Friday, October 14, 2011

Grandma Gatewood – Appalachian Trail Thru-Hiker

In 1955 at age 67, a woman named Grandma Emma Gatewood hiked the entire length of the Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia by herself on a lark after reading about the trail in National Geographic.  A true minimalist, she wore a pair of Keds sneakers and took only an army blanket, shower curtain (for shelter), a cup, first aid kit, raincoat, and one change of clothes.  She would go on to hike the AT again at ages 72 and 75.  She was the first woman to hike the entire trail solo, and the first person to hike it three times (though her final hike was done in sections).  Grandma Gatewood also walked the Oregon Trail from Independence, Missouri, to Portland, Oregon, averaging 22 miles a day. 

They say the three most important items when backpacking are your backpack, shelter and sleeping bag/pad.  These items are the biggest, heaviest, and most expensive part of your gear and choosing them wisely can greatly reduce your packed size and carry weight.  A 67 year old woman in the 1950’s in a pair of Keds sneakers seemed to have this concept down.

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