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  • Writer's pictureBriana DeSanctis

America on Two Feet: The Northern Route Awaits

Most of the Colorado mountain passes are buried in snow. There is no more waking up at 5 am to 15 hours of daylight. I’ve been hiking across America for almost a year and the seasons have cycled through their times. Winter is here. Now that I’ve hiked over 3,000 miles like it was nothing, I’ve come to a roadblock. The rest of Colorado, along with Utah, Nevada and California will have to wait for the spring. But… there’s that little northern route of the American Discovery Trail; that measly 1,000+ miles spanning  a bit of Ohio and then northern Indiana, northern Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, and eastern Colorado. That portion needs to be done, and I’ll be there soon.

I will be flying back into Cincinnati. I’ll be honest with you. I just 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 January first until September 12 to cross that much-anticipated border, and even longer it took to see the mountains. Life is so incredible. Choices are so amazing. Sometimes we choose to do things we don’t necessarily want to do… but the outcome is for good, and I won’t say I completed the American Discovery Trail unless I actually did. One amazing truth is much more formidable than a million cleverly crafted lies.

Expectations of returning to hike the northern route? I already know that camping will be more difficult since I’ll be hiking though small towns and residential areas plastered with private property signs. Colorado’s BLM lands, hiking trails and campgrounds have spoilt me. It’s priceless to be able to set up a tent whenever you feel like stopping. I’m sure there will be more than one occurrence where I will hike through the night due to not being able to find a spot to set up my tent. Days will be short. Southside of Chicago is probably going to be frigid. I might hit Nebraska smack in the middle of tornado season.

I am excited, however, for the unknown. The anticipation of meeting so many new people. The satisfaction of giving a badass presentation and reaching someone who needed to hear what I have to say. The worry of maybe not finding a campsite for the night. The irritation of being lectured on why I need to bring a gun(?!) because of someone else’s insecurities. Trust me, if I’d carried a gun this whole time, I would have been apprehended well before the first 200 miles were complete.

There’s something I have learned over and over again which I consider to be invaluable information to the general public; more now than ever: As humans, we are privileged to encompass many different types of emotions. These feelings can be positive or negative. Eradication of feelings which could be considered negative is a popular thing in todays’ society. Guess what? I loathe societal norms and trends and am desperate to bring back that fortitude of which we used to be proud.

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’m a strong human being. I feel my feelings and I usually know what to do with them. I feel strong. I feel confident. I feel healthy. I feel like finishing this trail so I can show you how strong YOU are, too.

Let’s go get it. Together. Because really, we’re all just walking each other home.

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