In the rich history of the Appalachian Trail, a more unlikely hero will not be found. In the spring of 1955, a grandmother from Ohio decided to walk the trail from Georgia to Maine “on a lark” and captured the attention and adoration of a nation. “Grandma Gatewood’s Walk” by Ben Montgomery recounts the story of the hard but captivating life of Emma “Grandma” Gatewood, a now iconic hiker of the Appalachian Trail, whose walk along the trail characterized her life of determination and grit. While many hikers today obsess about the latest gear, technology, and trail amenities, Gatewood had little more then a napsack, umbrella, and the kindness of strangers to see her through a 2000+ mile journey.
At a time when only a handful of people had hiked the entirety of the AT, she started walking at the age of 67 and just kept on going. The challenges that she overcame on the Appalachian Trail alone would make for an exceptionally inspiring read, but the book also artfully recounts Gatewood’s earlier walk through a marriage filled with adversity and abuse leading up to her first epic trail journey. Gatewood’s long walk is just the start of her remarkable hiking career and the book will certainly inspire people of all ages to dream big and hike on.
“Grandma Gatewood’s Walk” by Ben Montgomery is published and available through the Chicago Review Press