Planning a SCX10 Hike over Redonda Ridge OHV Trail 1W17

Story & photos: Rodney Wills

This is a four-part blog series:
Getting There – SCX10 Hike Over Redonda Ridge – Big Bear, California
Hiking the Redonda Ridge with an SCX10 Trail Honcho

Planning a SCX10 Hike over Redonda Ridge OHV Trail 1W17
The back story of the pre-story – inspiration overflood…

You can’t plan for inspiration, you have to be open to receive it at all times.

Back on September 24th, 2017 Jason Markley of Pedals Bike Shop and myself road our Yamaha TW200′s up to Big Bear, California for a day of dual sport trail riding. Nothing technical, just wanted to clock 100-miles in the dirt on our mini dual sports for the day.37343884961_e6e565f8d3_zIt was a great pleasurable day of putting in the dirt miles, nothing technical, nothing high speed (impossible on these bikes! hehehe), just consistent riding to get the miles in. After lunch in the Fawnskin area of Big Bear, California we went out Coxey Road (one of many dirt roads in Big Bear) and just pass the Big Pine Flats Campground, Jason took us though a little fence opening with some trail markings. I paid no attention to the trail name we had just taken, but I should have known when I saw the two black diamonds on the sign though… In no time we hit this great wall of rock and dirt.
The photographer in me had me jumping off to snap a photo of Jason before helping him! For the next portion of our day, everything we had done earlier in the day ( easy) was now juxtapositioned against this trail that was kicking our little bike’s butts! And ours!
Small diameter tires (in height) with low foot controls, especially in comparison to our normal dirt bikes, is what made this trail most difficult! I bent the brake foot lever and gear shift lever respectfully around each foot peg due to banging into massive boulders that I was attempting to thread through and around. While the advantage of low seat height is a plus on these little bikes, the ground clearance is the negative, everything has it’s trade-off.

To add to the situation, the sun was going down fast. We didn’t know if we would be on-trail in the dark and we still would have a 30-mile commute back down the mountain. The high of the day was 59-degrees and the temperature is already dropping.Redonda Ridge Planning-1
Upon reaching the end of the trail in Crab Flats, we came upon the trail’s end/start sign.
I took a photo as I wanted to know what trail we traversed for future reference because the whole time along the trail my brain was thinking, “this would make for a great SCX10 trip!”

Upon getting home the thought of going back and SCX10 hiking that trail kept growing.
But just what is this “1W17″ trail? Why did it seem familiar to me?
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Digging around on Google got me to the San Bernardino National Forest webpage with not much information.

However, further search tells me this is the Malcolm Smith Trail! If you’ve watched “On Any Sunday”  then you know Malcolm is a bit of a legend in the motorcycle world! But how did this become “his” signature trail? No real info readily available… Another story!

While on the trail at about the halfway point it all came to me that I have been on this trail a couple of times before back in 2009 as my buddy John Schultz and I rode it on bigger motos.
That day back in 2009 we ran the trail both ways and on our way back down we wanted to see how these 4X4′s were coming though here! I also discovered there are different sections to the trail as the section we road today is the moto-only section or the 50″ or less vehicles… something like that.
What I remember about that ride in 2009 was that is was quicker for us to get through here on our bikes in comparison to the Jeepers. It’s one thing to thread two wheels through a rock garden and even a “footpeg scraping” boulder garden, but to put 4-wheels through these obstacles got our curiosity on one particular section. We stopped and waited to see how the Jeeps come through as we were able to thread through the rocks with our bikes, but the Jeeps will have to straddle, go over and work around some of the obstacles.
Remember all this, digging up these old photos, the “flood rush” of memories, my excitement level about the possibility of SCX10 hiking this trail grew even quicker! Redonda Ridge Planning-16
I started by getting the Big Bear map out and visualizing the dream.

Then I start exploring the possibilities with some more visual planning. With Google maps I start selecting screen captures and printing them out for a larger view. The trail is not indicated on Google Maps. I had to flip into satellite mode and find it visually.Redonda Ridge Planning-10
With a yellow highlighter, I start highlighting the path so I can see it from my desk.Redonda Ridge Planning-7Redonda Ridge Planning-14
Now I have some nice inspiration on my wall!
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Now it’s time to start making more solid plans…

I walked into Scott Roberts (SR) office and asked him if he would like to hike with me over this trail as he has hiked a few trails with me previously. My idea was to have him document my efforts over this trail.

