Day 11: Bonjour and Bienvenue!

By: Jack Messerly and Emily Sturtevant

Many of our trips are saying, ‘Welcome!’ today, whether it be to their trip, to the blog, to a new state, or even a new country!

Maine Coast College Essay (MCCE): Hello MCCE, and welcome to the blog! These guys spent the afternoon getting to know each other and familiarizing themselves with their home for the next eight days out on Orr’s Island! We look forward to hearing about their adventures in the beautiful Maine wilderness, as well as their literary adventures as the week continues!

Some of our MCCEer’s en route from the airport with Izzy!
The crew – clean plates from a pasta & red sauce dinner!

New England Mountains and Coast (NEMC): Today we also welcome our NEMC trip to the blog! Leaders Isa and Aaron (aka Pom) traveled down to Boston today to pick up their students and get them ready for their adventure! The group spent the afternoon getting to know each other as they drove up to York, ME. Tomorrow they’ll spend their first full day together working on some fun team-building activities and flying through the air (properly harnessed, of course) on an aerial-adventure course!

Cape Cod & the Islands (CI): Scene: The roar of a Red Sox home run is heard from Fenway Park, a picnic lunch is set on the lush green grass of the Common, a bustling Faneuil Hall and Quincey Markey, and, what’s that smell? Baked beans. This can only mean one thing: our Capers have made it to Boston! What an amazing trip it’s been for this group, capped by a full day tomorrow in Boston to explore. We’re so proud of these guys for all the work they’ve put in these last 11 days!

CI1 - Province CI1 - girls CI1 - boys CI1 - group

Vermont to Montreal (VM): Bonjour et bienvenue à Montréal! It wasn’t easy, but Freddy and Anna’s VM group was more than up for the challenge. They powered through 37 miles (or should I say 60 kilometers?) today to their hostel, and are eagerly anticipating their day off tomorrow to explore the city together. What a huge accomplishment for this entire group; great work, VM! Here’s a few pictures from the last couple of days, which include a border crossing, a bike ferry, and one heck of a sunset!

vm10 vM10 VM10

California Mountains & Coast (CMC): We’re waxing down our surfboards, we can’t wait for [July], we’ll all be gone for the summer, we’re on a surfari to stay, tell the teacher we’re surfin’, surfin’ U.S.A. After hearing the great stories from CMC’s surfing day today in Santa Cruz, all of us here in the office certainly wish we were surfin’ like Californi-a. These beach boys (and girls!) had an awesome morning on the water and an afternoon exploring Santa Cruz.

Hang loose!

Caribbean Service Adventure (CSA): Our CSAer’s put in another huge day of service today cleaning up some beaches in Vieques. While they were there they had the chance to meet Vieques’ Mayor; what an honor! They had another beautiful day today, and we received reports of high spirits and some serious excitement for tonight, when they hit the water for their moon-lit kayaking adventure in one of the brightest bio-luminescent bays in the world. If you weren’t jealous before, you really should be now. We can’t wait to hear stories!


Coast to Quebec A (CQA): For their last day on American soil, CQA hit the white water of the Kennebec River for an epic day of rafting. They thoroughly enjoyed giving their legs a day off after their 55 mile ride yesterday. A full day of paddling was sure to remind them that their quads weren’t the only muscles getting stronger this trip…

cqa raft

Coast to Quebec B (CQB): Our CQBers are truly making a name for themselves in terms of style points, as illustrated by the picture below. They aren’t doing too shabby in terms of mileage, either – 55 big ones today as they move closer and closer to the Canadian border. They crushed their big day today and will be rewarded with an early bed time tonight in Jackman, ME, as well as a rest day tomorrow to white water raft! Great work, CQB, you guys rule!


Maine’s Downeast Explorer A (DEX A): Today our DEXA friends conquered the 5,270 foot monster that is Mount Katahdin, which means, “The Greatest Mountain.” If that’s not epic, I don’t know what is. Katahdin is the tallest mountain in Maine, as well as the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, which this group was hiking just a few days ago. They had a beautiful day to accomplish this feat, and we have the pictures to prove it!

