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The Best and Worst of 2015: A Year in the Outdoors

The Best and Worst of 2015: A Year in the Outdoors

The Best and Worst of 2015: A Year in the Outdoors

Best of

Author: S. Shaw
Date: 12.15.15

2015 was a year to remember in the outdoors. It was full of triumphs and tragedies, epic conquests and inspirations from the silver screen to the bottom of a martini glass, 2015 is full of stories that will live on in legend… both good and bad.

Here’s a look at our best and worst of the year in the outdoors.

Best thing to be excited about in 2016… National Park Service Centennial

The National Park Service is turning 100 years old this year! The NPS protects more than 400 places around the country, everything from preserving our nation’s history to vast wilderness expanses. With its #FindYourPark and Every Kid in a Park campaigns the park service aims to make this year the best ever! (Despite being terribly underfunded.) Read more about the #FindYourPark campaign. Read more about the Every Kid in a Park Initiative.

Best Class Act… Jennifer Pharr Davis on losing the AT record

When Scott Jurek took down the Appalachian Trail time record the world was watching. Previous record holder Jennifer Pharr Davis could not have handled it with more class, saying “I am at peace with someone else breaking the record…. The experience never gets taken away” Read More... 

Best Pissing Contest… Scott Jurek vs. Baxter State Park

After Scott Jurek set the AT record, the only thing that was quicker than him were the officials at Baxter State Park to write him a ticket. Jurek was charged with drinking, littering and hiking in too large of a group. Lawyer… Lawyer… war of words ended with a plea deal. Jurek paid $500 for drinking; the park dropped the other charges. What’d we learn?  Jurek will not be jerked around, and Baxter is not a fan of high profile hiking in their state park. Read More...

Best Short Film that will make you cry… Denali

I am a grown man, with a full beard, who likes to think I’m tougher than the average nut, yet on the first attempt I could not even finish watching Denali. I had to stop what I was doing and try and to fight the tears as I was sitting in the office, but to no avail: turn on the waterworks. 

Best Outdoors Movie Jon Krakauer hated… Everest

Author Jon Krakauer thought this was a piece of you know what. **Note the film was NOT based on Krakauer’s book on the 1996 Everest disaster, Into Thin Air. Read More...

Best Outdoors Movie Jon Krakauer adores… Into the Wild

Sean Penn’s 2007 flick Into the Wild follows the much storied journey of the now immortal Chris McCandless to his demise in an abandoned bus outside Denali National Park. **Note this film WAS based on Jon Krakauer’s book.

Best Thru Hike that is not a major motion picture…  North Country Trail

Too long have other thru hikes been overshadowed by the more famous AT and PCT. We say check out the North Country Trail. When complete the trail will stretch 4,600 miles from New York to North Dakota. Today, more than 2,000 miles of the trail are ready to go, with more completed each year; a quick search shows zero movies planned. Read More...

Best that's awesome… Hikers pack out 1000 pounds of trash along the AT

3 fellas… 1 heavy idea… and an incredible cause. Seth Orme, Joe Dehnert, and Paul Twedt wanted to hike the AT and also wanted to clean it up. The Pack It Out Initiative was born with the goal of cleaning up a 1,000 pounds of trash along the way. Mission accomplished! Next up the PCT. Can’t hike with them? That’s cool they have a nifty go fund me account. Read More...

Best place to get beat up trying to learn to surf…  Lunada Bay LA

BRAH! Get off our beach! Lunada Bay made headlines this year for their locals-only attitude toward waves. A video released by The Guardian clearly shows the “bad boys” of Lunada Bay trying to intimidate a journalist with a hidden camera. The so-called bad boys appear to be middle aged men still protecting their area on the playground. That’s my swing… wait I mean wave. Same dudes likely go home and sip on a glass of cabernet and check on the portfolio by evening. Read More... 

Best we're kind of happy taxpayer dollars went to this… USFS Cocktail Guide

Can I get a Gin Rickey with that wildfire data please? The official United States Forest Service Cocktail Construction Chart from the 70’s has surfaced. The incredibly detailed document is drawn with a draftsman hand and goes into details on recipes, garnishes and proper preparation. Also, it appears to have been tested repeatedly to ensure accuracy. Read More...

