My spouse and I decided to take an ATV tour on a whim, after dining at the Black Diamond Restaurant one night and talking to the folks there. It turns out that Black Diamond offers something of one-stop shopping for adventure while in Healy.
Never having been on ATVs before, we had no idea what to expect. During the mandatory safety briefing, it was obvious that our guides had a good sense of humor and would make it a fun trip. Besides my spouse and I, there was a family of five or so riding. The trip got off to a disappointing start when one member of the family appeared terrified and kept stopping. Now we're not exactly adrenaline junkies, but let's just say that on this particular day, we felt a need for speed!
During a break, when the group stopped to look at some moose, we spoke to the lead guide, Joe, who by then had sensed a speed-incompatibility problem. He decided to split up the group, turning the family over to the other two guides, and the two of us went just with Joe. And that made all the difference. From then on, we had a blast! We went fast, in circles, through creeks, and fast again. OK, for us it seemed fast. For Joe, it was probably a fairly tame ride. In any case, we felt like we were getting what we had paid for, a real ATV ride.
The scenery on our ride was beautiful, even though Joe had mentioned it was an abbreviated ride because not all of the trails they usually use were snow-free. In any case, it exceeded our expectations. If there was one downside, it was that we spent a bit too much time during a stop with the whole group at a "dry" cabin, when the guides talked about the history of the area and told a few interesting tales. Interesting, yes, but they could be pared down a bit without losing their impact. We did, after all, come primarily to ride!
We did so many fun things in Alaska that we would be hard-pressed to pick a favorite. But this was certainly a contender.