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Wednesday, October 23, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Outdoors blog

Woman breaks Appalachian Trail speed-hiking record

Jennifer Pharr Davis becomes emotional as she nears the end of a successful effort to set the unofficial record for the fastest hike of the Appalachian Trail on July 31, 2011. The beat the previos record by a day, ending her feat in 46 days, 11 hours and 20 minutes. (Associated Press)
Jennifer Pharr Davis becomes emotional as she nears the end of a successful effort to set the unofficial record for the fastest hike of the Appalachian Trail on July 31, 2011. The beat the previos record by a day, ending her feat in 46 days, 11 hours and 20 minutes. (Associated Press)

HIKING -- Striding along at a rate of nearly two marathons A DAY, Jennifer Pharr Davis has set an unofficial record for the fastest assisted hike of the entire Appalachian Trail from Mount Katahdin in Maine to Springer Mountain in Georgia.

She saw 36 bears, moose, porcupines and every sunrise and sunset during an epic 2,180 mile journey that lasted 46 days, 11 hours and 20 minutes. Friends and spouse supported her effort so she could trek equipped with a daypack or less.

She went through five pairs of hybrid hiking and running shoes while averaging about 47 miles a day, or nearly two marathons, breaking the previous record set by a man six years ago by just over 24 hours.

And she suffered nearly a week of dysentery in the early portion of her trek, giving a new twist to "the trots."

‘Fastest is so relative,’ Davis told the Associated Press on Tuesday after estimating she had slept about 30 of the past 48 hours. ‘My average was 3 mph. So what are you not going to see at 3 mph?’

She emerged from the woods on Sunday and walked to the granite slab on Springer at the trail's southern end. Her parents and dozens of other family members and friends were cheering her on.

‘There were a lot of tears,’ Davis said. ‘Everyone was like: “Are those happy tears?” I just said they're everything tears. I'm so happy. In a way, I'm sad it's over.

Of course, this isn't Jennifer's first hiking experience.  Here's one of my previous posts on Davis' adventures with links for background.




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Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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