Find your next favorite audiobook

Become a member today and listen free for 30 days
Grandma Gatewood's Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail

Grandma Gatewood's Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail

Written by Ben Montgomery

Narrated by Patrick Lawlor


Grandma Gatewood's Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail

Written by Ben Montgomery

Narrated by Patrick Lawlor

ratings:
5/5 (45 ratings)
Length:
7 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Dec 16, 2014
ISBN:
9781494577933
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

Emma Gatewood told her family she was going on a walk and left her small Ohio hometown with a change of clothes and less than two hundred dollars. The next anybody heard from her, this genteel, farm-reared, sixty-seven-year-old great-grandmother had walked 800 miles along the 2,050-mile Appalachian Trail. And in September 1955, atop Maine's Mount Katahdin, she sang the first verse of "America, the Beautiful" and proclaimed, "I said I'll do it, and I've done it."

Grandma Gatewood, as the reporters called her, became the first woman to hike the entire Appalachian Trail alone, as well as the first person-man or woman-to walk it twice and three times. The public attention she brought to the little-known footpath was unprecedented. Her vocal criticism of the lousy, difficult stretches led to bolstered maintenance and very likely saved the trail from extinction.
Publisher:
Released:
Dec 16, 2014
ISBN:
9781494577933
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

About the author



Reviews

What people think about Grandma Gatewood's Walk

4.8
45 ratings / 21 Reviews
What did you think?
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (3/5)
    OK. Some repetition as Montgomery stretched his references to make a full length book. Took a meandering journey focused on Emma Gatewood's through hike of the Appalachian Trail, with side trips to her abusive marriage and hardscrabble life, and discussion of some of the events ocurring during the time of her hike. Although the title claims Emma "saved" the AT, there was little to back up the claim. Yes, she did get a lot of publicity, and she did tell reporters that the trail was in poor condition, but otherwise she was just doing what she wanted. It was a great feat, one more of us should attempt.I had to keep reminding myself of the cultural norms in the 1950's-60's so I wouldn't get irritated at the 67 year old woman being considered too ancient to go for a hike, or that it was constantly questioned if her children knew where she was! She was a grown adult, why would she have to consult her grown children about doing what she wanted?
  • (5/5)
    Emma Gatewood decides it’s time to start her bucket list and sets off to hike the Appalachian Trail. Mother of 11, grandmother to 23, and 67 years of age. Telling those left behind she was merely “going for a walk” she implements her years of farming, living off the multiple elements of the land, and basic survival skills, she packs a small sack and begins.The year was 1955.This was not your current AP of frequent shelters, food sources, or even fellow hikers. Days alone, sleeping in the wild, battling the elements and wildlife, she was a tenacious reckoning of savvy chutzpah. A small journal was mostly her only source of conversation, albeit one-sided.Her amazing journey was inspirational in so many ways. A testament to female endurance, acceptance and overcoming pain, thrift and common sense. That she did all this with the bare minimals even further extols her superhuman traits.The few people she conversed with on the trail, the sights, the perils, the wonder, kept briefly in her journal and shared in snippets in this book. Very much the minimalist, even her thoughts were only as needed.Once she completes the first trek, the accolades pour in and her celebrity begins. On her second thru-hike, she is often recognized and given better hospitality and occasional “Trail magic” but she mostly shuns the hubris and goes about her way.Add in the Oregon Trail and a 3rd A.T. hike( albeit sectional, this go) not to mention trails she instrumentally creates in Hocking Hills, Ohio (of which I hope to enjoy soon) and we have one awesome woman who sets the marker for just about anyone.Backstory of her abuse at the hands of her then husband gives an inkling to where her perseverance originated. A loving, teaching mother, her children also grew up with her knowledge of nature and love if the outdoors.As much a historical take of the time, creation of the Trail, and anthropological look at the denizens along the way, it’s a fascinating read in just so many ways. The first of so much we take for granted daily: paved roads, TV’s, cell phones, indoor facilities, not that long in our norm. It makes us aware of how pantywaisted we are today.I hope they make a movie about her soon. If Bill Bryson has one for 1/3, she sure need one for 3 times.
  • (4/5)
    In 1955, 67-year-old Emma Gatewood of Ohio set out to hike the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. Completing the hike, Grandma Gatewood became the first woman to through-hike the entire 2168-mile trail and became a pioneer for both elderly and ultralight hikers. With the hike as the centerpiece, Montgomery tells the life story of the proper and hardy farmer's wife, a life in which she endured severe domestic abuse. Grandma Gatewood's hike also captures a time when the Appalachian Trail was poorly maintained, little-used, and through-hikers were in the single-digits. Grandma Gatewood's celebrity would help bring attention to the AT. Highlights of the book include Emma Gatewood hiking through Hurricanes Connie and Diane, and sharing a cabin with a church group from Harlem which Gatewood never realized were actually members of rival street gangs. The 1955 is the focus of the biography, but Montgomery also writes about Gatewood's two later hikes on the AT, her cross-continental walk on the Oregon Trail, and her uneasy relationship with the attention she got for her walk.
  • (4/5)
    One of our book club ladies' son had just finished his through hike of the Appalachian Trail. We chose to read this account of Mrs. Gatewood's amazing story of her time on the Appalachian Trail before it became the popular things it is today. Our friend's son gave a presentation to us showing all the modern equipment and trail food people utilize today. It is a far cry from the simple almost unbelievable way Grandma Gatewood took to the trail so many years ago. Her story is inspiring and I think many young ladies should read this story so they can be inspired to be who they are and do what they dream.
  • (5/5)
    This great grandmother sure had true grit. I'm glad Montgomery saw fit to share her amazing story so she can keep inspiring future generations.
  • (4/5)
    Finally a biography of Grandma Gatewood. I've been crossing her path since the early 1990s, first in Ray Jardine's ultralight bible. Nearly every book about the Appalachian Trail has an obligatory reference to the 67 year old great-grandma who hiked the trail in 1955 making her the first woman to do so. Who was she, why did she do it? The story turns out to be pretty good. Given the difficulties of her early life, there are some parallels with the more recent book Wild. The trail provides freedom from an unhappy life, but also a clear direction and asks nothing in return but one step. Gatewood's story turns out to be more than just an old lady who did good, but she found redemption and happiness after years of abuse.