Join our Email List!





Duluth woman aims to complete winter thru-hike of 1,200-mile Ice Age Trail

January 12, 2021  |  Topics: Stories

By Chelsey Lewis – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Completing a thru-hike of the 1,200-mile Ice Age Trail is challenging in any season.  

But Duluth’s Emily Ford is adding an extra degree of difficulty: winter.  

Ford set out from the trail’s eastern terminus at Potawatomi State Park in Sturgeon Bay on Dec. 28 with the hope of finishing at the western terminus in St. Croix Falls in March. 

If she completes her hike, she’ll become just the second person and the first woman to complete a winter thru-hike of the trail. 

And she hopes that her trip can show others — especially other Black women — that they can do it, too. 

Emily Ford gives Diggins a treat after setting up camp on the Ice Age National Scenic Trail Thursday, January 7, 2021 near Greenbush, Wis. Ford is thru-hiking the Ice Age Trail this winter with her borrowed dog.

Mike Summers became the first person to complete a winter thru-hike of the trail in 2017. He spent 58 days hiking the trail and five “zero” days resting. 

Ford is aiming to finish the hike in about the same time, hiking an average of 20 miles a day. She’s carrying her food and camping supplies in a backpack and a pulk (a sled she pulls with two poles attached to a harness), with friends bringing her food resupplies at various points along her journey. 

Go to Milwaukee Journal Sentinel to continue reading and to see all of the photos.

For those who don’t aspire to walk 1,200 miles, several shorter segments of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail run through SE Wisconsin and are featured on our Find-a-Park map, including West Bend, Cedar Lakes/Polk Kames near Slinger, Pike Lake, Holy Hill and Loew Lake, near Hartford, Monches, Lapham Peak near Delafield, and Scuppernong in the Southern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest.

Related posts:

Ice Age Trail – Waterville Segment to be improved.

Hiking with the Ice Age Trail Alliance.

Hiking Hartland Marsh and the Ice Age Trail.

Chelsey Lewis is a travel, entertainment and features reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Images by Mark Hoffman. Preprinted with permission. Thank you Chelsey and Mark and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.