Becoming Odyssa: Adventures on the Appalachian Trail

Becoming Odyssa: Adventures on the Appalachian Trail

Jennifer Pharr Davis

Language: English

Pages: 320

ISBN: 0825305683

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


After graduating from college, Jennifer isn't sure what she wants to do with her life. She is drawn to the Appalachian Trail, a 2175-mile footpath that stretches from Georgia to Maine. Though her friends and family think she's crazy, she sets out alone to hike the trail, hoping it will give her time to think about what she wants to do next. The next four months are the most physically and emotionally challenging of her life. She quickly discovers that thru-hiking is harder than she had imagined: coping with blisters and aching shoulders from the 30-pound pack she carries; sleeping on the hard wooden floors of trail shelters; hiking through endless torrents of rain and even a blizzard. With every step she takes, Jennifer transitions from an over-confident college graduate to a student of the trail, braving situations she never imagined before her thru-hike. The trail is full of unexpected kindness, generosity, and humor. And when tragedy strikes, she learns that she can depend on other people to help her in times of need.

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We spent the afternoon watching their youngest daughter play soccer, and that evening, we enjoyed a family dinner together. But throughout the everyday events that filled our time, I never had an agenda other than to be present, share, and listen. I didn’t have anywhere I needed to go or anybody else that I needed to see; I didn’t have work or school to think about. I could focus entirely on our visit. That night, I stayed up several hours past my trail bedtime, sitting in the kitchen and

were about to happen! I smiled as I thought about the many pleasant surprises I’d had recently. I loved central Virginia. I loved the trail. Spring was making herself more known each day, and I felt full of love, laughter, and life. Even by myself, even in the middle of the woods. 12 GENEROSITY ROCKFISH GAP, VA, TO US 522 (FRONT ROYAL), VA—107 MILES Shenandoah National Park is a favorite section for many thru-hikers. There is enough wilderness in the park to satisfy the longings

such a strong hiker. But my favorite story he told me that evening was about running off and eloping. “So you really did it?” I asked. “You just went and got married without telling anyone?” “Yep.” “Why?” “Well, I knew that I loved her and wanted to marry her. It’s like the trail. I hear a lot of people say they want to hike the Appalachian Trail, but they never do it. When I want something, I’m gonna do it. I love my wife, and marrying her was the best decision I ever made.” “So was the

death alone on the trail. I could deal with it in my own time and think through it completely. I didn’t have to repress thoughts of the suicide and try to go on with everyday life. Instead, I was forced to face it head on. I was forced to think about what had happened, what I had seen, and then I could start to work my way through it, one step at a time. I have never been through a day where I experienced such a vast array of emotions. At first, I was angry with the victim, but then I was moved

unwritten rule that you don’t start hiking with people in Hanover and leave them somewhere in the middle of Maine. This was the last and the hardest part of the trail, and hikers either teamed up and finished as a pack or continued solo to the end. I didn’t sleep well that night, partly because the twenty-year-old couch smelled like mold and partly because drunk college students walked past the house all night long, but mostly because I was nervous. I wished Nightwalker had never called me,

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