Hometown: Danville, CA
Superpower: Chill vibes
What's your favorite Trail Mavens lesson to teach?
How'd you develop your prowess as an outdoorswoman?
My first instinct is that it’s always been a part of me. I grew up camping at least one week every year on the beach along the central coast of California. I can’t remember not knowing how to at least put up a tent.
Backpacking came in my mid-teens. It was something my mom and I figured out together. On our first trip with just the two of us, to Wildcat Camp at Point Reyes, I’m pretty sure our packs weighed 60lbs each.
That might be a slight exaggeration, but it was one of those I-can-barely-pick-this-thing-up situations. My mom says we were at this one point hiking up a ridiculous mountain when she was worrying silently that I would hate this and never want to do it again. Just then, I turned around with this huge smile and exclaimed how awesome it was. It’s been that way ever since.
It’s been a process of getting into crazy situations, figuring it out by trial and error, and having the time of my life doing it. I’m an experiential learner and Type II fun lover.
How do you spend your time when you're not leading Trail Mavens adventures?
My brain thrives on novelty, so my time is spent bouncing around the abundance of work and hobbies I pride myself in.
My work includes managing a cancer survivorship research project at Stanford, where I'm a therapist helping cancer patients sleep and eat better. There’s also some writing, life coaching, and building my own website and business.
My hobbies range from mountain biking to building furniture to making videos of adventures and weddings.
I admittedly spend a lot of time in my internal world, dreaming of living in the mountains. I like philosophizing about my values system and how to free those around me from living restricted lives.
Oh, and there's a lot of laughing in there too. All these things are made exponentially more fun by my husband and two kitties.
What do you love about leading Trail Mavens trips?
My husband once said that when I return from a Trail Mavens trip or event, I am so completely myself.
That's what I love: spending days outside connecting with the raddest group of women on the planet satisfies my soul.
What’s the most amazing thing that’s ever happened on a trip you were leading?
While hiking along the Lost Coast, we saw a sea otter playing on the beach, a seal, and whales breaching all in one day!
It was a wonder of nature, and our group couldn’t have been more excited about the fauna magic.
Tell us your go-to story of a personal outdoor adventure experience.
My father passed away when I was 24. I found out via telephone at about 8:00 PM on a Wednesday. My husband was there to hug me and take me home. He was only moderately surprised when my immediate reaction upon arriving at our apartment was to change clothes and go hiking. I told him where I was going and he sweetly wouldn’t let me go alone during such a personal crisis. So he threw on shoes and filled a water bottle, not realizing what I had in store for him. You see, I gave him the name of a two mile hike we often did together near our home, but what I meant was that I was going to climb to the very top of that mountain. Starting at 9PM. In mid-March in Utah.
With only goldfish and an apple for sustenance we drove to the trailhead and headed out, pausing now and then to look at the lights of homes and businesses filling up the valley below. We hiked in silence at first as I worked out how to put words to the experience swirling inside me. When we got to our normal turnaround point and I kept going he was confused. But I was going. I had to go. I think he was afraid to let me continue on my own. A husband’s thoughtful love and concern pushed him on with me. More breaks as we quickly climbed 1,800 feet in two miles. The silence occasionally broken by a memory. That time my dad first took me to his favorite abandoned mines, or the way he taught me to both literally and figuratively find my own trail in the cactus filled Arizonian backcountry where the plants fend for themselves and it was impossible to escape without legs covered in crisscrossing scratches.
More hard uphill. Letting the cool, crisp air fill my lungs as tears ran down my face and all I could do was keep moving forward. Another break and another thought. He’d never meet his grandchildren. I’d never get to call him again to tell him my ridiculous stories.
As we approached the summit, we lost the trail in snow. Soon we found ourselves fighting through waist deep snow, soaking our pants, freezing our hands as we crawled upwards. I needed that fight so desperately. A physical representation of my internal turmoil. It was easier to battle the physical elements than to sit with myself.
We reached the summit around 12:30 AM after 3,400 feet of elevation gain. I stood on the edge overlooking the valley below and new this was my chance to begin saying goodbye to my sweet father. I spoke with him there. I let him know he’d always be with me when I was outside, the place he’d taught me to love and play.
The gifts I found in my hike that day opened my heart more fully to the wilderness. Being in the present moment, feeling strong and weak simultaneously, time to reflect, to talk, to observe, to heal, and the beginning of some peace. I find a bit of what I need each time I head outside.
Describe your most favorite campsite meal (make our mouths water!).
On personal camping trips I love to play with my pie irons. All you need is a loaf of bread and stuffings! Pizza pockets for dinner, cinnamon rolls plus eggs and veggies for breakfast, and of course, Nutella banana marshmallow pockets for dessert!
Top three places you like to play outdoors:
Southern Utah. Canyoneering, mountain biking, cliff jumping, red rock, the best vibes, it’s all there. Moab and Escalante are some of my very favorite places on earth.
Yosemite. I worked outside the park for a summer and fell in love. It has seemingly endless nooks and crannies to explore. The waterfalls and sheer granite cliffs will always take my breath away!
My local regional/state parks like Las Trampas and Mt. Diablo. There is so much space to play and explore right in our own backyards. I’m a huge proponent for getting out there often.
What should ladies who are on Trail Mavens trips with you be sure to ask you about?
My epic love story.