Grandma Gatewood's Walk

She called her 2,050-mile journey "taking a walk"



There she was in the spring of 1955, 67 years old, wearing tennis shoes and dungarees, a denim bag slung over her shoulder, about to leave Georgia and walk the 2,050-mile Appalachian Trail to Maine — alone.

To understand how amazing her venture was to be, you just need to know what she carried in her bag on the treacherous trek — a change of clothes, a blanket, a coat, a shower curtain for rain, a few essentials like a Swiss Army knife and flashlight, some food and less than $200 in cash. No map, no sleeping bag, no tent.

But 146 days, 14 states and seven pairs of tennis shoes later, she stood atop Maine's Mount Katahdin, the end of the Appalachian Trail, and said, "I did it."

Indeed she had, and Emma Gatewood, an Ohio farmer's wife, mother of 11 and grandmother of 23, would do it twice more before she hung up her battered shoes.

The book about her journey, "Grandma Gatewood's Walk" [Chicago Review Press, $26.95] by Ben Montgomery, reveals a woman with uncommon grit, astonishing endurance and utter fearlessness. Also, a woman who's credited with saving the Appalachian Trail as her celebrity brought much-needed attention to it.

I would need way more space than this to sufficiently sing this book's praises. You just have to read it.

Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Popular Articles

  1. Guide to the best sledding hills in NH
    We have tips on finding the best hills, great sleds from the plastic to the high-tech, tubing...
  2. Cabonnay's Culinary Promise
    A new dining experience is almost here.
  3. Pets Are People Too
    Maybe pets aren’t actually people, but they can become beloved members of the family — and...
  4. The Art of Stone Walls
    Stone walls are iconic markers of New Hampshire’s past, but the art of stacking stone is far...
  5. New Hampshire's Winter Greens
    A Loudon farm is leading a farming revolution.
  6. Blind Ambition
    Three colleges commission their troupes this month to stage an epic trilogy.
  7. Crafting a Future
    One way to escape from prison is to dig a tunnel through rock and soil with a purloined kitchen...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags