Some would argue that you can’t write about ATVing until you’ve gone ATVing. I counter that by saying that I can and I have, but it wasn’t until I finally got a chance to go out on a machine that I felt qualified to do it with enthusiasm.
As a non-rider, I’ve always been a bit mystified by quads. Sure, they look like fun, but I really couldn’t account for the sheer number of them that I see being pulled on trailers through the backroads in B.C. and Alberta. Luckily, members of the Quad Squad in Alberta’s Crowsnest Pass were willing to give me a lesson on appreciation.
The trails in the area are amazing. Besides the scenery, which goes on forever, the trails very well maintained by a hotshot group of dedicated volunteers. In teams of 10 to 50, they come out to build bridges, repair trails, signage and shelters, pick up garbage and ensure that other riders are following the rules of safety and courtesy.
For beginners or hard-core enthusiasts, it is quad heaven. But let’s talk about the scenery again. We crossed several bridges over pristine creeks, climbed high into the Alberta Rockies where we were treated to staggering mountain views, and rolled through densely forested areas that allowed for a bit of four-by-fouring action.
And this is where I really understood the appeal of the pastime. My first attempt at going up the trail resulted in me stalling. But our guides, Harold Kind, Don Harrison and Dennis Beasley, were prepared to patiently wait while I figured out how to maneouvre the beast and climb the hills.
Don had a complaint halfway through the ride. “Excuse me,” he said. “I thought we had a newbie with us and we were going to have a nice, slow ride today. But 10 minutes in, I saw Tanya standing up and spinning tires and flying mud.”
It seems I had found the throttle, and found it to my liking. We had a tremendous day. The Quad Squad provided excellent hospitality, guidance and information. Their apparent love of the area and of the pastime are transparent and infectious, and have made them an excellent resource for anyone visiting the area. Be sure to stop in and say hello when passing through. And be sure to share with them how much you appreciate their hard work on the trails.