Friday, January 22, 2021

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Bear Lake Monster

Meet the Bear Lake Monster

1829
Bear Lake offers one of Utah’s most scenic vistas. As you crest the hill of Logan Canyon into Rich County, the lake sprawls out into a vivid, sparkling blue jewel defining the valley that bears its name. If Delicate Arch is southern Utah’s Mona Lisa, then Bear Lake is northern Utah’s Girl with the Pearl Earring.

 

But beware. Bear Lake’s stunning blue waters are said to hide a great serpentine beast, as wide as a man and, depending on the account, anywhere from 40 to 200 feet long. The creature’s head is alternatively described as a be-tusked walrus or a toothy alligator, both bearing giant eyes, set widely apart. The beast has conical ears (“like a pint glass’) and an indeterminate number of legs, is awkward on land but can swim, as one written account has it, “faster than a locomotive.”

The local lore, even today, has it that the depths of Bear Lake have never successfully been fathomed and it is within these deepest, coldest depths that the creature lurks, hidden from the eyes of man. Down there. In the dark. That’s where the Bear Lake Monster waits.

But Bear Lake’s depth has been measured plenty, says Ted Alsop, the affable Utah State University professor of physical geography, from whose lips I first heard tell of the beast. Alsop used the story to debunk the myth that the lake’s depths had never been plumbed and to artfully describe the difference between a crater lake and a lake, like Bear Lake, created from a “dropped-down graben.” (Which sounds equally monstrous, really: Watch out child, or the Graben will get you!)

“It was a story made up by drunk Mormons,” Alsop, now retired, told his freshman classes year after year. “The lake is 280 feet deep at bank full, and no, it’s not a crater lake, although there are crater lakes in the area…” etc.

But the legend (and all legends like it: Loch Ness, Sasquatch) persists because these tales of fearsome, left-behind creatures are vestigial holdouts from the time when we were fighting for control of this world.

They live on in our deep cortex. The feral, fight-or-flight memories of a time when we named the monsters and mastered them. But on a darkened shore of a silvery lake, these long-forgotten fears spring forth as a primal response to errant and suspicious splashes amid the lapping waters.

And we can easily see in our mind’s eye the scaled beast breaking the water’s surface, gliding in the moonlight in a stern warning. It is a shadow of what we once encountered and conquered, and it waits with the patience of eons in its dark, murksome home to rise from the waters and take back what we took.

What’s your favorite park in Utah? ...

Our Jan/Feb issue is out on stands now! This issue means so much to us. Made with lots of love and tears. We hope you’ll grab a copy and enjoy every moment of reading it. ❤️ ...

Here's one from our upcoming Jan/Feb issue out on stands in just a few days. We hope you’ll grab a copy and enjoy every moment of reading it.⁠

Mary photobombs Lisa Barlow at the premiere party for Real Housewives of Salt Lake. Below is a snippet from Mary's last editor's letter:⁠

"It’s all a little crazy.⁠
Sometime in 2020, the world stopped making sense for a lot of us. Between one of the ugliest election cycles the U.S. has ever been through and the most mysterious disease most of us have ever experienced, normal was canceled. We can’t get together with friends, hug our loved ones, be in the room with them when they die. But somehow we have to go on, right? Somehow we have to continue to work and love and laugh. This issue of Salt Lake magazine holds a lot of frivolity, the main one being an extremely silly TV show, The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City. There I am in a pink fur coat in a car with our cover housewife, Lisa Barlow and her boys."⁠

Pick up our Jan/Feb issue at your local grocer and read the full letter. ❤️

Link in bio to subscribe.
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We love you so much, Salt Lake ❤️⁠

Wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday. Be merry, be bright and be good for goodness sake! ✨
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Skip the milk and cookies this holiday and leave out something that Santa really wants 🍺😉🎅⁠

Check out our local holiday beer round up for last minute gift ideas! Link in bio!
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Mary's last-minute holiday gift ideas from last year are still as true and relevant today...⁠

"The planet we live with and the creatures on it need all kinds of things. Polar bears need presents, tree frogs in the Amazon need gifts, our Utah canyons and our national parks need help."⁠

Check the link in bio for full write up.
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There was never a time there wasn’t Mary Malouf. Until now. Today, Mary died when a rogue wave swept her out to sea off the coast of Northern California. Only she – perhaps the world’s foremost lover of Bronte, BBC mysteries and, of course, Moby Dick – would appreciate such poetic drama.

“I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I'll go to it laughing.” — Mary Brown Malouf. Ooops. Herman Mellville.
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