During the next 5 hours we pass many lakes and beaver ponds following what Willy would later assure us were trails though we all agreed we would have been hard pressed to navigate them independent of him. There is no mistaking we are traveling across the Canadian shield and there is little race left behind of where we manoever our bikes across the rocky landscape. We reach Half Way Lodge on Hwy 17, fueling up, it is the last opportunity to do so during this today.

September 2009 a group of friends and strangers were brought together by Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario touring legend Bob Collins, owner/operator of Algoma Sled ATV Tours, for a four wheeling adventure through the wilds of the Algoma Region.

Bob Collins disembarks a quad as Willy and one of the ACR staff wait to help those who are less experienced.

Newlyweds Brenda David Brindley met through their involvement in the Badger ATV Club in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin It wasn't' long after that, their shared passion for all things outdoors had them walking down the isle promising to travel through the trails of life together for better or worse in mountains and in mud The backwoods of Northeastern Ontario were perfect when it came to choosing a honeymoon destination!

The ramp is lowered from the train; inside I see the diverse group of riders trying to pace in the close quarters of the baggage compartment where they have gathered, eager to unload. They've enjoyed the scenic 5 hour ride through Agawa Canyon but are ready to hit the trail. Bob leads the way, driving his bike out first to show the group how it's done. One by one the riders follow suit disembarking bikes and gear from the train, included among the variety of quads are two Polaris Razors. I am looking forward to seeing them perform, particularly at water crossings and in deeper mud as the drivers are seated go cart style with a steering wheel rather than straddling the vehicle and I wonder if the riders will stay dry. This is the moment of truth bikes unloaded in the middle of nowhere the participants must place their trust in the guides as there is no turning back, the adventure's begun.

Willie Smedt pioneered snowmobile and ATV touring in Northern Ontario more than 25 years ago and has earned a reputation for going out of his way catering to wilderness riders.

Willie stops to allow me an opportunity for a photo and allow the group to re hydrate.

is repeated, a final opportunity to rearrange luggage and adjust bungees before getting some serious mileage under our tires.

Day 2: Wawa White River Dubreuilville Goudreau 160km

Day 3: Goudreau Hawk Junction Whitefish Lake Wawa 94km

We follow our guides to Wawa's giant Canada goose falling into formation at the foot of the statue; everyone knowing the drill by this point, quick work is made of the photo op. Next on the postcard tour is Wawa's Scenic High Falls where the pose

´╗┐ATV Honeymoon in Algoma

Pulling out from the Bristol Motel after a greaet night rest.

Canada Goose Men Ireland

Tuesday morning the sun is out as we load up the quads, Bonnie provides each rider with water bottles before helping Willie to load up the sandwiches and fruit she has prepared for our picnic lunch. We are reminded to keep rain gear close at hand and wear either dust masks or bandanas as our today will include gravel roads. The group has decided on a mix of both scenic and mud trails and Willy is eager to begin.

There are so many breathtaking views in the Algoma region, it is a challenge to choose just a few to share with you.

Day 1: Millwood to Wawa approx. 60Km

Canada Goose Men Ireland

They would spend 4 days during which old friendships were solidified, new friendships were forged and a marriage was celebrated. Freelance photojournalist Karina Hunter photographed the adventure, and shares highlights of the first 3 days of this outback experience.

Brenda David Brindley from Mount Horeb Wisconsin, initiated the tour as a belated honeymoon and were accompanied by their friends from the Badger ATV Club, Ellen Jeff Albert, Nancy David Kerl and Nancy Randall; from Guelph, Ontario were veteran ATV tourists David Nankivell,Collins' son in law, and his friend Dwayne Graff;

We entered Wawa at nightfall, relieved to reach the restaurant before it closed. Having ordered our meal, our re routed sweep is awarded the 'boner' award for the day, a large plastic bone on a rope that he good naturedly wears for the remainder of the evening. It is good natured rousing like this which inspires the camaraderie among participants of ATV tours. I'm looking forward to morning when the group will opt between working through some of Willie's favourite mud trails or traveling a more scenic route confident that regardless of their decision we will be introduced to many new challenges. It is not advisable to venture into the Algoma wilderness without an experienced guide as routes are not found on any map, Smedt, Collins and their associates have developed them through years of exploration via ATV and snowmobile.

I really enjoy winding paths where the many colours of autumn are seen in falling leaves which gather along edges of the trail.

favourite by far, winding logging roads and uneven grass fields that require the pace be kept up in order to keep your sights on the bike ahead as it is the only promise of a trail. The trees are gradually closing around us as we approach cottage country of Whitefish Lake. It is there, at the hydroelectric generation facility where we park the bikes for lunch. A few last photos with my new friends, we exchange emails and we are off.

Before heading out, Collins and Smedt brief the riders regarding trail safety; each rider is responsible for the one behind them to ensure no one is left behind through the many twists and turns and intersecting trails which lay ahead. In spite of nodding heads of acquiescence, the days' ride will be significantly extended as the group later becomes divided. At supper we would hear of how, while crossing a trap line, our last rider ended up behind the wrong bike, more specifically that of a trapper not associated with the group. He would eventually end up in Wawa though our guides spent a significant of amount of time backtracking to establish his whereabouts and ensure that he was heading in the right direction.

Hours have been added to our route over the course of the afternoon traversing swamps and dusk is falling as we drive through Dubreuilville. The once thriving forestry town has been hit hard with industry struggles, the mill closed in recent years and now the community is included mostly because of the trails that surround it and as a precaution should any of the bikes encounter difficulties during the long trip. We close ranks once again and, and press on through the last cross country leg to Goudreau.

Within 30 minutes of our arrival at Millwood I hear the train approaching, among the perks of traveling with seasoned guides is their knowledge of travel times and the ability to coordinate meetings like this so smoothly.

Vernon, the greenhorn, is having no problem with the terrain as we Canada Goose Men Ireland near the 2nd hour of our ride in to Wawa.

The next morning I am very aware that the tour, for Willy and I, is almost over. While Bob will continue with the group, leading them after we part ways, to Halfway Haven for one more night, Willy and I will continue only on to Whitefish Lake. The sun is shining and we've all slept well; there is a smile on every face as we pack our bikes.

neighbour on hand stocking the campfire as we arrive; Bonnie greets everyone offering refreshments and directions to our rooms. I can smell the feast she has prepared as I walk in to their Heritage Home and all thoughts I had of finding my bed are banished by my growling stomach. There is time to freshen up and unpack then supper is served, an outstanding meal, typical of Bonnie's kitchens. This evening the 'boner award' is passed on, the Polaris Razor's female driver receives it. She has spent the day taking the lead; where men paused daunted by rapids, muddy inclines or engorged swamps, she politely drove by without hesitation. After supper some enjoy each other's company by the fire while most of us retreat to our beds.

Bob Collins disembarks a quad as Willy and one of the ACR staff wait to help those who are less experienced.