Trail Mavens


Skill-based camping and backpacking trips for groups of extraordinary women. Ready to build fires, read maps, pitch tents, hike, laugh, and drink wine around the campfire? Join one of our weekend adventures.

Trip Recap: Yosemite

Yosemite is hard to get off the brain, which is perhaps why I've put off posting Field Notes from our Labor Day adventure there. Something about Yosemite makes you want to linger, to savor the feeling of being exhilarated, proud, exhausted, and satisfied all at once. 

Photo courtesy of Maia Barrow. Also, that is ONE HUGE TREE. Some of the LIMBS are 6 feet in diameter. Whoa.

Photo courtesy of Maia Barrow. Also, that is ONE HUGE TREE. Some of the LIMBS are 6 feet in diameter. Whoa.

One particular moment stands out in my memory. We took on an all-day, 14-mile trek on the second day of our trip. Factoring in the 4,000' of elevation gain and the altitude, it was the most ambitious hike a group of Trail Mavens has done together. Afterwards, one of the ladies - an artist and one of the more inspired/inspiring women I've met this year - said the following to me: "That was so hard, I never would have done it on my own, and I am so f-ing proud of myself for having finished." Thank you, amazing artistic lady, for stating so succinctly one of the reasons I love getting people out there. F yeah.

I had something of a personal breakthrough on the trip as well. Anyone who's ever been camping with me knows that no matter the conditions, I sleep with a rain fly on. Am I just being prepared for a freak downpour in the middle of a drought? That's 10% of the reason. The other 90% is this thing I have about sleep privacy. When I'm at home, I sleep like this. On airplanes, I swaddle myself like a mummy. For whatever reason, I'm alarmed by the idea of being watched while I sleep. I'm a firm believer in "Adventure is adversity in retrospect," though, so for the first time in my career as an outdoorswoman, I decided to do something I had never done before: sleep outside. On the ground. No fly. No tent. Visible to the world.

Did I get the greatest sleep of my life? No. But was I so proud of myself for facing my (maybe slightly irrational) fear? Abso-f-ing-lutely. Trail Mavens is about a lot of things: learning outdoor skills, making friends, and reveling in the glory that is California nature, but there's an undeniably significant part which is about pushing yourself to try something new. Something kind of scary. Something that intimidates you. Something you'd never do without the support of a group that you know has your back.

Major kudos go to my fantastic co-leader, Abby, who gamely slept outside with me and buoyed me through the night with words of encouragement. And now that I've regaled you with my favorite Yosemite anecdotes, here's what you probably actually came to read: Field Notes!