The following are a couple of news items related to the Appalachian Trail you might be interested in knowing about.
* Last week the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) and volunteers through its affiliate Georgia Appalachian Trail Club announced the establishment of a Georgia Appalachian Trail specialty license plate. The Georgia license plate will help raise awareness of the Trail, and volunteers will pursue profit-sharing legislation from the state to provide a source of ongoing funding to maintain, manage and protect the first 78 miles of the 2,179-mile Appalachian National Scenic Trail.
* Ohio trail honors pioneering hiker: Ohio's No. 1 must-see state park, Hocking Hills (southeast of Columbus), is dedicating one of the park's most famous trails to Ohio's No. 1 long-distance hiker, the late Emma Rowena Gatewood. Grandma Gatewood, who died in 1973 at 86, gained national attention when she hiked the entire Appalachian Trail solo in 1955 - at the age of 68 - in tennis shoes!
In 1964, at the age of 77, Gatewood hiked the A.T. again, for the third time! In that same year she blazed a 40-mile loop off the Buckeye Trail from Meigs County through Gallia County to Lawrence County.
One of Gatewood's favorite hikes was in the Hocking Hills - a 6-mile hike from Ash Cave to Cedar Falls to Old Man's Cave. That stretch of trail is now officially known as the Grandma Gatewood Trail. Be sure to read the full article - she sounds like a wonderful and inspirational woman.
* Blogcritics.org posted an interview with Paul V. Stutzman, the author of Hiking Through: Finding Peace and Freedom on the Appalachian Trail. The book and the interview discusses how hiking the Appalachian Trail changed his life after losing his wife to breast cancer.
* Jeff Alt, author of the highly acclaimed "A Walk for Sunshine", will be at Benchmark Outdoor Outfitters in Cincinnati, Ohio to present his "Appalachian Trail Show". Alt decided to share the experience of hiking the Appalachian Trail by turning his adventure into a fundraiser for the Sunshine Home, a facility in Maumee, Ohio that cares for 850 developmentally disabled residents, including his brother, Aaron, who has cerebral palsy. He has since raised $175,000 for the home.
HikingintheSmokys.com Detailed information on trails in the Smoky Mountains; includes trail descriptions, key features, pictures, video, maps, elevation profiles, news, and more.