Picture it, Sicily...1912...Juuuust kidding! It was more like Hagerstown, 2011. I'd already spent 28 YEARS…
As women in our prime, we have learned a lot through our lived experiences. When we tell our stories, share our knowledge, and impart our wisdom, we celebrate ourselves and inspire others to do the same. Who most inspires you in your prime? For me, apart from my mother, the answer is Emma “Grandma” Gatewood, the first woman to solo hike the entire Appalachian Trail.
Grandma Gatewood, a truly remarkable person, dreamed of being the first woman to solo through-hike the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine, a feat she accomplished at 67 years of age! Though she was a survivor of horrific domestic violence that left her hospitalized many times, she never gave up on her dreams. When she was discouraged from hiking the 2,190 miles of the trail, she did it anyway! She was not limited by the perceptions of others. Grandma Gatewood embraced challenges as adventures, overcame obstacles, and pursued possibilities rather than probabilities.
By pursuing her dream and successfully hiking the Appalachian Trail, not once but three times, she demonstrated tremendous physical strength, perseverance, and fortitude. In the process, she modeled for women, then and now, the importance of believing in oneself. Without saying a single word, she challenged sexist and ageist stereotypes and to this day continues to inspire legions of women.
PTFW’s annual fundraiser pays tribute to this remarkable woman as we literally and figuratively walk in her footsteps along the Appalachian Trail. This year, we will offer an opportunity to participate in a virtual hike on a day of your choosing as well as a Gentle Hike and an Intermediate/Advanced Hike on Saturday, October 21, starting at High Rock, Maryland. And on October 25, Gatewood’s actual birthday, PTFW will host the 4th Annual Grandma Gatewood Birthday Bash at the Stone House Urban Winery!
If you are a member of Prime Time for Women, you probably know that PTFW donates 10% of every fundraiser to support another nonprofit…that’s because we believe that positive social connections make a difference on a personal level AND a community level! Thanks to past generous donors and Grandma Gatewood hikers, PTFW has made generous contributions to Breast Cancer Awareness of Cumberland Valley, CASA, Inc., and The Transitional Housing Program at The Women’s Club. This year we will be supporting Be The Match, the largest United States non-profit organization dedicated to helping find bone marrow donors for patients in need of a life-saving transplant. To learn more about why this is our chosen charity this year, read the next article.
In the meantime, tap into your inner Grandma Gatewood and believe in your power to make your dreams come true! Lace-up your hiking boots as you prepare to honor her legacy and experience the beauty of nature along the Appalachian Trail on a brilliant autumn day. Stay tuned for more information on where, when, and how to register for the Grandma Gatewood Legacy Hikes and Birthday Bash!