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Mainer on track to be the first woman to solo hike the American Discovery Trail

Briana DeSanctis is hiking the trail that stretches from Delaware to California.

PORTLAND, Maine — Whenever she's on the trail and hiking alone, Briana DeSanctis feels at peace. The Farmington native has already completed the Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine, but she has her heart set on completing a much longer hike. 

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“That’s all I do: I walk and think, and then I stop walking at the end of the day and I set up my tent and I make my food and I go to sleep. … I love every moment of my day,” DeSanctis said.

The American Discovery Trail was officially set up in 2000 and features two routes. The trail begins on the coast of Delaware and ends at the coast of California. Near the Ohio, Indiana, and West Virginia border the trail breaks into a northern trail and a southern trail.  

DeSanctis is taking the southern trail, which travels through Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas before meeting back up with the northern trail in Colorado. 

If she reaches the coast of California, DeSanctis will become the first woman to complete the American Discovery Trail while hiking solo. Being the first was a motivator in her decision to take on the challenge.

“The thing about being the first one is that you can be the oldest, you can be the youngest, you can be the fastest. Somebody can always take that from you, but nobody can ever take away the first,” DeSanctis said. 

DeSanctis started her journey Jan. 1. She hasn’t set a timetable for when she hopes to reach the West Coast, but she does plan to writing about her experience on the American Discovery Trail after she has finished. 

You can follow DeSanctis’ journey on her Facebook page.

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