Trail mavens empowers women to be the fire-starters, the tent-pitchers, and the map-readers, creating opportunities for adventure, leadership, and starry-night campfire conversation in the great outdoors.
We bring the topo maps, firewood, and pinot noir. You bring your desire to teach, learn, and meet other dynamic women. We make sure you get outside your comfort zone. You walk away with finely-tuned skills, confidence, confidantes, and stories for days.
"I leave feeling like I pressed a reset button: connected to nature and my urban community, confident in new abilities like setting up tents and using camp stoves, and still smelling a bit of campfire."
- Jenna V.
I was born and raised in two capital cities: first Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and then Washington, D.C. I was brought up by my mother - decidedly a city girl - and since she called the shots when it came to family leisure time, we went camping only once when I was a kid. The closest I got to nature was looking kind of like a bug because of the bowl haircuts my mom gave my brother and me.
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Years later, I abandoned city life for decidedly greener, tree-filled pastures at Stanford. The improv class I took there was ultimately my most influential undergraduate experience, as it completely reshaped my life philosophy. I learned the principles of accepting failure with grace, saying yes to adventure, putting the needs of my partner above my own, and trusting that my partner would do the same for me. On my improv team, I met the women who I would call my best friends for the next decade (and beyond). Finally, I learned I loved the off-the-cuff nature of teaching, and that I was pretty good at it.
I went into my first serious adult relationship at 20 knowing virtually nothing about the outdoors, but brought an improvisor's spirit to my first car camping trip in Yosemite, and was completely hooked. A year later, I was on my first multi-day backpacking trip (coincidentally my first backpacking trip of any kind) through Peru's Cordillera Blanca. The beauty, the emotional intimacy created with my backpacking partner, and the physical boundaries I pushed were intoxicating. I was also intrigued by the fact that my body refused to poop for over 127 hours. Take that, Aron Ralston.
Every subsequent relationship I pursued was with someone who could be described as a mountain man. I picked up skills from each one of them, and delighted in occasionally knowing more than them. I felt empowered in my knowledge and my comfort with discomfort.
As I edged into my late twenties and early thirties, my friendships with other women became paramount in my life. For years I'd been close to lots of guys, and suddenly I found I preferred the support, insights, and questions my female friends provided to the easy banter of my bromies. Two of my best friends and I started a monthly get-together where we'd cook, coach each other, drink wine, and generally nourish each others' spirits...and never spend time outdoors, a realization I made while boiling oats over an open flame on a trail in western Bolivia in April 2013. I realized I had no idea what, if anything, they knew about the outdoors, because it wasn't part of our ordinary dialogue.
I decided on the trail that day that I'd start a business devoted to getting women outdoors. There would be no men in sight; women would be the teachers and the students. They'd walk away with new friends, new knowledge, and a new appreciation for their own unexplored capacities.
Oh, and my body finally learned it's OK to poop outdoors.
"This is the best investment of time and money I made all year. I left our weekend with eight new friends, a feeling of empowerment and the courage/goal to push myself even further in the future."
- Adrienne H.
"The trip was a wonderful combination of learning and enjoying the outdoors. And I learned that s'mores taste better over a campfire you started yourself!"
- Anna C.
"Being a part of the Trail Mavens trip was the first time in quite a while I felt like myself again. Being out in nature was reinvigorating, and I loved being able to connect with great women and share hilarious, intimate, and inspirational stories."
- Saree S.
"The setting was gorgeous and awe inspiring and the women on my trip were incredible, badass women. I ended the trip with new friends and feeling like I had found a new part of myself that loves backpacking and can't way to get outside again."
- Sara L.