Grandma Gatewood Brainstorming

20 May

Friday night was Grandma Gatewood night at my studio. I invited some members of The Houston Women’s Hiking group. Everyone has been so encouraging on the group. They have been posting their stories about the AT and sharing their thoughts on Grandma Gatewood, her pose, clothes, etc.

Wanting to keep them in the loop, I opened my studio to talk about creating a life-size sculpture and brainstorm some poses. I had already put a call out for models for the statue. These people will dress like her and pose in the pose we decide, and I can take reference photographs all around the model. Reference photos will help me with the folds, sculpting, and proportions.

After several poses, I wondered, “What if we had her going up?” Could we put her on a slight berm where she is going up and have some bronze rocks at her feet, like she is on the trail? It was a productive evening, though we broke the stick three times. We are still working out the design. Now on to finding clothes for my model. And of course fundraising. We still need to raise the funds for this project. Please donate at the Go Fund Me page.

Meanwhile, Paul Maxwell went to trail days to talk about the sculpture—more on that in the following posts.


How do you start a sculpture of a person you have never met?

8 May

From Bridgette Mongeon’s Studio
The most important thing is getting to know my subject through those who knew and loved her. I’m having regular conversations with Grandma Gatewood’s granddaughter and, of course, immersing myself in everything Grandma Gatewood.

I would like to video conference with other women who have studied her. Women like Dixie – Wanderlust, who studied what Grandma Gatewood used on her hiking trips and tried to hike like her. Or Ann Van Curen, who recreates her in performances.

What pose would people relate to?
What images of the many photos on the web do I use to influence me in my process? We have settled on Grandma Gatewood wearing pants. Although Grandma Gatewood used scarves, she will not have a scarf in this sculpture. She has to have her sack, which I’m told –
“Her bag was canvas, she made from fabric. She had more than one bag that she used over the years. Denim or khaki colored canvas sturdy cloth.”

I have posted on Houston Women’s Hiking, the hiking group I’m involved with in Houston, to see if anyone has the same body build as Grandma Gatewood. I’m not shy when trying to find models. Good reference photographs mean everything to a sculptor. I posted on my neighborhood forum when I was looking for a model for Alice in Wonderland. I told them I was looking for a little girl that was about 7 or 8 that I could dress up as Alice in Wonderland. I was also looking for a neighborhood trampoline so I could have Alice jump on the trampoline, and I could take pictures of her with her dress up in the air as she was “falling.” My neighborhood has seen so much of my work. No one called the police on me on that one. Sometimes I need a body model, as is the case of Grandma Gatewood. I’m told she was about 5′ and 110-120lbs, depending on if she was going into the woods or coming out. I learned she would more likely wear a dress while hiking the Oregon Trail, as it went near major roads, and if she were on the AT, for this statue, she would be in pants because I hope to raise the money for two and put one on or near the AT.

Like Dixie, who documents what she brought on her youtube station and how she dressed, I too will look for period clothes from that time. However, It won’t be for me but will be for my body model.

Meanwhile, while I’m working on another commission, my assistant will begin to build a small wire armature of Grandma Gatewood, and add clay to the armature.

Stay tuned.

Announcing— The sculptor of the statue- Bridgette Mongeon

4 May

Paul Maxwell announces the sculptor of the Grandma Gatewood tribute statue—Bridgette Mongeon.

For several reasons, we chose Sculptor Bridgette Mongeon as the official sculptor of the Grandma Gatewood Sculpture. First, her work is amazing. She is known for sculpting such celebrities as B.B. King, Willie Nelson, and Bill Monroe. Her monumental sculpture of Alice in Wonderland’s Mad Hatter Tea Party, with over 150 hidden things in Bellaire, Texas, is one that everyone must visit.

Bridgette is all about history and capturing the essence of loved ones in clay. Her art studio will install a monumental sculpture of Booker T. Washington in Houston this summer. Recently she has been excited about focusing on powerful, strong women. The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League commissioned her to do a portrait of Penny Marshall for her involvement in the movie A League of Their Own.

When asked recently by a friend, “Is there anyone you would love to sculpt?” She answered, “There is no one I can think of that excites me, accept Grandma Gatewood.”

