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.

Maven Memoir: Anne (There Are No Words)

You might remember Anne from an Instagram post a few weeks ago, wherein I gushed (totally appropriately) about her after spending a weekend adventuring with her in Big Sur. In writing a title for this post, I found myself at a loss for words - perhaps because there are so many that could be used to describe her: intelligent. Captivating. Thoughtful. An incredible listener. Clearly a descendant of wood-dwelling fairies (this one will make sense if you meet her). The kind of person who includes the words 'life-changing shit' in her one-sentence Trail Mavens bio. Her cookieface attempt at the end of our trip is one of the most ambitious I've ever seen (and she's gluten free and couldn't even eat the cookie).

She works professionally as a writer, so I'll leave the words to her for now.

Name: Anne Clifford
Profession: Grantwriter
City of Residence: Oakland
Trail Mavens Adventure: Big Sur Camping

What inspired you to register for a trip with Trail Mavens? 

I had just broken up with my boyfriend of 10 years, and I didn’t realize until then just how…small my world had gotten. I told someone that I was looking to meet more women friends. She wrote back, “Do you know Trail Mavens? It's a kickass group of adventurous ladies and the chick in charge is so fun.” I looked at the website. Nature plus amazing women plus I didn’t have to worry about reserving campsites or planning meals? And wine? I was IN.

What kind of prior outdoor knowledge did you bring to the trip? 

My ex and I hiked and camped quite a bit, but I usually left most the skills-y stuff (lighting fires, reading maps) to him. After reading Wild, I went backcountry camping on my own for one night, but I didn’t need to do either of those things!

Describe your favorite memory from your trip. 

On the last day, on our hike back to our cars, with the ocean on one side (where we had just seen whales) and green hills on the other, I was bringing up the rear and one particularly awesome, hilarious, introspective woman stopped to wait for me. As I got closer, she held up her hand in a high five, and said something like, “You’re awesome. Can we be friends after this?” I high-fived her, and said something like, “Hell, yes!” And we walked a bit of the trail together before she peeled off to swim in the ocean. 

How did you feel at the end of your adventure? 

I felt full. Happy. Hopeful. Inspired.

What's your superpower (the thing you do better than 99% of other people)? And your kryptonite? 

My superpower is whistling. My kryptonite is Costco on a sunny weekend.

What do you know now that you didn't know before your adventure? 

I know—or at least I have a much better idea of—how to read a map! And how to gauge how long a hike will take, based on distance and elevation.

What's one piece of advice you would give to future Mavens? 

That trip you keep toggling back to and reading the description of? Book it. 

Want to adventure with Anne? She'll be on our Wine & Waves Camping adventure June 10-12.