Day 20: All Hands On Deck

All but one of our leader pairs are out in the field with students this evening, which is a remarkable occurrence. That is 26 different pairs of leaders leading nearly 250 wonderful kids through 26 different itineraries. A number of those trips are in the early stages of bonding together and becoming the Apogee families that we all know and love; while several more are getting ready to say bittersweet goodbyes. Still others are pushing through the middle of their trips and putting the pedal to the metal (more like the feet to the pedals) and really hitting their stride as they cruise across their respective landmasses. Read on for your daily update!


Maine Coast Junior (MCJ)

Today’s mission was to explore and enjoy the park’s famous carriage roads and the report is: Mission
Accomplished! The carriage roads are famous for being especially designed to blend with the landscape so that horseback riders could enjoy the natural world and not have to worry about traffic. Pedro and Claire’s mighty juniors did just that today – only with metal steeds.

Cape Cod & the Islands (CI)

CI made the bike and ferry journey from Martha’s Vineyard to Nantucket today. With a shorter day, they made it on to Nantucket in the mid afternoon with ample time to enjoy themselves. Word is they are chomping at the bit with excitement to do a full day of exploring Nantucket tomorrow!

New England Mountains & Coast A (NEMCA)

NEMCA was waylaid by the rain today and could not make it up the mountain they had planned to hike. However, we have been assured that they had a rockin’ day full of group bonding, grocery shopping, and a loooooot of soccer.


Colorado’s Rocky Mountains A (CRMA)

CRMA hiked the Twin Sisters for their biggest hike of the trip! They had a wonderful day full of beautiful views of Colorado’s portion of the Rocky Mountain Range. After a nice challenging day today they are looking forward to a fun day of rafting tomorrow.

Colorado’s Rocky Mountains B (CRMB)

CRMB hiked to the top of Flattop Mountain today. Sure, maybe this doesn’t sound like much at first, but when you consider that they gained 2,800 feet in elevation before peaking at 12,324 feet it puts a new perspective on their day –  one of their most challenging of the entire trip. Way to go team!

Caribbean Service (CS)

CS had perhaps one of the cutest days of service in Apogee’s history: grooming puppies at an animal shelter before helping to take adoption pictures with said cuddly puppies. The pictures are one of the single best ways to help the puppies find a forever home. Nicole and Joe’s crew also helped clear and clean an outdoor play space at the shelter. After this fun and fulfilling day who could help but go to bed without a smile on their face. Those puppies sure seemed to love it (featured below).

Maine Coast College Essay (MCCE)

After a week full of thought-provoking essay writing, enchanting group bonding, and exciting adventure activities, these aspiring collegians are celebrating their final evening with a reading and celebratory dinner. They came to write essays, but will leave with much more: memories that may last a lifetime.

Finished essays!

Maine’s Downeast Explorer (DEXA)

These explorers took to the seas off of Stonington today in search of an island to make camp. Past trips have found their time on one of Maine’s isolated islands to be a catalyst for deeper connections with the land and with each other. This is further buttressed by the volunteer work our groups will do with the Maine Island Trail Association while they’re asea. 

Maine’s Downeast Explorer (DEXB)

Eric and Lucia’s kiddos made the foggy hike up Sauveur Mountain in Acadia this morning. Visibility might have been low, but spirits were definitely high as they made it up and down in time to beat the rain. After their morning spot o’ exercise they headed back to Bar Harbor for some urban exploring and good ol’ fashion group bonding before a hearty dinner in camp.

Vermont to Montréal A (VMA)

All reports indicate that VMA had a day of smooth riding today. They said goodbye to one of many beautiful Vermont State Parks this morning and made their way along the winding roads (it’s just an expression, they are not that windy) towards the famous Lake Champlain. They passed through the adorable town of Middlebury along the way to get a taste of what small town Vermont life is like and to say hello to an old friend (the extremely dedicated reader will note that the below-featured giant squirrel statue made it’s way into our first-round blog as well).

Do they not see the giant squirrel about to attack?

Vermont to Montréal B (VMB)

Tess and Liam’s bikers also had a strong day today. Upping the mileage and adding in some hills didn’t deter them from their goal – they have long since pulled into camp a more experienced young troop. They passed through the famously quaint town of Brandon today, and perhaps more exciting, rode through their first bonafide Vermont covered bridge!

