Becoming Odyssa: Epic Adventures on the Appalachian Trail

Becoming Odyssa: Epic Adventures on the Appalachian Trail

4.3 26
by Jennifer Pharr Davis
     
 

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After graduating from college, Jennifer isn't sure what she wants to do with her life. She is drawn to the Appalachian Trail, a 2175-mile footpath that stretches from Georgia to Maine. Though her friends and family think she's crazy, she sets out alone to hike the trail, hoping it will give her time to think about what she wants to do next. The next four months are… See more details below

Overview

After graduating from college, Jennifer isn't sure what she wants to do with her life. She is drawn to the Appalachian Trail, a 2175-mile footpath that stretches from Georgia to Maine. Though her friends and family think she's crazy, she sets out alone to hike the trail, hoping it will give her time to think about what she wants to do next. The next four months are the most physically and emotionally challenging of her life. She quickly discovers that thru-hiking is harder than she had imagined: coping with blisters and aching shoulders from the 30-pound pack she carries; sleeping on the hard wooden floors of trail shelters; hiking through endless torrents of rain and even a blizzard. With every step she takes, Jennifer transitions from an over-confident college graduate to a student of the trail, braving situations she never imagined before her thru-hike. The trail is full of unexpected kindness, generosity, and humor. And when tragedy strikes, she learns that she can depend on other people to help her in times of need.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Davis is the record holder for the women's supported hike (2,175 miles in 57 days, with someone carrying her supplies) in the Appalachian Trail, which runs between Mount Katahdin in Maine and Springer Mountain in Georgia. The A.T. is not only a hike, but a subculture: a community where everyone has a trail name, where there are well-placed hiker huts, trail-side towns whose main economy is supporting hikers, complicated trail etiquette, regular occurrences of trail magic, and a recurring cast of freaks and Christians, show-offs and loners, and experts and beginners. Though the book opens the night before Davis's record-breaking hike, this is actually the story of her first thru-hike, undertaken as a new college grad who, despite limited hiking experience, felt "called." It's the story of her becoming "Odyssa," her chosen trail name. These days, the word amateur is usually used disparagingly, and in some ways that applies here—the book feels homemade, and the writing is often clunky—but the root of the word is love: amateurs pursue activities for love, not money, and that's what shines through in Davis's record of a difficult, painful, and exhilarating world. (Nov.)
From the Publisher

"Many books have been written by thru-hikers, but none measure up to Jennifer Pharr Davis' epic. The Appalachian Trail speed record holder describes her journey from college graduate to a student of the trail in stunningly beautiful detail. Her tales from the trail are full of adventure and inspiration, and her writing is as lyrical as her Odyssey-inspired trail name. She offers concrete, trail-tested advice for aspiring thru-hikers, and she candidly shares her failures and frustrations along with her successes. If you're searching for the one A.T. book that best captures the spirit of the trail, follow in the footsteps of Odyssa." -- Bro Staff, Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine

"This is the best AT book I have ever read. It doesn't matter if you are male or female, skinny or fat, outdoorsman or couch potato, if you've ever thought about doing a long-distance hike, then read Davis' book. I would rate this book as more essential to the mental preparation for a long-distance hike than anything else you could do." -Dr. David W. Powers, The Coffee Scholar blog

"As the father of daughters, I enjoyed Jennifer's story. If you're the father of a daughter who's wondering if she can achieve big things - and everyone has doubts from time-to-time, you might want to get a copy for her- it might help get her on the right trail for great things in her life, too." - Jim Shepherd, The Outdoor Wire

"It's refreshing. [Jen]'s very enthusiastic and she inspires other people. She's good for the outdoors." - Gary Eblen, Diamond Brand Outdoors

VOYA - Ruth Clark
Older teens questioning what they want to do with their lives will be comforted to realize that the author, as a twenty-one-year-old college graduate, pondered the same questions. Davis notes, "The trail provides a place to sort through the fact and fiction of our childhoods"—certainly a process many teens can relate to, even those who are not into backpacking or hiking. Davis embarked on a spiritual soul-searching quest, taking on the thru-hiker name of Odyssa, as she hiked the 2,175-mile-long Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine in 2005. Within the dense descriptions of hiking conditions are snippets of spiritual and personal insights that make wading through the details worthwhile. The self-searching statements such as, "I wanted to retell my story and explain who I was until it made sense," addressing why she wanted to hike alone but meet as many people as possible, are thought provoking. Davis interacted with a wide variety of people on and off the trail during her four-month journey, from those who became friends to the creepy ones she quickly hiked ahead of to avoid. Welcomed or not, these encounters, including discovering a suicide victim in a park pavilion, resulted in further self-discovery. Her spiritual quest as Odyssa pushed the young Davis to her physical breaking point numerous times but resulted in a love of thru-hiking. Davis has since hiked more than 8,000 miles of trails in North America and trekked through six continents. Although not written for young adult readers, older teens who connect with Davis's spiritual journey may find answers to some of their own questions in these pages. Reviewer: Ruth Clark

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780825305665
Publisher:
Beaufort Books, Incorporated
Publication date:
11/15/2010
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
51,667
File size:
3 MB

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