First Solo Female Thru-Hiker

My beloved wife loves to walk.  I’m posting this as a encouragement to her and others to walk for the life of it.

Map of Appalachian Trail

Map of Appalachian Trail (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At 67, Emma Gatewood (1888-1973) became the first solo female thru-hiker of the 2168-mile Appalachian Trail. At 5’2″, she was also an unwitting pioneer of extreme ultra-light hiking, wearing Keds sneakers, carrying an army blanket, a raincoat, a plastic shower curtain for shelter, a cup, a first aid kit & one change of clothes slung in a homemade bag over her shoulder. She gathered wild foods on the trail, supplementing them with dried beef, cheese, nuts & sausages bought in towns along the way.

Emma Gatewood


4 thoughts on “First Solo Female Thru-Hiker

  1. Emma Gatewood was a true Hiking Hero. After she hiked the AT in 1955, she went back and did it TWO more times, making her the first person to do it THREE times. In 1959 she hiked the 2,000 mile Oregon Trail. She helped establish Ohio’s Buckeye Trail (where a portion is named after her).

    She is the subject of a project spotlighting her life that includes: a completed storytelling program, and a companion E-book and DVD, and a first person character program that will premier this August, 2013 as part of a weekend festival in Emma’s honor at TrueNorth Cultural Arts Center in Sheffield Village, Ohio. The final phase will be a PBS documentary in conjunction with WGTE/PBS – Toledo. For complete information about the project, see:


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