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National Geographic Adventurer of the Year to lead free gorge walk

Jennifer Pharr Davis of Asheville, N.C., the 2012 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year, will lead a hike through the Niagara River gorge on April 22, followed by a talk and signing of her latest book.

The event, sponsored by the New York State of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, is free, but reservations are requested.

Pharr Davis has written six books, the latest of which is "The Pursuit of Endurance," to be published by Viking Press this month. A speaker and hiker who has covered more than 14,000 miles on six continents, she is founder and owner of Blue Ridge Hiking Company, a guide service that makes the wilderness accessible for hikers of all abilities.

The 2.5-mile hike will begin at 1:30 p.m. at the new Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center, 825 Depot Ave. West. Hikers will follow Whirlpool Street to the Great Gorge Railway Trail staircase by the Whirlpool Bridge, where they will enter the gorge. They will hike upriver on the American Falls Gorge Trail to Prospect Point, taking the Schoellkopf Elevator at Prospect Point to the top. The group will return along the gorge rim trail. The talk and book signing will follow at 4:30 p.m. in the Underground Railroad Heritage Center.

Both events are free and open to public. To make suggested reservations, call 716-282-5154.

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