Have you heard about Grandma Gatewood? And a Book Giveaway!

Grandma gatewood 2

Several weeks ago Chicago Review Press sent me a copy of the book Grandma Gatewood’s Walk written by Ben Montgomery. When I was first contacted about the book, I thought I had heard of it a long time ago and figured they must be doing a re-release or something. Turns out I was totally wrong. The fascinating story of Grandma Gatewood is old, but the book was published in 2014 with the paperback edition sliding out earlier this year.

The story of Grandma Gatewood pulled me in from the start. A grandma walking the Appalachian Trail by herself…without telling anyone where she was…WHAT???

About the time I got over the surprise of a grandma slipping off to walk the trail alone I realized she didn’t have any of the typical hiking gear with her. No sleeping bag, no tent, no real supply of food. It was just her and the walk.

The book is hard to put down and that’s really saying something coming from a fiction junky like me. The story weaves around Gatewood’s life story and the obstacles she overcomes on the trail.

Here’s a short excerpt from Chicago Review Press’s overview of the book:

Winner of the 2014 National Outdoor Book Awards for History/BiographyEmma Gatewood told her family she was going on a walk and left her small Ohio hometown with a change of clothes and less than two hundred dollars. The next anybody heard from her, this genteel, farm-reared, 67-year-old great-grandmother had walked 800 miles along the 2,050-mile Appalachian Trail. And in September 1955, having survived a rattlesnake strike, two hurricanes, and a run-in with gangsters from Harlem, she stood atop Maine’s Mount Katahdin. There she sang the first verse of “America, the Beautiful” and proclaimed, “I said I’ll do it, and I’ve done it.”

Throughout the book I found myself cheering Gatewood on, in the same manner people of that era did after they heard about her on the nightly news or read about her in the newspaper.


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  • Reply
    Carol Rosenbalm
    June 26, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    I’ve come back to this post about grandma gatewoods walk.
    I read the newspaper this morning that the Blount county library where I live is going to present a program through its Appalachian studies about the book grandma gatewoods walk tomorrow night at the library. I’m going to try and attend.
    I’ll let you know about what they present. I’m not sure if it’s a historian or professors from UT or Maryville College.
    That’s why it’s important for me to read your newsletters daily cause I always manage to learn something about my beloved mountains and its people.
    Carol Rosenbalm

  • Reply
    Glenda Beall
    June 25, 2016 at 10:56 pm

    I love it when I hear of someone like this woman who is not daunted when she wants to do something and does not let her age stand in the way.
    In today’s world many women in their sixties and older are trying new things and living their dreams. Sounds like a good book.

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    June 24, 2016 at 11:39 pm

    I’m a grandma too — one that could certainly use some inspiration
    from Amazing Grandma Gatewood! What a role model!

  • Reply
    June 24, 2016 at 10:03 pm

    What a wonderful inspiring book. I will put it on my reading list. Thank you for sharing this about Grandma Gatewood. Hope I am not to late for the giveaway,

  • Reply
    Faith Dossett
    June 24, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    I would love to read/have this book! Thank you for offering this giveaway!

  • Reply
    Doris Noland Parton
    June 24, 2016 at 10:10 am

    It sounds like a wonderful example for me (a Grandma) on how to follow ones dreams.

  • Reply
    Carol Isler
    June 24, 2016 at 9:30 am

    Sounds like a real page turner. I’ll put it on my list for reading in the pick-up line at Emma’s school.

  • Reply
    William Dotson
    June 24, 2016 at 7:52 am

    I would enjoy reading a book about that kind of adventure, thanks.

  • Reply
    Debbie Nobles
    June 23, 2016 at 10:14 am

    I would like to read the book as that is something I want to do.Being in my 60’s now I am finding myself and doing things that I never thought I would do. I am finding that we are never too old to learn and find our dreams.

  • Reply
    Vie Herlocker
    June 23, 2016 at 10:09 am

    I loved reading this post and would so enjoy reading the book. Although not the same person, my granny (born 1901 in Richmond, VA) was named Emma Florine Gatewood. (Married name was Repass.) Her mom, my great-gran was my Granny Gatewood. By the way, I look so forward to reading your blog when it pops into my e-mail box. Thank you for keeping the mountain heritage alive.

  • Reply
    June 23, 2016 at 8:39 am

    Wow I don’t know how I almost missed this book give-away offer. I had a neighbor who hiked the trail many times and was also a huge supporter. His name was Mr. Garvey and he has passed on now. I would love to read Grandma Gatewood’s story!

