Long Reads

Long reads are the longform articles our readers know and love. These features showcase our strongest writers, most ambitious reporting, and award-winning storytelling about the outdoors.

Is It Too Late for the Southern Resident Orcas?

Researcher Ken Balcomb has spent more than half his life studying the iconic killer whales of Washington’s San Juan Islands and raising awareness about their struggle for survival. Now he may have run out of time.

Catherine DeNardo
Feb 3, 2021

I Saw the World on Cruise Ships

High school didn't serve up much adventure, so Devin Murphy signed up to do grunt work on expedition ships that sailed to Alaska, Iceland, Antarctica, and other far-flung places. Turned out to be a pretty great idea.

Devin Murphy
Jan 19, 2021

A Journey Inside the World's Most Mysterious Cave

For nearly half a century, legends of a giant cave in the Andes—holding artifacts that could rewrite human history—have beckoned adventurers and tantalized fans of the occult. Now the daughter of a legendary explorer is on a new kind of quest: to tell the truth about the cave in order to save it.

David Kushner
Dec 28, 2020

A Brief Excursion into Skiing's Cyborg Future

Last winter, when the robotics firm Roam released its latest version of Elevate, a revolutionary exoskeleton promising to boost skiing performance, our writer knew he had to give it a test drive. His analysis: the company's debut product is fun yet flawed—but its vision of a tech-assisted sports future will still blow your mind.

Nick Heil
Dec 16, 2020

We're Here to See the Great Doomed Thing

What do you do after surviving a near-death experience? Visit a dying natural wonder, of course. After his husband suffers a stroke at the age of 40, our writer plans the trip of a lifetime to the Great Barrier Reef—and discovers new meaning in the term "last-chance tourism."

Robert Moor
Dec 14, 2020

Leaving the Grace of This World

More than 17 years ago, a successful Michigan attorney took his life on a cherished trout stream, devastating close friends and family. Haunted by what happened, his nephew investigated and discovered tragic truths that were in plain sight all along.

Brad Rassler
Dec 10, 2020