Why does Grandma Gatewood mean so much to the artist? For years Bridgette, like Grandma Gatewood, would go into the woods alone. “I’m going in. I’ll be out in an hour.” She would text her daughter for safety reasons. “Great, Mom, I have your GPS; I know where to tell them to find the body.” Her daughter would joke. “Mom, please start a group.” And in 2016, she did just that. She started a Facebook group called Houston Women’s Hiking. It has grown to over 14,500 women in Houston, with 50 -100 new members weekly, and is changing many lives.

Bridgette has shown the Grandma Gatewood movie at her home around the fire pit with friends. I sculpt a lot of deceased loved ones. Someone said, ‘You develop a relationship with the deceased.’ Bridgette says, She looks forward to becoming friends with Grandma Gatewood during this journey.

Hiking for Bridgette is a family affair. She travels with her family monthly. Her Daughter Christina Sizemore is co-admin of the group. Bridgette’s ten-year-old granddaughter, another generation of hikers, is writing a book with her grandmother about traveling the Texas State parks. Christina is also joining the Grandma Gatewood fundraising team with a marketing and public relations background.

You can follow Bridgette’s work and progress on Instagram.

“I have a kinship with this woman I have never known.” States Bridgette. “She knew the power of walking in the woods, how it could heal, and how much the woods had to give. She knew how to encourage other women by simply putting one step in front of the other. We must celebrate her; a sculpture is the only way I know how.”

The Grandma Gatewood Tribute Sculpture is Coming!

4 May

The Ohio Valley Memory Gardens in Gallipolis, Ohio, is the cemetery where Grandma Gatewood rests.

He reports that with the movie Trail Magic: The Grandma Gatewood Story airing on PBS and the book Grandma Gatewood’s Walk written by Ben Montgomery, Grandma Gatewood is getting her share of visitors. People tell the story of courage, fortitude, and trailblazing of our beloved Grandma Gatewood. The project is evergreen, and the love for this woman renews through generations of hikers

“When I’m dead and gone,” Emma told her daughters Lucy and Louise once, in a tone that was certain and not at all arrogant, “They’re going to erect monuments to me.”

Please help us to raise the money to create this sculpture for Grandma Gatewood’s cemetery plot at Ohio Valley Memory Gardens. Also, follow along as we share the Grandma Gatewood Statue story.

WRPN Women’s International Film Festival

20 Oct

We’re so excited to announce that TRAIL MAGIC received a designation of Excellence in the Documentary Category and Anne McEvoy (our Grandma Gatewood) received the Excellence designation in the Lead Actress Category of the WRPN Women’s International Film Festival! We thank the Festival staff for including us in the festival and for this honor. If you haven’t seen TRAIL MAGIC yet, there will be an on-line screening sponsored by the Rocky River Library on Thursday, November 5, 2020 at 6:30 p.m. There will be a Q & A after the screening. The program is FREE and open to the public. For more information, contact the library at 440-333-7610. Registration is requested.

Indie Gathering International Film Festival Nominations!

5 Sep

We just learned that “Trail Magic, the Grandma Gatewood Story” produced by Bette Lou Higgins and Eden Valley Enterprises, written by Kelly Sagert was nominated for “Best Director, Ohio”, Peter Huston and “Best Editing” Peggy Foley. Special shout out to DPs Bruce Lundeen, Tom Whaley and assistant editor Kaleb Grine. Congratulations all around!

Appalachian Trail View Protected

14 Aug

Much has changed since Emma Gatewood hiked the AT. This view is one of the most memorable. We know she would have approved.

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Washington, D.C. (August 4, 2020) – On July 23, 2020, the National Park Trust transferred ownership of 239 acres of land in one of the most popular areas of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (A.T.) near Troutville, Virginia to the National Park Service. In the fall of 2018, the Park Trust volunteered to support the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) in the acquisition of the property in Hogan Hollow, Virginia. The landowner wanted to sell before the National Park Service could accept the acreage, so in June 2019, the Park Trust worked with The Conservation Fund to acquire and temporarily hold the property until it could become part of the A.T.

The ATC was awarded a grant from the Virginia Outdoors Foundation to make the purchase and The Conservation Fund managed the transfer of the property from the landowners.

