Becoming Odyssa: Adventures on the Appalachian Trail

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 ...
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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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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780825305689
  • Publisher: Beaufort Books, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/1/2011
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 115,263
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Jennifer Pharr Davis grew up in the North Carolina Mountains, where she developed a love for hiking at a young age. At age twenty-one, Jennifer hiked the entire Appalachian Trail as a solo female and fell in love with long-distance backpacking.

Since then, Jennifer has hiked more than 11,000 miles on six different continents, with North American hikes including the Pacific Crest Trail, Vermont's Long Trail, and the Colorado Trail, and completed three thru-hikes on the Appalachian Trail. She has hiked and traveled on six continents; some of the highlights include Mount Kilimanjaro, the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, and the 600-mile Bibbulmun Track in Australia.

In the summer of 2011, Jennifer topped her own 2008 Women's Endurance Record for the fastest thru-hike on the Appalachian Trail, making her the overall record holder for both women and men. Jennifer is the first woman to hold the overall title.

Jennifer hiked from Katahdin, Maine to Springer Mountain, Georgia. Her goal was to hike the entire 2,180-mile faster than the current overall speed record of 47 days, 13 hours and 31 minutes, which she did in 46 days.

To break the record, Jennifer hiked an average of 47 miles a day, camping along the trail. She had trail support from legendary ultra-runner and former AT and Pacific Crest Trail speed record holder David Horton, as well as veteran AT expert Warren Doyle and Davis' husband, Brew Davis. Her hiking and backpacking accomplishments, as well as her influence as an outdoor role model, are remarkable and momentous.

Jennifer is a 2012 National Geographic Top Adventurer of the Year nominee for her record-breaking thru-hike, has been on CNN, The Early Show, NPR numerous times, and was featured in Fitness Magazine and Shape magazine, among others. Jennifer has also written for Trail Runner magazine, Away.com, is a frequent contributor to Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine, and has written three guidebooks. Jennifer lives in Asheville, North Carolina, with her husband, and is the owner and founder of Blue Ridge Hiking Co.

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 6, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Impressive tale of one woman's solo thru hike on the Appalachian Trail

    An impressive, epic tale, Becoming Odyssa: Adventures on the Appalachian Trail is an adventure story, a coming-of-age story, and travel guide all in one. Jennifer Pharr Davis tells a captivating story of hiking the entirety of the Appalachian Trail — from Springer Mountain, GA to Mount Katahdin, ME — in simple and engaging language that pulls you onto the trail with her. Along the way, she meets a wide array of characters, witnesses breathtaking moments of nature’s beauty and cruelty, and untaps a bounty of unknown strength, both physically and mentally.

    Pharr Davis balances the good and the bad of the trail so well that as the reader you bounce back and forth from envy to sympathy. Making good use of the journal she kept throughout the 4 month long journey, Pharr Davis excellently conveys her emotions and attitude as they rose and fell with each step. What I found most intriguing was following her growth along the way. She begins as a rather naive 21 year old used to all the usual creature comforts who transforms to appreciate, I mean really appreciate, a hot shower, comfy bed, and home cooked meal. These revelations come naturally and not as a cliched “come-to-Jesus” moment, even though her convictions about religion and beliefs in God are absolutely solidified on the trail. Lessons learned on the trail were fantastic, too. She proves that you don’t need fancy equipment to make it. In fact, she wears sneakers and uses a mop as a hiking stick for much of her journey. A few portions were a little, well, boring when she was alone in the woods for long stretches but honestly I can’t imagine trying to write about walking solo through the woods without getting a) preachy, b) completely self-involved, or c) writing drivel/filler. She manages to avoid all three.

    Becoming Odyssa is a great book for anyone interested in hiking and the outdoors or who enjoys a coming-of-age tale. Oh, and her name is absolutely based off The Odyssey, which is one of my favorite books of all time so Pharr Davis totally gets bonus points for having a really sweet trail name. Check out her website, Blue Ridge Hiking Co. where you can purchase this and more titles by Jennifer Pharr Davis.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2012

    Highly Recommended for women of all ages, especially those in search of adventure.

    I was excited to buy this book after I heard Jennifer Pharr Davis at a college lecture series. Hoping simply to do a part of the AT after retirement, Jennifer's book reveals so much about the trail and the character of those who desire to hike its full length. I am blown away by her courage and stamina as she does the trail solo and holds the world's record for fastest AT hiker.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2013

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