Emma Rowena Gatewood, famous Appalachian trail climber

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Emma Rowena Gatewood, famous Appalachian trail climber
Emma Rowena Gatewood, famous Appalachian trail climber

How long can you put off your dream? Before retirement? And how many retired people fulfill their long-desired desires? "Granny Gatewood" is famous for fulfilling her extreme dream at the age of sixty-seven!

America's most famous grandmother and tourist: a woman who conquered mountains at 67
America's most famous grandmother and tourist: a woman who conquered mountains at 67

The path that is all a challenge

The Appalachian Trail in North America is a popular route for those hikers who want to test their strength. This is a mountain road from Maine to Georgia. All the problems of traveling in and to the mountains are insects, bears and snakes. Professionals do not recommend doing the route alone, and groups usually travel along it - otherwise you can easily disappear.

Nevertheless, there have long been daredevils who overcame her without comrades. One of the most famous is "Granny Gatewood", or, according to the documents, Emma Rowena Gatewood, a woman of sixty-seven years old, very far from mountain tourism and other extreme activities - who really wanted to walk the trail from start to finish.

At least, having walked along the path, she received fame - and tormented in alliance with a tyrant, she received nothing but his last name. Although there are many miraculously raising children in extreme conditions of life with an aggressive tyrant, no one has heard that they were rewarded for being able to instill humanity in their children, contrary to the example of a father beating their mother in front of them.

Country teacher's wife

Emma was married at nineteen to a young teacher named Perry Gatewood. It would seem, what can be desired - one of the few representatives of the intelligentsia in the wilderness, a very small difference in age. But Gatewood soon decided to become a farmer, and at the same time he looked at his wife more or less like a working donkey or other cattle on the farm. However. he had looked at her like that since the wedding.

Almost immediately, Perry began a life together by having Emma knead cement and build a fence in addition to housework (which in conditions without sewerage, plumbing and electricity was hard in itself). But for the time being, Emma was inspired by the thought that they were building a family nest together (however, for some reason, it was she who got the heavy and dirty; but okay, because Perry was a teacher, a subtle creature).

In the early 20th century, in the American outback, a single mother would not even be able to find a job to support her child and herself, because she would be shunned "for reasons of morality", and Emma was now securely chained to her husband. Perry started beating Emma. She was fifty-two when she could no longer worry about small children that her husband would hurt, and decided to protest. During another terrible beating, which was clearly leading to murder - Emma's entire face was broken, several teeth and ribs were broken - she threw a huge bag of flour at her husband, seriously knocking him down. Emma was arrested for this, but the sheriff reported the condition of the woman to the mayor.

Where the paths of freedom lead

Emma was an elderly woman by the standards of her time, and the mayor was imbued with warm sympathy for her situation, seeing in front of him a respectable lady with a disfigured face, bruised and wounded. He took her to his home, and for the first time in her life she was able to rest in peace. Then she, however, had to return to her husband, but those times when, in front of the children, Perry broke a broom handle on her head or raped her, were left behind.

The dream was determined by chance. Emma was reading a nature magazine and saw an article about the Appalachian Trail, which also said that no woman had made it without the help of a companion. Having thought over the route and her actions properly, Emma informed the adult children with whom she lived that she was going for a walk, took very few things so as not to look suspicious, and set off. It's hard to imagine what her children went through without knowing where she was, but Emma was very afraid that they would interfere with her.

First attempt failed: Mrs. Gatewood broke her glasses and had to return. But the second time she overcame the path in one hundred and forty-six days. She had very few things with her: an army knife, a flashlight, adhesive plaster, iodine, a pen, a small notebook, sneakers for the actual trail (in civilized places she changed into shoes), and food - Viennese sausages, raisins and peanuts.

She easily found and identified edible plants and knew about the habits of bears and the problems of traveling in the mountains. Besides, she had used to hide in the woods from her husband's beatings when she was younger, so she knew that not every rustle in the dark was dangerous.

Before finishing the route, Emma became famous. Rumors about her flew ahead of her, and journalists caught up with her along the way. As for spending the night, Mrs. Gatewood thought she was too old to be afraid of people, and simply knocked on the doors of huts and houses along the way. The children found out where their mother had gone by reading a newspaper article about her and couldn't believe their eyes!

All of America literally went crazy over Emma for a short time. Her movements and condition were followed by newspapers, the latest news about Mrs. Gatewood was reported on television news (it was the middle of the fifties). I must say, it was thanks to the madness around Gatewood that the trail became incredibly popular among tourists - lovers of extreme sports, and by the age of eighty-five (that's how long she lived), Emma conquered it three times, becoming the absolute record holder - neither women nor men conquered the trail so many times.

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