Story and photos by Mara Dobyns

Living in and around Westwood for the majority of my life I have become very familiar with Lake Almanor. Long summer days spent swimming and barbecuing, birthday parties, fireworks over the lake on the 4th of July, family camping trips, and so on. As far back as I can remember that lake is where some of my best memories were made. That lake is where I grew up and now where I take my own child to play in the water and soak up the sun and life itself.

Being there on a hot summer day, with the sweet mountain air, the waves lapping in, and the cool water to take the edge off is like coming up for a breath of fresh air in an often too busy world. It’s the kind of lake that makes you forget about your work schedule or whatever stress may be weighing you down. Heck, it even has the power to make you lose interest in your phone, which if you’re like me is sometimes hard to do since it connects us to almost anyone and everything these days. Recently my father-in-law rented a house on the east shore of the lake and we all gathered there for a mini family reunion. Three generations and not one without a smile on their face.

It was amazing to reunite with everyone and the visit had a little bit of everything. We cooked together, had a stellar family fishing session, shared stories, lots of laughs, and just enjoyed each other and the beauty surrounding us.

Despite embracing the chaos of family around me, one of my favorite moments happened when I ventured DSC_0204off by myself. Being a mother to an almost two year old, these moments are far and few between. My loving husband gave me the go ahead for a kayak adventure and without any hesitation I was off. Even with the drought the lake is surprisingly full and on that day the wind was shockingly strong but I was determined. I paddled off into the wind with my mind set on one thing, Mt. Lassen.

With the wind switching every which way and being a good distance from a decent view it took over an hour to see her full figure but the site was well worth my travels. It was breathtaking.

I enjoyed the peace around me and snapped a few pictures before starting back on my journey to the house.
After all it would be nap time for my baby girl soon and I wasn’t about to miss that.

Upon arrival I received a warm welcome back from my husband who greeted me with a baby and lunch. Does it get any better?

Afterwards I proceeded to try to get our little one to sleep but she wouldn’t have it. Now her mind was set on one thing, her own kayak adventure.

I took her back outside and strapped her into a life jacket so she could venture out with daddy. Luckily the wind had died down enough for them to be able to really enjoy it without a fight. As soon as she was in the kayak she pumped her little fist into the air and let out a loud “woo!” Everyone laughed and waved them off.

What was I supposed to do now? I’m really not use this much time to myself. Like most kids she is normally attached to my hip. Like most parents I think she is great and wouldn’t have it any other way but I mean, breaks are nice too, haha.

I spent the next little while in the hot tub. When was the last time I had done this? Who knows but I should definitely do it more.

Despite my gratitude for my much needed me time the moment that followed would be another memory I hope to never forget. Another moment that would go down in Lake Almanor history.
My husband and baby came back and I immediately grabbed the camera for this picture. She is fast asleep

LakeAlmanorGetaway2and he is holding one of his catches of the day.

With a full heart, a full lake, and a full family I will always cherish the memories from this trip. If you have the time to spend with loved ones on any kind of trip to the lake, do it! If you don’t, then make time and do it anyways. You’ll be sure to smile.