Everybody’s Scalin’ – Favorite Kind of Trail
R/C trailing can be a wildly different experience depending on what area you’re running in. There could be intense technical rock crawling or none whatsoever. Mud and trees or sun and sand. When exploring a new spot, this sort of mystery is part of the experience.
It’s weird how my tastes have changed over the years. I used to be all about long trails where I derived most of my enjoyment from the adventure to the “hot spots” (i.e. the cool sections of switch-back rock, a hill to climb, etc) versus the actual spots themselves. I liked the relaxation from being out in the woods with my buddies more than hardcore crawling.
As I no longer have the amount of free time that I did several years back, coupled with being more experienced, I’m now much more in tune with going on a shorter run that is packed with good stuff. Rocks, in particular.
If the area isn’t craggy, I’m not really into it. I’ve come to really enjoy hard technical crawling. And yeah, man made courses are fun and all, but I’d much rather find something that mother nature created. Not to sound all hippy or anything, but there just seems to be more satisfaction when I’m tackling something out in the wild. Maybe I’m crazy, I dunno.
The people are just as much a part of the run experience as the terrain. A few years back I used to love going on big runs of 20+ or more folks. Some of my friends still do this. It can be a great way to bond. These sorts of group meetings started to wear on me though, as it felt like I spent more time waiting for others versus actually getting to wheel.
Necessity dictates that the vast majority of trailing I do nowadays involves 2-3 people, but it’s the way I prefer it anyways. Whether I’m running with Squid staffers or longtime scaling buddies, it’s a heck of a lot easier logistically to go small. I do miss the social aspect of BS’ing with everyone on larger runs, but that’s easily offset by the speediness of a lean meet-up.
It’s also much easier to evade a park ranger’s attention with a tiny, fast moving posse. Unfortunately, this can be of utmost importance as scaling gets more popular. I’ve talked about this subject in the past, but the park service is rapidly losing patience with hobbyists. Even if scaling may not be legally forbidden in a certain public park, we still find ourselves being shoe’d out if someone finds us a nuisance.
If I had my druthers, a perfect scenario would be to have a trail loop that takes about an hour to hike with two friends in tow. It’s wooded for shade, filled with craggy overhangs and is located near a creek should I want to hit up some slick rock. I’m very lucky that where I live near the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, this kind of terrain is in abundance and I have several spots that fit this profile fairly closely.
So with that said, what’s your ideal trail look like?