  • Reply
    benny terry
    June 23, 2016 at 8:14 am

    It sounds like a great book; I would love to read it. She reminds me of my grandmother, Mama Terry. She had six boys and four girls. She never slowed down, doing all the things a mother has to do; she never cut the kids any slack. She made sure they got as much education as they could during the depression, and had a great work ethic.

  • Reply
    Tracey Green
    June 23, 2016 at 8:09 am

    And if she had not saved it, then South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford would not have had an excuse when he disappeared for nearly a week in 2009 to meet with his “soul mate,” who unfortunately wasn’t his wife. The book does sound very interesting, so add my name to the pot as well.

  • Reply
    Kim Stalcup
    June 23, 2016 at 6:24 am

    I’d love to read it!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 22, 2016 at 11:43 pm

    Never mind the book, I want the hat!

  • Reply
    Paula Rhodarmer
    June 22, 2016 at 9:05 am

    Sounds like a great book. I would love to read it.

  • Reply
    kat billings
    June 22, 2016 at 8:10 am

    That was one tough granny. Would enjoy reading the book.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    June 22, 2016 at 6:24 am

    Growing up, I lived not too far from where a section of the Appalachian Trail crossed US HIghway 129 at Walisiyi Inn at Neel Gap. The Southern starting point is at Springer Mountain in Georgia. I always thought how venturesome and exciting it would be to walk the trail from Georgia to Maine, but my association with the trail was hiking small segments of it at Walisiyi (The Big Frog) and at another place on the Richard Russell ?Scenic Highway where the trail again passed over this mountain Road. I admire Granny Gatewood and marvel that she made the trek safely alone. I have not yet read her entire story, but would like to do so. Tuesday was a super busy, obligated day for me, and I’m a day late posting this comment. I sometimes have to “back-track” because of not getting to Blind Pig on the day posted. “Better late than not at all” though. I always want to see what Tipper is about, and this Granny Gatewood is an excellent post. I’m glad I accessed it, although a day late!

  • Reply
    June 21, 2016 at 11:20 pm

    I’ve heard of this book and told others about it but haven’t read it.
    Would love to win a copy!
    Tipper, keep up the great blogs!

  • Reply
    June 21, 2016 at 9:44 pm

    Would love to read about Grandma Gatewoods adventure. Was she cooking on all burners when she just took off without letting anyone know and without proper equipment? Daft and just plain lucky!

  • Reply
    June 21, 2016 at 8:41 pm

    To think she had no tent or sleeping bag! She was a strong woman! I would love to read this book.

  • Reply
    Rev. Rose Marie "RB" Redmond
    June 21, 2016 at 7:40 pm

    Wonderful story. Will have to look for that book.
    In today’s world though, I would think this would be even more dangerous for someone to do all alone, especially an elderly person.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    June 21, 2016 at 6:52 pm

    Walking the Trail is on my bucket list too. – so, please, put my ticket in the pail for Granny Gatewood’s tale!
    by the way, Kenneth — strokes don’t necessarily put us out of the adventure business, they just adjust the “how” and the “what” of adventuring! 🙂

  • Reply
    Charles Fletcher
    June 21, 2016 at 6:14 pm

    Add me to the list for the free book drawing.
    Charles Fletcher

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 21, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    No anita griffith, it’s not wrong. I was only noting that both words mean the same thing. Adding the prefix un to a word usually creates a word with the opposite meaning. Not in this case. When I read the comment a picture popped in my head of myself as a kid taking the string from the top of a feed sack. We could either rip off the whole top or unravel the string and save it to make kites and stuff. Then I thought; if you unravel it to take it out, you must ravel it put it in. But that isn’t the case. You sew it using a chain stitch. It’s no wonder immigrants to this country don’t want to learn English. I have been using it for 60 some years and still don’t understand it.
    If you lock the door when you leave and unlock it when you get back, why don’t you open it as you go in and unopen it behind you.

  • Reply
    June 21, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    OOOOOH Tipper, put my name in the hat! I would love to have this book! My husband and I would love to hike that trail, but are talking about following it as much as we can driving. What a story, what a granny! Thanks for your posts each day. What a blessing.

  • Reply
    June 21, 2016 at 5:53 pm

    My 3 miles today in the garden was tough enough. I wish I could venture out like that. The details of equipment, medications, etc is just too daunting. I would enjoy the book though.

