I thought it would be a nice lark. It wasn’t.

Setting up a trip to  Pine Grove Furnace State Park for the grand opening of the Appalachian Trail Museum. Was just there for a backpacking trip and remembered Brad telling me about it on a Sunfish Pond hike a few weeks back. I’m a history nerd AND a hiker, so I can’t pass it up.

One of the exhibits it seems will be about early thru-hikers, including someone named Grandma Gatewood. Turns out she was the first woman to solo hike the entire 2168 mile trail in one season, and she did it at age 67. And again at age 72. And then she hiked it in sections at age 75!

She hiked in Keds–KEDS SNEAKERS, people!–and carried an army blanket and a raincoat. And very little else.  People she met shared food with her, and she ate wild berries and bouillon cubes. Sports Illustrated wrote an article about her when she got to Connecticut. Wow.

Wikipedia calls her an “Ultralight backpacking pioneer,” and I can’t help but snort at the thought of that old lady discussing backpacking brands by weight and making stuff sacks out of Tyvek. What would she think of the modern hiker’s synthetic sleeping bag, fancy stove and trekking poles? She’d think we were ridiculous, is what. (At the same time, I can’t really imagine carrying much less!)

I feel like I can never be in pain again. Re-motivated to shed more weight off my pack this season! Goal is before my trip to New Mexico in September. I’m gonna shoot for 15 lbs without food & water 🙂

The first person to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail, Earl Shaffer, did it for the first time in 1948, and apparently the ATC people didn’t believe him!

Slightly unrelated, cool article about downsizing your stuff & your living space. Need to work on that too.  “Make one thing serve many purposes.”

“For some fool reason, they always lead you right up over the biggest rock to the top of the biggest mountain they can find.”

Emma "Grandma" Gatewood, courtesy of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy

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