Day 28: Thanks a Leap, Chad!

By Shem Dixon

Whew, folks, I must say, I’m not quite sure how Annika does it.  I’ve been asked to volunteer to write the blog again today, marking my first back-to-back blog of the summer (wait, my first back-to-back blog ever) and I’m daunted by the task.  When all else fails, let the pictures do the talking.

Nota bene:  This blog’s title is derived from a phrase our leaders use to express their gratitude to the Apogee office, and our dear Captain Ahab (aka Chad Olcott), in particular.  This gratitude stems from the opportunity to work with amazing young people (your kids!) in stunning locales, all with stellar support from the office!  You will find that some of our leaders, and many of our students, are quite literally jumping for joy! 

[Ed. Note:  Chad here.  First of all, what in heaven's name is a "nota bene?" Second of all, Shem's note fails to mention that "Thanks a heap, Chad!" comes up more often in other contexts - usually when something fails to go according to plan on trip. In fact, I don't think it's ever been used in a non-sarcastic context.... I don't know why or how my co-director, Kevin, has thus far avoided his own "Thanks a heap, Kevin...."  And third of all, the Jumping-Picture-Theme-Blog-Entry has become an annual affair ever since I let slip my aversion to the same jumping pictures several summers ago. Thanks a heap, guys!]

VM:  What better way to end a trip than with some international flair?  That must be the reason why so many of Abby and Reuben’s crew are airborne!


It’s almost like a flip-book…


…but subtle lighting differences indicate…


…that these photos were not taken in sequence!

CMC:  After emerging from the backcountry yesterday, Dylan and Emma’s crew relocated to the beautiful California coast for a day or two of exploring and community service work.

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Half Moon Bay State Beach habitat restoration work.




Duct (Ducks?  No, bats!  Wait, mustaches?) tape bracelets.

CSA:  Something tells me that this jump for joy is more so in celebration of a new friends and a job well done, and not the imminent good-byes CSA finds themselves contemplating.

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Fashion statement or sarcastic photoshoot?  I’ll let you be the judge.

CQA:  CQA found some time to celebrate the beauty that is bicycle touring in Maine.


Four leaf clovers for leaping good luck!


Word is that the gentlemen tried to slackjaw during this jump.  How’d they do?

CQB:  Pete and Sherry’s crew was safely into Dexter hours ago, and made the most of a few extra hours this afternoon!


#AlwaysBeJumping #JumpingForJoy #JumpingForCleanClothes [Ed Note: #putsomeclotheson!]

DEX:  Waking up early for school?  No way!  Waking up early to greet the sun in the first place it beams on American soil?  Of course!

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Is this a mountain-top quaker countdown?


Have you ever seen them so happy at being awake this early?!


MSA:  Chris and Hannah are working their group into biking shape in Montana!  Tomorrow they ride into Helena, where they’ll have their first scheduled a rest day and their first scheduled service project.


Why do those in Montana jump for joy?


For lunch in the shade, of course!

NWX:   John and Izzy’s crew spent today exploring, and also provisioning for their first foray into the backcountry tomorrow.  Not that you could tell from these photos, they already look comfortable in the temperate rain forests of Olympic National Park!


Will we be able to take our trailer into the backcountry?  Nope!  Think twice and pack light.


Bonus: Wildlife Sighting!

PCA:  Matt and Jeanne’s crew is enjoying the best of what Oregon has to offer:


From foggy morning rides…


…to sunny afternoon beaches!  Ahh, you gotta love the Pacific Coast!

PCB:  Service is spotty on the portion of the Oregon coast that Kate and Trevor’s bunch find themselves tonight.  Tomorrow is a short riding day and the town they’ll be in is great for exploring, getting ice cream, and sending blog photos to the office!

AX:  Can you say picturesque?!  Today found AX enjoying glorious sunshine and breathtaking vistas!

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That would be the Matterhorn in the background.  Yodel-ey-hee-hoo!

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Topping off on a little Vitamin D.

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ECCA:  Jeremy and Mia’s group most definitely took advantage of a rest day in Landeck, Austria.

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Sampling some fine cuisine and soaking up the culture.

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ECCB:  Nick, Christine, and their crew also spent some time in Landeck.


Le château de chapeaux.  If only French were the language in Austria, it would be a great play on words!


