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Gillian Hansen

Affiliation: Associates Degree in Outdoor Leadership
Occupation: Wilderness First Responder
Location: United States
Joined ExpertVoice: 2021

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This month, we connected with Gilian Hansen, a woman whose drive to explore the outdoors has led her to hike the famous John Muir trail, a 211-mile through-hike that runs over some of the most difficult terrain California has to offer. She isn’t slowing down though, and shares some insight on her favorite gear and more in our interview. 

Starting off simple, where are you from?

“Bend, Oregon!”

Can you tell me a little more about what hiking the John Muir Trail was like?

Sunrise on top of Mt. Whitney.

“Hiking the John Muir Trail was an incredible and challenging experience! This was my first long-distance backpacking trip, and has changed my life in a lot of ways. Over the course of 21 days, we hiked over 211 miles, climbed over 12 mountain passes and ascended over 45,000 feet. The trail starts in Yosemite Valley and ends at Mount Whitney. It passes through Yosemite, Kings Canyon, and Sequoia National Parks, staying mostly above tree line. I had many moments on the trail where I was not sure that I could continue, and each day I felt like I was pushing my body to its limit. At the end of the hike, I felt this deep sense of accomplishment and empowerment and learned just how much I was capable of. Two years later, I am hiking the 2,650 mile Pacific Crest Trail. Today I am at the border of Oregon and Washington, just 520 miles from completing the trail.”

Gillian summiting Mt. Whitney at the end of the John Muir Trail.

What was the most rewarding part of completing the hike?

“Realizing that I had just accomplished a huge goal and completed something that I wasn’t sure that I could do.” 


What products did you bring on the John Muir trail that really helped you?

Sawyer Squeeze water filter, Altra Lone Peak 6, Big Agnes Fly Creek UL 1 Tent, Thermarest Neo Air sleeping pad, Snow Peak stove, Mountain Hardware Phantom 0 sleeping bag are all my favorites.

Gilian’s picks: Altra Lone Peak shoes, Big Agnes Fly Creek tent, Mountain Hardwear Phantom 0 sleeping bag, Sawyer Squeeze water filter, and the Snow Peak Gigapower stove.

Do you have any other long-distance hikes you aim to do in the near future?

“Currently, I am hiking the Pacific Crest Trail! I started in Mexico in May, and today I am 1,200 miles into my hike with the goal to finish in Canada!”

How do you think platforms like ExpertVoice help you and others make the outdoors more accessible? 

“Gear is expensive, which makes getting into the outdoors hard. Having access to discounts on gear as well as knowledge about what gear to choose for the right adventure helps others feel empowered to get outside as well as afford to go on outdoor adventures!”

Are you interested in joining a community of experts that are passionate about the same hobbies and interests as you? If you would like to lend your expertise to the ExpertVoice community and want access to hundreds of brand discounts, visit www.ExpertVoice.com to learn how to join. If you’re already on the platform and are interested in seeing more product recommendations like the ones Gillian provided, visit her profile to check out more.

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