UPDATE: due to overwhelming interest, we’re asking that you RSVP for the $20 mini-clinic and the Saturday afternoon hike. Please visit http://www.chattanoogahiking.com/events/54500822/ to RSVP for the hike, or email [email protected] to RSVP for the clinic. We’ve set up a Facebook event as well.
Jennifer Pharr Davis is the world record holder (male or female) for an assisted thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. In August of 2011, she completed her world record attempt — all 2,184 miles or so — with an incredible total time of 46 days, 11 hours and 20 minutes. This time shaved 10 days off of her previous women’s-only record, and bested the existing record by nearly a full day.
Salomon sponsored her record attempt, providing a variety of clothing and gear for the hike, and she hiked the trail in the new Salomon Synapse hiking shoe. We caught up with Jen to quiz her about the Synapse earlier this month; you can read her comments, and more about the Salomon Synapse, here.
If you’d like to meet Jen, hear her talk about the record-breaking hike, watch a slideshow, buy her book, have her sign a book, attend a special A.T. clinic or hike with her at Lula Lake… well, you’re in luck!
On Friday evening, March 9, Jen will be at Rock/Creek @ 2 North Shore, giving a talk and slideshow presentation on her record-breaking hike. She’ll also be selling copies of her book, Becoming Odyssa, and signing copies for those who may already own the book. This event is free, and we encourage all to attend! There will be a meet and greet immediately preceding her presentation, so you’ll want to be present if you’d like the chance to chat with Jen before the show.
Saturday morning, March 10, Jennifer will return to the 2 North Shore Rock/Creek store to host a 3-hour clinic on hiking the Appalachian Trail, suitable for section hikers as well as those intending to hike the entire length of the trail, with a focus on physical and mental preparation and selecting appropriate gear. The cost for this mini-clinic is $20 per person. Afterward, following a short break to eat lunch and drive over to Lookout Mountain, she’ll be leading a group hike on Lula Lake Land Trust property.
The complete schedule is as follows:
6:00 PM to 7:00 PM – Meet and greet at Rock/Creek 2 North Shore (free)
7:00 PM to 8:30 PM – AT world record talk, slideshow and book signing (free)
10:00 AM to 1:00 PM – Appalachian Trail prep workshop ($20/person)
2:00 PM to 5:00 PM (or so) – Group hike at Lula Lake core property (free)
While Jen’s presentation this March will focus on last year’s world record, Becoming Odyssa is about her first through-hike. After being nominated for National Geographic‘s “Adventurer of the Year” award, Jennifer summed up her introduction to the Appalachian Trail this way:
“I was 21. I hiked by myself. I really knew nothing about long-distance backpacking. I was not adventurer of the year; I was idiot of the year. I got struck by lightning. I had my eyes freeze shut in a snowstorm. I was followed by some male hikers I did not want attention from. I even came across a suicide on the trail. It was the hardest five months of my life. But as time passed I realized how much I had changed. I had experienced so much positive growth. It left me longing to go back to the trail.”
In all, Jennifer Pharr Davis has thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail three times. Her first hike inspired her book. The second hike set the women’s speed record; the third set the world record. After she set the women’s record, Jennifer came to Chattanooga to talk about the hike and run in the 2010 Rock/Creek StumpJump 50k trail race; check out the video below for excerpts from an interview with her after the race!