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Playing and working outdoors are part of this family’s tradition

It’s no wonder that getting outdoors has always been a big part of Joylynn Lake’s life. When Joylynn was a child, her grandparents and her mother gardened and raised farm animals in Auke Bay, 12 miles from downtown Juneau. Alaska’s long summer days were a gardener’s delight. And with Southeast Alaska’s coastline and tidal flats stretching out on one side, and an endless rainforest on the other, kids had ample opportunities to explore. Now a grandmother herself, she and her 78-year-old mother continue to play outside with Joylynn’s young granddaughter, Stacia, almost 9, and grandson, Kaelan, age 3.
“My grandparents and my mother were always outside in the summer. My grandfather had several large gardens, and we had geese, ducks, and chickens,” said Joylynn. “My grandmother was always landscaping our property. My siblings and cousins were always going on ‘adventures’ across the beach, around the point, and many times out in woods behind our property.

“We grew up in Auke Bay, where we did not have a lot of close neighbors during my childhood. We walked across the bay at low tide to play with school friends living on Indian Cove.

Being outdoors was always a daily routine growing up. We played, fished, hiked, camped, and worked in the garden. All of this we did as a family. They were activities for us to be together and enjoy the outdoors.”
—Joylynn (McGee) Lake

Now Joylynn is getting ready for this summer, setting up the badmitten set for her granddaughter and taking advantage of every stretch of sunny Juneau weather to get outside and hike. Although Joylynn finds winter weather “tough” and doesn’t ski anymore, she wants to introduce her grandchildren to more winter activities, because “building snowmen, sledding, and throwing snowballs are always fun.”