When you think about Utah, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Nature? Rocks? National Parks? What do they all have it common? Perfect environment for ATV riding! ATV stands for All Terrain Vehicle, or little off-road cars. In Utah they are so common, everyone has one or two sitting in their driveway. The reason why is Utah has so many dirt trails for people to ride the ATVs. So in the spirit of being in Utah we just had to try one out!
While planning the Utah trip, we had to make sure we had a full day for riding an ATV. We planned the day to celebrate Vicky’s birthday! Vicky and I were so excited to get it one, and the experience definitely met our expectations. Picking up our ATV from the rental place, they gave us a map of all the places to visit during the day. We rented our ATV in Hurricane near Zion National Park. We got to ride to Sand Hollow State Park where there were miles of trails with spectacular views of canyons, dinosaur tracks, a Mormon fort, and sand dunes (our most memorable part).
We got into our ATV not knowing what to expect, we were wearing our hats, but they gave us helmets. After driving and picking up speed, we realized why we needed those helmets on. The ATV could go up to 50mph, but going at anything over 10mph, the wind would be so strong it would be hard to breathe. The helmets had a mouth covering to block the wind, and also protect your mouth from bugs. Once we got to the canyon, we had a fun time riding through the trails, there weren’t very many people on the trails, but we ran into a friendly dirt bike rider along the way. We took a lot of good pictures along the route. We ended up having a birthday picnic for lunch on one of the cliffs complete with a birthday cupcake and wine. Due to Vicky’s planning we packed an ice cooler full of dried gourmet meats, gourmet cheese and crackers and other nice snacks.
The rest of the ride was quite fun, until we visited the sand dunes. The sand dunes are fun if you know what you’re doing, but being our first ride we didn’t know what we were doing. The sand dunes can be scary because they can get quite high, and you don’t know how the other side looks like. It could be flat at the top, or a steep 3 story drop down. The other thing we learned the hard way, is even though you have a 4 wheel drive, you need speed when driving through the sand. If you don’t pick up enough speed, you could get stuck. That is exactly what happened to us. Getting stuck in sand isn’t the best experience in the world. At first you think you can get out of there, but the more you try, the deeper you get stuck. Every time we stepped on the gas sand would fly everywhere, even into our cooler! We were trying all different ways to get out, but we eventually tried calling the rental office for help. They told us to try digging out the wheels, but if we couldn’t they would have to drive out and pull us out of the sand and that would be the end of our day :( Luckily we found some random stick in the desert and kept digging the sand away from the wheels. It was a long process, but we finally did it. Meanwhile while I was digging, Vicky managed to wander off try to flag down other riders to help. The problem was in the desert, when people wander off its very easy to lose track of where you are. While I finally managed to get unstuck, Vicky was nowhere to be found. I drove ahead and found her, but when I tried to yell for her, she kept walking ahead. She was yelling at another ATV far ahead thinking that was me and was chasing after it, while I was tailing here and yelling at her. She couldn’t hear me as I yelled so it was frustrating because I didn’t want the ATV to get stuck again. Finally she turned around and saw me. Tears of fear and joy came out of us and we finally got back into the ATV and rode out of the sand trap!
The rest of the day was fun as we saw some of the landmarks like the dinosaur tracks and the Mormon fort. But we couldn’t shake off the idea that we almost got stuck and lost in the sand dunes. That was a memorable, scary, and comical situation that we will remember for a while. But I don’t think that will stop us from going ATVing again.