It’s funny to think how quickly a year passes by.
At the onset, 365 days seems like an eternity. In the thick of cabin fever, summer feels like it’ll never come. When it finally does, we’re already longing for cooler, humidity-free autumn days, wood stoves, and apple cider.
But pump the brakes. Slow down and look back. A lot went down in 2014, from environmental disasters to record-breaking feats of athleticism. In honor of the year past and the year-to-come, here are 10 highlights from 2014 and 10 of our own predictions for the new year.
1. … over 300,000 West Virginia residents were left without clean water thanks to a Freedom Industries tank that leaked coal-processing chemicals into the Elk River in January?
2. … in February, another chemical spill, this time a coal ash spill into North Carolina’s Dan River, became the nation’s third-largest coal ash spill ever? There was enough toxic sludge released into the water to fill 73 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
3. … five-year-old Christian Thomas, aka Buddy Backpacker, became the youngest little guy to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail?
5. … two regional whitewater kayaking superstars, Dane Jackson (Tenn.) and Adrienne Levknecht (S.C.), took podiums at the world renown Whitewater Grand Prix in Canada? Dane became a 3x Whitewater Grand Prix Champion and Adrienne finished third in the women’s category.
6. … BRO editor-in-chief Will Harlan published his highly acclaimed biography on Cumberland Island’s Carol Ruckdeschel? The book, titled Untamed: The Wildest Woman in America and the Fight for Cumberland Island, would go on to make Barnes and Noble’s 18 Discover Great New Writers list.
7. … Vibram USA agreed to pay a total of $3.75 million to consumers who bought its FiveFingers shoes to settle a lawsuit made in 2012?
8. … Oskar Blues Brewery REEB Ranch opened The Bike Farm outside of Brevard, N.C., and hosted the 2014 Red Bull Dreamline.
9. … a fire broke out in the New River Gorge and burned over 130 acres near the popular climbing area Endless Wall?
10. … Canaan Valley, W.Va., resident John Logar won the prestigious Iditarod Trail Invitational by foot?
A look ahead…
We polled our staff to see what their predictions were for the 2015 year. Here are 10 things we anticipate the new year will bring.
1. The death of The Beard.
“With the coining of the term lumber-sexual I think we can all agree that this latest trend in the urban-male’s fragile sense of masculinity has jumped the shark. Next year? Back to perms and a single diamond stud earring. Or maybe a lighting bolt. I’m getting a lighting bolt.” – Craig Snodgrass, BRO web director
2. SUP will make a play to become an Olympic sport.
If trampolining and race walking can, why not stand-up paddle boarding?
3. GoPro releases yet another version of the Hero.
“Duh.” – Jess Daddio, BRO travel editor
4. Natural fitness will explode.
McDougall’s new book, Natural Born Heroes, is coming out.
5. Hunting will become more attractive to urbanites and merge with the farm to table movement.
6. The craft beer bubble pops.
“We used up all the damn hops. Too many brewers and not enough hop farmers causes the price of craft brews to skyrocket. Big-Booze sweeps in and buys up remaining hop farms, with a resource shortage small time crafters are choked out. Budweiser releases its first IPA.” – Craig Snodgrass, BRO web director
7. Aged rums will become “the new bourbon.”
8. Axe throwing will become even more of a thing.
9. Cellphones will get even larger.
And maybe even the word “cellphone” will become obsolete. After all, they’re more computer than phone.
10. Thru-hiking sees record numbers.
“If you’re wanting to tackle the A.T. or the P.C.T., maybe give it another year. Thanks to the releases of Wild and A Walk in The Woods, expect hordes of wannabe Cheryl Strayeds and Bill Brysons to hit the trail this season…” – Jess Daddio, BRO travel editor
What do you think? Any regional highlights we missed? Any predictions you agree or don’t agree with (or want to add to the pot)? We’d love to hear from you!