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. Remarkable Women 2017: Artists to Watch
    11 visual artists you need to keep an eye on
  2. The Local's Guide to Portsmouth
    If you're looking for the best cafes, restaurants and bookstores, then you can tail a Portsmouth...
  3. Reflections on the Lake
    Lake Winnipesaukee memories run clear and deep for this world-famous singer-songwriter.
  4. Kelly Roosa Cohen
    President of Cohen Closing & Title, LLC
  5. Global Food in the Granite State
    There's a big world of global food out there — but you don't have to travel far to find it....
  6. Portsmouth's Bookstores
    Crack the spine of an old or new classic at one of Portsmouth's bookstores
  7. For the Birds
    NH Audubon's annual Birdathon gives you a chance to hone your bird-spotting skills.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags