Mike Bezemek

18 Articles by: Mike Bezemek
Eastside Surprises on California’s East Fork Carson

Eastside Surprises on California’s East Fork Carson

“Road Closed.” We parked in front of the barriers at the junction of Highways 4 and 89. Below, the East Fork Carson rushed cold and silty away from snowy peaks of the Eastern Sierras. Spotting the[...]

“Why do we paddle so much?”

“Why do we paddle so much?”

It was one of those glorious late-winter afternoons that felt like a mid-spring day—bright blue sky, comforter clouds, and water dripping from our paddles like inverted candelabras. It was our fourt[...]

Best Whitewater Trips in the Ozarks

Best Whitewater Trips in the Ozarks

Over a decade ago, when I decided to move to St. Louis for graduate school, I thought my days of afternoon side trips to local whitewater runs were over. Back then, I lived in California’s Centr[...]

Best Float Trips in the Ozarks

Best Float Trips in the Ozarks

Fifteen years ago, if you told me there were two—let alone 40—amazing paddling trips in the Ozarks worth visiting from afar, I would have replied: “What’s an Ozark?” Back then, as a Cali[...]

Paddling Arkansas’ Buffalo River with Wounded Veterans

Paddling Arkansas’ Buffalo River with Wounded Veterans

During breakfast, in a hotel overlooking Norfork Lake in the Arkansas Ozarks, vets and volunteers sipped coffee and munched bagels while conversations filled the room. Near the door, a circle of folks[...]

Mysteries of Missouri’s Eleven Point National Scenic River

Mysteries of Missouri's Eleven Point National Scenic River

Twilight was deepening as we descended the gravel road toward Cane Bluff. Oncoming headlights twinkled, so I pulled aside to let a van with canoe trailer squeeze past. The driver leaned out his window[...]

How You Will See the Canyon with Fresh Eyes

How You Will See the Canyon with Fresh Eyes

A note to my younger self—and to all river runners with ambitions for running the Grand CanyonYou are a 19-year-old college misfit encamped at the foot of Hance Rapid during a college backpacking tr[...]

High Water on Missouri’s Current River

High Water on Missouri’s Current River

“Highest I’ve ever seen the spring,” said the canoeist, floating in an eddy near the cave mouth. I paddled up the gentle current, leaving hot sunlight and plunging into cool darkness. As my [...]

Paddling St. Louis’s Forest Park

Paddling St. Louis’s Forest Park

“Gently rock along the sacrum,” cooed the yogi, “as you fold your leg across and hold.” A dozen disciples, backs on yoga mats, moved into reclined pigeon position. Meanwhile, I slipped into my[...]

The Benefits of Stepping Out Your Paddling

The Benefits of Stepping Out Your Paddling

Lately, I’ve embraced a philosophy of “stepping out.” Sometimes that means harder runs, or tackling trickier expeditions like the Powell Pilgrimage. Other times, it’s stepping down on runs I o[...]