  • Reply
    June 21, 2016 at 5:14 pm

    HI Tipper,Would love to take that walk with Grandma — mentally! God Bless.Jean

  • Reply
    Wesley Bossman
    June 21, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    I am often amazed at what “old folks” can, and have accomplished. I, too, thoroughly enjoy this blog, and never fail to read it through. Thank you, Tipper, for going to the trouble to give us some inspiration every morning!

  • Reply
    anita griffith
    June 21, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    Ed Ammons.I quoted it wrong.It should spell unravel.

  • Reply
    June 21, 2016 at 3:21 pm

    I’ve read about Grandma Gatewood online, but I didn’t know there was a book about her!! She walked in Keds tennis shoes–no fancy footwear for Grandma!!! She’s my kinda gal!
    Hope you’re doing well Tipper.

  • Reply
    Mrs. K
    June 21, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    I have heard of Grandma Gatewood, but never read this book. A friend and his family recently hiked the trail. Would love to read this story.

  • Reply
    Margaret Johnson
    June 21, 2016 at 1:51 pm

    I am currently reading a book about the Appalachian Trail (AT). This book has provided an abundance of information about each state and the different Parks the AT goes through. It also lets you know, in no uncertain terms, that hiking the AT is not for the, “faint of heart”. So, I would be most interested in reading this book about Grandma Gatewood and her fearless adventure of walking\hiking the AT. She has got to have been one tough lady.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    June 21, 2016 at 1:35 pm

    This sounds a lot like a friend, Steve Claxton, who is now in the process of a complete “Walk Through” of the AT to raise money to help fund a Big Brother/Big Sister Chapter in Graham Co. A few years ago he biked coast to coast to raise money to fund a scholarship in his Mother’s honor who retired as a teacher at Swain County High School.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 21, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    I noticed a word “ravel” in anita griffith’s comment I hadn’t heard or thought about in a long time. What about unravel? Do they mean the same thing? Looks like if ravel means the cloth came apart then if you unravel it, you would be putting it back together and vice versa.

  • Reply
    Don Tomlinson
    June 21, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    I’ll just bet she killed the snake, at least intimidated the gangsters, and well the hurricanes would’ve been a different situation so I can’t wait to read how she coped.
    If I’m not lucky enough to win I’ll sure have to order this one.

  • Reply
    Susan C
    June 21, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    I’m always looking for a good biography to read. This one sounds great. I would love to win a copy of the book. Thank you.

  • Reply
    June 21, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    I just heard “Shepherd of My Soul” on the radio again, by Paul and Pap. It’s right up there with the Instrumental “New Birth.” Right now I’m listening to “Oh, How I Long to go There.” I’m sure glad we got a Christian Radio Station.
    This Granny is a remarkable woman to walk the Appalachian Trail at her age, she’s got to be a Strong Person. Thank you for sharing…Ken

  • Reply
    June 21, 2016 at 12:28 pm

    I’m another like Garland, who always had it in mind to hike the entire Trail one day. When I was able, I didn’t have the time. Now I have the time, but the “able” has been whittled down quite a bit. It’s an actual goal just to take my dog for a walk in the woods every day.
    Please add my name to the hat, Tipper 🙂

  • Reply
    anita griffith
    June 21, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    I saw a little of her story on tv.It was very interesting.I would really like to read that book.Tipper is guaranteed to not rip,ravel,or run up your britche laig?

  • Reply
    Pam Danner
    June 21, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    I would love to read Grandma Gatewood’s Walk! It sounds exciting and amazing! A little old lady all alone on the Appalachian Trail, WOW!!!! My hubby and i were on Mt. Mitchell and he wanted to sit! So I took of on one of the trails by myself until I got pretty far in and no one was around, then I chickened out and turned around. It was fun though. Thank you for the chance to win this awesome book!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 21, 2016 at 11:59 am

    ****SILVER ALERT****
    Granny’s done snuck off again!
    Speaking of Granny, how is our Granny?

  • Reply
    June 21, 2016 at 11:58 am

    Hello Tipper! I love Granny Gatewood’s story, and I can relate to going for a walk and not coming back.
    Have a great day! Perri

  • Reply
    Garland Davis
    June 21, 2016 at 11:53 am

    Always had it in mind to attempt to walk the trail, but life got in the way. Now I consider myself lucky if I can walk my dog for our daily mile.

  • Reply
    Sheila Bergeron
    June 21, 2016 at 11:19 am

    I have heard of her and I would love to have this book. You can never get enough books!

