Hiker Emily Ford was on her own, mid winter, and fell through the ice on a trail. Falling through ice into freezing water can cause cold water shock or hypothermia, both of which can lead to death.
“When I’m in that moment, there’s really nobody else there to pull me out and dry me off. I’m the only one who can do that,” said Ford.
To make it out, she turned back the way she came.
“Turn around to the ice that was holding you once upon a time. If you have ice picks, put those in, or put your elbows on the edge and reach over. Kick your legs as much as you can. Get your body up on the snow,” Ford told a group of students at Minnesota State University, Mankato. “After that, the hardest part is rolling in the snow, because snowflakes are 90% air.”
After rolling in the snow, an individual can change out of wet clothes and warm up.
Although the situation may sound terrifying to some, Ford explained how it enlightened her.
“It’s in moments like that. I just did that. It’s minus 30 outside. I just fell through the ice up to my chest and dry the next day,” she said. “I think it’s reaffirming that we are way stronger than we give ourselves credit for. All of you individually can conquer way more than you can ever imagine.”
Ford uses her strength to tackle incredible hiking trips. Ford is the first woman to complete Wisconsin’s Ice Age Trail — roughly 1,200 miles — and in the dead of winter. Completing the trail set an example she hopes others can see.
Ford visited Minnesota State University, Mankato Sept. 30 for a presentation about her experiences, and led a hike through Rasmussen woods the next day.
“[I] took myself and my borrowed sled dog 69 days in the middle of winter. We went [from the] end of December to March. It follows that story along in my relationship with Diggins [her dog] and the Ice Age,” Ford said about her Friday presentation.
“There’s this stigma that especially people of color, and women won’t go do solo trips and be outside in the winter. And weird inequity in the outdoors still so much,” Ford said. “I want to help break that barrier and push that through.”
After sharing her experiences, she hoped to gain some friends for Saturday’s adventure.
“People are afraid of being outside. I want to show that it’s actually really fun,” said Ford. “It’s really beautiful. It’s a space that A) doesn’t really care much about who you are; it’s going to welcome you in, regardless, and B) that you deserve to experience such a beautiful place.”
If students want to explore hiking, Ford recommended the Seven …….