There's an old saying that another person's experience can't be understood until you walk a mile in his shoes. To understand the experience of Jennifer Farr Davis, one would have to walk approximately 2,181 miles, and do it three times.
Davis, of Asheville, N.C., has completed three through-hikes along the Appalachian Trail, including an assisted hike this past summer that she completed in an unprecedented 46 days.
Davis is one of several guest speakers who will be featured at the Appalachian Trail Conservancy's membership drive 10:30 a.m. to noon next Sunday at the Colonial Park movie theater in Harrisburg. Cost is $30 and includes a one-year membership to the ATC and a subscription to "A.T. Journeys" magazine.
"All of my different experiences along the Appalachian Trail have sort of taught me that it's never about how far you travel or how fast you go," Davis said. "It's all about what you take from the experience."
Davis plans to encourage people to get out and experience the trail in a way that makes sense to them, such as section hiking with their families on weekends or taking day trips. As she shares highlights from her trips and insights that she's gained from the various challenges she's faced while hiking the trail, she said she also hopes to dispel fears about taking that first step.
"For a lot of people the woods are a new experience and so they're scared or frightful because it's outside of their comfort zone," she said. "But if you take the time to spend hours going for day hikes or taking a weekend to spend out in the woods, you'll learn that it can be a very comfortable and a very safe place."
The membership drive will also showcase the National Geographic film "America's Wild Spaces: The Appalachian Trail," which highlights the beauty of the trail and uncovers remote corners of this 5 million-step journey.
Every dollar raised from the event will be used to support the ATC and maintain club efforts to conserve the footpath, view sheds and environmental and cultural resources along the Appalachian Trail.
For more information, visit www.appalachiantrail.org/discover .