SR agreed to roll, but said we should use this trip to shoot a video for an upcoming project. I was planning on using my GCR1 SCX10ii, but SR suggested a little something different. I like the idea and my simple plans instantly turned into bigger plans as timing of an upcoming project aligns, thus more personnel which leads to more planning. SR also said that Tony Phalen should come and shoot with the second video camera as SR would be shooting with camera 1. I’m usually the one shooting all the video for us, so this will make for an interesting change. SR went on to state that we should invite Anthony Rivas as he “has a good eye,” lives close enough – maybe, and if he came, could capture the whole trip from his perspective for his social outlets.

While I am a little concerned that I am loosing sight of my original goal, it is the end of the year and I rationalize the team effort as a team bonding effort. It has been a tough year, thus roughing it in the backcountry with the team is a perfect counter-balance to the mental stresses of work. I’m sure lots of you are laughing right about now, “oh the stresses of working at a big time R/C company!” “Really dude!” I say the same thing in talking with my bicycle-moto-auto industry colleagues!

But I do think about what you think about us, I think of how you will react to what we say and do, I think about what you think of what we write-say-do…
I try to be self conscious and always try to wear your shoes on my feet. I’m a size 10.

OK, back on trail topic! Once it becomes more than just covering “the three primaries” for myself, adding the dynamics of the group becomes more critical!
Food, water and shelter are “THE” three primaries in my book.
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It’s one thing when we you only have to worry about food for yourself, but when you have to look after your team, especially in the remoteness of outdoors, it’s a little more serious. But it’s kinda’ old hat for me now as I’ve done this a few times. I have the formula (so do all moms); X # of guys (kids), X # Breakfasts, X # Lunches, X # Dinners, X # of days and I can quickly assemble what food supplies are needed. More names are added to the feed list and I will get into those details later.Redonda Ridge Planning-4
Time to choose which pack I will use as I have various ones collected over time.
Between hiking, mountain biking, motorcycling, I have various bags for various jobs.

Sometimes… rather always referring back to The Book of knowledge:Redonda Ridge Planning-6
I always have this book close by as it is a great reference with years of knowledge behind it! If you are remotely interesting in hiking the great outdoors, this book has been the standard of which Field & Stream magazine has dubbed as the Hiking Bible, The Complete Walker IV by Colin Fletcher & Chip Rawlins. Read my review here:

Tools of the trade:Redonda Ridge Planning-23
Aside from the personal gear, the R/C will need support as well. I’ve honestly have yet to assemble a “field tool kit” separate from my full R/C tool kit,  just for RC hikes, until now. This is my minimalist R/C tool kit as it will only consist of 7mm nut driver, 1.5mm hex driver, 2.0mm hex driver and a pair of bent needle nose pliers.

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The beginnings of the assembly of necessities. Just choosing the pack is my hardest decision almost every time! It’s shouldn’t be.. It should just be, stack everything up  and fit it into which pack  it fits best, or better yet, just have one pack and that it, that all.. But I’m a bit of a “gear junkie” and “bag lust” is at the top of the pile!

When I am multi-tasking my mission I have to think through every process. I’m not just hiking into a remote location, I have to carry batteries, tools and spares for the R/C rig. Plus, I will most likely be carrying camera gear. Even though I am not shooting the video for this trip, it’s my nature to document in photo the trip on a personal level, but at the same time, I have yet to find a specific camera pack that suits the other needs.
In the photo above, here are the items shown:  London Bridge Trading LBT-1476A
Standard Three Day Assault Pack • North Face Boonie Hat • Stance Training Crew SocksBedrock BagsTopo Designs Accessory PouchAerostich Ultralight Stuff Bag •  5.11Tactical Packable JacketREI Silk-weight thermals5.11 Tactical Socks (backup’s) • Source WXP 3L Storm Valve Hydration System  • Petzl Headlamps (2)
I will get more into my load-out list details in another article.


In the mean time, hydrate hydrate hydrate & stay the course.
#SCX10LIFE #AxialAdventures
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Getting There – SCX10 Hike Over Redonda Ridge – Big Bear, California
Hiking the Redonda Ridge with an SCX10 Trail Honcho

The Complete Walker IV Backpacking Book by Colin Fletcher and Chip Rawlins

The Complete Walker IV  by Colin Fletcher and Chip Rawlins
Words: Rodney Wills

The Complete Walker IV is an in-depth guide to backpacking. It can be read as a book or as a guide, but I will get into that later, more importantly, this is the book that I tell people that it saved my life!

