The average thru-hiker takes some six months to complete the Appalachian Trail. Jennifer Pharr Davis is clearly not average. Hiking up to 17 hours each day, in 2011 Pharr ticked off the 2,181 miles in a mere 46 days, 11 hours, and 20 minutes—the fastest time ever, for men and women.
So accomplishing her dream trip seems well within reach: “I really eventually would like to do the Continental Divide Trail,” says Davis. “When people complete all three [of the country’s longest distance trails] they become triple crowners.” And the CDT is the only trail that stands between her and the coveted title in long-distance hiking.
But even for long-legged phenoms like Davis, the Continental Divide Trail is no breeze. Stretching 3,100 miles from Mexico to Canada, it traces the backbone of the country through Georgia O’Keefe’s haunts in New Mexico, alpine tundra and 14,000-foot peaks in Colorado, the trout streams and meadows of Yellowstone’s backcountry, and remote wildernesses in Montana where Lewis and Clark once passed.
Next: See Jennifer Pharr Davis's Must-Do Trip: Hike the GR 20, Corsica, France
Hiker Jennifer Pharr Davis walks faster than many of us run. She holds speed records for Vermont’s Long Trail, the Bibbulmun Track in Australia, and the Appalachian Trail, on which she nailed the overall speed record in the summer of 2011.
- Nat Geo Expeditions