When feeling lost in Grizzly territory, on an overgrown trail, all alone and unable to get cell reception, there is only one thing you can do- take a deep breath, look at your hiking partner and be glad you aren't alone, readjust your pack, and keep on walking.
That's one of the lessons I learned while hiking the Quartz Lake trail. Other lessons I learned while climbing over fallen trees and fighting through the brush that was attempting to reclaim the trail were as follows:
1) You can push your body farther than pain and exhaustion may make you believe.
2) The "Ants Go Marching" song is a great song to sing while hiking, and you get bonus points for making up the verses on the spot.
3) A good sense of humor is incredibly helpful when you are suffering from self-inflicted pain.
4) THE HIKING GUIDE IS NOT ALWAYS RIGHT!
The authors are most likely intelligent and experienced hikers, but they may have written their review of a trail years earlier, so (especially on the less popular trails) take their reviews with a small grain of salt.
5) Take the beauty and the few quiet moments on the trail and store them in your heart to carry you through the unpleasant ones. The ability to do so may turn the hike from total hell to a beautiful, painful hike that made a great learning experience (and a great story) later.
It wasn't that the trail wasn't beautiful, or that the lakes disappointing, it was more a question of two relatively new hikers letting their inexperience show by attempting a hike they hadn't really researched and didn't schedule enough time for. It was also an example of someone (who may or may not be writing this blog now) "knowing" that they could do the full trail even though they were running late, and while that ended up being correct, the time limits forced us to hurry through a trail that was already rather difficult and limited our ability to appreciate the true wilderness we were stumbling through (whoops!). As I have said, the Quartz Lake Trail has become a great story and a great learning experience. I don't think I'd hike it again, but for me, it was worth the pain and fear to learn I had greater limits than I previously knew and what NOT to do when tackling an unfamiliar trail.