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  • Writer's pictureBriana DeSanctis

America on Two Feet: The mountains are calling

This is, without a doubt, the strangest part of my hike. I’ve walked more than halfway across the United States and I can barely believe it. Looking at a map and seeing where I am versus where I began 9 months ago is such a strange reality to understand. But, as with everything, each little step adds up to make the whole darned thing.

From Kansas City to the Colorado border I had some great times and met wonderful people.

Bernie is an eastbound American Discovery Trail hiker and I was able to meet him fittingly at the halfway point. We camped together, shared food and stories, and enjoyed the hospitality of the Schaller family during Labor Day Weekend.

My “overlanding support crew” Mike and Michelle drove all the way out to Dodge City to see me again before I crossed the border into colorful Colorado. We camped out at the KOA and spent time chatting around the fire.

I crossed into Colorado on September 12, a whopping 2 months later than I’d originally anticipated. My cousin drove 5.5 hours from Eagle County to watch me cross the border, and we got a hotel so I could get cleaned up and relax. I was also able to try out an idea- and it worked like a charm. My backpack gets so salty from my sweat and I can never get it clean enough, so I brought it to the car wash and gave it a good old pressure cleaning! You can feel the difference!

After meeting Eileen and staying in her camper in Pueblo West, I hiked on and could finally see the mountains! One day later, I was consumed by them. I’m now feeling the burn. The elevation change is apparent. The air is dry and crisp. The aspens are changing color as the cactus flowers are blooming. Life is grand and is knocking the wind out of me at the same time.

“I’m so out of shape,” I jokingly panted to myself, gasping for air at 9400 feet above sea level.

Camping out at Sand Gulch with breathtaking mountain vistas gave me a lot of inspiration and made me think. All I do out here is think, but sometimes if you’re in the right moment, everything comes together.

Mother Nature has provided us with everything we need to know and survive, yet humans think that they need so much more. Why do we continue to want for more, when that “more” is destructive not only to the environment, but also to the human mind and body? Like I’ve said before, humans ruin everything. Man just can’t get out of his own stupid way.

With the cold weather quickly approaching, I’ll have to revise my plan to continue hiking the American Discovery Trail through the winter. For now, I’ll try to get through as much of rugged and wild Colorado as possible. I walked 2,700 miles to get good views. I’m definitely crazy.

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