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The Best Stories We’ve Ever Told

Our greatest long reads of all time

Outside Classics

Six young men set out on a dead-calm sea to seek their fortunes. Suddenly they were hit by the worst gale in a century, and there wasn't even time to shout.

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There’s a common misconception that black people don’t love wild places. Latria Graham, a southerner with deep connections to farms, rivers, and forests, says the problem isn’t desire but access—and a long history of laws and customs that have whitewashed our finest public lands.

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To be a surfer girl in Maui is to be the luckiest of creatures. It means you're beautiful and tan and ready to rip. It means you've caught the perfect dappled wave and are on a ride that can't possibly end.

A recklessly picaresque, highly philosophical, gloriously unmapped road trip in search of secret places you'll have to find yourself

Wells Tower

It usually takes a week of traveling with Ed Tower before I’m seized by the tantrum-pitching impulse and can barely resist the urge to punch myself again and again in the face.

Ned Zeman

A brilliant American financier and his wife build a lavish mansion in the jungles of Costa Rica, set up a wildlife preserve, and appear to slowly, steadily lose their minds. A spiral of handguns, angry locals, armed guards, uncut diamonds, abduction plots, and a bedroom blazing with 550 Tiffany lamps ends with a body and a compelling mystery.

At the bottom of the biggest underwater cave in the world, diving deeper than almost anyone had ever gone, Dave Shaw found the body of a young man who had disappeared ten years earlier. What happened after Shaw promised to go back is nearly unbelievable—unless you believe in ghosts.

Michael Kruse

A story about an American icon, environmental displacement, and slob behavior by the human race

Millionaire Forrest Fenn launched a thousand trips when he filled a chest with gold, rubies, and diamonds, and hid it somewhere north of Santa Fe. If one man is going to find it, by god, it's an ex-cop from Seattle named Darrell Seyler.

Tim Zimmermann

He glanced through the glass and saw Tilikum staring back, with what appeared to be two human feet hanging down his side. There was a nude body draped across Tilikum’s back.

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What kind of person sticks a ferret down his pants for more than five consecutive hours? Our writer tried to find out.

Wells Tower

Having constructed the greatest flotation device mankind has ever known, our fearless writer embarks on an ill-conceived, possibly insane crossing of alligator-infested North Florida via a string of seriously imperiled and incredibly beautiful rivers. (Yeah, it's a tube.)

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It's been more than 50 years since the Colorado River regularly reached the sea. But this spring, the U.S. and Mexico let the water storm through its natural delta for a grand experiment in ecological restoration. As the dam gates opened, a small band of river rats caught a once-in-a-lifetime ride.

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On the morning of June 30, all 20 members of Prescott, Arizona's Granite Mountain Hotshots headed into the mountains to protect the small town of Yarnell from an advancing blaze. Later that day, every man but one was dead. Through interviews with family, colleagues, and the lone survivor, a former hotshot pieces together their final hours—and the fatal choices

From the Vault

Online for the first time

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There’s nothing funny about motion sickness. Really. I mean it.

Behind the Features

Author interviews and updates

Tim Zimmermann’s feature about a 12,000-pound orca that killed a SeaWorld trainer changed the future of marine parks, was developed into a powerful 2013 documentary, and turned the author into a vegan

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How Susan Orlean reported the classic Outside story about the surf girls of Maui

We caught up with author Sebastian Junger to find out how he reported the incredible Outside Classic story of the Andrea Gail’s crew, what’s changed in the commercial fishing industry, and why he’s drawn to people who have dangerous jobs