In both 2014 and 2016, I traveled on horseback alone from the Mexican border
to British Columbia on the PCT. I completed two new equestrian adventures in 2017, riding the Arizona Trail and the Colorado Trail. Then in 2018 I followed the Continental Divide Trail through New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming and Montana. Summer of 2019 will feature a ride across Utah and through the high Sierra Nevada mountains.
Hi, everyone! My name is Gillian Larson, but the real stars are my two horses, Shyla and Takoda. I completed my first solo thru-ride of the PCT in 2014, and then a second journey of the entire trail in 2016. I learned a lot the first time around, and I was able to put that knowledge to good use the next time to cope with all the difficulties the PCT threw at us along the way. Once again, Shyla was my main riding horse, while her son Takoda took on the packing duties. I also completed thru-rides on the Arizona Trail and the Colorado Trail in 2017, and together we conquered the Continental Divide Trail in 2018. This summer I plan to ride from the south rim of the Grand Canyon across Utah to Wyoming, then through the Sierra in California. Read my blog posts for all the details of our adventures!
On Friday, September 14th, 2018, I rode the last leg of my latest cross-country adventure and arrived at the Canadian border by Glacier National Park in Montana. It was an amazing moment and a tremendous sense of accomplishment to realize that once again my horses and I had traveled almost 3000 miles through rugged wilderness areas to get to this spot. We had some cold weather and a little snow during the last few days, and I was glad to reach the end of the journey, as I can feel that winter is coming soon, and we are getting off the trail just in time. It was also some of the most spectacular scenery I have ever experienced on one of my rides, and thus a truly rewarding end to our expedition. It will take me a little while to bring this website up to date, so please be patient, but you can check out my blog for stories and photos of all the rides, and keep coming back to see what's next!
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While trail riding is nothing new for us, before 2014 I had never attempted anything resembling this expedition on the Pacific Crest Trail. The PCT is a 2,600 mile route that spans the United States from Mexico to Canada, venturing through the states of California, Oregon, and Washington. Several hundred backpackers attempt each year to blaze this trail from end to end, however only a handful of riders have completed the whole distance, whether in sections or in a single season (a "thru-ride"). The scarcity of riders is largely due to the fact that long distance travel via horseback is a thing of the past, something that belongs in the old west. The decreasing availability of trails for riders is also a contributing factor as more and more people only have access to arenas. I hope that my adventure on the PCT inspires adventure seekers from all walks of life to explore this world, because while it is no longer the wild west, it is still a place of breath-taking wonder. Part of my goal for completing the second ride was to compile information for a guidebook to assist others in enjoying the beauty and challenge of the PCT. I am further testing my knowledge and refining my long-distance riding skills as I explore other equestrian wilderness trails and enjoy the spectacular backcountry of America.