Category Archives: Ski UND

Cross country ski (for FREE with a UND ID card).

4v4 Pond Hockey Champions

After two nights of bitter cold the North Stars emerged as 4v4 Pond Hockey Champions!  Games were played at University Park in conjunction with the Late Night Skate Program put on by the Wellness Center and the Student Wellness Advisory Committee (SWAC)  Thank you to all participants!

North Stars

North Stars

Don’t Forget to Bring Back Your Skis and Skates for Ski UND/Late Night Skate!!!

IMG_9279Don’t forget to bring back your skis and skates from Christmas break! Every year the University of North Dakota holds the Ski UND/Late Night Skate program for students, faculty, and staff throughout the campus. The two events are approaching fast, beginning in January.

Ski UND kicks off Tuesday, January 8th and is open during Wellness Center building hours until Spring Break (or when the snow melts). Late Night Skate will also start in January and will go every weekend until Spring Break (or when the ice melts). There will also be a 4v4 Pond Hockey Tournament taking place on January 25th and 26th (tentative). Any UND student, faculty, or staff can sign up for the tournament, but there will be a maximum of 16 teams.

Most importantly, don’t forget your gear! This is a good time to remind everyone going home for the holidays to bring their skis and skates back to UND before the spring semester begins again in early January.

Tribute to the Health & Wellness Unit employees

This morning the Health & Wellness Unit held an All Staff Training day. This video was played to remind the group of the accomplishments that can happen when we all work together. We are excited to start a new academic year at UND and serving students, faculty and staff!

Did you know?

Meandering along the Turtle River

A few weeks ago I posted about a nice bike ride along the Paul Bunyan State Trail and challenged others to go out in nature by checking out Kelly’s Slough or Turtle River State Park.  Well I took my own advice and decided to go hiking at Turtle River.  It was very much on a whim as I had been sitting on the couch watching the Olympics all weekend, I thought, all those athletes have been working their tails off maybe I could at least go for a walk.

So I grabbed some water and a few other essentials and drove out to the park.  It took all of 30 minutes.  Once there, you are greeted on the left by a nice overview of a wetlands areas with tons of birds flying around.  As you continue along the main road you come to the Visitor’s Center, which you must stop at in order to purchase your vehicle day pass ($5 for the day or $25 for the year for access to ANY North Dakota State Park).  The inside of the Visitor Center is smallish, but well maintained with a nice gift area and an exhibit for Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) displays.  I came to learn that the CCC was an initiative created by President F. Roosevelt during the “New Deal” to create new jobs and promote outdoor recreation and conservation and that Turtle River State Park was one of the first parks constructed by the CCC in North Dakota.  I really wasn’t expecting to learn anything that day, but sure enough I did.

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With this new found knowledge, a map, and some trail suggestions from the nice staff I was ready to get hiking.  A short drive through the park and I was at the trail head.  The trail quickly leads to a bridge that crosses the Turtle River, below me I noticed a few fly fishermen trying their luck at catching one of the many rainbow trout that are stocked in the river.  Once over the bridge, I found a number of different trails going in different directions and very few of them were marked, but they were obviously trails.  It also didn’t help that I managed to leave the map in the car, but regardless I was able to find my way around and found some great trails through the prairie.

I did happen to find a trail down to the river and the man-made dam constructed by the CCC, which then took me to the Interpretive Nature Trail.  Along this trail I found a number of postings about native plants and their many uses.  I honestly had no idea there were so many prairie plants that were edible or could be used for tea and medicine, not that I tried to eat any, but it was interesting to see how ancient peoples and settlers survived in this environment before modern conveniences.

After more wandering I happened upon a trail that went right into the heart of the wooded area and along the Turtle River.  This was the most hilly section of trail that I found, but also the nicest part of the hike.  It was cool in the shade of the forest and green as far as you could see, with birds and squirrels playing around, the sound of the Turtle River, and I even saw three deer, before they saw me and scampered off.  It was wonderful to be in middle of all that and realize that this solitude and experience is only 30 minutes away from Grand Forks!

