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Wheeling: A Womans Perspective

Written by  Laura Esposito
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Womans perspective on WheelingCAUTION: Woman on the Trail
The better half’s take on four wheeling


On a girl’s weekend in Denver last fall, my friends and I parked on a busy city street and hopped out of my car, ready to take on a full day of shopping.  As I rounded the rear driver side, I stopped in disgust at the sight of a small stock SUV with a shiny new Hi-Lift and winch haphazardly mounted to the front.

“Now that’s a waste of a perfectly gorgeous Hi-Lift,” I said.

The odd look of amazement and confusion on my friends faces told me that I had just spoken in a foreign language.

“That’s it. He’s finally converted you,” my best friend replied.

I’ve been four wheeling with the better half for a little over a year now. At first, it fed my addiction to getting out and in to the mountains as often as possible. Now, it’s in my blood.


As a disclaimer, I’m the kind of woman who has a basic working knowledge of my car. I know what the crucial parts of my car’s engine are, what happens when they break, and that buying and changing my own oil is significantly more cost effective.

When it comes to the outdoors, I love the taste of cheap camp food and a good hike or day fishing on the river makes me feel like million bucks.  I don’t care if I get covered in mud, and I embrace the windblown hair.

But before I met my better half, I would have laughed at you if you told me that a few years from now I would be saving up for a second gen Tacoma that I could drive up the side of mountain.

Four wheeling, to many of my female counterparts, seems pretty pointless. Most of my friends still tilt their heads to the side when I mention the weekend trail runs we have planned. To them, it sounds like sitting in a truck for hours on end, tirelessly debating how to drive over a rock.

I’ll admit I had a bit of a slow start learning the sacred language of four wheeling. I made up names for parts I didn’t know, like a scuba tube (snorkel), and made the better half use ridiculous hand motions to show me how things worked (rear differentials).

After a while, it all just sort of clicked. I would volunteer to help with spotting so I could understand why we needed to take certain lines over obstacles, or how to use sliders as a pivot point if we needed to. Suddenly, it wasn’t just driving over rocks anymore.

The truth is, four wheeling is a liberating experience. Not only do you get to see some of the most breathtaking scenic views, but you also have the opportunity to control a vehicle in a rather (do I dare say it?) graceful way.

Ok maybe graceful isn’t the right word, but it’s definitely calculated.

My first time behind the wheel was unfortunately anything but liberating. It was more short-lived and comical. But once I got the feel for the wheelbase and the overuse of skinny pedal, I was hooked.

When you’re on the edge of Black Bear Pass or Moab Rim, with a few thousand feet between you and the ground, there is no room for error. It shoots adrenaline through your veins and makes the trip exhilarating and terrifying all at once.  And at the end of the day, you feel like you got quite the workout – mentally and physically.

I finally understand the pride that goes into modifying a truck in order to make it traverse through trails otherwise cut off from the general population. It’s about evaluating your surroundings, computing angles and acceleration on the fly, and challenging yourself, and your truck, to go above the realm of possibility.

So if you’re a woman like me, yes, we will still want you to stop the truck so we can jump out and take a scenic picture. We will still squeal under our breath when the truck is tipped past a 45-degree angle on the passenger side. It’s an experience you don’t fully appreciate until you install a rear bumper or feel the trail beneath your tires.

Oh, and if you’re also a woman like me, we still don’t like being in the desert for eight days without a shower.

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