Being a role model is a weird gig. Backpacker Emily Ford knows this as well as anyone.
A lot of us wanted to get away during the pandemic — just venture out somewhere in a great, quiet expanse. If you’re wondering what that would’ve felt like, Emily Ford can tell you.
In winter 2020, Ford set out into the snowy wilds of Wisconsin’s Ice Age Trail, a meandering traverse of the mitten-shaped state — 1,200 miles in total.
And if you missed it the first time around, Ford embarked on this journey in winter. Along with her trusty retired sled dog, Diggins, Ford made the full trek, updating her progress on social media. Along the way, she quietly accrued thousands of excited and inspired followers.
When she completed the trail, Ford stood as just the second person ever to do so in winter — and both the first woman and person of color to claim that achievement.
So a role model she became. But as she explains on this episode of The GearJunkie Podcast, the highs of grand adventures like hers come with a little-known dark side: the post-trail blues.
What is it? More importantly, why is it — the blowback and, call it what it is, depression that can consume an adventurer?
Ford weighs in on this raw and difficult topic and relives her monthlong winter crossing of the Boundary Waters by ski, boot, and — yes — dog. She gets into the highs, lows, people, and thoughts of both her epic trail hike and follow-up journey in 2022.Recorded April 28, 2022