She saw 36 bears, moose, porcupines and just about every sunrise and sunset during her journey, which lasted exactly 46 days, 11 hours, and 20 minutes since she left Mount Katahdin in Maine on June 16.
"Fastest is so relative," Davis said Tuesday after estimating she had slept about 30 of the past 48 hours. "My average was 3 mph. So what are you not going to see at 3 mph?"
She emerged from the woods Sunday with her husband by her side and walked to the granite slab on Springer Mountain in Georgia at the trail's southern end. There cheering for her were her parents and dozens of other family members and friends.
"There were a lot of tears. Everyone was like, 'Are those happy tears?' I just said they're everything tears. I'm so happy. In a way, I'm sad it's over. I'm tired. It was just like every emotion was coming out at once," said Davis, 28.
She had gone through five pairs of hybrid hiking and running shoes while averaging about 47 miles a day, or nearly two marathons.
No one keeps official speed records for the trail, but Davis said she broke Andrew Thompson's 2005 mark for the fastest supported "thru hike" by just over 24 hours.
Davis has logged more than 10,000 miles on long-distance trails worldwide. She first hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2005 as a recent Samford University graduate with a degree in Classics after spending years studying ancient Greek and Roman literature and history. Her homage to her education was her trail nickname, Odyssa. It was a traditional Appalachian Trail hike, with a heavy backpack, a tent and provisions doubling as a journey of self-discovery.
The second trip came in 2008 when with the support of her newlywed husband, Brew Davis. She set the unofficial women's record of 57 days and eight hours. Just like this trip, he followed her along nearby roads, meeting her at crossings with food, water or a tent so she could hike with just a few water bottles, energy bars and her cellphone.
Since she carried less gear, her hike was quieter, allowing her to see more animals and to get more in sync with nature.
Davis also provided the boost she needed when she was ready to quit during the first days of the trip in Vermont after being chilled by a sleet storm in the White Mountains. He pointed out she was ahead of the record and would feel even worse if she quit.
"There's no way I could have done it without him," Davis said. "Not just the physical, logistical support, but his emotional support."