BACKPACKING -- Women (especially) looking for hiking inspiration can score big with a book by an iron-woman who worked her way up the hiking status ranks before setting the supported Appalachian Trail women's record of 57 days to cover 2,175 miles.
That's a brisk average pace of 38 miles per day every day for two months from Georgia to Maine.
Jennifer Pharr (now Pharr-Davis) has captured that epic and the trail leading to it in her book "Becoming Odyssa-Epic Adventures On the Appalachian Trail." Blisters and body odor were among the least of her foes.
She'd already hiked the AT plus 9,000 miles on trails across six continents before she worked up to the record-setting effort. All the way she was hiking toward her dreams and goals from "over-confident college graduate" to the owner and operator of Blue Ridge Hiking Company in Asheville, North Carolina.
She makes the case for the long-distance hiker's mantra: Living with less, on the trail and in everyday life, is living free.
And her story reaffirms that wilderness can hold many unexpected life lessons, whether it's at the hand of shocking electric storms or in the tight quarters of a trail shelter with disagreeable companions.