Brianna DeSanctis is an avid outdoorswoman, writer and public speaker from Farmington, ME. She is the first recorded woman to thru-hike this entire trail solo, 3,000 miles of the current 6,800-mile hike across the USA on the American Discovery Trail. DeSanctis began her trek on January 1, 2022, off the Atlantic coast of Cape Henlopen, Delaware.
Most Colorado mountain trails are buried in snow. No more waking up from 5 am to 15 hours of daylight. I’ve been hiking across America for almost a year now and the seasons have rolled through their seasons. Winter has come. Now that I’ve hiked 3,000 miles for nothing, I’ve hit a roadblock. The rest of Colorado, along with Utah, Nevada and California, will have to wait for spring. But… there is that short northern passage of the American Discovery Trail; Ohio and then northern Indiana, northern Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, and a little bit of eastern Colorado that spans 1,000+ miles. That part needs to be done, and I’ll get there soon.
I’m flying back to Cincinnati. I’ll be honest with you. I walked here. I walked here from Delaware. to Colorado. Colorado is my favorite state. Do you think I want to leave? Hell no! It took me from the first of January to the 12th of September to cross that long-awaited border and even longer to see the mountains. Life is so wonderful. The options are so amazing. Sometimes we choose to do things we don’t want to do…but the outcome is good, and I wouldn’t say I completed the American Discovery Trail unless I actually did. One amazing truth is more extraordinary than a million cleverly crafted lies.
Prospects for a return to hiking on the northern route? Although small towns and residential areas are plastered with private property signs I already know that camping will be more difficult as I hike. Colorado’s BLM lands, hiking trails and campgrounds have spoiled me. Being able to pitch a tent whenever you feel like stopping is invaluable. I’m sure there will be more than one incident where I hike through the night because I can’t find a place to set up my tent. The days are short. The south side of Chicago is probably the coldest. I could hit Nebraska smack in the middle of tornado season.
However, I am excited for the unknown. Expect to meet so many new people. The satisfaction of giving a bad presentation and reaching as much as I want to hear. I am worried that I may not get a place to stay even for the night. Annoyed by being lectured on why I should bring a gun(?!) because of someone else’s insecurities. Trust me, if I had held the gun this whole time, I would have been arrested well before the first 200 miles were done.
What I have learned over and over again is what I consider to be valuable information for the general public; More than ever: As humans, we are privileged to encompass a wide variety of emotions. These emotions can be positive or negative. Eliminating emotions that can be considered negative is a popular topic in today’s society. Let’s guess? I loathe the norms and trends of society and am desperate to bring back that composure we used to boast about.
Feel all your feelings. It’s okay to have a bad day. It’s okay to feel anxious. It’s a part of how we were created to be strong human beings. Don’t mess with it. I can honestly say that I am a strong man. I feel my emotions and I usually know what to do with them. I am strong. I am confident. I am healthy. I feel like finishing this trail so I can show you how strong you are.
Let’s go get it. together. Because really, we’re all going home to each other.
To stay up to date on the latest news, daily videos and posts, follow DeSanctis’ page: www.facebook.com/rockygoeshiking. Not in the book? His Instagram is @brianadesanctis. Donations are graciously accepted and can be made through her Venmo account at www.venmo.com/briana-desanctis. If you would like Disanctis to speak at your school, your newsroom or in your community, please email [email protected]