“The Appalachian Trail Conservancy gives its sincere thanks to the National Park Trust for making the preservation of Hogan Hollow a reality,” said Sandra Marra, President and CEO of the ATC. “This acquisition will help preserve the views from McAfee Knob, one of the most beloved locations on the entire Appalachian Trail, and ensures that the area’s natural beauty and ecologically important lands are preserved for the enjoyment and benefit of future generations.”

Wendy Janssen, superintendent of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, said about the acquisition, “This acquisition highlights the power of partnership in preserving and protecting the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. The National Park Service thanks all those involved for their commitment and support to secure the Hogan Hollow property and this critical viewshed for the enjoyment and benefit of all.”

Thousands of hikers each year see Hogan Hollow from McAfee Knob. The 3,197-foot overlook is thought to be one of the most scenic views on the A.T. It’s been said that more pictures are taken there than any other place on the trail. This view could dramatically change if the property was developed or the trees cut, which happened on neighboring land. This project also protects a section of the trail which runs through the property.

National Park Trust’s Executive Director Grace Lee stated, “We are delighted to provide our assistance and expertise to benefit the preservation of our national park sites, and are pleased to be able to assist the Appalachian National Scenic Trail in preserving this land for park visitors to enjoy in perpetuity.”

Hogan Hollow is the Park Trust’s third completed project to acquire land for the A.T. In conjunction with conservation partners, 219 acres near Pawling, NY were added in 2018 and 1,494 acres at Bald Mountain Pond, ME in 2019.


National Park Trust is a non-profit dedicated to preserving parks today and creating park stewards for tomorrow. The Park Trust is the only land trust with a comprehensive mission of preserving national parks through land protection and creating a pipeline of future park stewards by connecting kids to parks. Since 1983, National Park Trust has benefitted 48 national park sites across 28 states, one U.S. Territory, and Washington, D.C. Annually, the Park Trust provides an estimated 20,000 under-served kids with park trips through their nationally recognized Buddy Bison Programs and Kids to Parks Day National School Contest, both of which support nearly 300 Title I schools. Find out more at


Media Contact: Ivan Levin at 540.818.5818 or

Emma is a Winner again!

10 Jul
We’re honored to let you know that Trail Magic: The Grandma Gatewood Story has won 2nd place in the short documentary category of the International Indie Gathering! ( The film will also be screened at the upcoming festival. Details will be announced as soon as they are received, so check in often. We thank the festival committee for helping us share Emma’s story! 
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Happy 4th of July!

3 Jul
Celebate your independence! 

It’s Fourth of July! Celebrate our nation and our heritage and help Eden Valley continue to tell the stories that others forget. Between July 2, 2020 and July 31, 2020 make a donation of $50 or more and get access to a FREE Vimeo download* of our Emmy-nominated film, TRAIL MAGIC: THE GRANDMA GATEWOOD STORY or make a donation of $15 – $49 and get a FREE copy of any e-book of your choice!

Your donation will help us to continue our quest to bring you lost stories from our past. With the cancellation of our program schedule due to the COVID 19 pandemic, we are working hard to find ways to continue to tell our stories — this means working on finding ways to convert programs to on-line formats, creating new books AND continuing our our work on our book about LOST CLEVELAND RESTAURANTS and our documentary about presidential candidate Victoria Woodhull.

We look forward to the time we can see you at a program in person again, in the meantime, thank you for all your help and support.

To make a donation with a credit card using PayPal by press the “Donate” button below. You can also send a check made payable to Eden Valley Enterprises; 1250 East River St., Elyria, Ohio 44035 (download a convenient PDF form)

(As a not-for-profit organization under section 501(c)(3) or the Internal Revenue Code, all donations are tax-deductible. You will receive an acknowledgment for tax purposes.)

There’s no such thing a “small donation”!
We appreciate your help.

*You will need to create a FREE account on Vimeo to take advantage of this offer.


Trail Magic is streaming!

7 May

We’re happy to announce that our Award winning, Emmy-nominated film, TRAIL MAGIC: THE GRANDMA GATEWOOD STORY, is now available for streaming so you can watch it on your computer or mobile device! For only $8.99 you can rent the documentary and enjoy it at your leisure.

For those of you who still prefer to get a DVD, copies are still available.

Happy Indoor Hiking!

Please be aware we’ve been having some e-mail issues.  If you e-mail us directly and do not receive an answer within a day, please use our contact formScreen Shot 2020-05-06 at 9.29.31 PM