Why not start a new family Thanksgiving tradition and drive through Quartz Mountain Nature Park over the long holiday weekend? There are plenty of deer to watch and beautiful yellow leaves to look at. With the lake level low, there is plenty of beach to stroll on. Those small evergreen trees sprouting on the Main Swim Beach are eastern red cedars. Hopefully the lake will soon rise and drown out these invasive trees. The paved pedestrian trail between the Park Office and the railroad tracks is just about two miles one way. Round trip is nearly four miles and that should earn seconds on some pumpkin pie!
If some in the family have just too much energy for a walk, amble or stroll a good hike or climb may be in order. With the start of deer season a few of the more challenging trails at Quartz Mountain are closed (Sunset, Sunrise, Black Jack Pass and Rock Creek Canyon) due to hunting on nearby private property. However, Quartz Mountain still has some great trails that will provide the challenge some need. The New Horizon Trail, right up the hill from the park office, climbs almost 500 feet in less than a half a mile. A great view of the park, golf course and Lake Altus-Lugert await those who scale its heights. The Mountain Pass Trail is up near the Robert S. Kerr Twin Peaks Performance Hall. This challenging trail takes you up over Twin Peaks and down to a sheltered sandy beach. Spend some time quietly observing the mountains from this unique perspective. You MIGHT even be lucky enough to view a bald eagle or two roosting in a nearby tree. To SEE a bald eagle-our National Symbol, free in the wild, for yourself, on Thanksgiving Day… wouldn’t that be another thing worth giving thanks for?
Yes, some eagles are here! Bald eagles arrive in southwest Oklahoma, most years, sometime between Nov. 15 and Dec. 20. A pair of mature Bald Eagle (white head & tail feathers) have been spotted off & on for the last 3 weeks. There should be more arriving on the next cold front. Last year we had 6 eagles (4 mature & 2 immature) that were being seen somewhat regularly. An Eagle Viewing tip-sheet is available at both the Park Office and the Nature Center.
The Park Office will be closed from 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 21 until 8 a.m. Monday, Nov. 26. The Nature Center will be closed all day Thanksgiving and Friday. It will be open both Saturday and Sunday, 8 to noon, and 1 to 5 p.m.
Quartz Mountain Nature Park’s eagle watches “In Search of Eagles” start Jan. 5. The eagle watch programs “In Search of Eagles” start at the Group Camp Community building. After a short, informative presentation, everyone loads up into personal vehicles and caravan around Lake Altus-Lugert to historically good eagle viewing sites. At approximately 11:00 A.M. the program concludes. Don’t let any cold snap scare you off. Dress in warm layers. The colder & more miserable the weather is for humans, the better the chances of seeing eagles! Other eagle watch dates can be found by going to the park website www.quartzmountain.org and clicking on the eagle watch button.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving Holiday.