Thursday, 4 August 2011

Struggling to go biking -- with pikas!

We started our day with a plan to ride from Dead Man's Flats to Canmore on the path as described on this post at You can gather from my comments on that site that it wasn't successful. So after lunch, we shifted plans and decided to ride the West Spray Trail, which is actually a closed road that runs down the west side of the Spray Lakes.

It's not a thrilling ride, but then I'm not an "out for thrills" kinda guy. What it is, is a cool ride in that you get a hugely different perspective of the mountains on the "other" side of the lake that we normally climb and hike. For instance:
West Wind Pass, seemingly low, and 2 of the Lougheed Peaks 
Peaks 3 & 4 of Lougheed plus Sparrowhawk
Read's Ridge and Tower 
Read's Ridge and Tower hiding in front of Mt. Sparrowhawk
Red Ridge
Mts Commowealth, Burstall, the Fist, and others 
Mt. Shark and the end of the lake
I was really curious about the Canyon Dam, having never seen it before. TransAlta has a problem which is causing Spray Lake to overflow the spillway at the dam.
The Canyon Dam 
I never realized why it was called the Canyon Dam until today.
The Spray River Canyon from the top of the dam
They are obviously working on something at the base of the dam. I thought this was the overflow that was occurring, but there was way too much water in the far end of the canyon than could be accounted for by the little water coming out of the two 24" pipes. Then I saw the river in the spillway.

The entrance to the overflow spillway
The Spillway 
The rapids at the spillway
A close up of the rapids with the 5' standing waves
Note that here the trail/road we were on is supposed to cross the spillway and continue south to the Bryant Creek/Trail Centre area of Banff Park (you can see it on the other side of the water). Ummmm, no. No one in their right mind should try to cross this.

Around here we were overflown by a bald eagle.
Lots of missing feathers
On the way home, I found a pika midden just off the road, and sure enough, found one of my favourite critters.
Calling to his buddies 
Hiding in the rocks 
As I said, the biking's not thrilling. But I enjoyed it anyway, and the pikas made my day.

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