Day 14: Fun Fact: We Love Apogee Summers!

Wow, folks, we have made it to Day 14. And just like that, we are two weeks into our Apogee summer! Today was a day full of adventure and exploration (and unfortunately some goodbyes)! To commemorate the first two weeks of our Apogee summer, we will share fun facts for each trip.

Fun Fact: Apogee Operates Trips Across 10 time zones! 

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Alps Explorer A (AXA)

After a big day of hiking yesterday, AXA enjoyed a day of rest and fun in the vibrant Italian alpine town of Courmayeur. After sleeping in this morning, they explored Courmayeur’s flower-lined streets and beautiful Romanesque churches, and they cooled off with some refreshing gelato. A game of soccer rounded out the day, and the group enjoyed a delicious meal before resting up for more exploration tomorrow. 

Fun Fact! In 1850, the first mountain guiding company in Italy was founded in Courmayeur, earning the village the title of “Italy’s Mountain Climbing Capital”.


Alps Explorer B (AXB)

Reenergized from yesterday’s games, meditation, and croissants, AXB was back on the trail today! They started off by tackling an ascent before reaching a flatter gap-hike section overlooking the gorgeous Val Ferret. They picnicked on the trail with baguettes freshly baked that morning by “Nonna,” the grandmother of the group’s campground hosts in Plampincieux. They then finished out their hiking for the day with another descent and a final ascent to reach their rifugio for the night. There, they enjoyed a multi-course mountain-style Italian dinner before tucking into their bunk beds for a great night’s rest. 

Fun fact: As our hikers completed their 9th day on the Tour de Mont Blanc, we thought you might be interested to learn that Mont Blanc is jointly owned by France and Italy, and is known as Monte Bianco in Italian. 


Caribbean Service Puerto Rico (CSPR)

After a beautiful last night of the trip exploring San Juan, the group parted ways and began their journeys home today. We hope that the service at small farms and community centers, hikes and swims in national forests, delicious Puerto Rican food, goofy games, and much more become wonderful memories for our CSPR students!

Fun fact: Although Puerto Rico is an American territory, it competes as an individual country in the Olympics.


Caribbean Service Virgin Islands (CSVI)

After a fun last day ending in Christiansted, our Caribbean Service Virgin Islands students headed home today. The long travels home will give the group time to reflect on the sea turtle rescues, hikes to the crystal clear ocean, maintenance of tropical trails, snorkeling, and kayaking adventures of the past twelve days.

Fun fact: In the U.S. Virgin Islands, cars drive on the left side of the road. Like in the US, though, the driver’s seat is on the left side of the car. 


Costa Rica Mountains & Coast (CRMC)

After twelve days of adventures through rainforests, mountains, and coastlines and a wonderful final dinner last night, our Costa Rica Mountains and Coast group woke up early to say goodbye to each other. We hope the time they spent riding waves, making tortillas, and spotting sloths, monkeys, and lizards on hikes become memories that make this group smile long after they have left this beautiful country.

Fun fact: Costa Rica is home to 10% of the world’s butterfly species! 

Europe Coast to Coast 1 (ECC1)

After relaxing in Epernay yesterday, our ECC1 group eased into today with a spin along a canal bike path this morning. The afternoon ride involved some rolling hills on rural French roads for a total of 110 kilometers on the day – wowza! They arrived at their campground for the night, which is overlooked by an iconic chateau that the group simply had to explore. They then cooked up a delicious dinner, and rested up for a ride along more pretty farm roads tomorrow!

Fun fact: Our ECC1 group is currently riding through France’s Lorraine region, where the Madeleine (a small sponge cake that’s one of the most well-known French desserts) originated. 

Europe Coast to Coast 2 (ECC2)

ECC2 had a rest day in the town of Epernay, France, where they explored the town together, played a few games of ultimate frisbee, and washed some sweaty clothes. They ended the day with a Thanksgiving dinner and a Secret Santa gift swap: sometimes, some pure holiday spirit is just what you need in the middle of a European summer. 

Fun fact: The town of Epernay, France is best known as the principal trading post for champagne, which is bottled and kept in large cellars built into the chalk rock on which the town is built.

Golden State Adventure (GSA)

Last night’s celebratory dinner was followed by ice cream and chocolate at the flagship Ghirardelli shop in downtown San Francisco. This morning, the group said “peace out!” to each other before heading to airports, transit stations, and pickup spots to return home. We hope our students will look back on their Golden State Adventure with fond memories of the expansive sandy beaches of Point Reyes, the rugged natural beauty of Big Sur, the goofy games played at camp, and the friendships they made along the way. 

Fun fact: The original Ghirardelli shop in San Francisco features the largest flowing chocolate wall in North America! 

Iceland Mountains & Coast (IMC)

The adventures of this Iceland Mountains & Coast crew have come to an end. The group had an amazing twelve days exploring the stunning landscapes throughout their kayak excursions, hikes, and glacier experiences – and the many glorious photos from the past few weeks should prove it! Though the group has departed, the memories they’ve made will last forever!

Fun Fact: There are no mosquitos in Iceland! (Or so we’ve researched.) We’ll have to check with the group to see if this is indeed true!


New England Mountains & Coast (NEMC)

Our NEMC group worked with rock climbing guides today at Cathedral Ledge, one of the most popular climbing spots in the Northeast. The students learned basic rope and climbing skills and challenged themselves with a different style of movement. They had a yummy dinner and dessert and are tucked nicely into bed. Enjoy some pictures of their time on the rocks!

Fun fact: Cathedral Ledge is part of a widespread rock formation that formed about 180 million years ago when molten rock from volcanoes cooled and solidified into stone! 

Northwest Explorer (NWX)

Congrats to our Northwest Explorers, who finished an epic backcountry adventure today! It looks like they had an amazing hike, featuring views of glowing peaks, dips in lakes to cool off, and some very handsome mustaches. This group then headed to Bellingham, where they celebrated their success with a dinner that involved some fresh ingredients that they couldn’t have in the backcountry. The NWXers are excited to explore Bellingham tomorrow after a good night’s rest. 

Fun fact: North Cascades National Park, where our NWXers just did five days in the backcountry, has over 300 glaciers- that’s more than there are in Glacier National Park! 

Pacific Coast (PC)

Our PC crew had another big day today! Everyone was psyched to ride through the forest and to the ocean. There were some big hills to conquer on the way to Mendocino, but the group did it and we are seriously proud of them! This group climbed Leggett Hill today – the highest elevation along the Pacific Coast between Canada and Mexico – and enjoyed some great oceanfront views as a just reward. We can’t wait to see what they are up to tomorrow!

Fun Fact: Mendocino, CA is the only California Coast town designated as a historical landmark!

Vermont to Montreal

The VMers said their goodbyes today! The journey from Vermont to Montreal by bike will surely be remembered. The trip was filled with laughter, adventure, and many friendships. Although the group won’t be together tonight for a round of Apogees and Perigees, we know that they’ll have a lifetime of memories to remind them of their time together.

Fun Fact: Biking as a sport is 150 years old!