After graduating from college, Jennifer Pharr Davis set out to hike the Appalachian Trail alone. Becoming Odyssa recounts her 2,175 mile journey from Georgia to Maine. "The trail was becoming the adventure I had envisioned. I loved meeting new people, I loved learning new skills-despite my mistakes-and I loved the feeling of being self-sufficient. After three days on the trail, I felt more independent than at any other time in my life. I was completely responsible for my decisions and my own well-being. I felt scared and empowered at the same time."
Her journey along the trail is not without setbacks and complications: she experiences blisters and sore feet, freezing rain and an unexpected blizzard, snakes, unwelcome hiking companions as well as new friends, and a grisly suicide along the trail. She is even struck by lightning. But through it all, she perseveres with humor, optimism, and faith. "...the trail provided its own sort of therapy. There was something about hiking, something about making forward progress that felt healing."
I really enjoyed this book, maybe because I have always wanted to hike the Appalachian Trail myself and I am drawn to reading about others who have managed to do what I have not. Becoming Odyssa is a great book about an even greater journey--and it reads almost as fast as Davis hikes.
(If thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail is more to your liking, check out Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed. It's also a great read.)