A Minnesota family trio is lacing up hiking shoes for a walk across the United States — and the Ann Bancroft Foundation is along for the journey.

Founder and Minnesota native Ann Bancroft is one of the world’s preeminent polar explorers and an internationally recognized leader who is dedicated to inspiring women and girls around the world to unleash the power of their dreams through grants, mentorships and other resources.

On March 3, Linnea Dietrich of rural Hackensack, her daughter Erin Dietrich and Erin’s husband Chris Rea set out from Cape Henlopen, Del., for a 3,276 mile, eight-month trek to California.

“When I retired nine years ago my husband asked me, ‘What do you want to do?’ and I told him I wanted to smell the earth, have time to be outside, embrace nature,” Linnea recalled a week before her departure.

“That is a big part of what this walk is about. But more importantly to me, it is about family. How often do you get a chance to have this kind of adventure with members of your family?”

Proceeds raised from the walk will benefit the Ann Bancroft Foundation, which “empowers girls to imagine something bigger  and helps them reach their full potential.”

“The opportunity to provide support and visibility to ABF’s work with Minnesota girls is a perfect fit,” says Linnea. “It also gives us the energy and purpose we’ll need to accomplish this walk. But truly, it’s not about the walk. It’s about the experiences, stories, who we meet, what happens, that will become the memories.”

The group plans to walk 15 to 20 miles a day and has been training diligently. Linnea has been taking almost daily walks down gravel (now snow-covered) roads near her rural Hackensack home, pulling a walking trailer with 60 pounds of gear to prepare herself.

She has often been accompanied by her dog Buddy, a Golden Doodle, who will be staying home with husband Gary,

The hiking trio plans to sleep near towns, parks and churches and will only enlist a support vehicle for two weeks when they are west of Grand Junction, Colo., which is quite desolate.

“People can follow us through facebook at ‘Minnesota Crossers’ or through the Ann Bancroft Foundation — click on ‘get involved’ then ‘walk across America’,” Linnea adds. “Then folks can follow the walk and donate if they wish.”

If time and conditions allow, Linnea will email occasional updates to The Pilot-Independent.

For trip updates and a link to make a gift in support of their effort go to http://bit.ly/ABFWalk. For more information about the Ann Bancroft Foundation and its mission, go to www.annbancroftfoundation.org.

(News release provided by Linnea Dietrich)


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