  • Reply
    C. Ron Perry, Sr.
    June 21, 2016 at 11:13 am

    Sounds like a great book. Put my name in the pot.

  • Reply
    Kay Paul
    June 21, 2016 at 11:08 am

    If I don’t win this book, I will certainly purchase a copy! Can’t wait to read it.

  • Reply
    Joe Penland
    June 21, 2016 at 11:08 am

    Living near the AT and having worked in the past as a volunteer in the Smokies, I read everything I can get my hands on about either of them. I would love to have this book (It would save me having to fork out the money to buy it!).

  • Reply
    June 21, 2016 at 10:52 am

    Wow, what an incredible story! She certainly embodies the spirit and determination of a true Appalachian. She reminds me of my Granny Mandy, another strong and determined Appalachian lady!

  • Reply
    Carol Rosenbalm
    June 21, 2016 at 10:51 am

    This lady was a real hero! Look at her picture if she wanted to walk the AT today an you imagine the cost of hiking gear she would have to buy! This reminds me of my dads mama. That lady had more grit than anyone I know. Tough, hard working,independent and done something only people now talk about. My mamaw Anderson worked at ALCOA during WWII and she was upset when e men came home and she had to come back home.
    I’ve never heard of this book!
    Carol Rosenbalm

  • Reply
    June 21, 2016 at 10:50 am

    this book, i would love to read.

  • Reply
    June 21, 2016 at 10:34 am

    Boy, what a woman! I’d love to read her story. Hiking the Trail would be a fantastic experience but I know I’ll only do it vicariously through books such as hers.

  • Reply
    Betty Louise Saxon Hopkins
    June 21, 2016 at 10:25 am

    Never underestimate us grannies! You never know what’s jelling in our minds. We’re survivors and made of tougher stuff than our children think. My son is an AT section hiker and I’d love to have a copy of this book to show him and tell him to watch out! :O)

  • Reply
    eva nell mull wike, PhD
    June 21, 2016 at 10:01 am

    OH TIPPER! With all these wonderful posts, you may not get down to mine today or this week! What an amazing lady!
    Now Jim wants to know if YOU KNOW A MAN NAMED FRED COPE. Also can we have a copy of your POST WHICH REFERENCED THE COPE FAMILY IN THE LOGGING BUSINESS a few weeks ago. He is wondering if the family may be related to a FRED COPE who worked for the BLACKWOOD LUMBER COMPANY, back in the 1930’s in East La Porte, NC.
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    Kenneth Ryan
    June 21, 2016 at 9:57 am

    A stroke about a year ago put me out of the adventure business, but I can still have an adventure in my mind. I would love to read Granny’s book. Please enter me in the drawing.

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    June 21, 2016 at 9:55 am

    never underestimate grandmothers! I would love to have met her and heard about her stories of her journey. Forever young.

  • Reply
    Michele Langston
    June 21, 2016 at 9:52 am

    this sounds like a fascinating book…I would love to read it!

  • Reply
    June 21, 2016 at 9:39 am

    What a story this must be. I would love to win.

  • Reply
    Peggy Lambert
    June 21, 2016 at 9:38 am

    Put my name in the pot to win this book. Sounds to good to be true. I would love to read this and then send it to Wisc. to my son.
    to read. Keep doing your good work. I read this the first thing every morning. How is your Mother?
    Peggy L.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    June 21, 2016 at 9:27 am

    The closest I ever got to hiking the AT was getting to hear Matt Kirk speak about his record unsupported hike of the AT. He hiked the trail in 58 days, 9 hours and 38 minutes. An unsupported hike means that he left the trail and hiked to places to get resupplied and returned to the same spot on the trail. Even with that, he averaged 37 or so miles per day! But Granny’s accomplishment ranks up there with Matt’s!

  • Reply
    l bryant
    June 21, 2016 at 9:24 am

    Grandma completed a listing on my “bucket List”. What a spirit she must have been. Looks like a great summertime read with the inspiration to get it done!! thanks for the opportunity to win.

  • Reply
    June 21, 2016 at 8:54 am

    The only person I “know” who has hiked the trail is Charles Fletcher’s son. I bought his book and enjoyed every word. I’m not nearly as old as Granny, but my kids and grandkids would disown me if I pulled something like she did. They don’t have to worry, the excerpt made me have a panic attack and ache all over!

