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: Cindy, Badass Woman & Mother of Two

I met Cynthia - better known as Cindy - on Trail Mavens' annual Labor Day trip to Yosemite. On Sunday, the day of our epic 15-miler from our campsite to Nevada Falls to Glacier Point, I was lucky enough to find myself next to her for a good chunk of the day, and we discussed our professional lives, motherhood and family, and everything in between.

On the trail, I was so struck with Cindy's enthusiasm for life, her grounded wisdom, and her boundless energy (seriously, I run marathons and she was kicking my butt on the trail). It feels weird to say I want to be like Cindy when I grow up, since I'm already hypothetically an adult and she's nowhere near a generation older than me, but let's just say she provides a healthy guidepost for where I'd love to be in a decade.

Name: Cynthia Braun
Hometown: San Jose, CA
Adventure: Camping in Yosemite

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

 I'm a 46-year-old single mother of two teenage boys. We have a very busy schedule spending our days with work and school, sports and fitness, social and family time...sometimes all in the same day! I work in health care as a diagnostic sonographer and see a wide variety of health issues, and after 20 years I still love what I do.

Being a role model for my kids and those who we are close to is very important to me. I believe it's what has helped me regularly make good decisions, and gives me the ability to forgive myself for the bad ones.

How comfortable did you feel camping and hiking before the trip? Did that change for you?

Hiking - no problem. I'm very active, hike on a regular basis, and I'm in pretty good shape for my age.

Camping - not comfortable at all! That's one reason I choose Trail Mavens. Having everything I needed paired with a knowledgeable guide was key, and Sasha came through 100%. I learned how to camp with comfort and confidence. It was an empowering experience. 

What inspired you to register for a Trail Mavens trip? 

Trail Mavens was introduced to me from a friend who shared a passion for exercise and hiking. I've always wanted to visit Yosemite and experience its beauty. I went with two friends, Ellen Arnold and Deb Thornton.

What was it like being on a trip with friends, in a larger group?

The three of us are all pretty social. We seemed to be pretty comfortable spending time either with each other or with the other ladies. There was so much diversity in our group; I truly enjoyed getting to know and sharing this experience our entire group. 

What's your favorite memory from your adventure?

Sunday's all day hike was pretty challenging for all of us, but especially for a few of the ladies. The encouragement amongst us all, and their perseverance on the way up was nothing short of impressive.

At the top, with a 360 degrees view of Yosemite awesomeness, one of the ladies mentioned if it hadn't been for that encouragement, she wouldn't have made it. She was so grateful and in the moment. Favorite memory. 

What surprised you most about the experience?

I didn't expect the emotional aspect to be so strong. It was so comfortable being in the forest, off the grid, amongst these amazing women. That really allowed everyone to be themselves.