National Outdoor Book Award winner visits North Idaho

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Courtesy photo Liz Thomas, author of “Long Trails: Mastering the Art of the Thru-Hike” and winner of a National Outdoor Book Award, will visit Bonners Ferry on March 5.

Liz Thomas has some interesting things on her resume. Outdoor writer for the New York Times. Former holder of the women’s self-assisted speed record on the 2,181-mile long Appalachian Trail. Vice president of American Long Distance Hiking Association-West (ALDHA-West). She’s author of “Long Trails: Mastering the Art of the Thru-Hike.” And, her “trail name” is “Snorkel.”

Thomas will be signing Long Trails March 4 at the Outskirts Gallery and Hope Marketplace in Hope from 2 to 4 p.m.; March 5 at Vanderford’s in Sandpoint from 1 to 3 p.m. and at Bonners Books in Bonners Ferry beginning at 6 p.m.; and March 6 at the Well-Read Moose in Coeur d’Alene.

Thomas’ book, a winner of the National Outdoor Book Award in the “instructional” category, is a how-to for folks contemplating undertaking a long walk on one of the growing number of national scenic trails. Included in Long Trails is trail-proven advice on selecting gear, stocking resupplies, and planning a budget and schedule; as well as gorgeous photographs of life on the trail as a thru-hiker.

Thomas definitely has the credentials to be an authority on the subject. She’s hiked 20 long trails and does extended urban hikes. A video on her web site — www.eathomas.com — features a 200-mile hike around the Seattle area. She is also is a “triple-crowner,” one of a small number of people who have completed the Appalachian, Pacific Crest and Continental Divide Trails; an accumulative mileage of more than 7,900 miles. On foot, carrying her world on her back.

“Thru-hiking,” is hiking long distances “thru” all sorts of terrain, weather, elevations and isolated places, generally, but not always, beginning at one end of a trail and proceeding to the other. The book provides peeks into not only the Triple Crown trails, but also lesser-known long trails throughout North America.

And what about “Snorkel?” Trail names — which most thru-hikers have — are generally the “gift” of someone else. Hers came after she confessed to sleeping with her head inside of her new down sleeping bag, the resulting humidity causing it to “deflate” and lose insulation value. Folks at the gear shop where she consulted about this problem told her she needed a snorkel. This could be one of tips in her book.

While in North Idaho, in addition to book signings, Thomas will attend the ALDHA-West “ruck” in Hayden, Idaho on March 3 and is leading a hike for Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness on March 4 on Star Peak (the hike is full).

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