Grandma Gatewood, after a life of child raising and domestic violence, decides, at age 67, that she needs some of the peace she has always found in nature, so she chooses to walk the entire Appalachian Trail. The first time doesn't work out well, starting from the northern end; so the next time, she starts from the southern end. She packs up what she needs in a bag that she sewed herself. takes the bus to Georgia and starts out. Many times she has to depend on the kindness of strangers for a place to sleep, food to eat, or directions to get back on the trail, which has not been well marked or maintained. With the help of her children, who have kept her journals and press clippings, the author shows us that, perhaps, we don't need as much paraphernalia as REI would have us believe in order to do some hiking. Grandma Gatewood not only hiked the Appalachian Trail more than once, but she also hiked the Oregon Trail and established trails in her native Ohio. She is an example of "a journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step"--and just keep going.