This is Emma Gatewood, the first known woman to hike the 2,168 mile (3,489 km) Appalachian Trail solo in just one season. She did it in 1955 at the age of 67, wearing only Keds shoes and carrying an army blanket, a raincoat and a plastic shower curtain. She was also a mother of 11, a grandmother and a great-grandmother.
In the early 1950s, while reading a discarded copy of the August 1949 edition of National Geographic magazine, Gatewood found an article about the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) The description and photographs captivated her and made it sound like something she could do. All that was needed was “normal good health” and “no special skill or training.” She set out in July 1954 at the age of 66 to hike south from Mount Katahdin in Maine. After a few days, she got lost, broke her glasses, and ran out of food. The rangers who found her convinced her to return home, but she decided not to tell anyone about her failure.