In this memoir of her 2011 record-setting hike down the Appalachian Trail, Jennifer Pharr Davis demonstrates the strength it takes to complete such a feat, and she credits the people who made it possible—especially her husband, Brew.
Pharr Davis hiked the 2,181-mile Trail in an astounding 46 days. She did the walking, but family, friends, fellow hikers and even complete strangers provided food, shelter and companionship to lessen her load.
Called Again is most inspiring when Pharr Davis describes her struggle to balance the strain of breaking a record without breaking down physically. She deals with the bodily wear and tear of more than a month on rough terrain, but also paralyzing fatigue, gastrointestinal issues, chest pain and shin splints that nearly cripple her. She also copes with unpredictable weather as she hikes through torrential rain, blistering heat and freezing sleet.
Pharr Davis does not shy away from revealing her own personal weaknesses in this book. Her fierce determination to set the Trail record also creates conflict with the people she loves, and so the book is also an exploration of relationships on the trail and in marriage. At times, Pharr Davis craves help and company; at other times, she is annoyed when people do not anticipate or understand what she is thinking, particularly Brew.
The book is an insightful look into the give-and-take of a supported hike and the unique culture of long-distance backpacking. For those who love the challenge of a long walk in the woods, Called Again will tempt you to strap your boots on.