Nicole Nett

Aullwood Winter Speaker Series


Aullwood’s third program in our Winter Speaker Series “Women in Science” 2018 - “Grandma Gatewood’s Walk”- presented by Sam Romeo, Aullwood Environmental Educator.


This is a story of Emma “Grandma” Gatewood, which speaks to the courageous spirit of not only the people of Appalachia but also nature enthusiasts everywhere. Emma Caldwell, born in 1887 at Raccoon Creek in Gallia County, Ohio, was 1 of 15 children. After raising 11 children of her own, Emma decided she needed another challenge in her life. When she read about the Appalachian Trail in National Geographic she discovered that no women had ever hiked the trail from one end to the other. It sounded like a challenge to her and she decided to be that woman. Never mind that she was 66 years old, had no real equipment, and had no real experience in backcountry hiking. 

Grandma Gatewood set off on the barely marked trail from Mount Katahdin, Maine. She didn’t make it the first time and she underestimated just how difficult and long the Appalachian Trail was. However, she set off again the following year in 1955 with an “aluminum blanket,” old army blanket, Keds sneakers, extra dress, hose, house slippers, and a canteen. This time she managed to become the first women to hike the entire 2,168 miles of the Appalachian Trail. Emma became known to the public as Grandma Gatewood and a celebrity across America. Being the first woman to solo hike the AT end to end, at the age of 67, was no small feat. Her story raised the veil on several cultural barriers of the day, including age and sex discrimination. Local reporters followed her story, Sports Illustrated featured her, even the Keds sneaker company latched onto the marketing opportunity and supplied her with shoes. After completing the hike she was featured on "The Today Show", "Groucho Marx", "You Bet Your Life" and "The Tonight Show".

  • Sunday, Jan 28, 2018
  • Location: 1000 Aullwood Rd., Aullwood Audubon Center & Farm, OH
  • Phone: (937) 890-7360
  • Time: 2:30 PM to 4:00 PM
Aullwood Winter Speaker Series