Places to Visit: Bear Lake, UT-ID

Over the course of the last month or so, I had the opportunity to visit the Pacific Northwest for the first time, and on my way out of SLC heading northwards, I passed by this desert gem.

Bear Lake is truly breathtaking. When I read prior to visiting that the lake has been dubbed the “Caribbean of the Rockies”, I was admittedly quite a bit skeptical about the lake’s supposed deep turquoise color. The surrounding land got progressively greener leading up to the lake. There was an overlook some miles from the lake (where I took the featured picture) where I got my first real glimpse through the hilltops, and lo’ and behold! It actually is turquoise. On a picturesque day with clear blue skies and a glowing horizon, the lake is a calming reminder that there is beauty in nature, something people raised in urban environments sometimes seem to forget.

Mind you, I didn’t go fishing or anything like that, so my description of Bear Lake can really only be limited to “it was pretty and turquoise”, but the area surrounding the lake had a lot to offer, too. Garden City, for instance, is the town midway down the lake’s western shore. For a town out in the countryside away from any highways or cities of substantial size, it teemed with life. Every diner seemed to be packed with customers, and I was pleased to see that all the businesses in town appeared to be locally owned and not subject to getting out-competed by Walmart or McDonald’s (this coming from a McDonald’s stockholder who thinks their food is gross — ice cream is good, though).

I also noted one interesting trend among houses on the Utahan shore of Bear Lake: an astoundingly large percentage of houses had basketball hoops. Normally I wouldn’t think much of seeing lots of basketball hoops, but we’re talking about a solid 60-70% of houses that had basketball hoops. I even saw one business that had a basketball hoop in its parking lot. The houses in hillside subdivisions, the sprawling lakefront lots, the small but quaint mobile homes… basketball hoops, everywhere. This isn’t really any reason to visit Bear Lake at all, but I did wonder for the rest of the day if there might be some correlation between the number of residences in Utah with basketball hoops and the success achieved by NCAA basketball teams from Utah (Utah, Utah State, BYU). It’s something to consider, anyways.

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