Spring lakes and mountains

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I had hoped to make it up to both Margaret and Cerulean Lakes this winter: two big sub-alpine lakes off-trail in two different drainages in two different corners of Glacier. Fatigue and conditions meant I didn’t even try to get close to Margaret last weekend, and the too soon march of spring made the snowpack between Cerulean and Upper Quartz too lean for my tastes yesterday. Someone could have done to protracted ski-schwack, but I wasn’t interested.

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Conditions ran the gamut. The car thermometer dipped to -2F when I came out of the trees towards the Merc early Saturday, while most of the ski up Upper Quartz early that afternoon was windless and boiling in the full sun. Such thermal energy has to have a serious effect on the water under the frozen lake, which intermittently let out a deep rumbling gurgle, suggesting that Quartz had turned into the titanic bong of the gods. On the way back down the lake a 45 minute blizzard blew in.

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Skis in two corners, shovel handle and pole on the others, shovel blade and second pole in the middle, scavanged branches at the midpoints. It got cold again overnight, probably a bit below 0F. I needed all that down and the synthetic overbag.

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Then by 10am, on Bowman again, it was what passes for hot these days. On the way in the Bowman road had been all skiable. On the way out that was no longer the case. The nordic skis are getting hung up: the lower elevation skiing is crap on its way towards non-existent, and at this rate the access road will be bikeable soon.

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2 thoughts on “Spring lakes and mountains

  1. Cerulean was on my to-do list when I lived up that way – never got around to it. What’s your beta on that trip, Dave – is it just a tangle of a bushwhack out there or does it “go” somewhat easily?

    • According to bio techs I know there’s a good elk trail you can pick up a ways from the lake, but the delta at the head of Upper is a miasma of beaver ponds and spruce bogs. It seemed like in the summer one could walk the main streambed easily enough, then hopefully break out walkers left and find the game trail.

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