In this month’s issue of Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine, we’re hitting the water. From top paddling gear picks to river surfing in West Virginia and top trout hikes in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic, there’s something in the April issue for everyone. Sit down with bestselling author Wiley Cash as he traces the allure of the past, with pioneering kayakers like Pat Keller and John Regan as they discuss life, death, and the pursuit of whitewater, and with professional kayaker Chris Gragtmans who just now is starting to feel recovered from a shoulder injury that nearly ended his career.

DEPARTMENTS

EDITOR’S NOTE

A big showing for Big Ivy leads to big changes in forest management.

FLASHPOINT

A.T. speed record holder Jennifer Pharr Davis argues that the male-dominated outdoor industry needs to change.

BRAND NEW OLD-TIME

Why do lumbersexuals, craft brewers, and mountain musicians long for the past? asks bestselling author Wiley Cash.

QUICK HITS

The A.T. Grows Underground bike park Marathon winner sleeps in his truck

THE DIRT

River surfing The biggest four letters in the outdoors

THE GOODS

Gonzo kayaker Pat Keller picks his favorite paddling gear.

THEN & NOW

From Demshitz to the Brown Claw, paddling trends have evolved with the personalities that guide the sport.

TRAIL MIX

Jedd Ferris picks the 20 best new bands.

FEATURES

Top Trout Hikes

Fly fishing experts select their favorite hike-and-fish spots in Southern Appalachia.

The Ragged Edge

Why do paddlers dance with danger? Do they ever push too far? And is the juice worth the squeeze? Jess Daddio chases down answers from gonzo first-descent kayakers.

Cherokee Trails

Hike in the footsteps of the first people. Cherokee historian and expert Lamar Marshall shares stories and trails held sacred by the Native Americans who first wandered these woods.

Long Road Back

A potentially career-ending injury becomes the best thing that ever happens to elite paddler Chris Gragtmans.