Author: Stacy Walther
"The majority of Stacy's off-road experience has been in the past 2-3 years on trails consisting of slickrock, sand/mud, rocky terrain and unimproved roads. Born in Wisconsin, she craves adventure and enlisted in the Air Force for her first solo adventure which sent her to multiple countries. Today she is an occupational therapist in ICU, married and has two German Shepherds. Her husband and her transformed their Tacoma into an overlanding machine. In addition to off-roading, she enjoys hiking with the pups, spending time with family and friends, yoga, photography, mountain biking, rock climbing and gardening."
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Tell us about yourself, hobbies, etc:
“I crave adventure! I was born and raised in Wisconsin, then enlisted in the US Air Force on my first solo adventure. I deployed to Kuwait, learned to drive a stick shift van in Seoul, travelled to Japan and Thailand, and spent a good amount of time exploring the Carolina coast. After 9 years of hard work and play, I finished my Bachelor’s Degree in Public Health and completed graduate school at the University of Utah. I now work as an Occupational Therapist in the surgical and cardiovascular ICUs. I’m married, and I have two awesome German Shepherds. After the transition to civilian life, my husband and I stepped up our adventure game, and converted our Tacoma into an overlanding machine. We love to explore Utah and the surrounding states, and we are planning an overland trip to Canada for this year. In my free time I also like to hike with the pups, spend time with friends and family, do yoga, take photos, mountain bike, rock climb, and garden.”
How long have you been offroading?
“I had very limited exposure to off-roading while growing up in Wisconsin, but I love the memories of driving your car onto a frozen lake, ATV trails, and flat dirt roads. It was the same situation in South Carolina for most of my 20s. It wasn’t until I met my husband and we went off-roading in Utah that I would say I started off-roading as a hobby, so around 2012.”
“My husband introduced me to off-roading when we first started dating, but I didn’t really get ‘into it’ myself until we took a trip to the White Rim Trail in Canyonlands for our 1st anniversary. We only saw a few cars over the course of the 2-3 days that we were there. We were surrounded by vast, gorgeous landscape and I got behind the wheel of our 4 Runner. That’s when I learned to truly appreciate the experience of taking a ‘purpose built’ vehicle on an adventure, and recognized what the world of off-roading had to offer.”
Tell us about your vehicle:
“I drive a 2009 Toyota Tacoma, we occasionally use the name ‘Falkora’ (a female version of the lucky dragon from the Neverending Story) for her. She has upgraded King suspension, coil over shocks with rear lift springs, and 33-inch tires and additional lift. She has a front bumper with a winch, swing away rear bumpers, sliders, skid plates, light bar, rock lights, and a roof rack. It’s a great overlanding adventure machine.”
What has been your favorite off-road experience?
“The first time on Hell’s Revenge in Moab. There’s just something about driving or riding in a vehicle that looks like it’s about to blast off into space when you’re climbing.”
What was your most exciting off-road achievement?
“I would love to say that it’s a race or event, but in my limited off-road experience, my most exciting achievement is driving part of Fins and Things in Moab last year.”
“It’s about the journey and the destination! Off-roading is a great way to access the backcountry, spectacular scenery, and it’s just fun to use your vehicle for something other than driving around town. I like the challenge that obstacles present, learning to problem-solve, choose a route, and execute it. My husband and I use off-roading as our way to ‘recharge our batteries’ and to connect with each other and nature.”
What do you think is the most challenging aspect of off-roading?
“I’m pretty new, so it’s all fairly challenging! It doesn’t take much for me to have a ‘butt-clenching’ moment behind the wheel.”
Which aspect of off-roading do you think is the most fun?
“Exploring the landscape! I also love hiking and mountain biking for the same reason, but you can cover so much more territory with a 4WD vehicle.”
What does prepping for an adventure look like in your world?
“My husband and I will search forums and research trails from pictures that we liked on Instagram, or videos, or YouTube. Then we usually get a detailed map of the area to figure out where we want to explore, camp, or stop to eat. We have an ‘adventure room’ in our house with supplies that are always pretty well packed so that we can just grab and go! We are currently working on a more detailed packing list to refine the process. Road snacks are an absolute must, it always includes Sour Patch Kids, Swedish Fish, and jerky.”
What is on your off-roading bucket list?
“I’m just starting to learn what all is out there in the off-road world. This summer we are going to FJ Summit in Ouray, CO and with knock Black Bear Pass, Alpine Loop, and Imogene Pass off the bucket list. Then we are going to Canada to explore some of the less traveled areas around the parks in BC. I will make it to Alaska, the Rubicon, and Baja one day too! After following all the Rebelle ladies on Instagram, it’s safe to say that’s on the list as well.”
“Mostly it’s just my husband and our dog Addie. Sometimes our other dog Ulli comes, when he doesn’t fit he has to stay at the grandparent’s house. Other times, both dogs and my in-laws will come along. We really like going on group rides at Rock Therapy (sponsored by Tacoma World) in Moab. We also take friends and family from Wisconsin on the trail.”
What is a piece of advice you have been given that you instill in your offroading adventures?
“At the Overland Expo last year, Charlene taught me to always look three moves ahead so that you expect what you are going to feel when you can’t see the trail. This also helps in planning your route and spotting your line.”
Do you have anything else you would like to add?
“A special thanks goes out to my husband Greg, for convincing me to invest in our vehicle so that we could share in these adventures that just add so much richness to life. Also, anyone in the Salt Lake area that would like to meet up and go wheelin’ one weekend, contact me! I’m very eager to get more experience driving trails.”
Click here to see all the 2017 Ladies Offroad Challenge Entries.
Author: Stacy Walther