Grandma Gatewood hikes 3500km in tennis shoes

Emma Rowena Gatewood was the first woman to hike to Appalachian Trail solo. The grandmother to 14 successfully walked ...
oversixty.co.nz

Emma Rowena Gatewood was the first woman to hike to Appalachian Trail solo. The grandmother to 14 successfully walked the trail three times.

We've heard of people going for long walks, but this is something else altogether.

American grandmother Emma Rowena Gatewood was 67 when she became the first woman to successfully hike the Appalachian Trail solo and in one season. This 3500 kilometre trail, extending from Mount Oglethorpe in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine, is no mean feat.

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Gatewood was a farmer's wife from Ohio, mother to 11 children and grandmother to 24. She became enamoured with the hike when she read about it in a copy of National Geographic.

In 1955, barely prepared, she decided to embark on her stroll with a blanket, raincoat and plastic shower curtain and wearing tennis shoes, a testament to her fortitude.

Hikers spotted her on the trail, she picked up the nickname "Grandma Gatewood" and when Sports Illustrated ran a story on her hiking she became something of a local celebrity.

By age 75, Gatewood had hiked the Appalachian Trail three times, and also walked the 3200 kilometres Oregon Trail. Her advice to hikers was, "Make a rain cape, and an over the shoulder sling bag, and buy a sturdy pair of Keds tennis shoes. Stop at local groceries and pick up Vienna sausages… most everything else to eat you can find beside the trail".

Oversixty.co.nz

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