21 of the Best RootsRated Stories from 2014

Jake Wheeler
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In 2014, the RootsRated editorial staff and its dedicated team of writers produced over 700 stories from 20+ outdoor communities across the country. Here, we look back on some of our favorite reads, from epic adventures to unforgettable destinations, to conversations with some of the most influential outdoorsmen and women around. Join us on our brief walk down memory lane!

Our Most Read Stories


1. 10 Best Central Texas Swimming Holes | Dave Brown
Austin is wonderful, but it's hot as hell in the summer. This list is a sampling of Central Texas' favorite swimming holes.

2. 5 Asheville Hikes with Amazing Views | Joanne O'Sullivan
Western North Carolina is well-known for its million-dollar mountain views. These are five of the best.

3. 10 Things to Know Before Hiking Longs Peak | James Dziezynski
Summiting Longs Peak is one of the best adventures in the Rockies. But it's also one of the hardest and most dangerous, and there are things you need to know before attempting it.

Our Favorite Conversations

The North Face

1. Alex Honnold on Adventure and Fear | Dave Brown
We caught up with legendary free-solo climber, Alex Honnold, while he was on tour with the North Face Speaker Series. Here's what he had to say about climbing high, getting stuck, and moving on.

2. Kaj Bune: Adventurer, Philosopher, Father | Leah DeAngelis
Kaj Bune is a guy who will get his hands calloused and dirty in the backcountry, then write Haiku. It was a pleasure to sit down with this humble, modern-day Muir.

3. Joe McConaughy: Fastest PCT Thru-Hike Ever | Evelyn Spence
In August 2014, Joe "String Bean" McConaughy completed a record-breaking Pacific Crest Trail thru-hike in 53 days. He spoke to us about 50-plus mile days fueled by 8,000 calories of pound cake and peanut butter.

Our Most Epic Epics

John Leader

1. Conquerers of the Useless: Thru-Hiking the AT | Ry Glover
In the fall of 2013, RootsRated staffer, Ry Glover, completed a southbound thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. These were his immediate reflections upon finishing that adventure.

2. A Pisgah Mountain Biking Adventure | Jeff Bartlett
Weekend warriors need equal parts good beta and good luck. In this simple photo trip gone awry, the latter part of the equation was missing.

3. Blood, Sweat, Vomit, and Tears | Lou Dzierzak
For RootsRated managing editor, Lou Dzierzak, IRONMAN Wisconsin was a day to forget.

Our Most Exciting Events

Arrowhead Ultra

1. The Brutal Arrowhead Ultra 135 | Lou Dzierzak
This grueling multi-sport winter race, held this past year on January 27th, is widely regarded as one of the toughest endurance races in the world.

2. Coombs Classic | Dina Mishev
The death of Jackson Hole skier, Doug Coombs, really shook the local skiing community. In honor of his life as an extreme skiing champion, they created a classic in his name, which entered its fifth year on March 30th of this year.

3. IRONMAN Chattanooga | Drew Streip, Fynn Glover, and Ry Glover
On September 28th, the IRONMAN competition descended upon Chattanooga for the largest single-day event in the city's history. We were there to provide a series of insider's guides for spectators and athletes alike.

Our Bucket List Destinations

Reimund Schuster

1. Maroon Bells Traverse | James Dziezynski
The traverse between the twin summits of the Maroon Bells is a classic Colorado mountaineering route, admired as much for its airy climbing as it is for its omnipresent danger.

2. America's Second Tallest Bridge | Douglas Scott
Though the Vance Creek Bridge is now closed, that didn't stop it from being one of our favorite places to explore in 2014.

3. 10 Best Jackson Hole Hikes | Dina Mishev
Jackson Hole is such an unbelievable mecca for the outdoors that we couldn't choose just one bucket list destination. Here are our 10 favorite hikes in the land of the Tetons.

Our Walk Through The Seasons

Yeufeng D.

1. Spring Hiking with Jennifer Pharr Davis | Joanne O'Sullivan
Most people know Jennifer Pharr Davis for completing the fastest thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. In late March of this year, she showed us her less intense side by walking us through some of her favorite spring hiking destinations near Asheville.

2. 6 Beautiful Summer Paddles in Chattanooga | Jake Wheeler
For those who don't know, Chattanooga is a gorgeous city. But it's a whole new world when viewed from its majestic waters. Here are 6 of the best paddleboard destinations in the Scenic City.

3. 5 Great American Road Trips to Take in the Fall | Ry Glover
There’s arguably no better time to hit the open road than during the fall, when this country’s landscapes are ablaze in their full fiery force, and the cool autumn air elicits windows-down, wind-blown hair, and chilly nights spent at roadside campsites.

Our Underrated Gems

Douglas Scott

1. Elwha | Douglas Scott
Elwha is a land of goblins, magical forests, and amazing hiking, and we couldn't help but be drawn to its mystical folklore and breathtaking beauty.

2. Ode to Wading | Logan Waddell
In this short tribute to the boatless fishermen of the Holy City, our Charleston writer eloquently captured the essence of the Lowcountry's storied tidal flats.

3. All Trails Lead to this Tavern | Jack Rogan
The Cold Spring Tavern is a rustic cabin located in the sycamore-shaded forests of Southern California, offering blues music, smoke-billowing BBQ pits, and great beer. And there are five much better ways to get there than simply driving.

Our best wishes for an adventurous holiday and a happy New Year. Please share any photos from your adventures or any bucket list treks (long & short) you may have planned for 2015 with info@rootsrated.com or tag us @RootsRated on social media.

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