Costa Rica Language & Service (CRLS)

CRLS visited Manuel Antonio National Park today – a place unlike most in the world. So accessible, so many beautiful animals, so many different and interesting species of flora. There really isn’t much more for which one could ask. Except for perhaps a sloth sighting… And by gosh if Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio didn’t deliver! See below for photographic proof of a sighting of the ever-elusive and always-adorable three-toed sloth! No trip to Manuel Antonio would be complete without a dip in the sea.

Costa Rica Mountains & Coast (CRMC)

CRMC also went for a stroll through one of the most beautiful parks in the world today – Manuel Antonio National Park. They saw amazing wildlife, the likes of which you can see almost nowhere else and certainly not as readily as you can here. They capped off their visit with a swim in the beautiful Pacific Ocean and some lovely sand art!

California Mountains & Coast (CMCA)

CMCA gave a portion of their day to volunteering with the Empire Food Bank, packaging food for senior citizens and others who were affected by the wildfires in the region over the past year. After a fulfilling day, they are excited to put their feet to work and do some good ol’ fashion hiking tomorrow.

California Mountains & Coast (CMCB)

CMCB paddled ashore today to conclude their kayaking adventure. They’ve now set their sights on the Sierra foothills and are looking forward to hiking adventures yet to come. 

Northwest Explorer (NWXA)

Addie and Clark’s crew is getting ready to say goodbyes tomorrow and spent part of their day exploring Seattle learning about the science of grief at the the Pacific Science Center. Word is they now feel much more prepared to leave each other and rely on their memories to keep them connected as they return to their respective homes.

Northwest Explorer (NWXB)

Emma and Nicholas’s crew spent the day exploring the wonderful city of Seattle, Washington. While their urban adventures provide a different fare compared to the North Cascades, Olympic National Park, or the San Juan Islands, one can only imagine how Pike’s Place Market and the Space Needle helped cement the beauty of the wild and natural places they’ve explored these past three weeks.

Pacific Coast (PCA)

Exploring the glorious city of San Francisco, the light at the end of this beautiful tunnel of redwoods and coastal views, surfing and service, uphills and downhills. These kiddos had one final rest day today – laughs were shared and maybe a couple of tears. They will go home tomorrow having learned about the world and themselves and with friendships to help them remember this experience forever.

Pacific Coast (PCB)

With one final day, Grace and Jack’s pack has learned everything they can about the City By the Bay. After this wonderful day, a final delicious dinner, and one more night with the lullaby of the Pacific, they will have to say goodbye. Luckily, their prizes for finishing this challenging and wonderful journey are the bonds they have formed with each other – and those may never end.

Pyrenees Mountains & Coast (PMC)

Aaaaaaaand they’re off! Their first day of hiking now behind them, PMC rests their heads having made the trek from Espot to begin their journey on the Carros de Foc. Today featured the first of many views of the beautiful mountain lakes that dot the landscape in the Pyrenees. 

Scottish Highlands (SH)

Our Scottish adventurers had smooth stroll today along the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond. They enjoyed some beautiful beaches and even a waterfall along the way before getting into camp nice and early. Dinner’s been had and they’re long abed in preparation for another day on the trails tomorrow.

Alps Explorer (AXA)

AXA spent their day exploring the streets of Geneva before selfie-ing their way to final dinner and goodbyes in anticipation of departures tomorrow.

“We dont want to goooooo!!!”

Alps Explorer (AXB)

AXB spent their morning tidying the Geneva Botanical Garden before exploring Geneva’s exquisite lakefront and tucked-away cobblestone streets, doing their best to stall tomorrow’s early morning and the goodbyes it will bring.

Europe Coast to Coast (ECC)

Yet another border crossing for Miles and Jen’s Euro-riders today. After a short and wonderful stint in Deutschland, they cycled on to the mountainous country of Austria. Having spent the day biking along the beautiful Lac Constance, they are looking forward to a sleeping in the shadow of the Austrian Alps and waking up with no mileage to ride tomorrow (rest day, best day!).

America Coast to Coast (ACC1)

Our ACC1 cohort is moving through Texas. They might be in the Lone Star (pictured below) State, but these cycling stars stick together. Their ride from Whitesboro to Jacksboro today was all of 95 miles, ensuring that they’ve earned the rest day tomorrow that we’re sure they’re all looking forward to.

America Coast to Coast (ACC2)

Aaaahh Texarkana, you have been so good to us, but we must leave you for the lonely roads of the Lone Star State. Luckily these friends are never alone and cruised in Apogee style (as a group) today down the dusty roads of Texas. They laid down a smooth 95 miles, creeping ever closer to that elusive halfway point.