Hiking Record Holder Visits Huntertown

By Rachel Martin

Hiking Record Holder Visits Huntertown

September 16, 2012 Updated Sep 16, 2012 at 6:17 PM EDT

HUNTERTOWN, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – The first woman to hold the overall hiking record on the Appalachian Trail spoke to fellow hikers in Huntertown Sunday.

Jennifer Pharr Davis hiked her way into the record books and on Sunday into the Tom and Jane Dustin Nature Preserve in Huntertown. It's part of Ivy Tech Community College's INSPIRE series. The series provides an ongoing series of events, exhibits and opportunities to enrich and inspire students and participants. It was the same program that brought storm chaser, Reed Timmer, to Ivy Tech last Fall.

Pharr Davis, a professional hiker and author, says she’s hiked over 12,000 miles on six different continents. She was awarded Adventurer of the Year for 2012 by National Geographic. For her record-setting hike, it took her 46 days, 11-hours, and 20 minutes to hike 2,181 miles along the Appalachian Trail—that's an average of 46.9 miles a day.

“It was a huge physical struggle…but at the same time it was a great emotional and mental struggle as well to try to keep my enthusiasm up and try to keep up my focus, but I love nature and I’ve always loved moving through the woods. So instead focusing on tomorrow or the next day, I tried focusing on taking it one step at a time.”

Pharr Davis also owns Blue Ridge Hiking Company, and at the lecture Sunday, she spoke about her first hiking experience when she got struck by lightning, life on the trails, her record-setting hike, and appreciating nature on the journey.

“The wilderness is there for everyone at every phase of life. It's never about how far you go or how fast you travel, it's just about what you take from the experience,” she said.

Pharr Davis has hiked over 12,000 miles on six different continents. After her speech, she took guests on a hike through the Tom and Jane Dustin Nature Preserve in Huntertown. Her advice to hikers is to stay in your comfort zone and make it fun.

“If you don’t want to go out by yourself, go with friends or with your dog. If you enjoy photography, take a camera. If you like to draw, take a sketch book. If you like to hike fast and far then go out all day and push your limits. Everyone can relate to the trail in their own language,” she said.

Pharr Davis will speak at Ivy Tech’s Coliseum Campus Auditorium on Monday, Sept. 17 from 3:00 - 4:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

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