I just finished reading a book for every hiker. Don’t be put off by the title, Grandma Gatewood’s Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail, by Ben Montgomery.

I may be a bit influenced by the fact Grandma (Emma Gatewood) came from my hometown of Gallipolis, Ohio, it is true. However, I believe this book is of an equal or surpasses the current best seller Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, by Cheryl Strayed.

Gatewood starts in 1953 at the age of 67 to walk the Appalachian Trail. Her gear will astound you, her encounters intrigue you and her fortitude leave you gasping.

The Appalachian Trail, by the way, is 2,040 miles. She completed the walk not once, but three times, completely alone, except for by chance encounters with a few others, and was the first person ever to complete the trail. She is credited with saving the Appalachian Trail, and was given many awards etc.

By the way, she was honored by dignitaries in Portland, and then came to Seaside to see the Pacific Ocean for the first time in her life.

I wish I had lived here and met her then. 1 would have baked spoon bread and had her over for supper.

Peggy Fife


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