Emily Ford is a Duluth resident who is used to the great outdoors as the head gardener at Glensheen Mansion, but she picked the winter season to head out on a grueling hike of 1,200 miles following the Ice Age Trail throughout the state of Wisconsin.

Ford who is 28 would be the first woman on record to complete this hike. She started her out on Dec. 28, 2020, in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.  Ford had said that her motivation to do this hike was to encourage people of color to try and hike themselves and to ask questions on how to start and what equipment you might need.

It is expected that this trip will take her about 70 days to complete by hiking an average of 20 miles a day. She is accompanied by a dog named Diggins from a kennel in Minnesota. Ford has been posting updates on her Facebook page in which she noted on an entry from January 18:

P.S. Happy birthday Dr. King. Without folks like you, folks like me would have a tough time doing this.

 

Many people have completed hiking this entire trail but only one other person has completed this in the winter according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and that was Mike Summers of Oregon  back in 2017.  When asked by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel why she chose to to this in the winter she said " I have lots of time in one of the most ignored seasons of the Midwest, I love winter. I hate mosquitoes.

According to the Ice Age Trail Alliance : "The nearly 1,200-mile trail stretches from Potawatomi State Park in Sturgeon Bay, Door County, Wisconsin to the west, ending at Interstate State Park in St. Croix Falls, Polk County, Wisconsin, on the Minnesota border. The trail was established in 1980, and highlights what that giant glacier left behind (lakes, river valleys, rolling hills and ridges). It's one of 11 national scenic trails and its entirety is in the state of Wisconsin." See Map Here 

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What an awesome experience for Ford and all the people she has met and is still to meet on the trail. Living in an area like Duluth, where people are out hiking on a much smaller scale of course, seeing someone like her set out on this massive adventure might just motivate others to give it a try and see the beauty of this area in a whole different light. Good Luck to you Emily and we hope to hear all about your adventures when you return back to Duluth!

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