Reflections on 2014
2014 was a great year. We went on our first trip, to the Pantoll Campground on Mount Tam, and experienced firsthand the microclimate that a eucalyptus tree over your tent can create. We spent a long late spring afternoon by a swimming hole in Henry Coe State Park, alternately dipping and lounging on the rocks. We tasted wine and explored sea caves in Mendocino. We were awed by the bioluminescence in Tomales Bay.
We went big in Yosemite and crushed 15 miles (and several thousand feet of elevation) in a day. We explored our culinary whims in Butano State Park, making fresh cheese and fruit pies and monkey bread at our campsite. We backpacked Skyline to the Sea, and had our chocolate covered espresso beans stolen by persistent raccoons. We backpacked Point Reyes, played on the beach, and watched the sun rise the next morning.
We've done a lot and we've learned a lot, but our biggest takeaway this year has really been about you. Here's what we discovered: put women together, and magic happens. Seems so simple, right?
At the start of 2014, when Trail Mavens was still a far-off dream, we spent several months talking to women about their experiences and desires around spending time in the outdoors. When we'd explain the idea of Trail Mavens, the most common misgiving we heard was that hanging out with strangers for a weekend would be weird / awkward / probably not fun. What if there was no one else cool there? What if you didn't get along with anyone?
Our real-life experiences this year have obliterated this notion. There has yet to be a Trail Mavens trip where the group didn't gel, where amazing conversation wasn't had, and where new friendships weren't forged. We've told plenty of people that, and they still seem surprised. What are we doing to get people to like each other? Spiking the Kool-Aid with massive doses of kumbaya?
Actually, no. The recipe is simple: start with a group of strangers; the kind that want to spend time outdoors, learn new things, and have fun. Add some trees, hiking, campfires and marshmallows, and you're guaranteed a weekend that's equal parts hilarious and thoughtful. All the rest of it - kayaking and wine tasting, farm visits and lake swimming - is icing on the cake.
They say it's hard to make new friends and meet new people after college. We beg to differ. This post is dedicated to the original Trail Mavens of 2014: Mamie, Kiely, Teki, Rio, Jenny, Marian, Kelly, Kara, Molly, Rose, Jo, Jenna, Sara, Amanda, Sophie, Anna, Paloma, Ali, Maggie, Alicia, Lisa, Abby, Rebecca, Robin, Amber, Annie, Maia, Katie, Lindsay, Tinna, Adrienne, Stephanie, Hannah, Melissa, Monica, Allegra, Tory, Sara, Kristina, and Saree.
Trail Mavens of 2015, we can't wait to meet you. It's going to be a blast.
P.S. The other thing we've learned this year is how crucial it is to be on Reserve America at 8am on the first of each month to make CA state park campsite reservations. Bonus: that means that trips are now planned and booked seven months in advance. Check out our 2015 trips, and mark your calendars now!