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St. Mary's Area

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Lower Quartz Lake

Quartz Lake in Glacier National Park

Are we having fun yet ?
I have had a life long best friend, who I lovingly call " Lu Hu."  We have had many good times over the years . Lu Hu had come to visit me, from back East, in Pennsylvania, and this was our day to go up into Glacier National Park. We had decided to hike up the trail to Lower Quartz Lake.
We started from the picnic site on Bowman Lake, where we could see Numa Peak, to our West and Rainbow Peak to the East. We decided to hike up Cerulean Ridge, because It's an easier climb.
As usual we found lots of interesting sights, and much to talk about, when we paused long enough to catch our breath.
When we passed a Rangers Cabin, not far from the campground, we spoke of what it would be like to live there, and look at this beautiful scenery every morning . But being used to modern conveniences, these thoughts soon passed and we moved on.
It wasn't long before the trail forked to the right, and after about 3.6 miles, we would find Lower Quartz Lake. If we were to take the left fork, we would go through heavy forests, up Cerulean Ridge toward the crest. From up here, we can view the new growth of trees after the 1988 Red Bench fire.

From here we can take the fork to Quartz Lake, for about 6.6 miles of glorious scenery. You can see the Back Country Quartz Lake Campground, with a small beach. If you go on to Middle Quartz Lake, you have completed a popular day hike.
From Quartz Ridge we can look down on beautiful Quartz Lake, where it lays peacefully, at the foot of Vulture Peak and Square Peak. Our trail is steep but well shaded, which is just what we need as we stop to rest and catch our breath. Lu Hu, her late husband and I, had taken many camping trips so we had many memories to recall as we hike these lovely trails. As we grew tired, we would sit and ask each other " Are we having fun yet ? ", and we sure were.

Well --- in reality, we are both unable to hike these beautiful trails, at our ages,
But --- We can dream, can't we?

To you who are able to take this lovely hike, If you do bring in a horse to carry your gear, remember that you must also bring in animal food, as there are no grazing areas. This trail is thick with underbrush and trees, All of the campsites have a hanging pole and an outhouse, supplied with lots of old newspapers.
You may enjoy fishing the Outlet Creek, but no one promises how many trout you may catch or how large they will be.

Glacier National Park is located in the northwest corner of Montana, just north of Columbia Falls. The park encompasses more than one million acres and is home to grizzly bear, moose, elk, along with 63 varieties of wild mammals. While most of the roads in Glacier National Park are closed off during the winter, this provides miles and miles of tracks for snowshoeing and cross country skiing. Visitors are seldom around in the dead of winter, so the muffled hush of the snow covered woods is especially enticing and serene.

A ski or snowshoe trip along the Going-to-the-Sun Road, which is one of the most scenic roads in North America, is a great option, according to park rangers. The road is closed to cars from September or October until snowmelt, usually in June. Several short hiking trails branch off from the road, which would be excellent for snowshoeing or skiing in the winter season.

 Once you have your gear, head up to Glacier National Park for an exciting adventure. Guided snowshoe trips are available, led by a park naturalist, and are highly recommended. If you are looking for an informative tour, snowshoeing is an easy way to explore the winter wonderland of this unique park. Snowshoeing will provide even the novice an effortless activity so your senses are more in tune with your environment and your guide's knowledge on the history, wildlife, geology, and biology of this precious ecosystem.

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