SOAP has been busy with tons of exciting activities already this year! It is nice to see some new faces in the group and we love having returners come back for more fun. Here are some of the great events we've had and some photos to prove it!
Full Moon Paddle
Who said that finals week some only be about hitting the books, flipping through flashcards and reserving library study rooms? Certainly not SOAP!! Taking a break from all that studying to just relax is also an important part of being successful, and the Superior Outdoor Adventure Program had some students covered on that end.
Seven students joined SOAP on Tuesday May 17th for a beautiful Full Moon Paddle. The group took off from Billings Park and watched as Duluth's city lights came on. They also saw some wildlife, chatted about their summer plans, and braved the rough waters. In the end, it was just what the group needed before returning to campus to review a little more!
Superior Hiking Trail
This was a gorgeous afternoon for a hike. Earlier in the past week the weather had been very poor. There had been scattered thunder storms with sleet and high winds, but for this Tuesday we had a very nice cool sunny afternoon. We hiked a nice part of the Superior Hiking Trail, with the trail head being in Fon Du Lac, which offered a very nice landscape in which to hike through. It was beautiful to start seeing some green showing up on the ground. We took a trail that took us up a hill side where we could see the slopes of Spirit Mountain, which offered a wonderful view of Duluth.
Spring Campus Campout
The tents set up on campus last Saturday night may have caused some confusion, but for those of you who attended SOAP's most successful event this year, you know that it was as natural as can be.
This event was open to hardcore campers as well as beginners. It was just like any other camping adventure. Participants set up tents, ate brats and burgers, roasted marshmallow, played Ultimate Frisbee and sang campfire songs. The weather was not the best the whole time, but nonetheless participants enjoyed a free, fun and convenient campout.
This event will definitely be offered again in the future!
Cardboard Sled Competition
Who says sledding is only for children? Certainly not the Superior Outdoor Adventure Program! In fact, on Saturday March 5th, SOAP took a group of 8 students to the Ridgeview Golf Course for a full afternoon of downhill fun. However, this was not your usual sledding adventure.
The day began with a cardboard sled competition. Participants were given two hours to create a masterpiece using a limited amount of cardboard and one roll of duct tape. The finished products were quite brilliant. There was a toothbrush, a shoe, a coffin, a rocket, and more. Once the creations were all decked out with bright accents, glitter pens and streamers, they were tested. Each person got one run, and each sled was judged based on creativity, functionality, distance, speed and originality. After a tough decision, a winner was announced.
For most students it did not matter if they won or lost, they juts wanted to be outside, and what a perfect day it was! So before the group could return to campus, a super sled had to be made out of all the tubes and left over cardboard. Then, all the students and trip leaders piled on for one heck of a ride.
This trip certainly brought out the creative side of everyone as well as the inner kid!
The SOAP Winter Campout event on February 26th and 27th was an extreme adventure to say the least. Although we stayed near home on the lawn between McCaskill Hall and the Holden Fine Arts building, it felt like the 10 of us were marooned in an arctic wonderland. Throughout the evening we took turns digging our shelter into the snow pile and taking breaks for hot cocoa and Dutch oven cobbler.
Outside temperatures dipped down to -10o but inside our beautiful snow shelter it was 35o! Some participants stayed the entire night and others left for home as they reached the limits of their comfort.
In the morning we skipped breakfast because everyone was ready to go home. A great time was had by all and valuable winter camping skills and experience were gained.
Rock On! 2011
The seventh annual Rock On! Climbing Competition was held on Sunday, January 23rd, 2011 at the NBC Climbing Wall in the Marcovich Wellness Center. 27 individuals participated on 31 routes ranging from beginner to advanced. Climbers were given 4 hours to climb as many routes as they could in an effort to accumulate the most points. The action started at 2pm and concluded at 6pm. When not scaling the wall, climbers were treated to complimentary pizza and refreshments, while enjoying the Packer game. At the end of the day, the following individuals won their division:
Advanced Female Champion: Brittany Kruger
Intermediate Female Champion: Kylie Cochran
Advanced Male Champion: Michael Peterson
Intermediate Male Champion: Travis Kaney
Beginner Male Champion: Shawn Koskie
Advanced Youth Champion: Tanner Smith
Intermediate Youth Champion: Coulter Holden
Beginner Youth Champion: Cedar Holden
Congratulations to this year's winners, and good luck to all who come back and compete next year!
There are few things in life better than tromping through the woods, standing at the base of a lighthouse looking over Lake Superior, or devouring a delicious piece of pie.
On Saturday, February 12th the Superior Outdoor Adventure Program (SOAP) did all of those things. SOAP headed over to Gooseberry Falls State Park to begin their adventurous day.
A group of 8 participants set out for a 6 mile hike along one of the most scenic stretches of the Superior Hiking Trail with a goal set for Split Rock. The group saw some beautiful scenery and enjoyed some delicious homemade cookies. They also saw some wildlife and had fun playing in the snow.
