(Read Time: 2 Minutes)
(Think Time: As long as it takes)

Wearing a pair of Keds sneakers with a homemade duffel bag thrown over her shoulder, Emma ‘Grandma’ Gatewood told her family she was going out for a walk. Her walk began in Oglethorpe, Georgia and turned out to be the 2,168-mile Appalachian Trail.

Five months after setting foot on the Trail, Emma Gatewood, the 67 year-old mother of 11, grandmother of 23 and great grandmother of 2 climbed Mount Katahdin in Maine and became the first solo woman to successfully complete the Appalachian Trail. Her journey took her through fourteen states filled with astoundingly beautiful terrain, rattlesnakes, bears and extreme weather conditions. Before Emma, only a handful of others (all men) had completed the Trail.

Emma was proud of her accomplishment.

So in 1957 (at age 69) she did it again

And again in 1964

At 76, Emma Gatewood became the first person EVER to hike the Appalachian Trail three times.

She hiked the trail because she wanted to – it was her personal goal. And on the way something happened. Emma became famous.
Reporters stumbled along after her in pursuit of ‘her story’ and ‘why’ she was hiking – at her age with such little gear. Readers followed her journey through each state and every discovery. Emma’s walk reinvigorated a country that was quickly becoming accustomed to a sedentary life with an automobile and a television set. Her walk reminded people of the value of being outdoors.

Later, she became an influential national advocate and speaker in support of maintaining not only the AT, but trail systems in her native Ohio and throughout the United States.

Emma Gatewood hiked for herself and somehow, along the way, impacted a nation.

Your Guide for ‘Becoming’ Emma Gatewood

(realizing your goals, not necessarily becoming famous)

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Check out this book about Grandma Gatewood’s Walk: Grandma Gatewood’s Walk


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