August/September 2009
Text by The Editors
Mystery Mania
Finding Everett Ruess ||| April/May 2009

We fully expected David Roberts’s article “Finding Everett Ruess” to generate discussion, but we couldn’t have guessed just how big the reaction would be. Weeks after Roberts’s investigation into the legendary explorer’s 1934 disappearance first hit newsstands, the responses keep pouring in. “I commend adventure’s complete coverage of this affair,” wrote one reader. Said another: “The mystery of [Ruess’s] disappearance may be at an end, but the spirit of adventure that inspired him will never end. One of the places it lives is in your magazine.” Not everyone was so pleased. The FBI lambasted Roberts’s editorial commentary in a two-page letter:

“Mr. Roberts states that [Ruess’s] burial site was trashed completely by the FBI team, and . . . he and Mr. Bellson characterized the actions of the FBI at the site as a ‘goddamned picnic.’ . . . [The author’s] unfortunate characterization of the actions by FBI Agent Boisselle, Sheriff Lacy, and the Navajo tribal policemen does a grave disservice to these individuals and the dedicated men and women who toil on a daily basis to ensure justice on Native American tribal lands.” One reader questioned adventure’s decision to cover Ruess at all: “I honestly wonder what I am missing about Everett’s life story that has caused society to admire him so much. I was thoroughly unimpressed. . . . He was filthy rich and felt like traveling to see the beauty of the country.” Like our in-box, the blogosphere has also been pulsating with Ruess rants and raves. Best we’ve seen? “[I know] a remarkable theory about what happened to Ruess, which I find especially poignant in the light of [Roberts’s] new discovery. I will convey the rest of the story to anyone who sends me five bucks and a SASE.” Cash or check?

For Your Consideration
50 Best American Adventures ||| April/May 2009

Our ranking of top U.S. adventures also generated a wave of heartfelt responses, including suggestions for another 50 best (see our favorites below), and one kind but firm clarification from a loyal Canadian subscriber: “The author writes, ‘No other country has an expanse of fresh water like the Great Lakes. . . . ’ Surely that should have read, ‘No other country, except for Canada, has an expanse of fresh water like the Great Lakes. . . .’”

#51: Canoe the Lower Canyons of the Rio Grande.

#52: Narrows in Zion National Park. Most of the trail is in the river.

#53: Trek to the Blue Hole on Kauai.

#54: Take the Durango-to-Silverton, CO, train halfway to hike the Chicago Basin.

#55: Paddle half a mile across the Pacific from Cape Alava, WA, to Ozette Island.

A Weasel Mix Up?

The least anticipated—but by no means least appreciated—letter came from one especially astute reader: “In your April/May edition on page 87, your writer refers to fishers as ‘ferret-like.’ I feel he must have confused fishers with pine martens, which are much smaller and definitely ferret-like. Fisher cats are big and mean and in no way ferretesque.” In our defense, we can only point out that fishers, martens, and ferrets are all part of the weasel family—and from what we hear, most have a pretty bad temper too.

Up-Close Canopy Tour: High in the treetops of the Great Bear Rainforest, Rockwater Secret Cove Resort has luxe tenthouse suites with expansive views of the Strait of Georgia (two nights, $649, including a massage and kayak rental;


August 3–15, friends and family of the late Rob Gauntlett, one of our 2009 Adventurers of the Year, will cycle 1,000 miles across the U.K. in his honor. Make a donation to his memorial fund at

Whitewater kayaker (and a 2008 Adventurer of the Year) Trip Jennings is back from a month in Bolivia, where he investigated the effects of shrinking glaciers on local water supplies—and made an epic descent of the Class IV–V Zongo River (

Nick Ward, survivor of the 1979 Fastnet Race disaster and author of Left for Dead (excerpted in adventure’s August 2007 issue), will race the Fastnet on August 9 for the first time since his near-death experience.

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