American Discovery Trail, Maryland, January 2022 — I met Briana DeSanctis in a most interesting way. I was near the end of my Appalachian Trail thru hike in 2014. I had nearly finished Maine’s 100-mile Wilderness. I paused for lunch at a shelter near a babbling brook in a sylvan copse of birch. It was so peaceful that I decided to stay and reflect on the previous 2,100-miles.
Thru hiking is an intense experience. You take it day to day and seldom have the time to put it in context. That was my goal that day until a large, particularly unruly scout troop stumbled in.
The scouts took over the joint, pitching their tents everywhere. Needless to say, they destroyed the mood, not to mention the water source as they tromped through the formerly pristine brook, chocking its babble with churned up sediment. It was too late and too far to move on to the next shelter. I was stuck, not to mention pissed.
There I was feeling sorry for myself when a young woman appeared out of the chaos. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to stay. Thankfully she did. Her trail name was Rocky Mountain High and she was preparing for a thru hike the following year.
Flash forward to the next year when I was caretaking on Springer Mountain, Georgia, the southern terminus of the AT. Who taps me on the shoulder but Rocky. She was on her way from Georgia to Maine. From there, thanks to Facebook, we’ve followed each other’s adventures.
Now Rocky is hiking the American Discovery Trail which runs from Delaware to California. This bad-ass woman expects to spend a year inspiring others as the first woman to complete a thru hike on this trail. Go Rocky!
I recently picked up Rocky from the trail to dodge some weather and spend a couple of days at my house. As with all hungry hikers, we started with lunch.
We made a stop at REI where Rocky took an advanced look at the ultra light pack she plans to buy for use this summer when her load is much smaller.
My hope it to catch up and hike a spell with Rocky in the near future.
You can follow Briana on FB: Rocky Mountain High on the American Discovery Trail. Instagram: @brianadesanctis.
For safety reasons we never post exactly where hikers are physically located.