About the Author, Dee Fournier: I grew up in Maine in small coastal town called Cape Elizabeth with my 4 other siblings. I am “tied” with being the youngest, as I have a twin brother – I’m 5 minutes older than him. 

I believe growing up in Maine grounded me. Mainers tend to be salt of the earth folks with integrity and ethics; that are ingrained in the youth in such a way that it’s not intrusive, but more spiritual. We learn by actions of others and  it impacts us so that we follow suit. I am always proud to say that I’m from Maine!  With regret, I don’t live in Maine due to seasonal affective disorder.  The winters have proven to be too long, dark and cold for me. I envy the folks that can reside there year ’round, as it’s an absolutely beautiful and clean state. 
The first time I left Maine was when I was 24 years old. I headed west for warmer winter weather in southern California. I stayed for about 5 years and then headed back to Maine. I lived in Maine for about 20 years before heading back to LA. I’ve been on the west coast since 2009. 

My name is Dee… actually Deirdre, but my name is often slaughtered on the pronunciation (and forget about the spelling), so going with Dee is more practical.  And let’s face it – easier to pronounce.

I grew up in Maine and spent most of my life there.  I moved to Los Angeles and lived here for almost 9 years before moving to Reno, NV.  I have since moved back to LA, because I have more connections here that I felt I needed before starting out on this incredible journey.

I got into hiking almost by accident when I moved from Los Angeles to Reno, NV two years ago. While I’m quite a social and outgoing person, I really didn’t make too many friends. So to entertain myself in down times, I grabbed my camera (that I often refer to as my therapist) and my L.L. Bean hiking boots and away I went. Exploring all the backroads, trails and country side of Reno. I became addicted to these hikes.

About a year or so into Reno, I was finding myself a bit stagnant. My job held no interest. Didn’t have a lot of friends. I LOVED the area, but at 54 (at the time) I felt like I needed some depth and definition in my life.

I was talking to a friend of mine and expressed this to her. She told me to follow my passions… hiking and photography. She then suggested a cross-country hike on the ADT. 

Funny thing is, I never once thought it was a crazy idea. I embraced the idea with so much enthusiasm and the excitement has never waned.

The ADT has recreational trails and roads which collectively form a coast-to-coast hiking and biking trail across the middle of the United States. Horses can also be ridden on most of this trail. It starts/ends on the Delmarva Peninsula on the Atlantic Ocean and ends/starts on the northern California coast on the Pacific Ocean, at Point Reyes National Seashore north of San Francisco. There are two routes, north and south.  The length of the ADT trail is 6800 miles – however, that’s the combined northern/southern routes. It is the only non-motorized coast-to-coast trail.

I am going to thru-hike the ADT which will take about a year. My lodging will mostly be in my tent; however there are many hosts along the trail that offer the hiker a bed, a hot shower and a home cooked meal. Of course there will be times I may have to stay in a motel, but will try to avoid that as much as possible due to expenses and quite frankly…eek!

So this spring (April 1 is my projected start date), I plan on taking those very first steps at Point Reyes, CA and hike to DE.  From DE I’m hoping to hike back up to Maine where my family resides.