Emily Ford ’15 Film Screening Set for April 2

Ford, who completed a 1,200-mile solo winter thru-hike of Wisconsin's Ice Age Trail, will be on campus for a film screening and q-and-a.
Posted on March 29th, 2022 by

Emily Ford '15 and her hiking companion, Diggins.

Emily Ford, the 2015 Gustavus Adolphus College graduate who completed a solo hike across Wisconsin’s Ice Age Trail in the winter of 2021, will return to her alma mater on Saturday, April 2 for an event at 6:30 p.m. in Nobel Hall’s Wallenberg Auditorium.

She’ll be on campus for a screening of Breaking Trail, a critically acclaimed documentary that captured her journey across the frozen Dairy State as the first woman, first person of color, and first openly queer person to traverse the 1,200 path that winds from Door County’s Potawatomi State Park to the trail’s western terminus in St. Croix Falls. Ford, who was featured on the Gustavus Newswire during her trip last January and in the Winter 2021 issue of the Gustavus Quarterly, will answer questions following the film screening. The visit to campus is hosted by the Departments of Geology and Geography, the Environmental Studies Program, and the Center for Inclusive Excellence. 

Breaking Trail was an official selection of the 2021 Banff Mountain Festival of Film and Book, which provided this summary of the film:

As Midwesterners huddled safely in their homes to avoid the frigid chill of a Wisconsin winter and the devastating trauma of a world-wide pandemic, Emily Ford set out on a long walk with a borrowed sled dog named Diggins. Well acquainted with the hazardous weather of the upper Midwest, this professional gardener from Duluth, Minnesota aimed to traverse the length of the Ice Age National Scenic Hiking Trail (IAT), a distance of more than 1,200 miles through some of the coldest temperatures in recorded history. The new film, Breaking Trail, directed by Jesse Roesler, documents the achievement of a Black American queer woman who braved the frozen landscape of the Dairy State to warm the hearts and minds of people across the nation eager to be inspired by a true story of adventure.

The documentary trailer is available here.

Ford, who has nearly 18,000 followers on Instagram, returns to campus after recently completing a solo winter hike that covered 180 miles of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, a feat that was profiled in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. She was also recently interviewed by history professor Greg Kaster on the Learning for Life @ Gustavus podcast, which is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Anchor.

The film screening on Saturday, April 2 is free and open to the public. Gustavus students, faculty, and staff are especially encouraged to attend.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


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