November 21, 2013
Called Again by Jennifer Pharr Davis
Ok, so it's probably not the best thing that my first takeaway from any book about people who hike the Appalachian Trail is, "what kind of job do these people have that allows them to do this?" The author's husband is a teacher, so I kind of get that, but for her and everyone else I'm continually amazed at how they're able to take that time to hike the trail, and even a bit jealous. But that's not really what this book is about, just a musing on my part.
Jennifer Pharr Davis is a long distance hiker (and sometimes ultra-marathoner). At the age of 21 she completed the Appalachian Trail. But the experience left her wanting more. So she sets out to beat the women's speed record on the AT. And then later she wants to do even better than that so she sets out to break the overall speed record. Which her husband and friends as her support crew she hikes the over 2,000 miles in record time, and strains the relationships around her during it.
Davis did the speed record on a smaller trail to get over a broken heart. She uses the experience to heal and get away from things for awhile. And she's definitely determined, and definitely a bit of a diva sometimes. But she describes herself as that, so she recognizes it. And I don't know anyone who gets low blood sugar and is still pleasant to be around, myself included. Her husband was very very patient. He seemed like a good guy and supportive of her dreams and he wanted to do all he could to help her, which is really quite fantastic. And she has a wide variety of friends, most of whom have done some amazing things themselves.
Davis tells us about all the good and bad in her trip. Although from the sounds of it pain was high on her list and most of what was shared. I know she was setting a speed record, but I would have loved a little more description of the scenery. This was more of a personal story which explains the subtitle of "A Story of Love and Triumph" so I can see why it was more about feelings than environment. I do have to say she was able to evoke my sense of smell, just hearing about the other hikers odor was enough to make me imagine it. The AT is something I eventually want to do someday when I can get enough time off of work and I love reading stories about it. Each one makes me impatient for the day I can strap on my own hiking shoes.
And this book is no different. It was a good story and well worth reading for any hiking enthusiast.