Day 15 – Pyramids All Around – Sort Of

Bonjour, mes amis!  Chad here.  With two groups in Quebec province and another in Montreal (plus one in Italy – which is awfully close to France…), a French greeting felt appropriate tonight.  And besides, Bastille Day is only two days away!  It’s another beautiful summer day up here – I hope the same is true for you.  OK, pleasantries aside, let’s see how the Wide World of Apogee is looking.

In the DNSAP (Did Not Send a Picture) category, tonight we have:

CMC: By the time we went to press, we had not received a picture from Jillian and Tim.  These guys emerged from the woods today, but they had a long way to go before they were in cell phone territory.  To any anxious parents, believe me, no news is most decidedly good news!  We’ll update today’s blog with any pictures we receive later tonight.

MSA: Calling from a lonely payphone on the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains, Josh informed me this afternoon that they are doing phenomenally.  They wrapped up three very successful days of service this afternoon and capped it off with a group hike through Glacier.  Everyone is looking forward to tackling the beautiful, if challenging, Going to the Sun road tomorrow – they should have perfect riding conditions for their ride over the Continental Divide.

NEMC: It’s heavy hearts all around tonight as our NEMCers are, as I type, on their way down to their last dinner together in Portland’s Old Port.  Sure, the dinner will be good, the ice cream sweet, and the Apogee t-shirts donned with enthusiasm, but it is the group’s last night together after an adventure that has taken them from high peaks, to rushing rivers, to forest trails, and to calm ocean inlets.  Eyes are likely to be misty and tears may even be shed!  Hyperbole aside, the gang had a fantastic time on the water today – you can see the photographic evidence below.

CQA: Early this morning, Sam’s indomitable partner-in-crime, Ally, put out a call for “Pyramid Pictures.”  We had only a few takers – but Nick and Susie’s group, way up in rural Quebec nobly heeded the call.  These guys hit Quebec City tomorrow!

CQB: Also headed for Quebec City tomorrow are Mia and Alex’s group – they sent in this shot from their early morning border crossing.  I think you’ll agree that the bushes in the foreground is a nice touch of perspective.  That said, it’s from awfully far away!

VM: And also north of the border, but now in teeming Montreal, our Vermonsters are loving life as urban explorers.  As with our NEMC group, this is their last night together – it’s another plate of patate frite and “au revoir!” before their last van ride back to the States tomorrow.

DEX: And I’m delighted to say that our DEXsters have made it out of the woods.  Kelly reports that the group had an amazing time on the backcountry portion of their trip, but are appreciating what’s it’s like to hike without a full pack!  Tomorrow, weather permitting, they’ll tackle Mount Katahdin, the highest mountain in Maine and one of the most majestic anywhere.

CSA: This is a picture of what happens when you combine a three-hour transit to the opposite side of Puerto Rico with a late night out at the festival of the patron saint of Vieques and many days of service and sunshine.  Mason and Maddie’s crew are setting up shop tonight in their new hillside digs near Cabo Rojo, PR – complete with a beautiful view of the sunset into the Caribbean Sea.  They’ll be working with the National Wildlife Refuge and the Salvation Army over the next couple of days, but saving time for surfing with one of Puerto Rico’s best, and most personable instructors, on Sunday.

PCA: Well, here’s a nice place for a pyramid picture.  Looks like a pretty fantastic day on the Pacific Coast!  In addition to forming kid pyramids in spectacular settings, McKayla and Micah’s group also did a fantastic job building a fence with one of the local parks as part of their service project.  Nicely done – art and service – that’s they way we do it around here, people.

PCB: Also getting the memo about pyramids, but picking a decidedly more banal setting, Hannah and Shem’s group climbed the nastiest mountain of the trip today with aplomb!

TSA: Making up for yesterday’s lack of pictures, Laura and Pat sent in some gems today.  I heard from Laura directly today, the group is (and this is not surprising) absolutely loving their time at the Spannocchia Estate.  Staying in a 13th-century villa isn’t hard to like, particularly when it is accompanied by a five-course, Big Night-style Tuscan feast.  You’ll see the group below on the villa’s parapets, checking out the view over the vineyards, mid-way through dinner last night, and finally, enjoying a fine vintage (of water) on the lawn.  It’s back to food cooked over camp stoves tomorrow night, though, as they make their final push over the next few days towards the Mediterranean coast and Rome beyond.



ACCA: Our beloved hosts in El Dorado, the Wall family, and Betty Wall, in particular, hooked some of our lads up with knit caps.  Fashionable and good for those cool nights in the mountains!  David and Anna’s group has loved their time on the ranch but it’s back on the bikes tomorrow for these guys as they’ll be making like bandits for the Texas border.

ACC2: Just a bit to the east, Mike and Danika’s group had a rainy ride over the mighty Mississippi – which is certainly one of the great waypoints on this epic journey.  And sure they rode 90 miles today, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t send in a super sweet pyramid picture!