Friday, July 19, 2013

Bear Lake, Utah Excursion!

Where oh where do I begin?  The drive from Ogden to Bear Lake is nothing less than spectacular!  The canyons, mountains, streams and variety of flora and fauna are absolutely breathtaking.  Every corner you turn brings a new surprise, each more beautiful or interesting than the last.  Trout fishermen fly fishing in the cold mountain stream wearing their waders are visible all along the route.  From the numbers of fishermen we saw, the trout must be plentiful!

It is about a two hour drive from Ogden to Bear Lake, but the time passes quickly because of the lovely scenery along the way.  Logan, which is probably about halfway between Ogden and Bear Lake time wise is a lovely town.  We were tickled to find that instead of the horses that are visible on every corner in downtown Ogden, there were Bulls! 
We found this one particularly interesting, and then when we read the plaque on the base, found that it was sponsored by Herm's Restaurant, where we had just enjoyed a fantastic breakfast!  We will have to have a "round two" there.  Everything was absolutely delicious, but their Sourdough Bread French Toast was indescribably delicious.  It was soft on the inside and carmelized on the outside...YUM! Omelettes and skillets were also extremely good. 
 Ashlyn ordered French Toast with Bananas and Carmelized Pecans!  Yow!

 Melanie had Biscuits and Gravy with scrambled eggs, bacon and crispy, delicious potatoes!
And I, well I ordered a Fiesta Omelette --- uhhhh, guess I shoulda taken the pic BEFORE I cleaned the plate! But as you can see, it was definitely a great meal!

But, I digress, breakfast was actually on the way home this morning after having spent a wonderful day on the most beautiful lake I have every laid eyes on.

Bear Lake is at the top of Utah, and one side is in Utah and the other is in Idaho.  They tell us that the most beautiful beaches are on the Idaho side, but we were out to rent a boat and enjoy that gorgeous turquoise water, so we planned our stay on the Utah side of the lake.  This lake is absolutely enormous, and the most beautiful color of teal that you have ever seen.

For a little bit of history,
Bear Lake is a natural freshwater lake which sits on the Utah-Idaho borderThe second largest freshwater lake in Utah, Bear Lake  has been called the "Caribbean" of the Rockies because of it's beautiful teal color which is caused by the reflection of limestone deposits suspended in the water. Because of its unique properties, several unique special of fauna occur only within Bear Lake.  The lake is actually over 250,000 years old and was formed by fault subsidence that continues today, slowly deepening the lake along the eastern side.
The first known inhabitants of the Valley were Shoshone tribesmen, but the area was well known to many Native Americans.  The first recorded sighting of the lake comes from
1818 when French-Canadian trappers who worked for the North West Company followed the Bear River upstream to the valley.  Can you just imagine what they though when they saw this HUGE expanse of crystal clear teal water!?  I can't. 

There are actually four species of fish in the lake which are found nowhere else in the world!

The lake has an area of approximately 109 square miles (282 km²) and sits at an elevation of 5,924 feet (1,806 m) along the northeast side of the Wasatch Range and the east side of the Bear River Mountains.

We stopped as we entered from the Utah side at a beautiful information center where Melanie caught these beautiful pictures of hummingbirds enjoying the area also.   
It didn't take us five minutes to decide we were all glad we packed our overnight bags, because this was going to have to be an overnight destination, and one to which we will certainly return again.

We proceeded down the mountainside to a little town on the shore known as Garden City (which was founded by the Mormons in 1863).  There we stopped to refresh ourselves with one of the "don't miss it" fantastic fresh raspberry milkshakes.

They aren't kidding...these are the best tasting things...and I thought I didn't like raspberries!  OMG was I wrong on so many counts...fresh raspberries here are sooooooo delicious and the shakes..indescribably delicious (and huge by the way)! 

Then we all piled back in the vehicle and began to hunt for a place to rent a power boat for some fun on the lake.  While Aaron searched for the boat, I got on the phone to line up a place for us to stay for the night.  I booked a cabin for each of us at a place called Bear Lake Country Cabins...more on that later.  

We soon found a location to rent a boat, and got a great price too.  We scheduled four hours on the lake and all climbed out of the van to get aboard.  Now, I have been around boats all my life, but NEVER before have I been loaded in a powerboat and hitched up to the back of a TRACTOR and pulled out into the lake!  I'm not kidding, pulled into a lake and dropped off.  Crazy!  I didn't know tractors were lake friendly. 

But off we went.  We were towed to some red buoys where Kevin jumped into the water and pushed us beyond the buoys to start the engine...and off we went for one of the most fun days I have ever enjoyed.  The weather was amazing and the water like none I have ever seen in a lake.

She loved it! Laughing and giggling as we sped along in this totally uncrowed, huge body of water.  Next up was Liv...not a willing passenger...there was a lot of screaming, but after she finally was "put" aboard she had to admit how much fun it was, and wanted to go again and again. 

