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Sledding in Ontario's Northwest Region

Sledding in Ontario's Northwest Region

Atikokan and Sledding Right from the USA into Canada

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Sometimes in life we get presented an opportunity that cannot be refused.  This was the case for myself this past March.  I was in Thunder Bay on a trip for work, when I received an email asking if I was interested in taking some photographs for the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile clubs in Dryden.   I was happily surprised to say the least, and had accepted before even knowing what I had accepted

I contacted the snowmobile club and talked to Audrey and quickly made plans to go for a trail ride on an upcoming weekend.   She let me know that she had talked to some of the club members in Dryden and in Sioux  Lookout and that we were going to do a halfway meet at a place called Center Fire Lake.   We were to meet up at the snowmobile club in Dryden at ten am Sunday, then head out on a about a thirty five mile ride to the rendezvous point to meet the Sioux Lookout club members and have a camp fire and hot dog roast.

So the day arrived and I was up at seven in the morning, and the temperature was hovering around the minus thirty degree mark.  I knew this was a possibility from day one so I humbly accepted my fate and got out of bed.   I warmed up the car and grabbed all my gear and was sent on my way with a coffee and some food.

When I arrived at the club I saw five snowmobiles and four people talking out behind the club so I went and introduced myself and got the update on the situation.  The Sioux Lookout club had sent a text this morning and said it was too cold and they would be an hour late, a few people had backed out because of the cold and a couple more had said they would be late.   I was given the "club sled" a maroon Polaris wide track classic.  I strapped my backpack full of camera gear and snacks into the cargo rack on the back and after learning how it like to be started, warmed up the old sled.                        

Our group of six machines hit the trail shortly after ten.   Due to the weird weather we had in mid March the trails were hard packed ice when we  went for our ride.  Luckily the frequent photo stops allowed us to throw some snow on our sliders to keep them cool.  This was my first time riding on a groomed/maintained trail and I must say it sure is nice.  Nice in the sense that it's a smooth ride and easy to follow, and really nice knowing you won't be getting stuck trying to get where you are going.   

After a nice relaxing two hour drive we arrived  at Center Fire for our campfire and hot dog roast.  It was noon and the temperature was now up to minus six and the skies were sunny and cloudless with light winds.   After the first round of hotdogs we heard the first sleds approaching from Sioux Lookout.    They let us know some people were back at the lake, so someone from our group went and let them know we were by the warm up shack with a fire going.   With their arrival our group had over doubled, the fire got bigger and the stories kept coming.  The shared love of snowmobiles and the outdoors made fast friends between the new people like myself and led to many humorous stories from old friends reunited on the trail.                              

We spent a few hours at the fire; having a fire roasted snack,  getting to know each other, learning about the different features and custom work done to each other's snowmobiles and finding out where how much to get similar modifications done to their machine.   At around three thirty we put out the fire and got geared up for the ride home.  We stopped a couple more times on the way home for photos and after about two hours we were back in Dryden at the snowmobile club in time to make it home dinner.                      

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