May 28, 2012

Author Interview / Book Preview: Lawton ‘Disco’ Grinter’s “I Hike”

Lawton “Disco” Grinter is a former Crested Butte resident and a very avid hiker.  Last week we spoke on the phone for an interview aired on KBUT, the community radio station serving Crested Butte and Gunnison.


CR:  Disco – lets credentialize your hiking career.  Could you list off some of your major accomplishments in the hiking world?

D:   Sure, I started my hiking in 1999 and basically between 1999 and 2009, I did 2 complete hikes of the Pacific Crest Trail, a through hike of the Appalachain Trail, a through hike of the Continental Divide Trail, complete hikes of the Colorado Trail, the John Muir Trail and the Tahoe Rim Trail.

CR:  What is your favorite hike?

D:  Hands down my long trail is the Pacific Crest Trail, and that’s why I’ve done it twice.  Its 2600 miles, but is pretty easy on the knees and the body, and it kind of gives you  a really great variety of ecosystems.  You’re in the Southern California desert all the way into the Cascades of Oregon and Washington.  Its a fantastic long trail.

CR:  While you’re out there hiking, you have lot of time, and I’m going to guess that’s how you started writing, to pass the time while hiking.  Am I right?  When did you start writing?

D:  That’s right.  You know you do have a lot of free time just to think while you’re out hiking for 4 or 5 months at a clip.   I kind of forumlated the plan to write this book while I was out on my last long hike in 2008.   And essentially I set out to write the book I always wanted to read.

CR:  So you started writing in 2008, but had you dabbled in writing before then?   Has it been a long term passion or a relatively new thing?

 D:  Well, I got a master’s degree at Virgina Tech back in 2002, and I think my master’s thesis was 130 pages long.   So I had kind of written a long document before, but never anything in book format.  I’d written a couple brief little articles for hiking gazettes and smaller hiking magazines, but never anything as large as trying to bite off an entire book.

CR:  Your book is called I Hike.   Besides the obvious, what’s it about?

D:  Well, basically the book has been 10 years and 10,000 trail miles in the making.   And rather than a traditional end-to-end narrative about a journey, I Hike is essentially a collection of short stories  covering the highs and lows from 10,000 miles of hiking over many trails.

CR:  A tag line inside the book says “Mostly true stories…”  Will it be obvious to the reader what is true and what is not?

D:  Yeah, it should be.  You know I kind of did that as a joke.  I had to change a few names here and there to protect both the innocent and the guilty.  But, all the stories are true, just some of the names of the folks in the stories have been changed.


I Hike is on the stands at Townie Books in Crested Butte.  Disco lives in Denver, Colorado, with the Princess of Darkness.  You can find out more and order your own copy at

Chad Reich is a contributing writer for the West Elk Project and works for KBUT–FM, Crested Butte’s community radio station.


About the Author

7. Chad J. Reich
Chad is an Iowa transplant who works with the local community radio station, KBUT--FM. His passions include building culture and community in the East River Valley while ripping it up on skis and bikes deep in the West Elk Mountains. He mostly writes about media, music and community events. His dog, Axe, will one day be mayor of Crested Butte. Chad also thinks most people drive way too fast.