Special Guests

An author whose work brought the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trails to audiences around the world…

Cheryl Strayed is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling memoir WILD, the New York Times bestsellers TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS and BRAVE ENOUGH, and the novel TORCH. Her books have been translated into forty languages around the world. WILD was chosen by Oprah Winfrey as her inaugural selection for Oprah's Book Club 2.0 and was made into an Oscar-nominated film starring Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern. Strayed's essays have been published in The Best American Essays, the New York Times, the Washington Post Magazine, Vogue, Salon, The Sun, Tin House, and elsewhere. Strayed is the co-host, along with Steve Almond, of the New York Times podcast Dear Sugars, which originated with her popular Dear Sugar advice column. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

Jennifer Pharr-Davis is a hiker, author, speaker, and National Geographic Adventurer of the Year who has covered over 14,000 miles of long distance trails on six different continents.

Jennifer has hiked numerous National Scenic Trails, including several completions of the Appalachian Trail and a thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail at the age of 22.

In 2011, Jennifer covered the 2,185-mile Appalachian Trail in forty-six days, eleven hours, and twenty minutes, maintaining a remarkable average of forty-seven miles per day. By doing this, she claimed the overall (male or female) fastest known time on the “A.T.” and became the first woman to set the mark.

But, Jennifer, likes to point out that she has also hiked more slow miles than most folks. Her favorite hiking companions these days are her 5 year old daughter and 1 year old son. (Jennifer’s daughter has already been on a trail with her mom in all 50 states.)

Jennifer has authored seven books and written articles for the New York Times, Outside magazine, Backpacker, and Trail Runner. Her latest work, The Pursuit of Endurance, was published by Viking Press this past April.

In 2008, Jennifer founded Blue Ridge Hiking Company, a guiding service that strives “to make the wilderness accessible and enjoyable” for hikers of all ages, genders, and ability levels. Her company is now helps over 1,000 people a year experience the trails in Western North Carolina.

Jennifer lives in Asheville with her husband Brew and their daughter Charlotte and son Gus.