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.

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In an excerpt from his new book, ‘Riverman,’ writer Ben McGrath recounts how he met an itinerant canoeist named Dick Conant, a fascinating character who mysteriously disappeared shortly thereafter

Last year, Annette McGivney lost her beloved yellow Lab, Sunny, and was overwhelmed by sadness. Since then she’s built a new life with a challenging rescue dog, and she’s learned a lot about the healing power of human and animal bonds.

It’s not easy being a progressive who works for a middle-of-the-road president. Mark Sundeen sizes up the interior secretary’s first year in office—which has been a disappointment to climate-change activists—and decides she’s most likely to make a mark through a historic reckoning over the U.S. government’s shameful running of Native American boarding schools.

In a small town in England in the early 1950s, a group of Brits gathered at a pub to form the world’s first off-road cycling club. They came from all classes—barons rubbed elbows with foundry workers—but were united by their love of the wild and a shared belief that a bike could get them anywhere they dreamed of. Seventy years on, Tom Vanderbilt heads to the UK to join a few current members in pursuit of the rough stuff.

How boredom and booze created an outlaw sport best left alone

Earth-loving New Yorkers are drawing from an unlikely arsenal of activism, hip-hop, marathon city-council Zoom meetings, and one sassy pug to hold the city to its zero-waste commitments. If they succeed, the environmental benefits could be huge.

The accident highlights an industry at a crossroads and raises a crucial question: As safety schools boom, who is responsible for making sure the students come home?

Mark Jenkins chose to skip a risky adventure with his friends. Twenty-five years later, he’s still haunted by what happened in his absence.

In the past two years, Americans have become disenchanted with work, leading to major strikes and what is being called the Great Resignation. But what if there was a better way? This writer went looking for that ever elusive work-life balance, learning how to get outside more and stress less.

Reeling from her husband’s request to divorce after 25 years of marriage and two kids, Florence Williams was experiencing debilitating grief. An accomplished reporter, she decided to explore the science of heartache to see if she could find a cure. In this excerpt from her new book, ‘Heartbreak: A Personal and Scientific Journey,’ she heads out for a 120-mile solo paddle on Utah’s Green River, with a too heavy portable toilet and a shattered heart.

Four years ago, the Minnesota phenom won historic Olympic gold in cross-country skiing, alongside Kikkan Randall. She was just getting going.

All over America’s ancient eastern mountains, there’s an organism that lives underground, tethered to tree roots, waiting to be hunted. It’s among the world’s rarest and most expensive foods, and it grows in a wide range of conditions. But there’s only one guy in the country who really knows how to find it. Rowan Jacobsen joins him in the search for the Appalachian truffle.

While getting his PhD in English, Logan Scherer developed an intense friendship with a male grad student that lasted for years, through his friend’s engagement and marriage to a woman. Scherer struggled to make sense of it, until he lost himself in a group of spinster nature writers from the late 19th century who eschewed marriage to live alone or with other women during a time when the language of queerness didn’t exist.

A secret abortion, pirates, and the peace found at the bottom of the ocean

With increased coastal flooding and erosion, climate change is harshing California’s mellow vibes. Officials say it’s time to retreat from the shore altogether. Residents want to stay and fight. Paul Kvinta reports from the front lines of a pitched battle, where geologists and millionaires are squaring off, and friendly fire between surfers isn’t so friendly.

When Maggie Shipstead set out to report on women-only expedition travel, she was driven by a desire to learn new skills in a low-bro-factor environment. But six days exploring Alaska with the state’s first woman-owned adventure outfitter turned out to be regenerative in ways she didn’t expect.

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