So with 2 hours of hiking under my belt, I figured it was time to go home.  As I drove through the park and saw all the other park-goers and hikers and campers enjoying the day, I couldn’t help but smile.  All these people were outside and enjoying each others company and the wonders of nature.  They weren’t watching TV or playing video games or shopping or arguing about politics or who was dating who.  They were just being, if only for a little while.  Of course, I still went home and still turned on the TV to watch more of the Olympics, but at least I could look back on my day and say that I did something that made me feel good about myself.  Sometimes that can make all the difference.

Riding with Paul Bunyan

This past weekend, I decided I wanted to get outdoors or go for a bike ride or something.  I wanted to get out of the Grand Forks area, but I also didn’t want to drive 6 hours.  I wanted a day trip.  So after looking at some brochures that I got when I first moved to Grand Forks, I found just what I was looking for, the Paul Bunyan State Trail!

The trail itself is a classic Rails-to-Trails Conservancy project, where old railroad beds are converted into biking and walking trails that can span for miles and miles.  The Paul Bunyan Trail’s first segment opened back in 1988 starting in Brainerd, MN, but recently in 2011 a segment was completed to connect Bemidji State Park to the trail.  That is a total of 112 miles of trails and once completed it should be 120 miles AND connect to the Blue Ox Trail (of course Paul Bunyan would connect to the Blue Ox) that goes all way up to Canada!

So late Friday night I got all of my equipment and food together and prepared to leave early Saturday morning for Bemidji.  After waking up and getting on the road by 7:15am, I was on my way to ride with Paul Bunyan.  The drive was 2 hours (give or take), which may sound like a long drive, but it went surprisingly quick and it was nice to go through some small towns and seen of the neat prairie landscapes that the western part of Minnesota has to offer.  Once I got to Bemidji, I was able to find trail parking fairly easily with the directions I printed out and after changing into my biking gear I was all set to take on the trail.

The plan was to bike from Bemidji to Walker and back.  Unfortunately, I started in the wrong direction, but once I found a map and got on the right trail it was smooth sailing.

The trail is completely paved, so it is great for any type of non-motorized transportation.  I saw people using road bikes, mountain bikes, recreational cruiser bikes, inline skates, and some just walked or ran.  Truly, anyone could use this trail.

As I biked, I got to see the damage from the recent wind storm that passed through the area and noticed a lot of sticks and a few bigger branches on the path, but almost all of the big stuff had been removed so there was no need to get off the bike to climb over a downed tree, except once.  As I pedaled, I went through lush wooded areas of pine trees and even got to see a deer bound across the path in front of me, but I also got great views of lakes, prairie, and quaint little towns along the way.  One town, Laporte, was even setting up for their 4th of July Celebration with a parade through the main street.  There were locals selling crafts and families getting the best viewing spots for the kids.  All in all a neat little town.

So I finally made it to Walker after 30 miles and started back to my car.  As I went along I decided to take it slow and really soak up being out in nature.  I made frequent stops on the way back to take some pictures (or because I was tired, I forgot the exact reason). 

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Once back to my car, I realized that I was tired, but also energized.  I had just traveled 60+ miles by bike through some of Minnesota’s most beautiful state parks and forests and got to see deer, snakes, lakes, and trees the entire way.  I felt truly revitalized.

Even as I drove the 2 hours back to Grand Forks, I thought to myself that people need to be out in nature even if just for a little while.  It allows us gain the balance that many of us are searching for in our life.

So get outside, take a walk in the woods or hike through a prairie.  Go check out Turtle River State Park a mere 30 minutes away from Grand Forks or watch birds at Kelly’s Slough National Wildlife Preserve, which is even closer or ride the Paul Bunyan State Trail.  Regardless of where you go, I am sure you will return energized from the experience and as always be prepared, be safe, and be a good steward out in nature.

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