May 5, 2006

Superior Hiking Trail

Superior Hiking Trail / Martancik

If you want a vacation, all you have to do is step off campus. You don’t even need a car. The Superior Hiking Trail runs from Duluth to Canada. The 205-mile footpath can take you on a vigorous, challenging adventure, or a relaxing, outdoor getaway. According to Kris McNeal, experienced backpacker and second-year student at UMD, the key to a good trip is planning, planning, planning.
“You have to plan for emergencies, you have to plan for weather, you have to know how to survive,? says McNeal, who swears by the U.S. Army Survival Guide Book.
“I’ve read it like eight times,? he says, “I live by that book.?
Most college age kids who are setting out on a North Shore backpacking trip will not need this book, but McNeal has some good advice for beginning and more experienced backpackers as well.
First of all, you need a backpack. Not just any old backpack, but a backpacking backpack. According to McNeal, the longer your trip is, the bigger your backpack should be.
Most backpacks come with a waterproof covering to protect your pack from rain and dew. If your pack gets wet it will take a very long time to dry and will become extremely heavy, not to mention get your clothes and/or food wet. McNeal just brings along a huge garbage bag to throw over his pack at night and when it rains.
The nice thing about backpacking is that your backpack gets lighter as you eat the food you’ve brought. In the summer time, all your food has to be ‘just add water’.
“If I’m bringing macaroni and cheese, I take it out of the box and put it in a plastic bag,? says Kris. You have to be able to pack all your trash back up and keep it compact.
“You leave no trace on the trail,? says McNeal. Keeping track of your trash is a big thing in any park. They ask you to leave the campsite in better condition than you found it. It’s also a good idea to scatter or bury the ashes from your fire.
According to, Backpacker Magazine named Superior Hiking Trail the trail with the “best trail/campsite/shelter conditions.? The Superior Hiking Trail Association (SHTA) is a Minnesota non-profit corporation. Their purpose is to complete, preserve, and promote the trail. There are crews that go onto the trail every season to repair signage, fix bridges, and make sure the trail is up to par.
McNeal brings along an 8 ounce backpacking stove, which can boil water in 1 to 2 minutes. You can also cook food on it. The SHTA also recommends using a stove rather than a fire. They are more reliable and easier to clean up.
“Almost all the campsites on the trail are next to water,? says McNeal, “But you have to boil it or use iodine tablets, or a backpacking filter pump.?
The water has impurities and bacteria which can make you very sick if you don’t filter them out.
Preserving the lake water is also a very big deal. SHTA asks that you only use biodegradable soap when backpacking. Even with this, you shouldn’t ever bathe or wash dishes directly in the lake or river. You must pour your dirty dish and/or bathwater out at least 100 feet from the water source. If you can, try to not use soap at all. Bring a washcloth and a dish scrubber and you’ll be fine with just water.
You must have the right gear and clothing to get you through. Although days can be very hot, the nights in Northern Minnesota are still very cold.
“You could probably get away with a 30-40 degree sleeping bag,? says McNeal. “Some people bring long underwear but I just wear pants.?
Most days you can wear shorts and a t-shirt, but make sure you have warmer clothes available if weather changes. An absolute must, however is raingear. Most raingear comes in sets and you can compact it into one little pouch for easy packing.
The Superior Hiking Trail is mostly ridge hiking, so there are cliffs and you’re going up and down on rocks. You’ll want hiking shoes. McNeal recommends shoes made with Gortex, which is breathable and waterproof. There are people who simply backpack in their tennis shoes. If you do this, be sure that they are very comfortable and have good traction.
There are 81 designated campsites on The Superior Hiking Trail, all of which are free and require no reservations or permits. First come, first use. Gooseberry State Park and most other state parks have camping fees. The trail crosses quite a bit of private and state park land so you can only camp at the designated sites.
There are a bunch of small items you must not forget. A knife; you never know where this will come in handy. A lighter or two, and matches to start fires. You definitely need some sturdy rope. The food has to be hung in a tree, four feet out and ten feet up, at least. That way the animals can’t get it. A waterproof tarp for the tent is a necessity. It can start storming in the middle of the night and you have to wake up and tie it on.
Superior Hiking Trail can be whatever you make it. McNeal likes to push his limits and cover as much ground as he can in one day. Other people enjoy getting to know their campsite and the woods around it for two or three nights.
According to McNeal the best part about backpacking is the people that you meet on the trail and at campsites.
“Most of the people that go backpacking are really free spirited and they have really cool stories,? he says. You can learn a lot just sitting around the campfire.