After a few hours of gentle hiking, everyone was ready to just sit and relax, but not before a slight detour to the actual Split Rock Lighthouse. This recognizable tower stands just as beautiful in the winter as it does on a sunny summer day. There were definitely some photos taken here.
The final piece of the day was a stop at world famous Betty's Pies for a yummy pasty and pie combo. The group finally headed home with full stomachs and tired legs. That is what SOAP trips are all about!
As the sun shone in the blue sky on Sunday, January 16, a SOAP group headed over to Two Harbors to experience life as a sled dog handler. The afternoon consisted of more that just a little trot around the yard; it included feeding and playing with the puppies, harnessing up the race dogs and running a team through the beautiful north woods. The participants got a hands on experience from the very informative and friendly instructors from Ten Squared Racing. The participant's expectations were exceeded and their bellies were full after a late stop at the world famous Betty's Pies. What a way to enjoy what the area has to offer!
Pattison State Park
SOAP began this hike along the Black River, where participants learned about the geographical history and the Ojibwe who inhabited the area. SOAP then followed the Civilian Conservation Corps trail to Little Manitou Falls and looped around to Big Manitou Falls. Hiking at night, stargazing and listening to the calm rush of unseen water made this hiking trip truly unique!
As a group, SOAP faced a challenging weekend. There were a lot of uncontrollable factors that had to be dealt with. Regardless, SOAP took a group to experience the beautiful Apostle Islands the way they should be, by kayak. This two day trip included a paddle down the west channel with a blue sky above, a chilly swim in Little Sand Bay, and a talent show which caused plenty of laughter. The participants commented that "it was not the trip they expected" but "even better!"
Point of Rocks Climbing Adventure
This trip consisted of a training session where participants learned how to set up a top rope system for rock climbing. It is a great location to learn these techniques because the site doesn't lend itself to a lot of easy to find anchor points, in which case the participants had to take their time and ask questions about what they were doing. The instructor, Dane Rasmussen (SOAP Intern), double checked all of the anchor points before the participants had the opportunity to climb.
The rock climbing at this crag has a variety of routes which was great considering the participants all were of different skill levels. Also, rock climbing in the middle of Duluth with a great view of the lake from the top of the cliff and cars whizzing by on the nearby I-35, was pretty sweet.
SOAP encourages people to get outside and enjoy what this area has to offer. To do this, SOAP offered free kayaking nights and free bike rides all summer and fall. It was a way for students, faculty, staff and community members to try a new sport, to meet new people or to explore a local treasure. These events were always a good, healthy, fun way to spend an evening.
Pokegama Bay Paddle
The twin ports area is a beautiful region and has so much to offer returning and new students alike. SOAP took advantage of this and took a group to explore the gorgeous Pokegama Bay. Enger Tower, Spirit Mountain, and the Superior Municipal Forest could be easily seen and described. It was a great chance for people to meet new faces and discover new places while out on the water.
Family Day Paddle
As September came to an end, SOAP took a big group out for a full day of family fun paddling the Nemadji River. Beavers were seen ahead of the group, songs were sung, and smiles were present on most faces. This paddle was a great way to connect family life with campus life!
Hiking the Superior Hiking Trail
This was the largest group of participants SOAP has ever had for a Thursday night local hike, and they all got to enjoy a beautiful night! Not only was it warm, but the leaves were in their peak color. Quite a few pictures were taken and plenty of stories were told during their 4 mile trek past Enger Tower overlooking the Duluth/Superior area.
Full Moon Paddle
What a beautiful, bright, full moon! The evening was a little brisk, but otherwise perfect. The skies were clear, and the city lights speckled the hillside wonderfully. A group of SOAP kayakers bundled up and took it all in.
Three School Paddle
Ice on the boats and chilled fingers, could not keep SOAP from taking part in this final paddle of the year. It was the first time in over ten years that UWS, UMD, and St. Scholastica organized a collaborative event for their outdoor programs. This was a fabulous way of pulling these schools together, and was the first step toward future Twin Port events.
Ely's Peak Climbing Trip
On a chilly morning in the Northland SOAP staff set up routes at Ely's Peak that were rated between 5.6 and 5.8. The sun came around and warmed things up just before noon as we enjoyed a hot lunch of tortellini, sauce, tortillas, peanut butter, and jelly. After lunch we shifted over to another near by 5.8 climb where we finished out the afternoon. Unseasonably fantastic weather cemented an exquisite climbing experience for climbers and gave SOAP a stellar signoff to the climbing season.
Walking around in 10 degree weather, standing around a campfire and enjoying a clear night, is exactly what SOAP is about. You add a few free Marshmallow and Santa, and you have Bentleyville. That is why SOAP decided to go to Bentleyville for the first time this year and what a fun time it was. Four students from UWS headed across the bridge for this unique display. One student loved the sight of a ship passing under the draw bridge at night, while another enjoyed the endless amount of hot cocoa. Everyone agreed that the lights and music experienced in this two hour event really put them in the holiday mood.