the boats. And the white mountain in the background that towers over all the others is Denali (aka Mt. McKinley). It's a fearsome, awesome mountain - and it's not often that we get such clear views... Recent news reports are saying that they're stopping the search for a climber who is lost on The Mountain. Been looking for him for more than six days now, with no sign. A beautiful, treacherous, alluring thing of grandeur. And Greg is in its spell... first it was just taking pictures, but now he's talking about someday climbing it...

Saturday was a lovely day! We had an afternoon rainshower that lasted all of maybe 15 minutes, and the rest of the day was blue skies and sunshine. Spent the day visiting and enjoying the company of friends. This is one trip that's going to be hard to beat. May this be the harbinger of sunny skies and a nice summer...

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