The Gateway to the Sierra

by Gillian Larson | posted: May 29, 2016

At last--the final leg of our southern California section! After this, I will head north to begin tackling the snow (or rather, trying to avoid it . . . )

I had a lot of preparation to do before I could head out for this last bit of riding, from Walker Pass to Kennedy Meadows, since if all goes well I won't be back home again for probably four months. It has been difficult to ride in fits and starts here, dashing out for a few days at a time in order to still fulfill some other work and life obligations, but now the full-time trail work begins, and that meant I had a lot of planning ahead. I had to organize supplies and divide them between our two trucks and trailers, one of which I am taking north with me now, and the other of which my mother will drive up to leave with me in about a week. I had to calculate how many dehydrated meals I would need and load the truck beds with Haystack Natural pellets, alfalfa and grass hay, as well as hydration bales and supplements. I made a vet kit for each trailer and brought buckets and water containers and blankets and extra girths and reins and saddle pads. I divided up the borium tipped shoes and borium headed nails that I'm bringing for when the horses need shoeing (because most farriers don't have those supplies on hand). I packed clothes for me and laundry soap and toiletries (for when I can find a shower and a laundromat!). I tried to think of everything that I might need over the next several months, and every time I thought I had my list complete, I thought of something else. I've been planning obsessively for what feels like forever, and yet when it comes down to the eve of departure, it feels as if I still haven't planned enough, and I'm sure I'm forgetting something!

It was late on Friday, May 27th, when I finally hit the road with both horses in the trailer behind my Dodge truck and drove to Walker Pass, where I camped overnight (my apologies to all the hikers who I disturbed when I rolled in close to midnight!). The next morning the horses and I began the hot climb out of Walker Pass and made our way to Chimney Creek campground, where we planned to spend the night.

climbing out of Walker Pass

Along the way, I saw what is likely to be the last horned lizard of the trip, perched on a rock beside the trail . . .

horned lizard on the trail north of Walker Pass


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