VALPARAISO – Jennifer Pharr Davis, who holds a record for fastest hike of the Appalachian Trail, plans to share a message of hope during her visit to the Valparaiso branch of the Porter County Library.
"I want people to realize that they are often capable of far more than they can imagine," said Davis, who will speak at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 3 at the Valparaiso Public Library, 103 Jefferson St.
"You are never too young to set goals, and you are never too old to dream dreams," she said.
In 2011, Davis became the first woman to claim the overall record on the Appalachian Trail by finishing the 2,181-mile journey in 46 days, 11 hours and 20 minutes – an average of 46.9 miles per day.
She believes the value of a journey is not in how far or fast one travels but in the lessons learned, the relationships formed and the memories made.
Davis has hiked more than 12,000 miles on long-distance trails on six continents and holds endurance records on three trails. She is the owner and founder of Blue Ridge Hiking Co., which helps make the trails in Western North Carolina accessible to novice hikers and experienced backpackers.
She also is the author of three North Carolina guidebooks and two Appalachian Trail hiking memoirs. "Called Again" will be sold and signed by Davis at the event.
She said the book is not a retelling of a record attempt, but a testament that the wilderness is available to all.
"My main message is that the wilderness is there for everyone at every phase of life," she said.
Davis has garnered numerous recognitions, including being named a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year and Blue Ridge Outdoors Person of the Year.
She would like her audience at the Valparaiso library to take away a simple message from her speech.
"I hope that they will leave wanting to take a hike -- short or long, fast or slow, it doesn't matter -- and I hope they will set a new goal. It could be anything," she said. "This is not a talk about standing still or being stuck. Life is more fun and interesting when you make it an adventure."