52-year-old sets out on walk across the nation

52-year-old sets out on walk across the nation »Play Video

SWEET HOME, Ore. - 7 million steps.

That's how many Donna Stokes expects to take as she walks across the country to complete her lifelong goal.

Stokes, 52, says the nearly 3,000 mile trek is something she's wanted to do since she was young, but life, family and her weight got in the way.

She's lost 100 pounds in the past few years.

Stokes, from Unionville, Connecticut,  started her journey Saturday from the Mid-Willamette Valley YMCA in Albany. She expects to finish in October, but is hopeful she can finish sooner in September.

Stokes will finish at her YMCA in Plainville, Connecticut.

Although she's only walked about 50 miles, she says the beauty of Oregon will be hard to hard to beat.

Stokes is traveling by herself, without a support team.

She pushes a cart with bare essentials: 5 gallons of water, dried food, change of clothes, lighter, camping gear. For her safety she carries bear spray, a cell phone and a gps tracking device with an SOS button.

As she walked on Highway 20 on Monday, logging trucks and cars whipped by. "People think I'm crazy. I walk on this side of the street, so I jump out of the way if someone gets too close," she said.

Stokes says hopes to walk about 20 miles a day, but says those numbers will fluctuate depending on terrain and weather.

On her second night, she says she was lucky to find a campground.

She says she's prepared to rough it anywhere, even if that means it's just off the road.

Stokes says this journey is more of a midlife awakening.

She says she hopes to be an inspiration to others, showing them that no goal is to great to accomplish.

Stokes says she's dedicating her journey to the YMCA after the organization helped her to keep to her fitness goals.

As of Monday afternoon. Stokes says she's walked around 50 miles, burned more than 7,000 calories and taken more than 104,000 steps.