We talked with Gillian Larson, who blogs here about her travels on the Pacific Crest Trail.
The 24-year old and her two horses, Shyla and Takoda, are cranking out 25-mile days at high elevation. That’s about what the Unbranded team was doing, but Larson is solo and doesn’t have the budget or support of Ben Masters’ Big Adventure. Her total cost is under $20,000. Larson hopes to write a book on the technical aspects of her trek, with plenty of personal anecdotes woven in.
NickerNews: How does your gear compare to that of Unbranded?
Gillian Larson: All of Unbranded’s gear was too heavy for me. I’m at a higher elevation and usually just riding one horse. No pan. No campfire equipment. No bottle of whiskey. The map planning is different. I have a lot more maps available because I’m on the PCT.
NN: The snow is a big issue? You’re chipping away at it out of order, instead of doing it simply from south to north? It was problematic when you tackled it last year?
GL: Yes, two thousand miles of the PCT is under snow until July. Doing it out of order is the only way to do it with no snow being an issue.
Initially, I thought I could go from South to North all in order.. But the trail chooses your route. This second time, I have much more respect for the snow
NN: How have your first weeks been going?
GL: It takes time for the horses to get serious about eating. Unfortunately, I don’t have glutinous horses.
Recently, we did 150 miles in six days. I’m hoping to finish by September.
NN: You have an ingenious method for tackling it with minimal support and with minimal gear for your pack horse to carry. Can you explain?
GC: Yes, I have two rigs. I am borrowing my mom’s truck and I have my own. It’s a leap-frogging arrangement. On the map, I’m riding north to south. However, I drive the trucks and trailers south to north.
Safe travels and happy trails, Gillian!