No students here or below, we include them to give you a sense of the scenery that ECC is pedaling through right now.


ACC1:  Josh and Laura’s riders have been pushing through New Mexico like they’re on a schedule or something.  Rest day today!


Who can guess why ACC1 is jumping for joy?




And lots of it!


ACC2:  Did you feel that?  I think it was the earth moving slightly in response to the combined power of ACC2′s thighs.


I spy a… shadow squid?


When you look good you just know.  Even if the picture is a little blurry…


It looks like ACCB picked up an extra camper while in Roswell.  Reports are that this otherworldly visitor was found in a tent…  Safe, fun, and worthwhile!


Day 27: Reveling in the Details

By Shem Dixon

Lead-in:  I once promised a good friend that I would write a blog dedicated to Apogee’s beloved home state of Maine.  Today, however, is not that day.  No, today we celebrate composition and content – highlighting the subtle aspects of the following photos that draw attention to location, staging, and trip activities.  Suffice to say, I really enjoyed “I-Spy” books when I was younger.  Ahem, who are we kidding?!  I still love ‘um!

VM:  I spy “ARRET,” a red maple leaf, Lake Champlain (at least the northern reaches), and and some very goofy faces!  After crossing the border yesterday, VM will be snuggling into real beds in Montreal tonight!

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The scene at their favorite campsite.


CMC:  I spy loaded packs, a sign saying “Ten Lakes Trailhead,” early morning light, hiking whistles, granite domes, and satisfied smiles.  That must mean CMC was exploring the Yosemite backcountry recently! [Ed. Note:  We heard from Dylan and Emma today - they loved their time in the backcountry!]

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CSA:  I spy “Maine” three times, colonial-era masonry, sunglasses, sandal tans, and the Caribbean Sea. [Ed. Note:  These guys were interviewed on Vieques radio today - they're famous!]


At Vieques fort!


Handing out flyers around town for a play later this week at the history museum.

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CQA:  I spy 14 cycling gloves, not always in pairs, bagels for breakfast, and happy kids, not putting on airs.

IMG950197“Quakering “on Quaker Hill!


CQB:  I spy Penobscot Bay, a beautiful sunset, four ballcaps, and three ducks in a row.

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DEX:  I spy “Sargent Mtn” and another summit selfie, more hiking whistles, blue skies, and a hat with a blue propeller!

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MSA:  I spy nine kids nearly flying, two helmets, the big Montana sky, and a painted shed.  Something tells me MSA enjoyed the playground at last night’s accommodation!

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NWX:  I spy nine ninjas, three light blue socks, mountains peeking through clouds, and a shopping cart.  NWX finding some game time amidst provisioning in Port Angeles.

IMG_0554Nothing says “The Great Outdoors” like the outer reaches of the grocery store parking lot!

PCA:  I spy “Apogee” twice, four pairs of shades, one camera, and a bus-driving man.

photo (8)Loading up for transit to the Oregon coast.

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PCB:  I spy one helmet, three backpacks, one bandanna, and what appears to be a hat for the Oregonian Tin-Man.


AX:  I spy pack covers and rain pants, Alpine torrents, a classic pointing pose, and one seriously awesome conical hat (appearing thrice)!

photo 2 (11)PS – Happy birthday CC!

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ECCA:  I spy Austrian mountains, bovine companions, a bearded grimace, and one sweetly composed panorama.

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ECCB:  I spy an American flag abroad, lakeside eats, and a be-stickered sign post.

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ACC1:  I spy burgeoning bike tans, Apogee-pride, and red, white, and blue patterns galore!


ACC2:  I spy 11 yellow stickers, extra-terrestrial tourists (not likely by bike), New Mexican plains, and historical facts.

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Day 26: All Out and Running

By: Annika Nygren

Day 26: Well, here we are folks, today is the second to last time this summer we will have ALL, yes you heard that right, ALL of our trips out and documented in the blog! With 17 trips on the map (Hello again, PCA & B, MSA, NWX, and AX! – Fare thee well, CI and NEMC!), we are busy here in the office and eager to get this post up! No more dilly-dallying from me, let’s get right to the good stuff!

