With the calendar about to turn over into 2019, it’s that time again to track down the most popular stories of the past 12 months. A holiday deep dive into our analytics reveals C&K readers’ favorites in the form of a slew of strange, spectacular and sometimes tragic news pieces mixed in with some paranormal tall tales and pointed gear pieces, all of which cracked our top 10 most-read stories of 2018.

#10 What We Can Learn from October's Rafting Tragedy in Costa Rica

When four American tourists and a local guide were killed in a late October rafting accident on Costa Rica’s Rio Naranjo, it sent ripples of apprehension and heightened awareness through the rafting community, both domestically and abroad.

#9 Worst Night in the Woods | Camping Horror Stories

In the woods, the night works like a megaphone, magnifying small sounds into big sounds and big into bigger. And there are so many things that can go bump in the night, from bears to thunder booms. Of course, night frights can make for frightfully good stories. With nods to well-known works of literature, readers made those stories our ninth most-viewed post of the year.

#8 Opinion: Why Water Filters Are Dumb

Alan Kesselheim picks a side in the outdoors controversy you never knew existed: To filter or not to filter.

#7 A Deeper Look at Arkansas Sinkhole-Whirlpool that Drowned Kayaker

Dye testing and research by a state team lead local authorities to collapse the deadly undercut feature, which formed on the Spring River this year.

#6 Kayaker Confuses Rattlesnake for Alligator, Grabs It Anyway

Darwin cheated as kayaking booze cruise goes horribly wrong.

#5 California-to-Hawaii Kayaker in Critical, Stable Condition

R.W. Hand’s fourth attempt to recreate Ed Gillet’s historic 1987 crossing takes a tragic, immediate turn with emergency rescue.

#4 Go Light, Go Long: Testing The Latest Crop of Pack Canoes

Everything you need know about lightweight, portage-ready Adirondack-style canoes.

#3 The Incident at Burro Creek

In one of our most gripping articles of the year, longtime C&K contributor Tyler Williams recounts a harrowing run-in he had with an armed man in Arizona, which led to shots fired and a 22.5-year prison sentence.

#2 13-Foot Tiger Shark Attacks Kayak Fisherman in Australia

31-year-old kayaker Kyle Roberts was fishing about a mile offshore from the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. A split-second later, his boat was pierced by the jaws of a 13-foot tiger shark.

#1 Couple Sinks Kayaks on Maiden Voyage, Sues for $455,000

How dangerous is the river in the above photo? Depends on your lawyer. An Oregon couple who sank their brand-new kayaks in it two years ago are now seeking nearly half a million dollars in damages from Dick's Sporting Goods, the retailer that sold them the boats.


–That’s not all. Our three most-popular SKILLS stories: 5 Reasons to Pack an Ax // The Tale of Two Tarps // Flying with your Kayak.

–Our most-viewed PHOTO PIECE, exploring the rugged, remote whitewater of Tajikistan.

–And finally, our TOP VIDEO, Episode 1 of our Paddling Parents series, which features Eric Friedenson’s lessons on using fun to foster a love for rivers.

Compare the Top Stories of 2017 and 2016.