Back in 2007, I broke my neck in an off-road motorcycle accident and for a period of time (4-6 months) I did not know what my physical condition outcome would be. LUCKILY, I knew I would be walking, but what I didn’t know is what type of activities I would be able to pursed afterwards. Instead of dwelling on the unknown, I needed something positive to looks towards to, so hiking it was going to be. I needed something to soak myself mentally into (positively) and began reading every possible thing I could find on hiking! In my quest to find the backpacking authority, I discovered this book.

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For me personally, this book is great in that it can be use this book multiple ways; like a traditional book from cover to cover or as a resource guide using the index as it organizes topics specifically and you can reference where in the book that topic is discussed.
I like Colin’s writing style as he tells you more than just the material makeup of a product, he will give you his personal opinion of the product, good, bad, or salty. He also gives in great detail how he is using it within nature and he typically engages you in a way that has you wanting to be with him in that moment or location. While I have not read this book in a while, I still use it be it a specific technical reference, or for some quick inspiration as it sits at by bedside table. I can now simply pick it up and open it to whatever page and just start reading it is a very entertaining read. With the years of experience from both Fletcher and Rawlins, this book is largely credited with launching the modern-day backpacking movement.

Since its first publishing in 1968, this book has been one of the most used sources for hiking and back country information, so classic in fact that Field & Stream magazine called it “the Hiker’s Bible.” But when Fletcher talks about “carrying your house on your back” his writing captivates you beyond just the nuts and bolts “how-to’s” of backpacking.

Mr. Fletcher wrote. Although “the best roof for your bedroom is the sky,” a light tarp is better than a tent. Among his other suggestions: trim the handle of your aluminum pot and even that of your toothbrush thus making impressions upon anyone captivated by the outdoor life. “Colin was sort of the founding father of modern backpacking, the first person to write about going out for an extended period and being self-sufficient,” said Annette McGivney, the Southwest editor of Backpacker Magazine.

But for me personally it was a passage Fletcher wrote on page #5 talking about how he felt he had gone as far as humanly possible into the depths of nature, when out stepped two men from the dark depths of the “unknown!”CompleteWalkerPassage
When I was laid up with a broke neck (literally) this was the type of inspiration that I needed! Even now, fully healed, this is what I seek out!

Colin Fletcher, (now deceased) was almost 80 years old when this 4th edition of his classic book was published in 2002. The IV edition is updated and enlarged, mostly due to the efforts and contributions of Fletcher’s co-author, Chip Rawlins. From Chip, I learned more about minimalist backpacking and the art of just getting out to any spot, even if it is to just sit by a tree on a hillside vs having to do the “big adventure.” While Colin inspired me, Chip made me see the reality and to not “over big” it and just go get out there.

According to David Strevenson of Backpacking Tips, here are the three reasons why you should read The Complete Walker IV:

First, the contents of this book reflect the years of experience in “walking” — what we now call backpacking — by the man who years ago walked the length of the Grand Canyon and then wrote about it in a series of books, launching the modern-day backpacking movement. Fletcher describes in detail everything from how to pack your backpack for crossing a river, to what snacks are best to take with you, to measuring humidity, to calculating the right mix of food for the energy output you need, to real-life example of the dangers of dehydration.

Second, Fletcher’s sometimes brutal reviews of the latest backpacking equipment don’t just give a simple Yes or No review, but actually go deep in discussions about the science of the fabrics and technologies used. Sometimes, where the two authors disagree, you’ll find each of their opinions labeled with their names, and the back and forth dialogue is simply fascinating and very educational.

Third, we know of no other book on the subject of backpacking that is so in-depth and also so full of practical advice and examples from real-life treks as The Complete Walker IV. We guarantee that you’ll find this book loaded with very helpful information if you can set aside some time to read it. At over 800 pages, you won’t finish it in a day or two, but you’ll find yourself coming back to it again and again, and it’s great for reading several months ahead of a major backpacking trip.

With regards to the history of Colin Fletcher, it seems

The Complete Walker and Colin Fletcher’s other nine books are reviewed by Schwert who also weaves in some of his early backpacking experiences:

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