Speaker Biographies



Keynote Speaker: Jennifer Pharr Davis

Jennifer Pharr Davis is a lover of long trails and good stories. She is a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year, record setting hiker, sought after speaker, and award winning author who has inspired women and men across the country with her message that "the trail is there for everyone at every phase of life." In 2011, Jennifer set the overall (male or female) speed record on the Appalachian Trail by hiking 47 miles a day for 46 straight days. She was featured in the 2020 IMAX film Into America's Wild narrated by Morgan Freeman, served on the President's Council for Sports, Fitness and Nutrition, and has given hundreds of keynotes across the United States, Canada, and Europe. She is also the founder of Blue Ridge Hiking Company, a guiding service she began fifteen years ago. She is currently pursuing a Masters of Public Affairs at the University of California, Berkeley. When not studying or adventuring far and wide, Jennifer can be found on the trails around Asheville, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband Brew, and their children Charlotte and Gus.

  Lunch Entertainment: Anne Van Curen as Grandma Gatewood

Actress Anne Van Curen transforms into Emma "Grandma" Gatewood to describe what it was like to be the first woman to solo hike the Appalachian Trail in 1955. The dramatization is based off of the book "Grandma Gatewood's Walk", which was written from accounts of Gatewood's surviving family members, newspaper magazine articles and her own diaries and trail journals.