Cape Cod and the Islands (CI): We were sad to see Emily and Will’s group go this morning as the kiddos were reunited with their parents. These biker-surfer-service-doers conquered the Cape, Martha’s Vineyard AND Nantucket in just eleven days, can you believe it?! IMG_4434

New England Mountains and Coast (NEMC): Dinner at Flatbread Pizza in Portland was amazing and scrumdidiliumptious last night. Here are some shots from Matt and Midge’s group’s final day together yesterday! We’re going to miss these guys and their crazy New England adventures.IMG_2600

IMG_9604.jpgA shot from yesterday’s kayaking!


Check out that Apo swag!

Vermont to Montreal (VM): Oh Canaadaaa! Abby and Reuben’s group are so close to Montreal, but first enjoyed a lovely ride through some rolling farmland today. The leaders and their crowd are already tucked safely into camp and splashing in some waterslides!! Most epic campground to date.

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 9.46.42 AMShe’s up!

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 9.46.28 AM… and then she’s down
Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 9.42.53 AMBlurry.. but everybody is here!

California Mountains and Coast (CMC): Back country chillin’. Emma and Dylan’s hikers are crushing their backpacking portion and we are excited to (finally) get some pictures from them tomorrow!!!

Caribbean Service Adventure (CSA): Transitioning from Cabo Rojo to Vieques today! Lucy and Will’s bandwagon of goofballs are pumped to see another island and stretch out on the sand of more beaches. This afternoon they will be starting their service with Reach For Success, a nonprofit in Vieques.IMG_6457

Coast to Quebec (CQA): Onto Unity! Mary and Mike’s group had an awesome ride today, but we unfortunately did not receive any pictures. All is well and they are into camp making dinner! Mmmmmm. pictures to come tomorrow.PART_1405953924351_IMAG0152-2

Coast to Quebec (CQB): Service work today for Pete and Sherry’s merry bunch! Lots of projects on trail today, including making a water bar so water runs off the trail and removing stumps/ rocks so people don’t trip!IMG_7771My goodness! Check out those clouds and hills… looks pretty nice!



 Maine’s Downeast Explorer (DEX): Hiking in Acadia by day, cooking at camp by night. Marino and Erin’s DEXplorers conquered a big peak this morning and then had some adventures near by at a place called Dear Isle called “Nervous Nellies Jams and Jellies” All of the sculptures were made from salvaged antiques, and the buildings were reconstructed from buildings that were being ripped down in Deer Isle. Cool find, guys!






Montana Service Adventure (MSA): Hannah and Opie are back in business in Bozeman! And with a new crew! IMG_7409

Northwest Explorer (NWX): Back on the grid (at least for a night or two…) we have Izzy and John! NWX1 was a huge hit and we know they won’t disappoint with their new bunch of explorers! Here is (almost) the entire gang!20140721_114213

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Pacific Coast (PCA): Matt and Jeanne welcomed their coasters today.Pics from day one on the bikes to come tomorrow!

Pacific Coast (PCB): Today has been spent gathering the group and preparing the first, of many, dinnertime meals. Kate and Trevor are so excited to meet their new team and start bonding!

Alps Explorer (AX): CC and Jack are gathering their Tour du Mont Blanc-ers today in the land across the Atlantic. The whole gang is snoozing in the shadow of the Matterhorn as we type – first pics should hit tomorrow!

Europe Coast to Coast (ECCA): I spy some American flags on those bike flags! Mia and Jeremy’s group faced a huuge climb today and they conquered it and celebrated with a big downhill! Camp is set up and these biking fiends are fast asleep in their newest country – Austria.Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 3.49.39 PM

Europe Coast to Coast (ECCB): Yes! Lots of photos today! Christine and Nick found a pocket of service and some terrific shots from the last couple of days! Check ‘em out!IMG_5974



Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 3.55.47 PMAnother day… Another country… it’s casual.

America Coast to Coast (ACC1): WOOO, still breezing through New Mexico. Josh and Laura sent us more gorgeous riding shots and the one below is from the swim last night at the Elks after eating a delicious lunch and ice cream all around!!IMG_8962

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America Coast to Coast (ACC2): Woop woop – border crossing!  Hasta, Tejas! Epic selfie today from Sam and Ally’s mile-crushers.IMG_8601

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 2.48.11 PMThe original entering sign had fallen down… 

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 4.31.31 PM…. So they made their own!

I can’t think of a place where Monday’s are more exciting than in the Apogee World! Thanks for sticking around and reading about all the 17 trips. I will be out of the office for the next two days, so get stoked for some sweet guest-blogging! Hasta luego!

