Katelyn Wood – Ladies Offroad Challenge Featured Entry
"Katelyn Wood, Yucca Valley, CA – Katelyn’s offroad experience started in elementary school, with quads and dirtbikes. In 2016 she got her very own Jeep. Ocean is her pride and pain to sum it up. A dark blue 1992, 4.0 liter, 5 speed Jeep wrangler, leaf springs and all. She has been taking it out to King of the Hammers and into her local Mojave Desert trails every chance she gets. Before Ocean, she was always under everyone else's rig seeking to understand the mechanics. One of her top accomplishments has been splitting the transfer case of her jeep on her mom’s kitchen table and installing an SYE kit with her stepfather. She has a will to stay humble and learn all she can to become a better driver and operator!"
My name is Katelyn Wood, I was born and raised in the Mojave Desert. Right within the small cities that have taken on the acclaimed King of the Hammers since the first official race in 2008. I personally have been attending King of the Hammers since 2013, although my love for the deserts beauty and exploring it through offroad vehicles was implanted years before. I was first introduced to this offroad life and grit your teeth while moving forward mentality by my stepfather Jaysen; because of him I took on a whole new way to explore my surroundings and involve the ones I love all at once. Now I spend most of my free time exploring the Mojave Desert and making good memories with friends, by hiking and traveling endless trails in our jeeps. As well as being a die hard animal lover and multiple animal hobbyist.
I've been offloading since 2014, it's not a long time but it's been a fun time for sure.
How did you get into offroading?
I got into offloading mainly because of my stepfather Jaysen. He introduced my mom and I into real camping and how to ride quads. Throughout that time I was always asking how the 4x4 on his old Dodge worked and when to use what. I learned the best ways to get a vehicle unstuck on the trail long before I got in the seat of my own off-road vehicle.
My 1992 Jeep Wrangler, Ocean, I've had since 2016. Man o' man did we go through a year's worth of breakdowns those first few months. The rear driveshaft snapped off within the first week just driving it down a friends road. Then it happened again about 2 weeks later. So I had a custom driveshaft made and Jaysen and I dropped the transfer case and installed an SYE kit. The jeep has two sets of doors, a WARN winch, and radio, so what more could we need for a good time! Although it has a pretty ugly body lift, which is in the plans to be removed hopefully by July.
What has been your favorite offroad experience?
My favorite off-road experience has got to be any of the nights out with friends on the dry lake bed. We would be out there from the morning until the next day! Super stoked on finding the next lookout and climbing the next hill. It's like an addiction, and most the time our friends are in the back seat crying to go home at 3 am. Haha
My most exciting off-road achievement was going out with friends to complete Rattlesnake Canyon in Pioneer Town. It was great, I just up and went with everyone, it was me and one of my girlfriends at the time. We locked the doors and did the trail without anyone trying to come take over. We had some great ground spotters though that made it possible in some spots.
What excites you about offroading?
What excites me about off-roading is getting out there and getting stuff done. Taking on trails and finding new spots to go. The desert where I live is so vast that I can go an hour in any direction and I'm bound to find something new. Offroading has been pretty predominating in my town for many years, so the trails are there, we just gotta get out and find them.
What do you think is the most challenging aspect of offroading?
The most challenging aspect of offroading for me would be having sufficient funds. As a 19 year old who has living expenses, travel expenses for work, plus taking care of my other hobby; raising many species of reptiles. Money is the brick wall to my offroading life. I know the best mods and accessories come with a hefty price because we get what we pay for. So sometimes when things go bad on the Jeep it's got to sit awhile. I was in an accident in March, someone deliberately cut the brake line on my Jeep. So it's been sitting for a bit, even though it's something simple, life gets ahold of my time and money especially since then.
To me, the most fun aspect about offroading has to be the good times with friends and family. Getting to the top of that ridge and watching the sunset over our city, with the people who mean the most. Nothing beats untouchable views with the people who mean the most to me. It's very serene, to be able to take everyone away from home and work and just see them relax and enjoy the nature we live in.
What does prepping for an adventure look like in your world?
The longest trail I've done was Rattlesnake Canyon, it took us about 4 hours or more to get back to the highway from where we left, and it was all trails the whole time. I don't have much adventure prep experience except for times like that. I'll normally pack up lots of water and snacks. Along with the collapsible shovel, tire plug kit, a small air compressor, and a small first aid kit.
What is on your offroading bucket list?
More than anything I want to be able to drive my Jeep at as many OHV approved land as possible.
Plus I want to visit all the National Forests and Land Preservations.
Tell us about who you go offroading with:
I'll go offroading with anyone I can get that's free that day. The majority of the times I've gone with my friend Jessica, and my mechanic Shiloh. From there we normally call up a couple buddies and see who is free.
What is a piece of advice you have been given that you instill in your offroading adventures?
Do you have anything else you would like to add?
I appreciate the opportunity to participate in Ladies Offroad Challenge. It has definitely made me think of my experience and my love for offroading in a different perspective. Most of all I'm glad to just be that more involved in this girl's kinda world.
Click here to see all the 2018 Ladies Offroad Challenge Entries.