In 1955, 67-year-old Emma Gatewood became the first woman to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. In the following decade, motivated by the 30 years she’d spent married to an abusive, hard-fisted man, she gained widespread fame by finishing the AT thrice, hiking the Oregon Trail and putting in more than 10,000 miles on foot.
Ben Montgomery is an enterprise reporter at the Tampa Bay Times, and founder of the narrative journalism website Gangrey.com. He was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2009 for a series about abuse at a state-run reform school. Ben has taught writing across the country and his work has appeared in national magazines like PARADE and Seventeen, and on NPR and WNYC’s Radiolab.