  • Reply
    Charles Fletcher
    June 21, 2016 at 8:53 am

    Having published a book about my son walking
    the trail last year would be a very interesting read
    for me.. Please enter me for a chance of the book.
    Charles Fletcher

  • Reply
    Arlene C. Stewart
    June 21, 2016 at 8:48 am

    Sounds like a wonderful book!

  • Reply
    June 21, 2016 at 8:44 am

    So awesome. Also, I love your blog. Thanks so much!

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    June 21, 2016 at 8:41 am

    I’m sure I’m not alone. I daydream quite often that I will go down to its start in North Georgia and take off up the Trail and make it all the way up through the Smokies and through Virginia and PA and on up to the Trail’s End in Maine. It’s a pipe-dream now, what with near-crippling arthritis in both my feet. Next best thing would be to read Grandma Gatewood’s story. My brother, he did it.

  • Reply
    June 21, 2016 at 8:37 am

    Isn’t it amazing what you can do when inspired by Him 🙂 Such an inspirational story for all ages. I sure do appreciate all you do for us in sharing so many cool stories, thank you!

  • Reply
    Robert Wagner
    June 21, 2016 at 8:37 am

    I like her last line ” I said I’ll do it, and I’ve done it”. Nothing like setting a goal and accomplishing it. I’m sure it’s a good read…

  • Reply
    milner w smith
    June 21, 2016 at 8:36 am

    i admire people who are stubborn in a good way and accomplish their goals against the odds.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    June 21, 2016 at 8:34 am

    I had read about Granny Gatewood and if I’m not mistaken she walked the AT twice. Reminds me of Crocidle Dundee who went for a ‘walkabout’ and was gone three months. Or of Daniel Boone who spent an entire winter alone in KY until his brother came and hunted him up the next spring. I’m envious a bit of that kind of confidence about living in the wild and the capability to live just fine without being surrounded by people. Now, however, the AT is not the place to go if one is looking for solitude.

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    June 21, 2016 at 8:31 am

    She had to be one tough woman. And I would love to read the story.

  • Reply
    Richar Beauchamp
    June 21, 2016 at 8:27 am

    This sounds like some interesting reading ! Please include me in the giveaway.

  • Reply
    June 21, 2016 at 8:27 am

    People like Grandma Gatewood remind me that age is just a number after all. Being in one’s 60’s is Not a reason to stop living one’s dreams or striving to accomplish big things.

  • Reply
    June 21, 2016 at 8:26 am

    I would love a copy of that book. We lived very near to the trail for 20 years and considered it part of our backyard. Sometimes I still hike it in my mind.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    June 21, 2016 at 8:20 am

    Oh my what an inspiration. I am approaching 69 and need the boost.

  • Reply
    David Wilson
    June 21, 2016 at 8:19 am

    What a wonderful thing to do! I know that in my own life that the one thing that can help me renew myself is to be by my self with nature. Nothing is more beautiful renewing in spirit and health than coming closer to the wonders that the good Lord gave us. We often get too tied down in the busy techno-world that we lose ourselves and the quiet time with the great wonders of nature can relax us into and remind us of the real thing that are most important in life.

  • Reply
    June 21, 2016 at 8:14 am

    Would love to win a copy of the book!

  • Reply
    June 21, 2016 at 8:11 am

    Americans still have the Pioneer spirit. We need more like her. Thanks for the story.

  • Reply
    Gary Powell
    June 21, 2016 at 8:10 am

    I can’t imagine anyone even trying to do that now! Would love to read her story. My son brought me a book for Father’s day about deaths in the Smokey mountains. I have already read over half of it.

  • Reply
    June 21, 2016 at 8:09 am

    I would love to read her story. She sounds like quite an interesting character and quite a woman!

  • Reply
    Lynda Randolph
    June 21, 2016 at 7:52 am

    This is a great story and what a tough and amazing woman. Wow! I know parts of this adventure but mostly that she had walked the AT and that she was older. I have mentioned her to my children kinda like bragging rights as a female. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    Marge Fraser
    June 21, 2016 at 7:36 am

    Hello, Tipper! I sure do enjoy your blog and read what you have to say here every day. I’d love to visit Appalacia…it’s on my bucket list. I agree with Miss Cindy…you go, Granny!
    Have a wonderful day, Tipper.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    June 21, 2016 at 6:17 am

    Wow Tip, that sounds like quite a story….800 miles….67 years old….a change of clothes and $200. It doesn’t seem possible. I just have one thing to say about it. You go Granny!

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