If your snowmobile conversations with riding friends include the following phrases, continue reading; you will love what I’m about to reveal to you.
"I can’t wait to get my sled in some bottomless pow."
"We need to find a few good booters to hit."
"We need to find a few good booters to hit."
"What are the odds of making it up that?"
"We need to find out what’s over the next hill!"
I’ve got to tell you, Wawa’s Top Secret Boondocking is legit. If your buddies and you are looking to go for a serious rip and want to shred the gnar, you will love what’s possible in Wawa.
I’ll admit to you early on, it's not just one component of this area that makes it a bona fide winner; it’s the entire package. Top Secret Boondocking is magnificently impressive with a touch of formidable defiance.
Enough with the fancy descriptive words, let’s get down to the raw greatness of Wawa and its backcountry experience. I’ll lay it out in five simple points, and by the end you will want to give this article a share tagging your buds with "let’s go."
1. I’ve been by snowmobile to many friendly Northern Ontario towns. Wawa, located in Ontario’s Algoma Country, is beyond your standard "snowmachine friendly." It has the expected easy-to-access services like gas, restaurants, and even the ability to find parts should the need arise. It’s really nice to know when snowmobiling somewhere that you’re welcomed in that community. Where does Wawa shine above and beyond the hundreds of other sled-receptive communities? Wawa embraces the backcountry riding enthusiast, and that, my friends, is hard to find here in Ontario.
2. Accommodations. A good selection is available from motel/hotel type rooms to chalet cabins. My preference is the Wawa Motor Inn’s chalets – ample parking right in front of your door for the trucks and trailers is a major plus. The chalets are wickedly comfortable, two bedrooms each with two beds, a full kitchen, and a social area with a fireplace to chill by, as well as dry out your soaked gear. Over the three days we spent in our chalet, we kept the fire going the entire time, thanks to daily fill-ups of our outdoor wood-box by the staff.
3. Wawa area has a selectable abundance of riding opportunities; in other areas, you generally have one or maybe two spots you can ride. Wawa’s Top Secret Boondocking is endless and will take you as far as you could ever want to go. From the badlands appropriately named "the kill" to "extreme powerlines" to "the hills from hell" – this, my friends, is just the start. There is so much to explore in this area.
4. Exploration. Backcountry riding isn’t just about shredding pow all day, it’s about the thrill of not knowing and then finding out what is over the next hill or in the next valley. I’ve heard locals say that there are over 500 km of powerline corridor in the area – so much so that even the locals haven’t explored it all. If you’re like me, you want to go where no one else has been before by sled. The highlight of our trip involved a conversation that will never be forgotten...
Brett: "Jeff, what are the odds we will make it up that?"
Jeff: "I’d say 50/50."
Brett: "I like those odds."
5. There really is something for everyone here! You can take it as easy, or go as hardcore as you want and that’s what sets this area aside. I’ve ridden many places, and often the terrain will dictate who is able to ride and where. Take for example the Abitibi Canyon – most turn around at the first hill, afraid of yard-sailing their sleds. In Wawa, you can cater your backountry experience based on your ability. Simply put, they have a very diversified inventory of backcountry riding – the gnarly hydro lines are better suited to those with experience while the "The Kill" and "Piston Alley" on the reservoir offer a easier-to-conquer experience. This diversity in riding locations, which are all separated by a good distance, allows for ample opportunity to find fresh, untouched terrain and not see another the group the entire day! This is the icing on the cake!
I’ve been riding backcountry on snowmobiles for over 15 years now; it’s what I wait all year to do. This article is my honest opinion of Wawa’s backcountry experience. The action here is so good I may even regret writing this article and sharing the low-down on what once was a Top Secret Boondocking Location.
On that note, it’s important to consider you’re venturing into the wilds of Northern Ontario; you will navigate challenging terrain in areas with no cell service and in some cases no access roads. There only may be one way in and out. You need to be prepared for anything and everything that can happen while exploring the backcountry by snowmobile – you must know and accept that it's at your own risk. Have respect for where you are and what you are doing – use your head out there.
See you on the snow!