A Project for Better Journalism chapter

Big, Burch, Boss

The 2018 writer in residence is Jennifer Pharr Davis, a 34 year-old accomplished hiker, writer, and business owner. Born in Hendersonville, NC, Davis has become an accomplished hiker, by covering over 14,000 miles of long distance trails on six different continents. In fact, in 2012, she was named National Geographic’s Adventurer of the Year. Davis also at one point held the title of fastest completion time of the Appalachian Trail for both sexes. She completed the trail at an astonishing average of forty-seven miles a day, completed in forty-six days, eleven hours, and twenty minutes. As well as being an established hiker, she also is a well-known writer. Having written multiple articles for publications such as the New York Times, Outside Magazine, and Trail Runner, she knows how to write a good story. Her literary reputation is further elevated thanks to her two world-renowned hiking memoirs. In conjunction with being a writer and a hiker, Davis is also the founder and owner of Blue Ridge Hiking Company. A company whose goal is to make the wilderness more accessible and enjoyable to a wider range of people. As if not accomplished enough, Davis is a part of the National Speakers Association and an Ambassador for the American Hiking Society. One of Davis’s most established pieces of writing is “Becoming Odyssa” (which you can read for extra credit in your English class.) “Becoming Odyssa” is the autobiographical account of Davis’s times on the Appalachian Trail. The book reveals how the Appalachian Trail transformed her life from being fresh out of college to a “student of the trail.” During her first trek, she faced hardships such as blizzards, rain, a 30-pound pack, and countless blisters. Thankfully, most of EHS can marginally connect with Davis’s struggle while on the trail, having hiked a small portion of it while on Burch; we understand her struggle. Whether an avid outdoors goer or not, all of us here in the EHS community can learn and appreciate Davis’s story and what she has to share with our community. I think I speak for everyone when I say we are thoroughly enthused to get to know Jennifer Pharr Davis in the coming weeks. Now let’s get out there and crunch some pages!!