Extreme day trip!

An ATV-loving family throws the chore list out the window and hits the trails.

After spending Saturday boating on Lake Joseph and Lake Rosseau, my family and I had originally planned on spending our Sunday working around the house. We needed to cut wood for winter, clean the vehicles, cut the grass and do your typical housekeeping chores. But Sunday morning, we awoke to a text message from one of our closest family friends, Tony Haskim, letting us know that the Broadbent crew was planning a day trip on the ATVs!  

With the sun shinning bright in a cloudless sky, we decided the day was too beautiful to spend working, so we threw our chore list out the window! While Dad got the ATVs fueled up, Mom got food and drinks packed, and I spent some time driving backwards around the driveway.  No, I haven’t lost my mind (yet); I was simply practicing my skills with the snowmobile trailer.

Having the ability to drive on the roads is crucial for ATVs.

Once ready to roll, we headed out on the 20-minute drive over to Broadbent. Having the ability to drive on the roads is crucial for ATVs. Unlike the snowmobile trails that criss-cross the province, ATV trails are fewer and far between each other. This means that we spend a great deal of time on roads traveling to, from and in-between the trail systems. As we pulled up at Tony’s, we were greeted by some of our closest friends. ATV trips are the perfect opportunity, and excuse, to make new friends and reconnect with those we haven’t seen in awhile. Once the group had all arrived, 12 of us in total, we hopped back onto the road and continued north till we came to the trailhead.

With eight ATVs and a Side-by-Side, we were a rather large group!

The local trails we ride are some of the toughest and roughest trails I have ever had the opportunity to experience. This is because they are strictly built and maintained by the locals who ride them. Swamps, bogs, steep rocky hills and downed trees create a challenging yet exhilarating adventure.  To me, these trails give you a real taste of the extreme side of ATVing, as you can literally find yourself in some of the toughest situations these ATVs are designed to handle. I love getting the chance to push myself and my machine to the absolute breaking point. Yes, this can be dangerous, and I do not recommend that anyone ride the way I do, unless you have the training and the confidence to back it up. 

Yes, sometimes we get stuck, but that’s why we have winches!

On this particular trip, we were headed back to the Haskim Hunt Camp. The Camp is situated on Crown land north of Parry Sound and was built in the 70s by the Haskim family. The Camp has changed a lot over the years; extensions and upgrades have been made as materials became available. It is almost strictly made from re-used products: the front door was originally from my barn, and the outhouse came from our house when it was no longer needed. Everyone chips in what they can, and yearly trips are made out to the Camp to maintain it, including in the winter when the roof needs to be shoveled.

The Haskim Hunt Camp was originally built in the 1970s, and continues to be used every hunting season by family and friends.

I thoroughly enjoy riding with friends, because you really get to connect and build bonds with them as you watch each other traverse obstacles, whether triumphant or not. This connection not only creates fantastic memories but makes the friendships that much stronger. Riding in a group, whether ATVing or snowmobiling, has some very big positives besides great visiting time. We always wait for each other, help each other over obstacles, and there are always enough people around that trees and other debris can be cleared from trails without much difficulty. Although with ATVs, we quite often just go over the obstacles instead of moving them!

Everyone is always willing to lend a helping hand!

With our tummies full of BBQed goodness, we made our way back from the Camp. Dad and I spied a few tempting mud bogs that we penciled in for a later date, and sadly before we knew it we were back to Broadbent. Unfortunately for me, this Sunday Fun Day ended with me packing my bags and driving into the setting sun towards the city. Living in the city during the week has truly given me a new respect for the country life I used to take for granted. Now, I spend my weekdays daydreaming about the adventures to come, and reliving the memories I’ve already made.

About Shelby Mahon

Growing up snowmobiling in Northern Ontario has been a defining aspect of Shelby's life. She is now the owner of Backcountry Motorsports Media and travels across North America photographing and documenting motorsports events and tourism destinations. Check out her Facebook, Instagram and website for more info.

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