Lake Altus-Lugert has risen nearly a foot in the last week. Water is still flowing in from upstream and more rain is forecast for this week.
Sue Hokanson of Quartz Mountain Nature Park, said that with the lake filling there is more water on all the boat ramps. The Lakeview Campground boat ramp on Quartz Mountain’s North Shore is open again. This is the first of the three large boat ramps to go dry and the last to reopen. The rising lake levels also mean there is less sandy beach in the Main Park. When the lake is actually 100 percent full, there is no sand at the Main Swim Beach, just the rock rip-rap.
Hokanson also said that the late spring / early summer wildflowers are starting to bloom. As you drive around Quartz Mountain you may see a large splash of white. Chances are that’s the blossom of a Prickly Poppy. Smaller white flowers may be the blooms of False Wild Garlic or possibly Wild Onions. Deep purple blossoms are mostly likely Spiderwort. Yellow blossoms? Those could be any number of wildflowers- Sneezeweed, Green-Thread, Tickseed, Yellow Paintbrush, Partridge Pea and Nutall’s Stonecrop all have yellow flowers.
As more wildflowers start blooming, the more butterflies can be observed feeding. Butterflies are most active on sunny days in areas where there is not much wind blowing. Sheltered sunny meadows are the prime butterfly viewing locations. North Shore Road has quite a few patches of butterfly weed so that is a great place to look for butterflies at Quartz Mountain. Cedar Valley is another great location if the wind is not coming straight out of the south.
Quartz Mountain’s Nature Center will be closed Saturday, May 9.