Friends of Ozark Riverways and Where’s Malko are excited to announce the very first Ozark Streams Film Festival! As the first film festival solely dedicated to honoring beautiful Ozark streams of Missouri, we hope… More
By Thomas and Mark Malkowicz
On April 30, 2017, two inches of water flooded the Aker’s Ferry Canoe Rental shop. The Ozark National Scenic Riverways (ONSR) and the surrounding communities were hit hard by this year’s historic flooding. Yet just a few weeks later, the outfitters were up and running; the park service had re-opened many of the access points on the upper Current River; and we were headed back to our favorite Ozark stream.
Paddleboarding has somewhat changed the way we approach backcountry travel. Growing up canoeing rivers, we could never get enough; our trips got longer, our boat got heavier and heavier. When we were not paddling, we were packing backpacks with ultralight gear and hiking deep into the wilderness to find seclusion and a sense of exploration. The boards bring it all together, there is a sense of freedom when traveling light with only the minimal gear needed.
by Thomas & Mark Malkowicz
One of the things that drew us to stand-up paddle boarding was the fact that it was a new sport. Even before our boards arrived, we started researching places around St. Louis that would be interesting to paddle, and we noticed there wasn’t much information out there.
The most rewarding parts about our new hobby was that it gave us a reason to explore parts of our city that we had never been to, and look at familiar places in a new way.
By Mark Malkowicz
This is a story and video of how my girlfriend Rachel and I traveled across Death Valley from Las Vegas, Nevada to Lonepine, California with hopes of reaching the summit of Mount Whitney. Standing at 14,508 feet, Mount Whitney is the tallest mountain in the lower 48 states. Our plan was to take the standard route known as the Whitney Trail but having left the first week of June, the trail wasn’t yet clear of snow. The snowy conditions forced us up by way of “the chute”, a winter or spring variation of the route.
The chute is a steep band of snow leading to the ridge that would eventually take us to the summit. In the early morning hours, the chute is icy, making it ideal for cramponing our way up. Later in the day however, the hot California sun warms it and the ice turns to a wet slush. Our plan was to get up while it was frozen and back down before it got too wet.
This was Rachel’s first climb but despite her lack of experience, she was strong all throughout the summit day, making her a killer climbing partner. Not sure if either of us would have made it without the other and I’m looking forward to getting back on a mountain with her someday.
By Thomas Malkowicz
Full throttle across the Caribbean Sea, our destination was the small island of Caye Caulker. Every seat on the water taxi was full, and, from a small window, Belize City was disappearing behind the boat. My wife, JoLee, and I are in Central America, on a 21-mile trip north into waters that become incredibly clear and blue. Small green islands are stretched out all along the horizon. Compared to the heat of Belize City, the air became noticeably fresh and cool as we approached the island.
Blackbeard Island National Wildlife RefugeThe free Belize Illustrated map I was reading during this 45-minute voyage was filled with information that explained why this area is a destination for people from all over the globe. It states that, “Belize is a haven for abundant flora and fauna … Belize has the lowest population density in Central America … the climate is pretty much near perfect … and Belizeans make you feel as welcome and comfortable, like nowhere else.” Perfect!
The day before, while waiting in line at the airport a gentleman had advised us to skip Belize City and hop on another plane. He explained it would save us a lot of trouble if we just flew to Caye Caulker. But being on the water is why we came here, and it only seems proper to explore this tropical setting aboard a boat.
Alaska May, 2015
The bush plane equipped with skis flew directly into the clouds that congested the sky over North America’s greatest peaks. My stomach dropped every time the wings lost grip, dipping into the thin, turbulent air. After the short flight from Talkeetna, Alaska, we touched down smoothly at Kahiltna Glacier Base Camp (aka Denali Base Camp).
I was not there to climb Denali, but to work on some advanced mountaineering skills and to explore the range near Base Camp. Continue reading “Kicked out of the nest: The Alaskan Range”
105 mile stand up paddle board trip down the Current River in Southern Missouri
Special thanks to
Thomas & Mark Malkowicz
According to the National Park Service, ” The Ozark National Scenic Riverways is the first National Park area to protect a river system. The Current and Jacks Fork Rivers are two of the finest floating rivers you’ll find anywhere.” In an effort to help share this special place with the world, we are planning another first.
We have always been looking for new ways to explore and experience the Current River in Southern Missouri. We first started canoeing the river every summer as kids, as we grew older we began taking longer trips, camping on the gravel beaches, backpacking along the Ozark Trail, and eventually exploring the entire region. The plan for our next adventure is to paddleboard the length of the Current River inside the Ozark National Scenic Riverways – A 104 mile journey that we have set aside a week to complete. From our very limited research, we think this is the first time this has ever been attempted (and there may be good reason). As we prepare for this expedition, there are only a few things we can plan for certain; when and where to start, who will shuttle our vehicle, what food to bring and what gear to pack. Everything else, we just have to be ready for and that’s the wilderness experience we search for every time we depart.