The 10 most read articles of 2020

Reader favorites from the past year
Social distancing (photo: Chad Shmukler).

Look back on 2020? Why? Aren't we all just ready to forget this one and move on? If that sentiment sounds familiar, you'd certainly be forgiven the impulse to wipe this past year from the memory banks and forge ahead. That said, we believe in silver linings and even though 2020 is no doubt a year that will be remembered for its numerous dark and unpleasant events, there are always bright spots or, at the very least, lessons learned and experiences lived that are worth revisiting.

The hobo barn

For a den of satanic rituals, witchcraft, and worse; it was perfect
Photo: uncredited / cc2.0

We called it the Hobo Barn. At one time the mansion was likely the stuff of Gatsby-esque legend. It was massive. Simply stunning. Even in its dilapidated state, 13-year-old boys with summers free and a wide open agenda could see what the place once was.

Breaking thread: 6 tips for beginner fly tyers

These simple fly tying tips will help you tie better flies faster
Photo: Nathan Ball

Now that you’re squared away with the right fly tying tools and materials (and if you’re not, be sure to check out our primer on tools and materials for beginning tyers), it’s time to get to work and start tying. As you begin to experiment with your first patterns and develop your skills, small tips and tricks can make big differences in your precision and efficiency and, ultimately, the quality of the flies you tie.

Corn squeezins

Everything you want to know about moonshine and maybe a fair bit more
Photo: Johnny Carrol Sain

It looked like an innocent jug of water — clear liquid in a corked nondescript glass bottle. But then I wondered why anyone would cork a bottle of water and set it on the mantle. So I asked Dad about it.

Dad said it was “shine.”

Hurricane Maria killed mangroves months after the storm

An overgrown channel between a lagoon and the ocean on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques created a backup of freshwater, disrupting the delicate balance of salinity in coastal mangrove forests.
A mangrove swamp on Vieques (photo: Western Area Power / cc2.0).

When Hurricane Maria tore through the Caribbean in September 2017 as a category 5 storm, it destroyed livelihoods, infrastructure, and entire ecosystems. On the small island of Vieques, east of Puerto Rico, coastal mangrove forests were buffered from the initial onslaught of wind and seemed to survive. But after several months, huge numbers of trees died, leaving the coast more vulnerable to flooding and erosion from future storms.