Ice Formations: Karst Spring Snowshoe

Early this winter, I finally had the chance to do something I’ve wanted to do for years – snowshoe up to Karst Spring in Kananaskis. This has been a favorite summer trail for a long time, but I always wondered what it would be like in there during the winter. I had tried before, but deep snow hid important boardwalks that get you across the outlet of Watridge Lake, and when things start turning slushy under your boots, it’s time to turn around before you end up with soaked feet.

Ice Formation 3
Pencil sketch of ice skimming at the outlet to Watridge Lake.

This time, early December, we had snowshoed to Watridge Lake, and while there was enough snow to make snowshoeing enjoyable, there wasn’t yet enough snow to block our view of the boardwalks. We could go in.

Karst Spring gushes from the base of a cliff on Shark Ridge, and tumbles down in a noisy waterfall through dense, mossy woods. In winter, ground, fallen logs and moss are mostly covered in snow, but because the water never stops flowing, the creek develops some amazing ice formations along the edges. We saw everything from scalloped trim, ice diamonds sitting on tufts of brilliant green moss, fluted drops coming off of branches, hoarfrost coating the tops of flat ice … far too many different forms of ice to possibly do them all justice.

Ice Formation 2
Ice Formation 2: Karst Spring, colored pencil on paper

I had hoped to do many more artworks out of these fascinating images, but it’s quite the challenge. Even a small area can offer a great deal of detail and complexity, and conveying this in any art form can be pretty time consuming. So I offer you these few artworks, with the hope that I’ll be able to do more for a future blog post.

Ice Formation 1
Ice Formation 1: Karst Spring, pastel on paper

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