When we arrived at the staging area, they taught us how to start our engines and told us to drive around to get a feel for how the throttle and brakes worked. Then we were off.
Like everywhere else we go here, there were postcard-worthy vistas at every turn. In the center of the picture below, you can see the Knik Glacier - it's the light blue band above the river in the valley of the mountains and it was our goal to get there. This picture is from at least ten miles away.
Thankfully it was a fairly sunny day, but because it's been so dry lately there was a lot of dust. The riverbed is made of rocks and a fine, glacial silt which stirs into an impressive cloud when 12 ATV's roll through. I think it's safe to assume my lungs were coated with fine, glacial silt by the end of the day. For illustrative purposes, here's a selfie at the beginning of the day:
And here's one at the turnaround point:
Just a little dirty. By the time we rode all the way back, we were beyond filthy but it was worth it to see the Knik Glacier up close. There are actually two arms of the glacier feeding into Lake George. That shade of blue is impossible to accurately capture on an iPhone!
It was a long day full of craziness (lots of rolled ATV's, a couple of moose sightings, a few episodes of getting stuck in the mud) and it caused some massively sore muscles the next day, but was definitely an only-in-Alaska kind of experience. I don't need to ride an ATV every weekend, but you can bet that if there's another opportunity next summer, I'm in.