Watridge Lake / Karst Spring Snowshoe
Great Divide Girl and I headed back to Kananaskis with snowshoeing in mind. We stopped at Kananaskis Village to query about the new pass that's meant to finance track setting on the various ski trails. It's $50 annual, available online only, or $10 per day. The passes were not available yet, and not required as track setting has not started. How this is going to be monitored and enforced remains to be seen.
We headed up the Smith Dorrien aiming for the Mount Shark trailhead and the wide "trail" to Watridge Lake. The trail had been prepped by a snowmobile pulling a packing roller. We encountered this coming back our way later on and noticed on our return that packing was being done on all the Mount Shark ski loops.
Snowshoes were not really warranted and others had hiked in, but we wanted to re-awaken our snowshoe muscles which we soon discovered had atrophied over the summer. It's a 5.5 km trudge to the Lake over mostly flat ground with a few ups and downs thrown in. It took us an hour and a half to the lake which hasn't been frozen all that long by the looks of things.
South Summit, Cone Mountain
After a snack we headed off on the trail to Karst Spring. This initially features a lot of narrow board paths over what is probably bog in the summer. Narrow boards and snowshoes aren't much fun and we walked beside them, back and forth. At the lake outlet creek bridge, we had no choice but to side step.
Heading into the woods, the Karst Spring creek was open. Green moss made a nice contrast
The final steep hill to the spring would be tricky in icy conditions but we managed fine and soon made it up to the bench and rails beside the spring. The water comes out at the base of a cliff. Daffern refers to this as the largest karst spring in North America.
Heading back, we really noticed our snowshoe muscles, or lack thereof, and it felt like a long haul indeed, though enhanced by some mountain views.
Now that we are primed, we'll have to see where more snow might lead us.
I heard about that too. Probably someone from parks will do a round of couple of parking lots on weekend (Shark, Elk Pass, etc) & look if people have pass on dash. Just like any paid parking lot
Edit: What if you are going somewhere else and NOT x-country skiing, thus NOT using any of their groomed trails? I.e. few yrs back I parked @ Shark, crossed frozen Spray Lake, then went up Mt. Fortune (full report here -- late winter / early spring is best time for this because Spray ice is solid thick & no danger walking across). What happens now? Will "pass" still be required just to leave car @ Shark?? This was not bright idea IMHO
The purchase of a parking pass is voluntary, there will be no enforcement. Volunteers, organized by Nordiq Alberta, will be at the parking lots to provide information. This has nothing to do with Alberta Parks, as they opted out of funding grooming, although current Parks staff are operating the grooming equipment. The paid parking only applies to people actually using the groomed trails, if you don't walk or snowshoe on groomed trails, this is a non-issue.
Are you sure about that? I find opposing info online. I.e on Calgary Herald
This does not sound like voluntary to me. However in different post:
it indeed sounds like an option.
Totally sure it is voluntary, I was remiss in not posting this link for info, check out the FAQ.
Indeed. It is quite hidden in FAQ, so by reading main page You'd still think pass was mandatory. I guess it makes sense, they want ppl to think they have to pay. VicB probably thought so as well.
This winter it is pilot to see how it goes, but next winter I suspect it will not be voluntary anymore. Personally I don't care as long as they let me park without pass if I'm going snowshoeing & not using groomed trails.
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