Grandma Gatewood's Walk by Ben Montgomery ft. BISON, a real-life AT hiker

Grandma Gatewood's Walk by Ben Montgomery ft. Bison, a real-life AT hikerBacon Phat
00:00 / 1:33:15

Grandma Gatewood's Walk tells the story of Emma Gatewood, the first woman to hike the Appalachian Trail and first human to hike it three times.

In this episode:


Show notes:

The episode


15:05: Emma Gatewood is the first woman to thru-hike the AT at age 67

15:25: The AT was 2,184.9 miles in 2015; now it's about 2,200

17:52: Earl Shaffer was the first person to hike the AT

18:39: Originally conceptualized by Benton MacKaye

19:00: Shelters on trail

21:23: Bison left from Springer Falls in Georgia on March 15, 2015 and finished on October 12

22:50: in Emmas pack

25:25: Bison learned backpacking in the Boy Scouts

27:55: Bison's base weight now is 10 pounds 

28:55: Camping with silnylon tarp

30:25: Emma thought hiking "would be a good lark”

31:00: Misinformation about the trail

33:45: External frame backpacks

37:02: Emma Gatewood's children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren

37:45: Getting kids outdoors

40:10: "Leave no trace"

41:05: Walking as medicine

47:05: Average day on trail AT style 

54:00: Didgeridoos on the AT

56:05: Luxury items

1:00:28: Hike or drive up Springer Mountain


1:10:10: Gene Espy second to hike AT

1:13:00: Trail magic

1:14:00: Miss Janet, Baltimore Jack, Ice Cream Man, Odie from Hiker Yearbook

1:15:15: Emma Gatewood had terrible abusive marriage

1:17:05: Post-trail depression

1:18:55: Famous walkers: Old Leatherman, Edward Payson Weston, Johnny Appleseed

1:21:25: Good representative/starting section of trail is Dicky Gap to Damascus: Clingmans DomeBuzzard Rock, Grayson Highlands State Park

1:24:20: Bison’s favorite sections: Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine


1:25:52: Mahoosuc Notch


Ben Montgomery's biography of Emma Gatewood is a must-read for any serious thru-hiker. Every AT hiker knows of Mrs. Gatewood and has her favorite story of the legendary hiker. The OG ultra-light backpacker was the first woman to thru-hike the AT and the first human to completely hike the trail three times. She carries a hand-sewn denim shoulder bag and wears Keds. She doesn't even have a sleeping bag. She sleeps on the grass and in shelters. She brings multiple pairs of glasses because she steps on her only pair on her first attempt.

Emma is also super inspiring because she leaves her husband and is able to get a divorce with a farm and alimony in 1940. After she leaves her husband and saves her life, she becomes an advocate for trail maintenance, hiking, wilderness, and self-exploration. We love this book, and we love her!