This is incredible!
Emily Ford just made history as the first known Black woman to hike Wisconsin’s 1,200 mile Ice Age Trail during winter, Bring Me The News reports.
Ford is a Minnesota native, avid hiker, and gardener who said she was inspired to hike the trail after the murder of George Floyd. She felt like she could contribute to the movement for equality by becoming the first Black woman to complete the arduous trek.
“Many other people have completed this trail, but winter is the elusive season for most folks. So I’ll be the first woman, the first Black woman, and I’m sure the first Black gay woman. I’ll tack that one on there,” Ford told reporters.
The 28-year-old spent 69 days hiking the rough terrain from Eastern Terminus in Sturgeon Bay, Michigan, to the Western Terminus in St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin. Ford, her 60-pound pack, and her canine friend Diggins spent most of the hike time outdoors. They walked 16.5 miles on average with daily temperatures falling 30 below zero at times.
Ford says she is grateful for everyone who encouraged her along the 10-week journey which ended Saturday, March 6th. Many people left fresh fruits, veggies, and handwritten notes, which Ford calls “Trail Magic.” A crowd gathered waiting for her when she finished, and she hopes this inspires other people of color to participate in outdoor sports.
MAKING HISTORY: Family and friends cheer on as Duluthian Emily Ford is completing the Ice Age Trail. It’s a 1,200 mile hike. She’s the second person, first woman, to ever do it in the winter.#EmilyFord #Duluth pic.twitter.com/fOOiZfXXPH
— Kendall Jarboe (@K_Jarboe) March 6, 2021advertisement
“I came from a mixed-race family, and as I got older into the sport, I learned there is not really many people that look like me out there. For me, I’m like whatever, but I know for a lot of other people that is a really scary situation. So, my main message is anyone can be out there. In my mind, anybody can hike,” Ford told Spectrum News 1.
— Melinda Lavine (she/her) (@MelindaLavine) March 9, 2021
Emily Ford is a Minnesotan and professional gardener at @Glensheen.advertisement
— Shawnté #BLM James, MD (@ShawnteJamesMD) March 8, 2021
Ford is the second person, the first woman and the first Black person to complete the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.
“I hope that this kind of breaks down the stereotype for a lot of people. Whatever color they are,” she said.
Congratulations, Emily! You’re blazing a trail!
Photo Courtesy of Duluth News Tribune