 The adults had a little harder time figuring out a way to climb aboard the tube, and each of us took a few "face plants" into the water before finally figuring out how to mount up on the tube.  Granma hadn't done anything like this in over twenty years, and Granpa (well, Mr. Pittsburgh city guy) had NEVER been towed by a boat before in any capacity!  OMG, did we laugh as he bounced along behind the boat with his "barnies" flopping!  There is a video, but I can't post that here shucks! 

As you can see, from the pictures, a great time was had by all, and we managed to take time to see the entire length of the lake before our four hours were over.  We had such a marvelous day!  Aaron was the official driver for the day (he had just been freshly tatooed and was not allowed in the water), so next time Granma will be the driver so he can have a turn being laughed at on the tube!

Ashlyn...note the open mouth...which got filled with water more than once!

 Alivia loved being the "Assistant Spotter," waving the flag any time someone fell off the tube and had to be retrieved!
 A "happy Liv" after finding out that she wasn't going to die in the tube...the screaming that went on prior to that time was, unfortunately, not recorded.  Coulda used it as blackmail in the future!
 Ain't we cute?  Where's Mom? She refuses to get in the pics! 
 Oh there is ONE foot of Mom's...two of mine!  Sunning our toes in the air and enjoying the amazing views as we cruised along down the lake....aaaaahhhhh...what a way to relax!
Even the doggies had a great time on this trip.  They both rode along, most of the time under the seats, but they were real troopers considering neither of them had ever been aboard a boat before!

Here's Ash with little "Cupcake"....

Mr. Buddy hiding out in the shade under the seats...where he stayed most of the day!

 Ash really got "into" it after a little while, and didn't mind "full speed ahead"...that is until Daddy flipped her tube at that speed...OUCH!!! 

She was a good sport though and still wanted to continue riding.

 The lake was gloriously calm, and in spite of it being Summer vacation time, not particularly busy.  It is such a huge body of water that it probably never seems really busy. 

Our cruise down the lake at full speed took a lot less time than we thought it would.  Farms alongside the lake were beautiful, and I can imagine that a lot of the fresh water from the lake is used to irrigate. 

All too soon, it was time to be heading back to the Marina to turn in the boat and head for our cabins for the night.  We have all decided that Bear Lake will definitely merit a return trip...soon.

 Oliver the big green tractor cam out to pick us up as we gathered ourselves and prepared to disembark!

The girls were now ready for dinner!  Being on the water makes you hungry (but they did eat a bunch of Fig Newtons and Gummy Bears while aboard!)

We cleaned ourselves up a bit and headed out for dinner.  We found yet another amazing place to eat back in Garden City!  It was called Cafe Sabor! Oh my, this is some of the best Mexican Food I have ever eaten.  We had the dogs along, and it was perfect because they have outdoor patio seating where we could put them under the table while we ate.  There was Guacamole (chunky the way I love it) and delicious Shrimp Ceviche to start, then we all ordered entrees...each of which was as good as the rest!  Another place which will merit another visit! 

Okay, bellies full now, we are heading for Bear Lake Country Cabins ($95 double/$85 single queen)..reasonable if not downright cheap! 

They were soooo cute.  Just 10 little log cabins tucked along the highway across from the Lake.  No air conditioning, but who needs it when the temp falls to 60's at night.  Very comfortable and clean.  Definitely fun and family friendly.  There is a tiny fridge and microwave, TV (and you can get a bunch of channels) and outside porch.  There is a grill available for use if you feel like cooking.  
 The owners are an older couple and are very friendly and accommodating.  I would definitely recommend this place.  Just a "fun" kinda experience...not for those of you however, who are looking for LUXURY...
 The girls soon "saddled up" for a bike ride through the rural area where the cabins are located.  The evening was perfect for it.
 There goes Liv!  Wait up little one!!!  Give us a chance to catch up with you will ya!?!

The rural farm scenery is a pleasant and serene change ...  there really are a lot of farmers out here!

We were all pretty tuckered out after this adventurous day and opened the windows, turned on the fans and hunkered down in our little cabins on the lake for the night.

Morning would surely bring more adventures.

After our night of rest, we all awoke early and hungry.  Just a note here...there doesn't seem to be a good place to find breakfast in the immediate area!  So we all decided to head back toward Logan, an hour away, for our breakfast.  Turned out to be a good decision as I previous said, as Herm's is a wonderful place for breakfast.  We spotted this little family on our way back from Bear Lake....awwwwww
There was also a Buck follow not too far behind...lovely...note the EARS on that doe!

I looked it up to make sure, but they are Mule Deer.  Man, they do have some mule-like ears.  Beautiful animals.

Mule deer hunting is quite the thing out here, but I am more of the mule deer watching kinda girl!  Lovely.

 There is so much beauty here in Utah that it is difficult for me to find a way to share it all with you.  You are just going to have to come out here and visit and find out for yourself.  We are in love!
 Oh, and I'm going to have to start painting these glorious looking fingers are itching to wrap around a paintbrush!

 The girls got a kick out of the TINY honeybee on this flower...look's off to the top right!
Liv ate most of a box of these deliciously sweet blueberries before we got home!  The raspberries are great too, and Granma was working on them.

Well. that's all for now folks!  But,



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