This hike is a superb example of why we hike on fine Autumn days. Cool temperatures (28 degrees at 9 am) fostered a rolling mist, lending a mystical air to Bowman Lake as we began the hike.
Dry leaves rustled underfoot, raising that unmistakable Autumn aroma into my nostrils. I breathed deep, relaxing into the solace of the wilderness.
At the proverbial fork in the trail, we chose the left, heading to Upper Quartz Lake. Deep forest envelops you, and you quickly lose sight of Bowman Lake. Gentle elevation gain and two hours later, we had earned our first view of Lower Quartz Lake. (Yes, we are heading to Upper Quartz, but the topography offers Lower Quartz first.)
Dramatically, the trail drops in a descent to the valley floor. On the way, we glimpse Upper Quartz on the left and Middle Quartz on the right.
The beach at Upper Quartz Lake offers a full-on view of Bighorn Mountain. For future reference, we note that the campsites are right on the lake and situated close together. Wouldn't you like to wake up to this panorama?
We quickly encountered this bridge between Upper and Middle Quartz, and just as rapidly learned that Middle Quartz is not accessible. Thick Alder guards the lake edges, which spin away into the distance, forming an impenetrable barrier (unless you are a Moose!)
The path between Middle and Lower Quartz Lake undulates like a kiddie rollercoaster, and sports many recently downed trees, likely victims of a wind storm.
The climb from Lower Quartz back to the ridge was short but steep. But for me, the descent to Bowman, a series of many switchbacks, was worse - a quad killer! The whole day, we only saw six people on the trail, and all of them were on this section. A middle-aged couple (with no bear spray) was just hitting the trail and hoping to make it to Lower Quartz. I always wonder if these are the people we hear about on the news!
With the day's sun, the mist had burned off and we had stunning views of the lake, Numa Ridge, Mount Peabody, Rainbow Peak and Mount Carter.
Can you believe the two photos below are the same view, just 7 hours apart?
Although it does not show up on the photos, the mountains had a dusting of snow, as though someone had shaken a little powdered sugar on them!
On the way home, we stopped at the Polebridge Mercantile for their famous baked goods. Just a few miles further on, a road-side sign advertising Huckleberry Margaritas enticed us to pop into Home Ranch Bottoms - it was as good as it sounded!
But perhaps best of all was the evening sunlight, casting its special glow on the already-golden larches and aspens.
***There will be no Mosaic Monday on February 6; come back and link up February 13!
Welcome to Mosaic Monday, a weekly meme where we get together to share our photo mosaics and collages.
Please include at least one photo mosaic/collage in your post.
The link will be open from 1 p.m. Sunday until 11 p.m. Tuesday (U.S. Mountain time).
Remember to add the link to your Mosaic Monday post and not the one to your blog.
Please link back to this post so that your readers will be able to visit and enjoy more wonderful mosaics; taking the MM blog button from my sidebar is an easy way to link back.
As host I will visit every participant and leave a comment so that you know I stopped by.
Please try and visit as many other blogs as you can, especially those that join in later, so that everyone's creativity can be appreciated fully.
Thank you for joining in today and sharing your mosaics with us.