Best of times and worst of times…  Wolves move into California and South Dakota but are disappearing from Isle Royale 

It was the best of times… In a matter of a couple weeks California got its first wolf pack in 90 years and in a story TrailMob brought you first a gray wolf was spotted in the Black Hills, South Dakota. It was the worst of times in Michigan for Isle Royale’s wolves. It’s a game of cat and mouse… but rather with wolf and moose. Isle Royale National Park’s wolves have been subject to a 50-year scientific study. But that may soon come to end. Currently there are only three wolves left on the island, which averages roughly 25 to 30. The options being weighed include, introduce more wolves to counter inbreeding and continue the study or let nature take its course. The latter, means the likely demise of Isle Royale’s wolves. . Read More about Isle Royale Wolves.  Read more about California's Shasta Pack. Read More about South Dakota's wandering wolf

Best reason to not get too close to wildlife…  Gored in the ass by a buffalo

How many ways does do Yellowstone Park Rangers have to say don’t get close to wildlife? Put your selfie stick down and follow the rules before you get yourself gored in the ass.  Read More...

Best way to piss off the world…  DDT Walter Palmer kills Cecil the Lion

This past summer a Minnesota dentist killed Cecil the Lion and quite literally pissed off the world. Protests, vandalism and even death threats followed. He maintains he acted legally and the Zimbabwe government eventually agreed. However in the court of public opinion… DDT Walter Palmer is guilty as charged. Read More...

Official USFS Cocktail Chart

Official USFS Cocktail Chart

Best hike we wish was legal… Stairway to Heaven

Nearly 4,000 rickety and mildly dangerous steel stairs climb to the top of Ko’olau Mountain in Hawaii. The high staircase has been closed to the public for 30 years, but regardless of that, thousands practice their breaking and entering skills each year to make the arduous trek to the top. There is a movement to fix the dilapidated trail and reopen it to the public. The catch, it could cost hikers a $100 bucks to go for a hike. Expensive? Yes, cheaper than an attorney if you get caught currently? Likely. Read More...

Best hashtag for outdoor ignorance…  #BearSelfie

This is Darwin Award candidate stuff right here. For those that have used #BearSelfie in the wild… perhaps you should reevaluate your life decisions with a bit more focus on not becoming #BearBait. Read More... 

Best #TwitterChat… #HikerChat

Friday, 10 AM MST. #HikerChat has become a staple of the outdoors community on Twitter. It's a great place to meet new folks and share your experiences. If you have not participated, you should, it's a blast. BIG shout out to the folks at Teton Sports for hosting. Read More... 

Best talking the talk and walking the walk… KEEN's #LiveMonumental Campaign

Keen’s Live Monumental campaign is a prime example of a big company doing good. Why? Not to sell shoes but to protect the land that folks who wear their shoes love and adore. The campaign aims to protect 3 million acres. So far, the rugged Boulder White Clouds in central Idaho have been preserved and hopefully more will be soon. Read More..

Best Selfie… Bambi Selfie

And the award for the cutest, most heartwarming, best selfie ever goes to…. wait for it… Scotland Smith of Tacoma Washington. The little one took a tumble down a steep embankment and could not get back to its mother. Smith went on to carry the exhausted fawn around for hours until he finally reunited it with its mother. Once reunited, he says the fawn scurried off but returned a few moments later to reward an exhausted Smith with the selfie of the year. Read More...

Best hiking with the rich and famous...  LA’s Runyon Canyon Park

Hiking Runyon Canyon Park is where to see the who’s who of the Hollywood outdoorsy types… Natalie Portman, Justin Bieber, Channing Tatum and a whole bunch of other people that are apparently famous are often seen there.

Best no way that actually happened…  Parachuting beavers into backcountry

Yep, this actually happened. Idaho Fish and Game parachuted troublesome beavers into the remote backcountry. Dozens and dozens infact made it safely.  Newly found video shows the creative solution that occurred about 70 years ago. Read More...

Best dream job…  NPS looking for the next Ansel Adams

The National Park Service is looking for a photographer. The dream gig pays well (despite the fact that many would love to do it for free) and requires a tremendous amount of travel to national parks around the country. Darn the luck.  Read More

Best are you sure that’s a good idea… Delisting Yellowstone Grizzly Bears

An internal letter from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe indicates the days of endangered species protection for grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem are coming to an end.  Interestingly, when TrailMob reached out to Yellowstone, we were told that the NPS was expecting an announcement soon, but had not seen the letter detailing the plans for delisting.  Read More...

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