As we approached the event headquarters for Superlift's Canadian 4xAdventure near Minden, Ontario, we passed a Russian-built four-wheel-drive Lada two-door (the upscale Cossack version, no less) and were reminded once again that we were no longer in the U.S. It's unusual to see one of these boxy SUVs in the States because they are illegal to import, but this one actually looked kind of cool (in a twisted sort of way), flecked with mud and sporting a few bolt-ons. For just a moment, reason fled and we thought how novel it would be to build up one of these coil-sprung wonders. Then we got real and decided we'd rather trick out a snazzy new Lada Niva five-door or the stunning Niva pickup. We're hopeless.
For those of us who live in the continental U.S., a trip to Canada is like crossing a state border; it's really no big deal. Some changes are clearly evident when you cross the line, including a shift to the metric system, paper money that comes in multiple colors, and french fries topped with either vinegar or gravy. Then, of course, there are all those Ladas. Canada's landmass is larger than that of the U.S., yet it has significantly less population, which means more wide-open spaces and more room to explore. Hence, it was the perfect location for the first-ever Canadian Superlift 4xAdventure.
The event was based out of the South Lake Trailer Park, and it drew more than 100 4x4s, mostly from Ontario and Quebec, with a few from Michigan. The folks from Sports-In-The-Rough managed the event, and as is usual with all of the nationwide 4xAdventures, the registration fee included all of the trail rides, a raffle, entertainment on Saturday evening, and five hot meals
Helping out with the event were members of the Northern Lights 4x4 Trailriders Association. This organization was formed by Ontario off-roaders in 1998 out of concern over a land planning and management program launched by the Ontario government called Lands For Life, which had the potential of locking 'wheelers out of crown land. The organization quickly grew as word spread of its objectives, and today it consists of 14 clubs with more than 1,800 members. These folks participate in a variety of projects, including trash cleanup and trail maintenance programs. They are also very knowledgeable about off-road trails throughout Ontario, so it was only natural to have them lead the trail rides for this 4xAdventure.
Each day there were eight to ten trail rides to select from, and they ranged from easy, scenic dirt roads to challenging, old logging roads. We tagged along on the Greens Mountain trailrun on both days because it was the most challenging of the bunch. We're told that in a normal year, the trail is inherently muddy, but this hadn't been a normal year because rainfall had been significantly less than usual. Nonetheless, the holes we did encounter were bottomless, and they stuck almost every vehicle that attempted to cross them. Based on this, we can imagine that this trail's challenge level climbs substantially after normal rainfall. Probably the biggest challenge on the Greens Mountain trail was the number of huge granite boulders and slabs that dot the Haliburton Highlands, and they poke out of the ground at random, creating a plethora of obstacles. From time to time, we'd top out on a rise that offered spectacular views of the Canadian terrain and the scores of clean, clear lakes.
The Canadian Superlift 4xAdventure offered great 'wheeling in a beautiful environment. Crossing into Canada was a great break from the normal routine - one that gave us a real adventure without dropping into a third-world country.
For More Information
To find out more about Superlift's 2002 4xAdventure series, contact: Sports-In-The-Rough, (866) EVENT INFO (383-6846), www.sportsintherough.com.