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: Katherine, the Half Dome Queen

What kind of woman takes matters into her own hands when she decides she wants to challenge herself and learn outdoor skills, but has no one to do it with? That'd be Katherine. 

Katherine is also a thrift store shopping, Amy Poehler quoting, marathon running, dog loving kind of gal. In short, we heart her so badly. Read on, and you will too.

(Side note: we also heart her dog, Lucy, so badly. Click here to see why.)

Name: Katherine Jugler (@katherineemslie)
Hometown: Danbury, CT
Trail Mavens Adventure: Yosemite + Half Dome

Tell us a little about yourself! What do you do for work and for fun?

Non-stop giggling, quirky, quiet, meditation attempter, and complete believer in following your gut…that’s me! I’m a marketer at Google that dreams of being an inventor and having a farm. I love to run. After this I’m heading out for an 8 mile run, training for the NYC marathon. It’ll be my 5th marathon, but I’m shooting for 26 of them before I kick the bucket.

What inspired you to register for a Trail Mavens trip?

When my relationships with the people closest to me started to get bumpy, I realized my relationship with myself needed some work. I thought; when was the last time you did something scary, tried something new, and met new people completely outside of your world?

Trail Mavens allowed me to do just that.

When people ask, "How outdoorsy are you," how do you answer?

Before Trail Mavens: I love to be outside, but I don’t like to get dirty.

After Trail Mavens: I’m morphing into an REI-loving, map-reading backpacker. The day after my Trail Mavens trip I got a permit for Zion and I’ve gone on two other backpacking adventures in the last month.

Proudly displaying her new Jetboil!

Proudly displaying her new Jetboil!

What, if anything, were you most nervous about before the trip? How did that play out?

The suggested packing list did not include deodorant and suggested wearing the same clothes the whole time... but I needed to sleep in a tent with a stranger 😵 

We were all equally disgusting and no one cared!

Top three moments from your adventure:

  1. HALF DOME CABLES. Talk about nerves. We all had done our pre-trip Google image searches of the cables, but when you see them for the first time and the tiny ant-like people climbing up and down the same narrow path, your mouth gets dry and you swallow a lump.
  2. It was amazing to wake up early the first morning to a beautiful sunrise on our silent campsite. With a touch of misty fog and a slight chill in the air, my stresses and messes of life could not have been farther away.
  3. Through sheer exhaustion, we had at the our end of trip goodbyes and ‘See yah on Instagram,’ only to run into each other an hour later at the coffee shop that our guide recommended. Great minds think alike.

What idea or conversation topic are you still reflecting on?

All of us were a part of Girl Scouts or Campfire Girls, yet none of us had really been exposed to camping or backpacking. We wished Girl Scouts was less about cookies and more about the outdoors.

If you could pick anyone to have been on this trip with you, who would you choose, and why?

Definitely my grandpa. He passed away about a year ago. He was my person. He loved to be outside and always supported my crazy ideas and adventures. I know he was with me in those precious, surreal moments on top of Half Dome.

Who would you recommend a Trail Mavens trip to?

If you want to meet people outside of your circle and routines, learn hands-on with an expert, disconnect from life and connect with yourself and amazing people - then you should take a Trail Mavens trip.