Jennifer Pharr Davis, a world renowned hiker who has broken long-established speed records and learned important life lessons while hiking the 2,181-mile Appalachian Trail, will share stories from the trail during two presentations on March 31 in Abingdon. She will speak at 2 p.m. at Virginia Highlands Community College and again that evening at 6 p.m. at Heartwood: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway. Both talks are free and open to the public.
A North Carolina native, Pharr Davis began her first thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine in 2005 at the age of 21. During that initial journey, she encountered a stalker, weathered a snow storm and was struck by lightning. She also discovered many things about herself and set important goals. She has completed two record-setting thru hikes since then, breaking the women’s speed record in 2008 with a 57-day hike and then the overall record in 2011 by completing the trail in 46 days, 11 hours and 20 minutes.
The afternoon session in the Keyser-Aday Theatre at VHCC will focus on her first hike and how her outlook on many things changed during those months she spent hiking. That talk is entitled “The Trailblazer: Find Your Passion and Follow Your Heart.”
Her Heartwood appearance at 6 p.m. will focus on her 2011 hike and how she averaged 47 miles of hiking each day, battling shin splits and illness along the way, to break the overall record. That talk is entitled “The Extra Mile: Exploring the Limits of Endurance.”
Pharr Davis lives in Asheville, N.C., with her husband, Brew, and daughter, Charley. She is the owner of Blue Ridge Hiking Co. and the author of several hiking guides and memoirs that chronicle her time on the trail. Pharr Davis will be available to answer questions and sign copies of her books, which can be purchased following each event.