Kay Wood


Kay Wood, a long time volunteer with the Massachusetts Appalachian Trail Management Committee, passed away on February 16th.  Kay started volunteering in the 60’s and was a trail maintainer, Maintainer Coordinator and served as Chairman of the Committee that oversees the Trail in Massachusetts.  She was involved in development of the shelter design used in Massachusetts since 1980 when the first shelter of this design was built in Dalton, MA and was named in her honor.  For many years Kay and her family frequently welcomed hikers to their home which the A.T. passed by.  Kay loved to talk with hikers and in later years she could be found chatting with hikers passing through town or inviting them to a local restaurant for a cup of tea.

Kay was an accomplished hiker, completing her thru hike in 1989 (where she became known as “Gramma Kay”) at the age of 70.  She also completed the Long Trail in Vermont, as well as the 100 highest peaks in New England.

If you have memories of Kay you would like to share, you may add your comments below.  Please include your name under your comments.

Anonymous @ 2/28/2010 12:27:58 PM

When I stayed at the Kay Wood Shelter in 2013 on my section hike, I was forever impacted by Gramma Kay’s story. It impressed upon me how even posthumously we could have such a profound impact that we are still affecting people and providing a place for fellow AT Hikers to stay. What a legacy to leave and pass on! The true essence of paying it forward. Ms. Kay even after your death, you changed my life. You’re one of my heroes. I wanna be like you. You go girl!

~Screamer (Cynthia Behr ’12, ’13. ’15 section hiker)

I had the privilege of helping Kay get around in her wheel chair at the Berkshire Chapter of the AMC volunteer recognition meeting on Mt Greylock on January 23rd. She was in great spirits and it was probably her last helping hand action for the AT. There did not seem to be any reason to doubt she would be back on the trail come Spring. The trail itself will miss her. It’s more than appropriate that she has the Kay Wood shelter which will forever keep her name tied to the trail.

Simeon Wood (no relation) AMC and ATC member.
Anonymous @ 2/28/2010 3:46:23 PM

I thru hiked the trail in 1988 and on a cold rainy Sept evening Kay was walking up a dirt road and offered to take me home and treat me to Ben and Jerrys and use of a washer/dryer. She even gave me a warm dry place to sleep! Thanks Kay, the trail will miss you.
Anonymous @ 3/1/2010 12:17:52 PM

I first met Kay when she assigned me a section of trail to maintain. She wanted to meet each new maintainer and go over their responsibilities with them in the field. So off we went from Notch Rd north of Greylock up to Prospect Mtn, not a long climb but short and steep. She told me to go ahead as she had slowed up in her “old age” (she was solidly in her 80’s at the time)and that she’d meet me on top of Prospect. Well, she was right behind me step for step up that hill, chatting the whole way! At the top I said, “Kay, I thought you told me you had slowed up.” She assured me she had to which I could only reply that I was happy I wasn’t trying to keep up with her in her younger years! What a pleasure it was to work with Kay and I will certainly remember her whenever I’m on the AT.

Jim Pelletier
Anonymous @ 3/3/2010 1:59:55 PM

I grew up in Dalton with the Wood family. Kay and my mother were friends and we spent many hours hiking the AT around the area. We had many happy trail memories and hikes up Warner Hill to pick blueberries. Long after I grew up and moved away I still kept in touch with Kay on my visits home. She was such an inspiration for how to live ones life to the fullest. She was so full of life and will be missed by us all.
Judi Ferrara, Wallingford, PA
Anonymous @ 3/5/2010 3:54:34 PM

Kay wood was one of my favorite great aunts. I particularly remember hiking the AT in the White mountains with her in the mid ’70’s and running into absolutely foul weather between Jefferson Col and Lakes of the Clouds hut. We breasted high winds and dodged thunder showers until we made the hut and holed up there for three days until the weather subsided enough so we could head south. A memorable trip and great company.
Rick Kelley, Holyoke, MA
Anonymous @ 3/9/2010 8:52:27 AM

When I first met Kay, it was on a Saturday work party on Mt Greylock Jones nose side trail. She was the volunteer coordinator for the At Committee which was a fledgling group brought together by ATC and AMC. We needed spikes to nail together a gate blocking ATV access to the side trail and the field beyond. Kay volunteered to get them. She returned with the spikes at a cost of .25 a piece to her and she bought cider for a treat.