Hiker Emily Ford wants you to know the trail is for everyone


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My first solo backpacking trip was five years ago. I hiked about 30 miles and bet my pack weighed as much as on this IAT hike. I brought the dumbest stuff, like pots of cooking oil. I had no idea what I was doing, but I got the bug. That’s all you need to get started: the bug. But, forgo the glass jars, okay?

Minus 37 was my coldest morning. “How did you survive those cold nights?” Is the most common question I get. My sleeping bag was an amazing -30F ° Western Mountaineering Kodiak, but on the extremely cold nights, I stayed indoors with the locals I connected with on Instagram. I examined them, and Diggins was very protective.

I hiked with Diggins the sled dog. I messaged a Facebook group asking for a sled dog to hike, and a kennel responded. She carried her own food and gear and was attached to me via a ski-joering harness. So, if you want to get technical, I completed this course in canicross, or in hitchhiking with a dog that helps you train.

On my return, I only ate salads. Huge bowls of greenery. You start to crave what your body is missing.

Put your phone in airplane mode. I turn it off outside world – unless I need card connectivity – and it keeps me in the moment. It might just be a camera, you know.

There is nothing like waking up under a blanket of stars. The only way to see and feel what I’m talking about is to go do it. Period. To have money? Start with an outfitter. No? Find someone and ask them to join you. Do it, man.

Hope people see this hike and feel it is very possible for them too. I grew up in a sea of ​​whites, so it wasn’t strange not seeing a person of color. I just love to backpack, but the lack of diversity outside is real.

I applaud the brands that become more inclusive. Please keep doing it. But the ads stop when you put your phone down, and I’d love to see a real-world performance, so that can become a way of life for people of color who want to do it. I can’t be the only one.

Thinking that the outdoors is not a place for you is like thinking that the front of the bus is not for you. It doesn’t matter if you only see white people there. Sit down. The view is superb.

About Ethel Partin

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