Thanks a million! BDN ‘Out There’ blog hits a milestone

Since you “Out There” readers are responsible, I’ll make you among the first to know: We all reached a pretty significant milestone today. And I can’t thank you enough for your support.

At about 2 p.m. today, one of you pushed the blog over the 1 million page-view mark. We have a vibrant blogging community here at the BDN, with more than 100 bloggers producing some fantastic content, but I’m told that “Out There” was the first to reach that plateau. More will surely follow in the weeks and months ahead.

Our creative promotions staff had its work cut out for it in turning me into a snowboarder for an upcoming ad campaign. I may have fallen down before I got to the "W" in "VIEWS." (BDN graphic by Shelley Sund)

Our creative promotions staff had its work cut out for it in turning me into a snowboarder for an upcoming ad campaign. I may have fallen down before I got to the “W” in “VIEWS.” (BDN graphic by Shelley Sund)

So, my bosses have been asking me, what’s the secret recipe that led us here?

Damned if I know. But here are a few thoughts.

First, I wrote a lot about mystery beasts. Seriously. Werewolves. Coy-dog-wolves. Critters that go bump and screech and howl in the night.

Second, I wrote a lot about big bears and big moose and big fish, especially those caught by our younger outdoors enthusiasts.

Third, for more than two years — we started on this journey back in November of 2011 —you and your wives and husbands and neighbors decided to share those stories with me, and with your fellow readers. Again, thank you for being so generous.

This blogging thing is an interesting mystery beast of its own, you know. It starts off when one middle-aged dude taps a few keys on his computer. Then, if you’re lucky (like I have been), people respond. They share those tales with others. They pass along stories of their own. They email the link to still others. And the one-guy-sitting-at-a-computer thing changes.

At some point, we become a community. A community of readers, writers and contributors. Of hunters, anglers, and nature-lovers. A group of folks, whether from Maine or away, who just like talking about the outdoors, and telling others about our experiences. We wonder if there are mountain lions in Maine. We lament the fact that we didn’t get our deer last year. And we still enjoy hearing other, more successful hunters tell us how they did get theirs.

Yes, there have been some cool stories along the way. In case you’re curious, the biggest, baddest, most click-worthy story on this journey was the one about a mystery beast I called “The Wayne Werewolf.” In all, 51,920 people read that story. Or did they? I’m pretty sure many just looked at the stunning photos … and that’s just fine with me.

The rifle-stealing beaver saga finished second in the all-time click-off, with 35,206 hits. And when a hunter shot a state-record bear that weighed in at 699 pounds, 28,449 of you took the time to read the post. That was the third most popular post in the history of “Out There.”

But the blog hasn’t been all about mystery critters and felonious beavers.

Some stories have been serious. Some redemptive. And some have been simply inspirational.

Like the post I wrote last July about bear researcher Lisa Bates, who crawled away from a helicopter crash, saved the pilot, and hiked to find help.

As so often happens in this line of work, the finished product that you read here, was powerful not because of anything the writer did, but because the source, Lisa Bates, had an amazing story that she agreed to share.

And that, I guess, is the real secret recipe. This blog isn’t successful unless people share. You’ve shared your stories with me.  And you’ve shared my stories with others.

For that, I’m unspeakably grateful. And about all I can do is repeat the headline of this blog.

Thanks a million.



John Holyoke

About John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. Today, he's the Outdoors editor for the BDN, a job that allows him to meet up with Maine outdoors enthusiasts in their natural habitat. The stories he gathers provide fodder for his columns, and this blog.