Day 27: ApoNiche

By Morgan Pratt

This morning as I walked to work down Brunswick’s bustling Maine Street, I noticed that almost every person I saw on the street was ‘gathered’ in one way or another. In the Little Dog Coffee Shop, people were sitting together around tables together having breakfast. Families walked into Frosty’s, the local doughnut shop, to grab a tasty Monday morning treat. I saw a group of runners going for a jog, running side by side. Everywhere I looked, there were niches. So when I got to the office and started to write the blog, I had one question on my mind: What does a niche look like for an Apogee trip? To give a quick dictionary definition, a niche is “a position or activity that particularly suits somebody’s talents and personality or that somebody can make his or her own.” (Urban Dictionary, 2017). Working under this definition, we will use today’s blog to explore the different niches our trips have found themselves in around the world. 


Maine Coast Junior (MCJ)

The members of Maine Coast Junior found their niche today in Acadia National Park and beautiful Bar Harbor! They followed a morning hike with an afternoon exploring the quintessential Maine town. One more day in Acadia tomorrow: what will it bring? Biking, perhaps?

Cape Cod & the Islands (CI)

The niche for Cape Cod & the Islands was found in the bustling metropolis of Boston today! They said goodbye to their bikes and took to the streets to explore the city and (hopefully) find souvenirs for their parents. A final meal out in the city to celebrate a trip well done before a final Apogees and Perigees circle rounded out their evening.

Colorado’s Rocky Mountains A (CRMA)

The niche for CRMA was found today in new faces and big smiles at the Denver airport. They wasted no time in Denver and took to the hills as soon as they could. Can’t wait to see what this trip holds for another lucky group of CRMers!

Colorado’s Rocky Mountains B (CRMB)

In a similar turn of events, CRMB had a day of new introductions as well, as Parker and Stella gathered everyone and welcomed the group to Colorado! They found their niche at the top of Berthoud Pass as featured in the first of what we hope to be many stunning blog photos below.

Caribbean Service (CS)

Caribbean Service has, if the title doesn’t give it away, found their niche in helping others. They spent part of their day cleaning up the Caracas beach area and it looks like they had a blast doing it!

Maine Coast College Essay (MCCE)

These writers took a break from their writing niche in the below-pictured yurt to paddle Maine’s coast this afternoon! They spent the afternoon off of Orrs island, gaining a different perspective of their surroundings and perhaps applying a similar concept to the essays they’re beginning to craft.

Maine Coast Photo (MCP)

Maine Coast Photo found their niche in the swoops and swirls of Pemaquid Point’s craggy coast. Today was their first day working with Apogee’s master photography instructor. It looks to me like Pedro and Claire took those lessons to heart, too – look at the great blog photos we got from them today!

Maine’s Downeast Explorer (DEXA)

Baxter State Park proved to be the niche for this DEXA group as they made it out of the backcountry today! They drove through the front-country long enough to send us some blog photos and partake in some well-deserved ice cream and treats. They’re back in Baxter now and planning their hike of Katahdin tomorrow. All in all, it was a busy day in the niche of Bax SP!

Maine’s Downeast Explorer (DEXB)

DEXB found their niche in the sea! They took to the water today and paddled their sea kayaks to the first of several island campsites. It was a change of pace for these natural hikers, but they took it in stride and seem to have had a wonderful day giving their weary traveler legs a well-deserved rest.

Vermont to Montréal A (VMA)

Today is the day! VMA found their niche in the great city of Montreal, finally making it to their ultimate destination! They rode 37 miles, but not before taking a quick break to stop for some croissants and nutella at a scenic gazebo. Congrats, VMA!

Vermont to Montréal B (VMB)

VMB discovered their own niche atop a bridge crossing the mighty St. Lawrence River – their final hurdle to clear before arriving in majestic Montreal. Are they flexing to show how strong they’ve become on their trip or cheering at having real beds to sleep in again tonight?

Costa Rica Language & Service (CRLS)

The CRLS crew completed 4 hours of Spanish class this morning to get a jump-start on the language portion of their trip! Outside the classroom, they found a niche at a spectacular waterfall known as Auquiatis they visited as part of a day hike.

