In his first narrative book ever, long distance hiker extraordinaire Justin “Trauma” Lichter, most recently of Winter PCT Thru-hike fame, tells the standout stories from his experiences on 40,000 miles of hiking trails. Sharing stories from Africa to Iceland, New Zealand to Nepal, and numerous stories from his Triple Crown hikes, Trauma’s new book is a quick and fun read that gives readers a glimpse into the elite thru-hiking world.
Short Stories from Long Trails is split into 6 chapters (plus an afterword) focusing on different themes including Weather & Terrain, Losing the Way, and Animal Encounters. It is almost as if Trauma, ever the instructor, wants to make sure that even though the reader has picked up his book for entertainment, that s/he is still going to walk away having learned something about safety in the outdoors, too.
The first section focuses on tales from Trauma’s childhood, a rare glimpse into the making of a machine. A quote from Outside Magazine on the back of the book calls Trauma “humble and understated” and for a man that in the hiking community that has a reputation as being quiet and shy, the book gives an interesting look into what his hikes have been like.
In the Afterword, Trauma gives one of the longest accounts I’ve seen anywhere of what actually happened on that PCT Winter Thru-Hike. For those of us in the thru-hiking community who followed their hike this past winter with excitement, the 24-page story of the Winter PCT hike is a reason in itself to read the book.
Each section has 3-5 short stories in it, none of the stories coming in at more than 5 pages and most of the stories only 3 pages in length. It’s the perfect book to get a taste of the trail when you’re taking a bus ride or using the bathroom. Never wordy and always to the point, Trauma’s stories drop you right into wherever he is hiking taking the reader to places we can all only dream of going, and places most of us would actually be pretty OK with skipping.
The best part is that in the last chapter, the reader gets to learn the answer to the question everyone has been asking Trauma: What’s next? What is your dream hike? I’m not going to divulge any spoilers here, so you’ll have to find out for yourself.
Short Stories from Long Trails is available on Amazon or Trauma’s website at www.justinlichter.com. Rumor has it that if you order through his site, he’ll sign it and maybe his double-Triple Crowning dog Yoni may, too.