April 21, 2006

Susana Pelayo-Woodward

Martancik / Pelayo -Woodward

Her Mexican heritage hangs on the walls in pictures of Frida Kahlo, rests on her bookshelves in books about strong Latino women, and sits on her desk in the pictures of her family.
There are stacks and stacks of papers and packets and important-looking things scattered all over the place – indicative of the many roles she takes on in her life. On top being a mother of two boys, Susana Pelayo-Woodward is the director of Latino Chicano Student Services at UMD, she coordinates the UMD Multicultural Center, and oversees WRAC, a women’s organization, also at UMD.

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February 15, 2006

eating disorders

Eating Disorders

Satellite television first became available to the island nation of Fiji in 1996, followed by a reported 15 percent of teenage girls suffering from anorexia nervosa. According to Dr. Mitzi Doane, an associate professor of Psychology at the University of Minnesota Duluth, prior to 1996, eating disorders of any kind were unheard of in Fiji.
Doane gave a presentation on eating disorders Tuesday. Every month the UMD Medical School puts on “Doc Talks? where doctors speak to the public about various current medical issues. Doane has worked with eating disorders since the 1970s.
Doane said instances of anorexia have doubled since 1985 and instances of bulimia have tripled. She blames the media and western society’s definition of beauty as ‘thin’.
In Japan, eating disorders have become “the most significant problem in female teens.? Doane said that Japanese culture mimics American culture to a great degree, especially in the entertainment industry.
Research indicates that 1 percent of adolescents in the United States have anorexia and 8 percent of female college students have bulimia. Doane said that this number increases quite a bit on the east coast, California, and Florida. These are the coastal states and the beach is the place to be seen. Prevalence of anorexia in France is as high as 5.7 percent, where the culture is dominated by high fashion and trend.
Anorexia does not only affect young women. Essence Magazine put out a survey to its readers dealing with eating disorders. They received an overwhelming 80 percent response rate. 1 out of every 250 heterosexual males reported suffering from anorexia, most ages 15 to 30. The rates were even higher for reports of bulimia. Doane said that for homosexual male respondents, these figures skyrocketed. 14 percent reported anorexia and 20 percent reported bulimia.
“Gay men get thrown into the same meat market mentality that women deal with,? said Doane. “In our culture, they don’t care about your SAT score, or if you’re going to be suma cum lade, but they sure care about your physical appearance.?
According to Doane it starts at a very young age with GI Joes and Barbie Dolls. These unrealistic images are “what we give our little girls and boys to play with.? Doane said it’s also present in any popular videogame today.
“Pay attention to what’s going on in television,? said Doane. It’s not just on the tube; it’s in print as well. “37 percent of articles in leading teen girl magazines include a focus on appearance,? said Doane. An even larger percent of advertisements used ‘beauty’ to sell products.
The average American woman is 5’4? and weighs 145 lbs. The average supermodel is 5’11? and weighs 117 lbs. “In 1980 the lowest size was 4!? exclaimed Doane, getting worked up while discussing the size double zero that is now available for women’s clothing.
“We need to start teaching our kids how to be media savvy,? prescribed Doane for the anorexia and bulimia epidemic. “The more they can convince you that you’re not okay, the more money they can make.?