Costa Rica Mountains & Coast (CRMC)

It was another day of transit for CRMC, but their real niche was not found in the van!! Instead, it was discovered in Uvita as they explored the town of Bahia. They got to shop around and discovered some amazing waterfalls! Before that, they found their niche in the rainforest helping plant their eco-lodge’s garden.

California Mountains & Coast (CMCA)

CMCA took a break from the hiking and back country to spend some time in the surf today! They made it to the coast and found their niche in the waves off of Santa Cruz. Totally tubular!! Another awesome day in the books.

Learning the basics on dry land.
Wet suits on and ready to go!


California Mountains & Coast (CMCB)

The students of CMCB also took to the sea and traded their hiking boots for surfboards as they found their niches in the barrels of the mighty Pacific. It was an active and action-packed day – look at all those happy faces!

Northwest Explorer (NWXA)

Olympic National Park! ‘Nuff said! These travelers spent the first part of their day in transit to the park… meaning that they were very excited to stretch their legs on Hurricane Ridge after setting up camp. Their toes found niches in their hiking boots as they got adjusted to life on the trail!! Can’t wait to see some amazing blog pics from this group as the trip continues!

Northwest Explorer (NWXB)

These fine folks found their niche in North Cascades National Park today on their first official day hike! Word is they also spent some of their transit time playing more get-to-know-you games and bonding over their expectations for the next three weeks.

Pacific Coast (PCA)

The riding has begun! PCA found their new niches in their bike saddles as they rode 31 miles and made their first meaningful self-powered headway towards San Francisco! The scenery of the ride was far above average and they stopped to get some GREAT blog photos which are featured below! Great first day for PCA!

Pacific Coast (PCB)

Pacific Coast B rode 25 miles on their first day, straight crushing the game! They found their niche on the side of the road when the whole crew stopped to fix their first flat tire of the trip! They had the presence of mind to immortalize the moment with a incredible blog pic, too. Great work, team!

Pyrenees Mountains & Coast (PMC)

The last day of hiking for these PMCers! It is an incredible thing to experience Europe in the way that these students have, and we can confirm that the leaders feel each one of them has found a niche in the mountains they have been traveling through. They had a great day, which unfortunately did not bring any blog pics, but we are holding out for tomorrow and their return to Barcelona!

Scottish Highlands (SH)

It was a very ‘Happy Trails’ vibe for these Scottish Highlanders as they said goodbye to the moors of Scotland and hello to the city of Edinburgh! They settled into at their hostel before heading out on the town for a dinner of fish and chips, the niche meal of Sean’s and Isa’s crew if ever there was one.

Alps Explorer (AXA)

Today was the first day of hiking for these AXAers!! They did a day hike in Zermatt and found an amazing niche on…. a trampoline?! NO WAY! With a magnificent view of Matterhorn to boot (Get it? Hiking boots…). Not a bad first day, if I do say so myself. 

Matterhorn with the photo bomb!!!
Ao jealous

Alps Explorer (AXB)

AXB also had a fabulous first day of hiking as they explored Zermatt and got familiar with the surrounding area! Their niche was found at the top of their Rifflealp hike, historically a fan favorite for Alps Explorer alumni. WOWZA!

Europe Coast to Coast (ECC)

ECC had a wonderful day! Many sights were seen and kilometers ridden (73 to be exact). They’re closing in on their final day of riding and continue to find new niches in the mountains they crest. Keep on keeping on, ECC!!

Thank you Sam Carey for the wonderful blog picture!!

America Coast to Coast (ACC1)

Here is a sample of quotes from past leaders about the ride which ACC1 did today. “This is a PHENOMENAL day.” “Really really stunning day.” “Most beautiful day EVER! Spectacular.” So, in case you haven’t picked up on the trend already, today was a gorgeous day for this team of students. They enjoyed their New Mexico niche as it did indeed live up to the expectations!

Look at those bike short tan lines!! Impressive!

America Coast to Coast (ACC2)

A final Texas sunrise

ACC2 had a ‘short’ day of 62 miles to Tatum, New Mexico. They were in camp early and got to relax and chill at their accommodation! Each student found their own niche either on the basketball court, in the pool, or at some of the other amenities that they were privy to on this day. GOODBYE, TEXAS!!! HELLO, NEW MEXICO!!!