After surviving thirty years of domestic violence, Grandma Gatewood became a record-setting hiking pioneer who helped to save the Appalachian Trail from ruin.
In 1955, at the age of 67, Emma Rowena Gatewood became the first woman to solo hike the entire 2,190 mile (3,524 km) Appalachian Trail — wearing Keds sneakers and carrying an army blanket, a raincoat, a shower curtain, and a change of clothes in a homemade bag which she slung over one shoulder. For food, she foraged for wild plants, as well as carried dried meat, cheese, nuts, and dried fruit. The mother of 11 and grandmother of 23, Gatewood is now considered a pioneer of ultra-light hiking and one of the first high-profile ambassadors of the Appalachian Trail (AT). Her resilience and determination have inspired generations of hikers, whether they're walking a local state trail or tackling the full AT. "I would never have started this trip if I had known how tough it was," Gatewood observed after her hike, "but I couldn’t and I wouldn’t quit." Continue reading Continue reading