We had one of our busiest years with tons of exciting activities! Here are some of the great events we've had and some photos to prove it!
We settled into our rental vehicles and hit the asphalt on our road trip to Kentucky over Spring Break 2010. Along our route, we stopped to explore the Mammoth Caves and we were taken back by their thousand year old rock formations. We then piled back in the car for some climbing at the Red River Gorge, not forgetting to stop at Miguel's Pizza Place. Afterwards we went to the Big South Fork River in Tennessee to check out the rapids with some whitewater rafting. We stopped by Dinosaur World for some photo opportunities, and then hit up Cumberland Falls for some breath-taking views. All-in-all, the trip was an unforgettable experience with plenty of stories to bring back for all who came along.
Snowshoeing at Gooseberry Falls
A small group of us went for a shuffle through the woods on this rollicking shin-dig. We strapped our snowshoes on tight and tramped past the frozen falls, admiring the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps as we went. We took a break for lunch in the woods and set out again on the frozen Gooseberry River. There were plenty of unique ice formations for us to take pictures in front of on the way. We had a beautiful view of Lake Superior from the top of the hill, and then we headed back to the car for a warm drive home.
On May 1st we set out on the Saint Louis River in our boat of five to face the day's adventure. Our pod paddled through bridge supports to test our skills before hitting some rapids. We successfully avoided having "Summer Teeth" (some are in your mouth, some are in the boat, some are in the water) by following safety instructions, and hit the river hard. On the last set of rapids, one of our crew climbed onto the front of the boat to "ride the bull." Everybody managed to stay on board and we all had a blast.
Paddling in the Pool
We piled back in our kayaks for the first time since the snow hit and hopped in the pool for some pre-outdoors practice during these classes. Jennifer Steingraeber shared her skills with us, teaching T-rescues, the Cowboy Scramble, and other helpful kayaking techniques. We had a lot of fun playing "bumper boats," and trying to avoid one another while we polished our technique before hitting the big lake again in the spring.
Cornucopia Sea Caves
A full day out on the water! This was available for any skill level; we had first timers and others who have been paddling quite a bit. We got to explore the BEAUTIFUL Sea Caves, snack on the beach, swim in Lake Superior, and enjoy an awesome afternoon in the sun!
You've heard of the Apostle Island and you've probably heard how wonderful they are! Well this is true! So why not, paddle out to a remote little island, share a campsite with wildlife, hike to a lighthouse overlooking the lake, and play games around a campfire under a starry sky. That is exactly what S.O.A.P. did during this three day trip!
Devil's Lake, WI
On a beautiful September weekend, SOAP made the trek down state to the best climbing destination of the Midwest. Devil's Lake State Park in Baraboo, Wisconsin is host to 1600 different climbs on magnificent purple quartzite. SOAP participants were led by one of their own for an entire day of top-rope climbing with the sun on their backs and the slick rock at their fingertips. A picturesque landscape of the south bluff made for a perfect lunchtime view from the east side cliffs. The already incredible trip ended the best way possible...with sleeping bags rolled out under a blanket of stars and calm night of fresh fall air.
Superior Hiking Trail
The first of October was a welcoming day of high wind and a heavy chill, but SOAP persevered and enjoyed a night time nature walk on the Superior Hiking Trail. The group hit the path at the Haines Road and Skyline Parkway for about a three mile jaunt. This hike, the first of a few offered throughout the semester, is a great way to experience nature by simply stepping out the back door. Keep an eye out for upcoming hikes, which are free to everyone.
Friday Night Paddle
If you crossed the Bong bridge on the second Friday of October you may have noticed a group of nine bright boats some 120 feet below. SOAP members bundled up and turned on their lights for a calm evening of kayaking around the St. Louis Bay. With brisk air and ducks flying overhead, the group enjoyed the sunset over Spirit Mountain followed by the nightly glow of the city. This paddle was a great way to bring our open water season to a near close.
Canoeing the Brule
As the snow began to fly and the trees stood under a coat of ice, SOAP participants pulled up their wool socks, hopped in canoes and cruised down the Brule river. The group stayed mostly dry and had fun, singing and chatting, all the while taking in the great scenery.
Palisade Head Climbing
After a short drive up the North Shore of Lake Superior, SOAP members were welcomed with a spectacular view of volcanic rock plummeting well over 100 feet down into the deep blue lake. Short glimpses of sunshine warmed the face of Palisade Head, a section of Tettegouche State Park, and made it beg to be climbed. The participants spent the afternoon jamming the crack until frigid fingers put up a fight. Nonetheless, this trip proved the natural beauty this area has to offer.