Howdy, Long Trail! The Name’s Scrappy
Hey y’all! My name is Tracy and I am thru-hiking the Long Trail this summer. I’m a 34-year-old legal professional in the DC area, a mom, a yogi, and an outdoor adventure seeker. The woods are my solace and thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail has been on my bucket list for the past five years. However, since a tiny human makes a four- to five-month absence complicated, the AT is a future dream for now. This is where my friend, the Long Trail, stepped in to save my life.
Why, What Happened?
The past year of my life has been turbulent and challenging, to say the least. I split from my daughter’s father (that was a long time coming), was on a boatload of anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medications, experienced the triple crown of self-destructive behaviors, found the love of my life, and then had everything turned upside-down by the COVID-19 pandemic. Complicated doesn’t even begin to explain my current situation (and I won’t bore you with the details).
The woods have allowed me to not only to get through this time, but to come out on the other side stronger than I was before. I’ve been training for my Long Trail thru-hike in earnest for the past three months. During this time, my body has leaned out and gotten strong; I’ve found a purpose that gets me out of bed every morning; and most importantly, I’ve found a healthy outlet to process my anxiety. Bethany “Fidgit” Hughes spoke to my soul on an episode of Backpacker Radio. At times, she was heavily medicated and felt like a robot, a sentiment I know well. But she was ultimately saved by nature. Fidgit learned that she wasn’t crazy, she was angry, and Mother Nature can handle our anger “without getting fucked over by it.” Everything she said resonated with me.
The Long Trail and Scrappy
The Long Trail is much more manageable in terms of the amount of time needed to thru-hike the trail, so I set my sights on a ten-day Long Trail adventure. The training hikes have been therapeutic in body, mind, and spirit, and on a recent training hike, a trail name was bestowed upon me. It was a magical moment and one that I did not see coming. I was hiking with my mentor (a former AT thru-hiker) when we bumped into an AT NOBO thru-hiker on trail. They exchanged pleasantries and upon leaving, I was introduced as Scrappy.
I was tickled! It was the perfect name, both literally and figuratively. I can literally scrap; I’m a scrappy motherfucker. But I also connected to the spirit of the name. Scrappy is someone who is determined and whose spirit cannot be broken. Scrappy is someone who is resilient and may not look like much, but man, you best not underestimate her or you’ve got another thing coming. Seeing myself grow into the strength and power of my trail name has been an exciting and meaningful journey.
So What Now?
My thru-hike is T-minus four weeks away. I’m off of all medications. I found a community of sorts through backpacking, and I’m healing. I haven’t even hit the Long Trail yet, but I can already feel the benefits of the journey. Isn’t that what it’s all about, anyway?
So that’s me! I’m looking forward to my thru-hike, sharing the experience with others, and planning more adventures to come. It’s nice to meet you. Happy trails, my friend.
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