This amazing man is doing back-breaking work, all to save a little-known trail.

“When I drive into the Badlands, I feel my blood pressure drop. I feel my stress disappear. I feel my worries just vanish."

Sometimes when Nick Ybarra is out clearing the Maah Daah Hey Trail, he just wants to drop his shovel and walk away.

At 144 miles, the Maah Daah Hey in North Dakota is one of the longest single-track trails in America, and it runs through incredible, undulating, wholly unspoiled terrain. It also covers much of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, which is home to the famously beautiful Painted Canyon.

However, despite its unique grandeur, the trail was in danger of disappearing forever — because no one really knew about it. Ybarra was determined to change that.


The manual labor involved in doing that, though, often proves incredibly challenging.

Ybarra preparing to clear trail. All photos via Nature Valley.

“There have been so many days where I’ve almost quit and given up on trying to save this trail," says Ybarra.

It's understandable why he might want to considering the conditions he works under. It can hover past 100 degrees for days at a time in the North Dakota Badlands. Pair that with running out of water, being miles away from your truck, and being the only one out there, and the frustration is palpable.

Sometimes the work pushes him so far past his limit he just breaks down crying.

However, despite those moments, he keeps at it because he fervently believes trails like these need to live on.

Ybarra talking about his love for the trail.

His mission seems more than apropos considering Maah Daah Hey literally means "a place that will be around a long time."

An avid adventurer himself, Ybarra was inspired to save the trail on his first bike ride through it.

He started at dawn and when he hit Devil's Pass, an uncommonly beautiful part of the Badlands, he was overcome by its majesty.

"Standing there, it just cast a spell on me. This was the outdoor experience I yearned for. That ride changed my life," recalls Ybarra.

From that moment on, he was hooked. He knew he had to do all he could to make sure others were able to have the same experience.

The trail at daybreak.

While Ybarra initially cleared much of the trail on his own, the yearly upkeep could not be done without the help of volunteers.

The first group was made up of fellow bikers Ybarra knew who appreciated the trail. More came around when he started Legendary Adventures New Discoveries (L.A.N.D.) — an organization dedicated to helping people experience the Badlands.

And, today, Nick's dedication has inspired people to give over 4,000 hours of their time to maintaining the Maah Daah Hey. Without their tireless efforts, it's likely the trail would've disappeared altogether.

Ybarra mowing the trail.

In the first year of literal trailblazing, Nick and three friends mowed 200 miles of trail — aka the trail forward and backward. When rains washed their work away, they came out and cleared it again.

Their goal was to get the trail established enough to host a 100-mile race, which Ybarra thought was their best shot keeping it around.

"More people need to experience [Maah Daah Hey], so that’s why I decided to host a race," says Ybarra.

One of the initial Maah Daah Hey 100s.

In its first year, the Maah Daah Hey 100 was a free event 40 people participated in. Now it's in its sixth year, and over 430 people signed up to ride. All the funds for the event go right back into the efforts to preserve it the trail.

The Maah Daah Hey 100 as it grew more established.

They've even been able to expand the race to include shorter distance trails so people of all riding levels can participate. There are also challenging options for the more experienced riders.

Ybarra's efforts have reinvigorated the trail in an astonishing way and helped people rediscover just how amazing the outdoors can be.

Not only has he helped bring visitors from all over the world to what was once a virtually unknown trail, he's reintroduced locals to the wonders of the Badlands.

Visitors on horseback forging a river in the Badlands.

Ybarra hopes this labor of love will continue to inspire new adventurers who might've forgotten about the healing power of nature.

“When I drive into the Badlands, I feel my blood pressure drop. I feel my stress disappear. I feel my worries just vanish. I think that’s so important for people today. To just get out and find peace out on a trail somewhere."

A visitor taking in the beauty of the Badlands.

Watch Ybarra's whole journey here:

He's dedicating his life to make sure future generations can enjoy the beauty of nature.

Posted by Upworthy on Tuesday, September 12, 2017
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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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