Photos & words by: Rodney Wills
Day-3: The sun is up and I crack open my tent to check on my camp mates.
We set out for a morning hike as the terrain and views are epic. No one says it, but we know our trek is nearing the end so we want to take in as much as possible and cherish every moment! I’m thinking about my team back at the office who could not come on this trip and take as many images as I can so they too can share the moment. I’m also thinking about our work duties and who knows, you might see these images on future Axial boxes or advertisements. It’s all about the lifestyle that we live! We live to dream, we dream to live.
Lightning hit this tree, burned the center out and peeled the lower portion of the tree down like melted plastic. Just crazy how and what lightning can and will do. Nature inflicting nature.
Wutang Rock! At least that is what I am going to call it!!!
It’s a pretty big rock too as we contemplated a bug-out hut.
Peace Sign Rock. We came in peace and left it in its natural pieces… I’m sure the next heavy rain it will be gone.
That is not our paint. All our paint belongs to us!
So we get camp packed up and start making our way out and I notice how tight the trail is. This is not the Axial 1/10scale rig, this is the full size rig and that is full size paint left by others. I had to climb in from the other side of the vehicle to shoot this so you can get a perspective of just how tight the trail can be even on this relatively flat ground. When the rocks aren’t barking at your vehicle the trees will try to bite!
Time to pay respects when you get to Oakland Ave.
As we approach Cadillac Hill, located at “Oakland Avenue” we pass this memorial site. We pay our respects first and pass through.
Funny, as I sit to write this blog while looking at these images, this one in particular, a song pops into my head… Tyrone Brunson’s Sticky Situation. Yea, it’s on YouTube. Not that the situation for the Jeep is anywhere near sticky, but you get the point… Just play along with me please.
Then we arrive…
Cadillac Hill is #13 on the FunTreks EveryTrail map and a 10.6+ on the richter scale.
I would say this was the second most challenging section of the Rubicon Trail, but who am I, I’m just a hiker hauling camera gear! In the first photo, that is Parker walking ahead to do a little obstacle reconnaissance. We also hear a group making their way down Caddy Hill. They made it look so easy as they traversed down, but their rigs where very well suited for the environment, but not big budget built or flashy, very home built and I liked them. I have to make sure the long-cut video includes them as they were the first folks we saw on trail over the three days.
As we crest Cadillac Hill it starts to drizzle on us.
Not minutes later and the drizzle has produced a wet trail ahead.
Is it 1:10th or 1:1?
While you know its the full size Jeep coming up the trail and it looks cool while doing so, my mind is wondering what is ahead? How steep is it going to be? How slick are the rocks going to be? Will it turn to snow?
Nothing to do but carry on!
We find ourselves under dense foliage and on dry ground, but the precipitation must have been isolated to the area behind us. Parker perks up, but for another reason…
We pop out of the woods onto a large slab of rock called Observation Point that overlooks the valley. You can see evidence of the rain that just passed through. But something is missing! You can’t have a glory moment without both vehicles in the picture!
Now that is the real glory in all its rain speckled and dusted-dawg honor! The Axial SCX10 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon did us right and did us good!
It’s just not a handshake among friends in a posed photo without Parker having his signature “cradle shot!” Here ScottG gets the first lift. ScottG was our driver of the full-size Axial SCX10JK Jeep.
It’s Brad “Bender” Dumont’s turn for the cradle shot! He prepped and drove the Axial SCX10 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon the whole way – every day! One for the record books.
With Parker being the master of the “cradle shot” we thought Parker should receive the treatment as well! While this is a small “victory dance” for the Axial SCX10′s accomplishments, this is not the end of the trail.
The good thing is…
We see blue sky ahead!
And it must be lunch time!
Parker said, “I got your blue sky right here in this blue bag holding all these blue sacks of Mountain House FOOD!”
Well, the blue sky has gone to grey, but the stomachs are full and its time to visually inspect the vehicles, mount up and head on down the trail!
The next section…
The trial from Observation Point to the Rubicon Staging Area transitions from the rocky granite to a more dense forest with a dusty trail with very minor obstacles. It became a rather boring transit even for the 1:10th Axial SCX10 with the only “excitement” would be running up on a couple of rigs who were coming into forest for the weekend.
As we arrive at the Rubicon Staging Area we see this very large map and Parker told us about how this whole area would be littered with trailers and tow rigs stacked into the large parking lots, but you would still be staging two miles down the road due to the amount of rigs attending the larger events. It was hard to imagine as we were the only people there with only two tow vehicles in the lot from a couple of guys who where coming in for the weekend. The threat of rain is high tonight so We all load into the Axial SCX10JK Jeep with camera gear and the Axial SCX10 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon sitting in our laps and make our way towards town as we will crash in a hotel tonight.
Its not civilization…
But it is Lake Tahoe and we know our hotel is just around the corner.
I knew we had come to the right spot when I walked in the door and read this quote from Claude Monet! We stayed the night at the Lake Of The Sky Inn in Tahoe City as this is close to the trail head and most of all – affordable!
Now comes the celebration!
What do we do? We crack open the Mountain House food and add hot water boiled right from the JetBoil PCS stove! I know what you were thinking that we should be doing… But we drag the camera gear out, dig for cables to plug into the TV and start watching the video clips eating our Mountain House food right in the room!
Four 32-gigabyte cards filled to the brim! This little adventure is not over until we are home as we have the awesome HWY395 to transit back down from Lake Tahoe to Southern California.
If you haven’t read the previous entries, check them out here!