This year's Sandwich Public Library community read is Ben Montgomery’s “Grandma Gatewood’s Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail.”
Sandwich Reads Together will be presenting a number of special events centered around the story of Emma Gatewood, who told her family she was going on a walk and left her small Ohio hometown with a change of clothes and less than $200. The next anybody heard from her, the 67-year-old great-grandmother had walked 800 miles along the 2,050-mile Appalachian Trail. By September 1955 she stood atop Maine’s Mount Katahdin, sang “America, the Beautiful” and proclaimed, “I said I’ll do it, and I’ve done it." She was the first person—man or woman—to walk the trail two and three times.
The public attention Emma Gatewood brought to the trail was unprecedented. Her vocal criticism of the difficult stretches led to bolstered maintenance, and very likely saved the trail from extinction.
Ben Montgomery will be at Sandwich Town Hall on Saturday tomorrow at 5:30 PM for a book talk and signing. This event is free and open to the public. Titcomb’s Bookshop will have copies of “Grandma Gatewood’s Walk” for purchase.
Ben Montgomery is also the author of “The Leper Spy” and “The Man Who Walked Backward.” He spent most of his 20-year newspaper career as a reporter for the Tampa Bay Times. In 2010 he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in local reporting and won the Dart Award and Casey Medal for a series called "For Their Own Good," about abuse at Florida's oldest reform school. Mr. Montgomery grew up in Oklahoma and studied journalism at Arkansas Tech University. He lives in Tampa.
Sandwich Reads Together will also present “A Grandma Gatewood Walk in the Woods and Lunch” with Mr. Montgomery Saturday, October 12 at 10:30 AM at Shawme-Crowell State Forest.
Mr. Montgomery will be joined by State Park Ranger Les Perry and Jim Coogan for the beginner level walk, which will be followed by a box lunch. Pre-registration is necessary; the cost of the lunch reservation is payable in advance at the library.
Naturalist Mary Beers will lead a nature walk at the East Sandwich Game Farm Monday, October 14, from 9 to 11 AM. During the walk Ms. Beers will highlight and identify plants and wildlife that flourish in the area. The event is free and open to the public. Participants should meet at the parking lot at the Route 6A entrance to the East Sandwich Game Farm. Pre-registration is required.
Online reservations can be made through the library events page, or call the library at 508-888-0625.