TAK­ING THE ROAD LESS TRAV­ELLED

Less Trav­elled

4WDrive - - Contents -

As we left the trail, I looked at my odome­ter; we’d cov­ered a scant six kilo­me­tres in the past thir­teen hours. Thick mud had slowed progress and much winch­ing had en­sued. How­ever, the two-me­tre log bridge we had been forced to con­struct to get over the fi­nal hur­dle would be what we’d all talk about for years to come.

Trips like this are what cre­ate met­tle, and bond folks in friend­ships that last life­times. We had to rely on each other as we cut and lashed logs to­gether and then, in the dark, guided five Land Rovers over our makeshift bridge with flash­lights. The logs creaked and cracked as each two ton plus truck crossed, but in the end we all made it safely to the other side.

I’ve had the op­por­tu­nity to ex­plore many parts of our great coun­try and, like the ad­ven­ture de­scribed above, each trip started with care­ful plan­ning. And for over twenty years, my plans for get­ting off the beaten path have al­ways started with a Back­road map­book. A friend de­scribed these books as “the ul­ti­mate out­door ad­ven­ture guide” and that re­ally sums it up nicely.

The front sec­tion of the books in­cludes ex­tremely de­tailed maps with all kinds of in­for­ma­tion; log­ging roads, back­coun­try campsites, hik­ing trails, ca­noe routes, Crown land and much more. The back sec­tion con­tains writ­ten de­scrip­tions of var­i­ous out­door ad­ven­tures, in­clud­ing back­road at­trac­tions, hik­ing trails, ca­noe routes, hunt­ing WMUs, ATV trails, snow­mo­bile routes, de­tails of al­most ev­ery lake and the fish found in each one and more.

No mat­ter which type of out­door recre­ation you are pur­su­ing, these books can give you a big ad­van­tage. When­ever I’m out and about (par­don my Cana­di­an­ness), I al­ways have a Back­road Map­book with me. On many oc­ca­sions, I’ve headed out with just a cou­ple of free hours and dis­cov­ered a new log­ging road or hik­ing trail with the help of these books.

Hmm, al­most sounds like an ad­ver­tise­ment? Yes, in a way you’re right. I’m go­ing to ‘fess up and say I am an am­bas­sador and one of the re­search writ­ers for the books. This gives me the

op­por­tu­nity to at­tend out­door re­lated shows to tell folks about the books and, some­thing I en­joy even more, to hear about their own out­door ad­ven­tures us­ing the Back­road Map­books. And for me, as I re­search par­tic­u­lar ar­eas, I dis­cover new nat­u­ral at­trac­tions, trails and more which I make a note of to try and ex­plore in the fu­ture.

When I pur­chased my first 4x4, I grav­i­tated to these books to dis­cover trails to kick up some mud. How­ever, now I more of­ten use the books as a way to get off the beaten path, find­ing a route to a more re­mote lo­ca­tion to hike, ca­noe or snow­shoe. I’d like to briefly share a cou­ple of these ad­ven­tures.

A few years ago I had the op­por­tu­nity to travel through east­ern BC and west­ern Al­berta in a Land Rover. We cov­ered a huge dis­tance, about seventy per­cent of it on log­ging roads, and the BRMB for these ar­eas was our main guide. We used it to find out-of-the-way hik­ing trails, hot springs and wa­ter­falls, and along the way had the op­por­tu­nity to view some amaz­ing

wildlife, in­clud­ing griz­zly bears. While in Kelowna, we spent an after­noon ex­plor­ing routes to James and Pos­till Lakes be­hind my sis­ter’s place, which she didn’t even know ex­isted.

When we trav­eled the Fundy Trail, we found nu­mer­ous back roads de­scribed in the New Brunswick book that led us from Saint John to Martin Head. The trails sec­tion helped us zero in on the best spots to dis­cover the most spec­tac­u­lar mar­itime scenery.

Most re­cently though, we took a trip around Lake Su­pe­rior and, hav­ing done re­search for the North­ern Ontario books, found some spots we might have missed oth­er­wise. There are plenty of awe­some back­roads to ex­plore in North­ern Ontario, all shown in the BRMB.

Hav­ing had the op­por­tu­nity to re­search lo­ca­tions for books all across Canada, all I can say is that (and I’m sure I’m al­ready speak­ing to the con­verted) we have an awe­some coun­try. The motto on the back of my off-road teardrop trailer is “I haven’t been ev­ery­where, but it’s on my list.” As re­tire­ment ap­proaches in a scant few years, I can see hook­ing that trailer up to my 4x4 and ex­plor­ing all that Canada has to of­fer. See you on the trails!

Cross­ing our log bridge to fi­nally get out of a muddy trail near Mat­tawa. Ex­plor­ing a trail in the Five Points area of Bob­cay­geon.

A side trail off the Ice­fields Park­way in Al­berta.

Ex­cerpt from Thomp­son Okana­gan Back­road Map­book.

The end of the Top of the Gi­ant Trail in Sleep­ing Gi­ant Pro­vin­cial Park, 290 me­tres (950 feet) above Lake Su­pe­rior.

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