Mountain Gazette has been known for its ability to capture the essence of mountain life since its beginning, and 2015 was no different. From hairy avalanche scares to essays on nature and wildlife, these are some of the best stories from Mountain Gazette this past year.

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Stories of adventures and misadventures led the way this year, and Pete Takeda started us off with “Epic Luck“, illustrating just how thin the line can be between an epic story and a near-death experience. Cam Burns climbed the Grand Teton woefully underprepared in “The Grand Teton with Heidegger and Hegel“, ate brains and eggs at a Missoula saloon in “A Night at the Ox“, and eventually wandered into Guidebook authorship as a broke climber in “Confessions of a Non-Wannabe Guidebook Writer“.

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On a more reflective note, Chris Chesak recalled the birth of his daughter and his newfound fatherhood during his year-long deployment to Iraq in “Daddy, the War and the Webcam“. Jane Koerner found a dog in a latrine that became a lifelong friend in “The Beast in the Latrine“. Alan Stark pulled on his Yaktrax and found some perspective with the help of the local wildlife in “Mountain Passages: Coyote“.

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Mike Medberry took us to the Sawtooth Wilderness and meditated on nature in “Spangle Lake: Why We Come to Wilderness“, and guided us through the complex political process at work at Boulder-White Clouds in “Monumental Wilderness in Idaho“. Brooke Williams rebuilt cairns, hiked naked and reflected on youth in “Dog Gash, Big Bend National Park“. Alan Stark traveled to Cuba and smoked hand-rolled cigars, giving us pointers along the way in “Mountain Passages: Insider Info on Travel to Cuba“.

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In our photo series In Focus, Greg Von Doersten showcased his photography in “The Big Picture of Adventure Photography“, and Nicole Morgenthau showed us her work and walked us through her process in “The Mountain Men“.

On top of all that, we featured weekly postcards from writer Devon O’Neil as he traveled both across the globe and close to home.

Author John P. O’Grady pondered the Catskills. literature, and his collie in his Land in the Sky column.

Ex-pat and wordsmith Michael Brady reported from Europe.

And poetry editor Michael Henry of the Lighthouse Writers Workshop brought us new verse from established and up-and-coming writers.

You can keep track of Mountain Gazette stories all year at mountaingazette.com.