July 26, 2015
The idea on this adventure was to complete a quick and simple day trip; the bike route around Mt. Shark offered just that. There would be two of my friends joining me on this bike trip and we would explore these wide trails on our mountain bikes for roughly six kilometers and another 800 meters on foot to the Karst Spring.
Don't let the word spring put you off doing this trail, as the size of these cascading waterfalls were thunderous for being brought on by a spring. Once I made it to the placard at the end of the trail, it would explain how Karst Springs are formed. Although let it be known that the spring is powerful enough that it must be the cause of Watridge Lake!
The scenery in the area is definitely one to take in. During the early going of the afternoon we experienced beautiful sunny skies. These blue skies were enough to show me the many peaks that surrounded us, including Mt. Shark as well as the Isolated & Tent Ridge. Once the rain started we were covered in clouds for the later part of the bike trip, though Mt. Shark stood predominant in our fixture.
Something is to be said for the simple trail. As now having done a few bike trips of varying complexity, my regular bike mate and I came to the conclusion that this trip offers just the right amount of work out for a quick and simple day trip.
Despite having over shot our turn off to Watridge Lake and having to turn around we were able to eventually find our way. On foot the turn is much easier to notice, as a view of the lake can be seen from between the trees, however the turn itself is a hairpin on the trail as you are already in mid slope on the bike. If you opt to bike this I would recommend slowing once you see the lake off the side of your left shoulder.
Furthermore, once you reach a sign which indicates a small Banff National Park Logo, this would be your second notice. Thirdly, as we ignored the prior two, once you make it to the bridge at the bottom of the hill, this is crossing Spray River and you are now 2.3Km too far off your path and at the end of the bike-able trail. Not that the bridge isn't lovely, as we spent an easy 30 minutes here relaxing and watching Spray River open up to Spray Lake.
However, should you find the slope down to the lake, you'll quickly notice that the declining hill is a bit rough to handle at first (keeping in mind that fast moving bikes are prey to cougars). Though it isn't much to deal with on the way in, the way back presents itself with a challenge.
Once you make it to the lake, there is a well defined sign that indicates the path to the Karst Spring. This path will take 0.8Km, however almost immediately you'll bare witness to Elizabeth Falls. This cascading waterfall is magically brought on by a simple spring at the top, which even to the naked eye seems calm and nonthreatening.
For an added bonus, one of my friends that came on the trip (+Mohd Asif) is an amazing photographer and opted to share his wonderful shots!!! Enjoy!!!