August 3, 2011
Classics Alumna Breaks Appalachian Trail Record
Samford Classics alumna Jennifer Pharr Davis ’04 is has broken the record for assisted thru-hike of the complete Appalachian trail. Her time of 46 days, 11 hours and 20 minutes breaks the previous record by almost 24 hours.
Davis went through five pairs of hybrid hiking and running shoes during her trek, she told Associated Press writer Jeffrey Collins, averaging about 47 miles a day. Even so, she had time to enjoy the beauty of the trail, which runs 2,180 miles from Maine to Georgia.
“My average was three mph,” she told Collins. “So what are you not going to see at three mph?”
She saw moose, bears, porcupines, and other critters, as well as almost every sunrise and sunset on her hike. This was her third time to complete the trail, the first coming in 2005 after her graduation from Samford. On this trip, she generally woke at 5 a.m. and went to bed around 10 p.m.
Her husband, Brew, assisted her, meeting her at crossings with food, water, and a tent. She carried a few water bottles, energy bars, and a cell phone. In 2008 Davis broke the women's record for a supported thru-hike, a feat chronicled in her adventure memoir, Becoming Odyssa: Epic Adventures on the Appalachian Trail. The book explores Davis’ physical and emotional transformation through the grueling 57 day, eight-hour journey.
For her Appalachian Trail record Davis was named 2008 Outdoor Person of the Year by Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine. To date, she has hiked more than 9,000 miles of long-distance trails on six continents and holds endurance records on the Appalachian Trail, Long Trail, and Bibbulmun Track. She founded Blue Ridge Hiking Co. to make the wilderness accessible and enjoyable through written and spoken word, instruction, and guiding.
- Speed Hiker Thrives on Natural Rhythms of the Appalachian Trail (New York Times)
- Blue Ridge Hiking Co.
- Becoming Odyssa: Epic Adventures on the Appalachian Trail