Emily Ford Takes on Another Solo Winter Trek, This Time in Northern Minnesota

Last winter, Emily Ford of Duluth, Minnesota, became the first woman and only second person to hike Wisconsin’s 1,900km Ice Age Trail, supported by Diggins, her sled dog.

This year, the 29-year-old and Diggins aim for a 320km ski tour along the Minnesota-Ontario border.

Ford's ski route follows the 320km Boundary Waters route taken by Native Americans. Image: Duluth Tribune

Ford’s ski route follows the 320km Boundary Waters route taken by Native Americans. Image: Duluth Tribune

Emily Ford’s winter ski trek

Ford and Diggins will depart from Crane Lake on February 11 and spend the next month skijoring, and when necessary, skiing and hauling along the Boundary Waters.

She is also packing snowshoes for the inevitable portages through the deep snow of the north woods. Ford will tow a pulk with all of the gear and provisions she and Diggins need along the way. The pair should reach Grand Portage near Lake Superior around March 13.

They’ll follow the Border Route that crosses the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) for part of the trek. The Border Route is a millennia-old line historically used by Native Americans and fur traders.

Photo: Emily Ford

Photo: Emily Ford

 

After rocketing to influential heights following her historic hike last year, Ford said she’s very aware that the causes she chooses to support and the trails she decides to pursue are important. This trip is about adventure, sure. But it’s also about elevating wild places that need preservation and respect, like the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

“A lot of people know about the Boundary Waters in the summer. But it’s so much more than that. I want to give it a face in the wintertime,” Ford said.

You can follow her and Diggins on their 2022 trek via her Instagram account, @emilyontrail.

Jilli grew up in the rural southern Colorado mountains, later moving to Texas for college. After seven years in corporate consulting, she was introduced to sport climbing. In 2020, Jilli left her corporate position to pursue an outdoor-oriented life. She now works as a contributor, an editor, and a gear tester for ExplorersWeb and various other outlets within the AllGear network. She is based out of Austin, Texas where she takes up residence with her climbing gear and one-eared blue heeler, George Michael.


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Kirsten OBrien
Kirsten OBrien
3 months ago

It’s Duluth, Minnesota. Great trek! Wish her luck.

frederick
frederick
3 months ago

Wow looks like an amazing trek in winter, but can imagine just how tough it will be. Good Luck to her.

chris
chris
3 months ago

https://www.blackdiamondequipment.com/en_US/product/glidelite-147-trek-skis-w-bind/

I would highly suggest a pair of these backcountry “trek” ski’s over snowshoes. Snowshoes are just so heavy and hard on your legs. I could not imagine a long distance hike with snowshoes.
Wish her the best.

Jilli Cluff
Jilli Cluff
3 months ago
Reply to  chris

Great suggestion!
I believe that Ms. Ford will be making the majority of her voyage on skis, and just snowshoeing the stretches that are not skiable.
But can you imagine the leg muscles a month of snowshoeing would build?
Olympic proportions, Iā€™d bet. šŸ™‚