A woman hiking the American Discovery Trail stops in Parkersburg to help the homeless

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) – A woman from Maine who is hiking from Delaware to California was in Parkersburg today and is heading to Ohio tomorrow. But she doesn’t just pass through the towns she encounters on her journey – she leaves a lasting impact wherever she goes, including Parkersburg.

“I really walk while walking,” Briana DeSanctis laughed.

DeSanctis is all smiles and laughs because she’s doing what she loves. She’s on a mission to be the first woman to solo the American Discovery Trail, a more than 6,800-mile-long trail that stretches from the Delaware coast to the California coast.

“I know I have the mental capacity to take on something of this magnitude and I know I have the physical capacity to do it as well. So might as well do it to inspire other people,” DeSanctis said.

“I feel like at this point it takes a lot more to get your message across today than before. So I’m going to keep walking until I get everyone’s attention. the world and start to inspire people.

While she said she hopes her journey will inspire others to take on tough challenges in their own lives, she said she also aims to help people in every city she passes through.

While in Parkersburg, she donated 75 McDonald’s hamburgers to the people of the Latrobe Street Mission and several other organizations in town.

“These people we’re feeding today are super grateful, super nice, they shook my hand. I was just super happy to have this experience and connect with these people and let them know what I do,” DeSanctis said.

“Here we are, we have young men and women sitting here…I’m handing you a cheeseburger and telling you I’m marching across America. These people are inspired and I hope they are. because I was super grateful to have them there and I was also inspired by their kindness.

DeSanctis said she also enjoys stopping by local VFWs to talk with veterans and learn more about their time in service and the community they live in. She said she hopes to pass on what she learns from being on the trail and meeting people across the country for others in her own book.

“After this journey, we could talk about doing a book tour to sell my book and giving presentations and speaking in schools. I would love to do that along the trail as well,” she said.

It doesn’t matter if it’s in a classroom or under a bridge, DeSanctis said she hopes she can just encourage others to be kind to each other and embrace whatever challenges life might have in store.

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