I am the last person I would expect to be writing about an ATV adventure. I love my thrills and all, but they tend to be more organic – dog sledding, cycling across countries, hiking in Nepal. None of them have involved powerful engines, until now. While there is no such thing as a boy or girl activity, I somehow had ATV adventures or 4 wheeling it pegged as a boy activity. Riding through mud puddles not high on my list of priorities.
The ATV adventure at Bear Claw Tours was part of a wilderness experience trip that I was doing through Explorers’ Edge. I was all over the canoe and kayak experiences, hesitant and nervous to try the mountain biking, but had lukewarm feelings about the ATV through the mud. It really looked like a boy thing to do.
The morning started with the Bear Claw guides reviewing the machines – how they worked and the safety features. It was clear that they were every bit as powerful as I suspected. We experimented with the brakes and the throttle and the ATVs roared to life – a glimmer of excitement rippled through me – this was going to be ok!
It was more than ok. IT WAS AWESOME! Maybe I should say that again - IT ROCKED! MORE FUN THAN I COULD HAVE IMAGINED! TOTAL ADRENALINE RUSH!
We head out into the bush and I rocked back and forth in a less than smooth motion. Luckily, being the first after the guide meant that I got a few extra pointers and reminders on how to handle the machine (I had clearly forgotten some of the important braking features right after they were explained to me!). Our guide convinced me to release my death grip on the handlebars and voila – the entire ride smoothed right out. My ATV stutter was gone. For the rest of the morning, I forgot everything but what I was doing. It was impossible to wipe the smile off of my face, or the faces of the rest of the people in my group. I was lost in the moment and the excitement of it all. We roared through the forest, marvelled at the beauty of the lake as we stopped for coffees and hot chocolates and powered over rocks and obstacles as they came to us. Then, of course, until I got stuck in the mud! My heart sunk and I didn’t know what to do. With a little of rocking and rolling, my guide helped me ease out of the mud pit and we were back in business. Cries of “faster” could be heard from the group as we raced down the road and our ATV adventure came to an end. We had such a good time – you should have heard us in the bus after as we excitedly relived the morning.
Bear Claw Tours have been around for quite some time. They have been leaders in outdoor adventure experiences since August 2001 and have conducted a substantial amount of research in safety and environmental issues, the care and maintenance of trails and the ATV units themselves. They have won a number of tourism awards and it was clear that they are passionate about what they do. Bear Claw runs their tours over 1,000 acres of exclusive ATV trails on the Canadian Shield.
For the ATV aficionados – here are a few machine details: Bear Claw uses Honda machines exclusively. They are 420 cc power steering, independent suspension, 4 wheel drive machines (aka fun-mobiles) that offer a great deal of control at low speed where tricky 4 wheel drive challenges present themselves. While I know nothing of the mechanics or the ins and outs of the ATV, I had a blast and that is all that mattered!
Disclaimer – I was a guest of the Explorers’ Edge tourism board, but that in no way influenced my opinion. That grin on my face was all mine!