Death is inevitable. No matter we do to stave it off it comes. Now, very often it’s terrible, tragic, but every so often death can be glorious. A soldier saving an entire battalion by sacrificing himself in battle. A firefighter carries one more person out of a burning building before succumbing to noxious fumes. So as we prepare to head out for an outrageous day of off-roading I can’t help but have a hunch, being on my back in a mud puddle, which just covers my nose with an overturned 600lb ATV between my spread open legs is probably not one of those deaths.
I’m in Huntsville with a cool crew, ready to embark on something that actually (uhhh how steep?) scares the s**t out of me. However, my amazing Guide Kim, with the most trusting eyes imaginable and our great leader for the day, probably wouldn’t have it. I’m certain if push came to shove, she’d kick my ass. Not for this, but in general. She’s been off roading nearly her entire life. She can rebuild an ATV faster than I can finish a Rubik’s Cube. Who am I kidding, I could never finish a Rubik’s Cube. With a cigarette permanently affixed to her lip, she would probably pick me up and move me ON my machine if I couldn’t get to where we needed to go, so, mums the word. “We’re gonna go over a few essentials”, she coolly states lighting another cigarette. “This machine can roll over on you if you’re not doing what needs to be done”. Ummmm WTF?! Like now?! Would I do this if it weren’t for TV? These are real questions people!
Okay, so an ATV or All Terrain Vehicle is NOT like a motorcycle in any way. For those of you who don’t ride there are only two wheels to attend to on a motorcycle. Lean into where you need to go and the bike follows. Not so in any way on an ATV. “So, what’s the uh.. outcome of uhh something like that” I, apparently without a clue, nervously utter as if there would ever be another answer. “Well”, another cigarette lit, I’m certain for dramatic effect. ..which worked by the way. “What do you think would happen?” Hmm. I see. Yaaa, probably not one of those deaths.
Kilometer after bicep shaking, jaw clenching, face sweating, heart pounding kilometre the knowledge I received through the competence of our guide and understanding the respect that’s needed for this awesome machine allowed only one thought: I got this! Kim and I take off for a few minutes to get some shots and as we ride past the largest hill encountered on the trails, all 45 degrees of it and rocks protruding a plenty she yells back, “this is where we go to really see what these machines can do”. Seconds later she slows her machine and turns back. As she passes me she continues, “but I think you can handle it”. And at that moment I realized, as she with confidence tells me this that whether death be tragic or glorious none of it will be had today. Another one of the list! Onwards, HO!