Day 25: Scenic Sunday

By: Annika Nygren

Day 25: With some trips wrapping up over the course of the next few days, the office is busy preparing for our next round of trips… many of which start tomorrow!! Can you believe it?! Today’s photos are gorgeous and give a great taste of all the amazing adventures the groups are having, hence why I have dubbed today Scenic Sunday.

Cape Cod and the Islands (CI): Helllloooo Bean Town! After time spent on the water, in the sand, on bike paths and in the saddle, Emily and Will’s group are spending one last day together exploring Boston! After shopping on Newbury Street and checking out Quincy Market, the gang is on their way to Uno’s Pizzeria for their final dinner tonight!

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Couldn’t resist jumping on yet another bike even on their day off!!


Lobster hats: Fashionable? Yes! Functional? Debatable.

IMG_3813New England Mountains and Coast (NEMC): If you thought rafting, kayaking and service was enough.. think again! Matt and Midge’s group are spent the day kayaking off the coast of Maine! Although it may be their last full day together, they are filling it with memories on the water and a final dinner in Portland! Pictures to come tomorrow from today’s activities on the water!

Vermont to Montreal (VM): Boooyahhh border crossing! Abby and Reuben’s group made the jump into Canada today, making the end goal of Montreal feel so close.. which it is! Two more days until they reach the big city. IMG_1259.JPG


California Mountains and Coast (CMC): Into the backcountry they go and onto the Ten Lakes trail. California has not yielded great cell reception but we will definitely have a ton of pictures from Emma and Dylan upon their exit from the backcountry in two days!

Caribbean Service Adventure (CSA): Surf’s up! Surf lessons this morning, picnic lunch on the beach, and then exploring around the city in the afternoon! Another wonderful day in paradise for Lucy and Will’s crew. Transition day on the way tomorrow.

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Coast to Quebec (CQA): Today was a rest day for Mike and Mary’s group. They put minimal mileage on their legs, but got an upper body workout during their service project – digging out invasive plants in organic blueberry fields near Camden. They even got to eat a bunch of these sweet, summary treats! Lucky ducks, those look dee-lish!IMG_0015


Mmmm, fresh Maine blueberries… a summer time delicacy!



Coast to Quebec (CQB): Woop woooop, 40 mile day today! Sherry and Pete’s group had a beautiful ride to Camden and are gearing up for service tomorrow!!

IMG_1767Another shot from last night’s gorgeous view



Maine’s Downeast Explorer (DEX): Woweee, today was the last day on the water for Erin and Marino’s explorers. They’re on their way to Acadia National Park tomorrow for a couple of days of amazing hiking. IMG_8960

Ice cream in Stonington, Maine. Note the statue of the stone cutter – Stonington is famous for its granite.

Europe Coast to Coast (ECCA): Les Alps! The riding is without doubt more challenging these days, but these hill climbers are up for it.  Go team!IMG953707


Europe Coast to Coast (ECCB): Quickly following in ECCA’s tire tracks, Nick and Christine’s group had a lovely ride and caught a glimpse of the mountains they’re going to be climbing over the next few days. They CRUSHED their mileage and are tucked safely into camp for the night. Unfortunately, tonight’s campsite has no WiFi, so no pics today, sorry.

America Coast to Coast (ACC1): Well, safe to say it was a GORGEOUS first full day of riding in New Mexico for Josh and Laura’s crew! Happy to be out of Texas and onto those Rocky Mountains (starting tomorrow!). Tonight’s campground has a pool and everyone is excited to jump into some cool water!Screen Shot 2014-07-20 at 10.11.27 AM



 Here comes the sun!

America Coast to Coast (ACC2): ACC2 is truly riding in style today! Sam and Laura’s group geared up for their final full day in Texas with some pretty sweet “calf tats” and 100s on their arms. A century of riding (100+ miles in one day) never looked so good!IMG_0123


Desolate roads make for interesting photo opportunities. 


Horses running alongside the group today! Too cool.

Happy Sunday everyone! We sadly have two trips leaving this blog ship tomorrow (we miss you already CI and NEMC), but are excited to meet the new members of our family on our MSA2, NWX2, PC2A&B and AX 2.0! In the mean time, I hope everyone continues to enjoy the last few moments of their weekend! Happy almost Monday!