As soon as the snow melts I head for the outdoors full-steam ahead, jumping back into all the activities I dreamt about while the winter months held me in their cold embrace. Warm sandy beaches, ATV trips, camping, gardening, boating—eat, sleep, and then repeat! I mean, there's only so much good warm weather available before the inevitable return of Old Man Winter, and you don't want to waste a single second, right?!
Well, sometimes too much of a good thing isn't so good and, if you're anything like me, it's easy to go overboard and burn out a little. So how's a motorsports fanatic like me supposed to come down from a summer like that?
Enter the season of slowing down
At the end of last summer, I received a message from my good friends Art and Amanda, owners and operators of Mukwa Adventures, telling me about their Fall Women's ATV Retreat Weekend hosted at Dunlop Lake Lodge, just a short drive from Elliot Lake, Ontario. As an avid SxS fan, I was a bit skeptical to participate in another ATV weekend, but Amanda convinced my wife and me that it would be relaxing, and that we could just kick back and regenerate a bit from a crazy summer of activities.
"The colours are in full swing, the air is crisp, the bugs are gone, all the meals are taken care of, the hot tub is steamy, and the venue is top notch. Grab your camera gear and come on up!" It wasn't that hard to convince me. I always love a chance to do some off-roading in Ontario's Algoma Country.
After a bit of arm-bending from my wife (who was keen on a kid-free ladies' getaway weekend), I loaded up the truck with her Polaris ACE and all my camera equipment, jumped on highway 17 and made the trek to beautiful Dunlop Lake Lodge.
Dunlop Lake Lodge
We arrived late Friday night. Tricia MacDonald, owner of Dunlop Lake Lodge, greeted us with a friendly smile and even went out of her way to bring out some trays of food. After chit-chatting with Art and Amanda, we threw on our bathing suits and hit the hot tub. What a perfect way to start the weekend!
Our night was spent in a cozy cabin with a wood stove keeping us warm throughout it. It was a cold Saturday morning when we awoke, possible rain with a chance of sunny periods in the afternoon, with an expected high of only +4° Celsius.
We made our way down to the restaurant in the lodge and enjoyed a hearty breakfast consisting of bacon, eggs, hash browns, toast, and coffee. The staff at the lodge was exactly what you'd expect from a northern community—very kind, friendly, and eager to make you feel at home.
Time to Ride
It was time to roll out and I was excited to see what the trails around Elliot Lake had to offer. I read about the Elliot Lake ATV club a few years back and had been eager to ride on their trail system for some time. We would be riding on the EL1 - May Lake Loop trail, an easy-going ride perfect for beginners at approximately 65 kilometres in length.
After Art performed his safety briefing and operational instructions for the CAN-AM Outlander SST G2 450 quads, we fired up the machines and headed out for an adventure!