DEX A - Summit DEXA - katadhin DEXA - Girls Summit

Maine’s Downeast Explorer B (DEX B): It looks like Jonathan and Jessi’s DEXers had another perfect weather day on the waters of Isle au Haut Bay. But it wasn’t all play and no work – this crew also put in some volunteering hours with the Maine Island Trail Association, helping to remove trash and debris off of nearby islands. An email update from our leaders was full of exclamation points, and it sounds like the whole group had an absolute blast today; probably related to the pancake breakfast we heard whispers of this morning…

DEXb11 DEXB11 DEXB - Service

Montana Service Adventure (MSA): Hooray MSA! This crew just finished up another big day of biking and the first half of their trip. The group had the pleasure of riding beside the wild horses of Montana through today’s portion of the trip. We are also excited to report that Apogee veteran Garth Franklin (DEX ’12, NEMC ’12, NWX ’13, MSA ’13, ECC Support ’14) met the group and will be joining them until they reach Glacier National Park on Thursday! Tomorrow they will be doing another day of service in the town of Browning before they continue up the road towards the highly anticipated park.

MSA10 msA10
Don’t forget a special birthday surprise!

Northwest Explorer (NWX): Our NWX crew is now two full days into the backcountry and had a six and a half mile hike into their campsite tonight. Though already half way through their trip, this group has so much more to look forward to in their remaining 10 days together, including their next four days enjoying the gorgeous North Cascades National Park. Fortunately for the group, but unfortunately for the blog, one reason that the backcountry is such an enjoyable experience is the fact that they can disconnect from the outside world – which means no blog pictures until they complete their hike. However, Izzy (NWX ’14) describes their campsite tonight as the most beautiful place she’s ever been. So we can expect some amazing pictures in a few days!

Pacific Coast A (PCA): Abby and West’s group took a break from major riding today and spent their halfway-day doing service at Food for People, a non-profit that is working to eliminate hunger and improve the health and well-being of the local community. Today also served as a rest day for the group before they do one of their longest rides tomorrow, a whopping 60 miles!

PCA - Off to Service
A casual ride through the redwoods… [Ed. note – from yesterday]
PC1A - Comm Serv

Pacific Coast B (PCB): Eureka! This crew crossed into this well named town in California earlier today where they will be staying the next two nights. The leaders reported that they had a “Beautiful ride through the park [this morning] with lots of elk spottings.” The group is already halfway to their Golden Gate destination, and will celebrate with a rest and service day tomorrow before they hop back in the saddles to San Fran. Keep on truckin’, PCers!

PCA - Elk Prairie PCA - breakfast

Alps Explorer A (AXA): Noah and Emma’s group had a day off of hiking today where they enjoyed a few extra well-deserved hours of sleep and spent the morning exploring Chamonix. This afternoon these explorers headed to Courmeuyer for the evening and will spend the next couple days hiking some of the most epic sections of the TMB in Italy.


Alps Explorer B (AXB): The AXBer’s left Courmeuyer this morning and completed a tough, but rewarding, hike to a picturesque mountain hut where they’ll enjoy some chocolat chaud and a four-course meal. We also have a few pictures from yesterday when the the group enjoyed an amazing gondola ride and a picnic lunch in the shadows of some snowy peaks.

AXA - Lunch AXA - Mountains AXB - Gandala

Europe Coast to Coast A (ECCA): Bonjour et bienvenue en France! These travelers have crossed back into France and are on their final stretch to Paris and a well deserved rest day. Until then, this crew will be cycling through the North of France and enjoying the pleasures it brings – baguettes and beautiful views!

Europe Coast to Coast B (ECCB): These world travelers have completed another border crossing (which for them means another dance party…) and are now enjoying their time in back in Belgium! Postyn seems to be taking advantage of the local specialties for their break, acquiring all then necessities for a “Big Snack” (AKA getting as many baguettes as he can hold). These rockstars crushed their milage, getting into camp today at 1:30 PM, thereby allowing them plenty of time to explore the city.

Ecc9 ECC9
ECCB - Baguettes
Someone send me there ASAP!
ECCB - riding

America Coast to Coast (ACC): 99 miles of road on the ground, 99 miles of road! Take one down and peddle around, 98 miles of road on the ground! Today the group will do the second longest ride of the entire trip, just one mile short of a century. On this long ride, Mia, Chris, and the crew will say farewell to Alabama and hello to Mississippi, which means they are now one state closer to their destination! Congrats, team – you’re inspirations to us all!

What a happy looking group!