- Andrew Ryeland
MILES FROM NOWHERE!
Last week a group of
11 avid ATVers left Parry Sound at the crack of dawn to try our
hand at an ATV camping expedition. After carefully reviewing the options for our adventure we
decided that we would head towards Timmins and try our luck on the
multitude of backcountry trails there. This was truly a dynamic outing.
We had prepared ourselves with all manner of supplies; warm
clothes, food, extra gasoline, GPS, water, waterproof containers
galore, tents and enough bungee cords to stretch from Parry Sound
to Timmins I’m sure!
We were not disappointed!
After a mid trip review we settled on staging our voyage
from the Vagabond Restaurant on Highway 144, just west of Gogama.
A tip from an OPP officer about maps lead us to the MNR
office in Gogama and before long we had our first day’s route
Now you have to appreciate that there are no formal ATV
trails in the area we set out to conquer and the adage “if you
don’t know where you are going any trail will get you there” was
both our mindset and our biggest challenge. Several of us had snowmobiled some of the route the
previous winter, but landmarks trail variations differ vastly from
the frozen paths to the early fall ground we were navigating.
However, undaunted by the lack of signage and assisted by
the ATV’s mighty land crossing prowess we ventured on! Numerous times we were assisted by local folk that
couldn’t believe we weren’t hunters and only were out to ATV.
We climbed a mountain to a radio tower about 2 hours from
our departure that offered a magnificent view of fall colours
spiked by countless deep green spruce tress. SWEET! We could see no sign of
habitation in any direction, precisely what we searching for.
After our hilltop experience we journeyed on and came
across a camping area at Hazen Lake, tailor made for our purposes.
On its rock shore we set up our tents, lit a sizeable
campfire and spent the evening recounting the exploits of our
crazy quest. Later that evening the north wind reminded us of how crazy we
dipped to minus 5 Celsius and we sought the comfort of toques and
thick sleeping bags.
Tired, dusty and in need of shelter we returned to a spot
we had passed earlier and had mused that it might be just right
for our tent city. Much
to our dismay all the shoreline was taken up with private
residences, but we did receive an offer to camp on one such lot.
The people we met along the way were outstanding in their
willingness to see our adventure succeed. We thanked our newfound
friend for the offer but once we discovered that there was
no place for a campfire we travelled on. In short time we pulled off the main trail to a sandy
depression that offered ample firewood and protection from the
wind. The peculiar
dugout shape of our camping spot afforded a very comfortable and
warm sanctuary. A
fire was lit, water was boiled and all manner of snacks and
refreshments lifted our spirits once again. And then … the Aurora Borealis!!
We were blown away with the light show that literally
surrounded us to the north, west and east and shooting streamers
up to the heavens themselves.
with many lessons learned, we plan to share details of our
expedition with other Parry Sound ATV District club members in
hopes that others will see the value in getting “MILES FROM
FOR LOTS MORE PICTURES CLICK HERE.