I recently completed two books and I've got about 50 pages to go on a third book on a couple of remarkable people.The first one I read was the one in the photo above. Grandma Gatewood thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail solo - no tent, no sleeping bag, no fancy gear, and she did it at the age of seventy. Not only that, but she did it again later. And then she hiked it in sections after that. Great book. Remarkable woman.
Next up, A Man in a Hurry: The Extraordinary Life & Times of Edward Payson Weston.
Edward Weston is credited as the World's Greatest Walker and after reading about his exploits, hard to argue with the that. He was able to walk more than 100 miles in a 24 hour period and, like Grandma Gatewood, he walked from New York to San Francisco averaging 40 miles per day, also at the age of seventy. I didn't realize the sport of walking or pedestrianism was as big as it was back in the 1880-90's. It was quite the thing. Five or six day races, big purses, side bets that were bigger still, lots of spectators. In fact, whole towns would turn out to watch Weston walk through on his journeys.
The book I'm currently finishing, The Last Great Walk, is also about Edward Payson Weston but rather than a pure biography of Weston like A Man in a Hurry is, it not only deals with his walk to San Francisco but also how we as a people no longer walk as we have for thousands of years but instead use other forms of transportation and what that means to us as a society and as individuals.
I'm only about five years younger than Grandma Gatewood and Edward Weston were when they set off on their big journeys. I can hold my own when it comes to walking but I'm not so sure I could keep up with either of those two. I've wanted to hike the Appalachian Trail for a long time. Probably never going to happen now but who knows? If that old bird could do it a couple of times in her seventies, there's hope for me. I've got no inclination to walk across country, however. At one time I would have entertained the idea of cycling across country but not now. I wouldn't mind tackling it on a motor cycle. Go south until I hit US 50, turn right, keep heading west until the Pacific comes into view. Doesn't sound too hard, now does it?