As someone who loves to ride a quiet natural trail on horseback, ATVs have not been my favorite machine. When riding on a trail while listening to the crunching of pine needles or dry leaves underfoot, it is often irritating to hear or see a noisy ATV ripping along while tearing up the paths. A horse will walk right up to a deer when on a ride, but a loud ATV can send a horse bolting in panic.
However, my last week up north this week was to include hunting for partridge. Growing up, this meant walking the colorful logging trails with a gun carried carefully in both hands, and with a little luck, a dog running ahead to spot the camouflaged bird. But times have changed, and so I ended up riding a big Artic Cat 500 machine. It was daunting at first, and continued to be challenging as I lumbered over ruts and fallen logs, and through mud holes as we covered over 20 miles of isolated trails. Twice we had to use the wench to pull a machine (mine, of course!) out of mud when bogged down, and also had to stop to use a chainsaw to cut through a tree that had fallen and blocked our path.
Although we were successful in bagging some birds, after 6 hours of bouncing over ruts and trees, nearly tipping over a few times, having a face splattered in mud, and arms strained from keeping that heavy machine going where it was supposed to, I was ready to load up when we reached the parked truck and trailer again. It was an interesting day of stretching my limits and being involved in a sport made for the younger set. I was proud of being able to do it, and we had a lot of laughs as we got covered in mud, but the muscles are feeling it today in my arms, shoulders and back.
So this sixty-year old lady is still trying new things, but I have to admit, as exciting as it was, I was thinking of how nice it would have been to be silently riding through those trails on a certain golden palomino I know......