Day 28: Apo Animals

Welcome, and welcome back to some! Today, we decided to take Fun Fact Friday up a notch and present you with a post full of fun facts about the state and national animals that our trips might encounter. There are so many fun names for groups of animals that we didn’t know about, but we won’t spoil that here! Read on to discover what these awesome adventurers are up to and maybe to learn some new things along the way…


New England Mountains & Coast A (NEMCA)

Here we go! It’s arrival day for NEMCA, and these adventurers are ready to go all-in for their trip. After some introductions and name games, this group became fast friends. Maybe they could even call themselves a herd – the term for a group of New Hampshire’s state animal, the white-tailed deer! If they’re lucky, our crew might even spot a herd or two during their upcoming expedition in the White Mountains. Tomorrow, they’ll do some team building on a ropes course before heading for the Whites!

New England Mountains & Coast B (NEMCB)

While it may be a bit hot outside today, that means it’s the perfect day for a trip start! A ride in an air conditioned van, a nice yurt setup in the cool New England forest, name games, tasty snacks…sounds like a pretty charmed life if you ask me! Speaking of, do you know what a group of New Hampshire’s state birds, the purple finch, is called? That’s right, it’s a charm of finches! How lovely is that? Our NEMCB crew is creating their own charm as they get ready to embark on their adventure, starting with a ropes course tomorrow!

Caribbean Service (CS)

Today was CS’s first full day on the beautiful island of Vieques, and they seized every second of it! They started their day working with Sail Relief–a group that has been on Vieques helping the island recover from Hurricane Maria since 2017–on a beach clean-up project. Reports from the field say that the clean-up was described by the group as “snazzy and special”! Something else snazzy and special is that while Puerto Rico doesn’t have an official animal, their unofficial animal is the abundant coqui frog. And one thing our CSers have in common with frogs is that when they’re all together, they could be called an army! After this benevolent battalion breezed through their morning service, they took to the water for an afternoon of snorkeling and exploring the beach. Rumor has it that this essentially perfect day will be capped off with a stargazing session tonight!

Maine’s Downeast Explorer (DEXA)

What’s that up in the clouds? Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Nope, it’s DEXA! These seasoned hikers achieved something truly incredible today: they hiked Mount Katahdin! Katahdin is the highest peak in Maine, and this hearty crew absolutely crushed it. While it was DEXA we spotted up there in the clouds, if they were birds, my money would have been on them being black-capped chickadees, Maine’s state bird! Because of their black mask-like markings on their faces, a group of chickadees is referred to as a banditry – and these DEXers could be too, as they’ll be stealing a rest day tomorrow when they leave Baxter State Park and head for Stonington. They’ll spend the day resting their legs, picking up mail, shopping for food, and basking in the glory of today’s feat. Congratulations on an amazing accomplishment, DEXA!  Stay tuned for pictures from the Katahdin hike when the banditry is back in cell service!

Maine’s Downeast Explorer (DEXB)

Into the backcountry they go! After much preparation and anticipation, DEXB has officially entered the northern Maine backcountry. They loaded up and headed north today to begin their three-day backcountry backpacking adventure in the beautiful and arguably magical Maine wilderness. If they’re lucky, they’ll catch a glimpse of the most magical creature of all – Maine’s state animal, the legendary moose. Like New Hampshire’s white-tailed deer, a group of moose (no, sadly not meese) is referred to as a herd. And if you haven’t already herd, this backcountry section will take our DEXers on the Appalachian Trail, where beauty is abundant but cell service is scarce. We can’t wait to see all of their amazing photos when they emerge!

Vermont to Montreal A (VMA)

It’s a beautiful day to bike through the breathtaking Vermont countryside! (I mean, it always is, but today was particularly perfect.) These seasoned cyclists cruised through 17 miles of riding today to end up in the picturesque island town of Grand Isle, VT. Along the way, they got to take a pretty nifty bike ferry and take in all the sights. Here in the office, we were hopeful that the crew would get to see Vermont’s state animal, the Morgan horse.  We were so hopeful, in fact, that Assistant Director Claudia joined the VMA team for today’s ride! Hopefully, we’ll get some reports from her that they saw many herds of the historic horses. The VMA crew will get some good rest tonight so that they can tackle their longest ride yet tomorrow!

Photo evidence of Claudia’s cameo appearance!

Vermont to Montreal B (VMB)

Here’s a question: What’s better, a day of cycling by Lake Champlain or a day of kayaking on Lake Champlain? Good news – you don’t have to answer that because VMB gets to do both! After riding into Burlington yesterday, the crew put down their bikes and hopped in kayaks for a lovely morning of paddling on the lake. They flew through the water much like Vermont’s state bird, the hermit thrush, flies through the sky! Another question: What do you call a group of thrushes? Luckily, you don’t have to answer this one either, because I’ll happily share this newfound knowledge; a group of thrushes is called a mutation! Who knew? After their morning of soaring along the lake, VMB hit the streets of Burlington to explore the city. They also got a chance to make some phone calls home and get to bed early for their next day of riding tomorrow!


That’s a Vermonster! Yum!


Costa Rica Mountains & Coast (CRMC)

CRMC finally emerged from the rainforest today! After hiking out from RACE, this crew made the journey to the delightful beachside town of Uvita. It’d be hard to compare these hard-working hikers to Costa Rica’s national symbol, the sloth, as they’re anything but lazy and slow! Here’s a fun fact for you: the two-fingered and three-fingered sloths just recently officially became national symbols of Costa Rica in 2021. And an extra fun fact is that a group of sloths is called a bed! How fitting! After arriving in Uvita, CRMC wasted no time slothing around (is that a verb? If not, it is now) and immediately hit the beach for a fun afternoon. They’ll go to bed early tonight so they can spring back into action tomorrow with a day of snorkeling!


Plus, some extra photos from their time at RACE!

California Mountains & Coast (CMC)

You’re not going to believe this, but we’re about to talk about sloths again. No, not Costa Rica’s national symbol, but a sloth of bears! Isn’t it wild that that’s what a group of bears is called?  Don’t worry, though; our CMC crew has been diligently outsmarting and safely avoiding California’s state animal, the California grizzly bear.  Instead of bears, our CMCers encountered a different Californian icon today: the Redwoods! These adventurers conquered a six-mile trek through Big Basin Redwood State Park today and did it with smiles on their faces. Tomorrow, they’ll take on a hike in Big Sur!

Alaska Mountains & Coast A (AKMCA)

AKMCA has officially traded their backpacks for dry bags and embarked on their two-day sea kayaking expedition in Resurrection Bay! They hit the water this morning and explored Seward’s beautiful bay by paddle, and tonight they’ll set up camp on one of its hidden-gem islands. Fingers crossed they’ll get a sighting of Alaska’s state marine mammal, the bowhead whale! Much like our Apogee trips, bowhead whales like to travel in pods. Maybe they’ll join in on the adventure!  Stay tuned for pictures when the AKMCA pod returns from their island home!

Alaska Mountains & Coast B (AKMCB)

After some relaxing and resupplying, AKMCB has headed back into the backcountry! This intrepid crew hiked back into the wilderness of Chugach State Park this morning for an epic three-day backpacking adventure. On their last backcountry outing, the group explored Crow’s Pass, which I suppose should be called Willow Ptarmigan’s Pass, as that’s Alaska’s state bird! (Although I can’t blame them for their naming decision – that would be quite a mouthful!) Like other gamebirds, a group of ptarmigans is called a covey – a cute name for a cute bird! (Seriously, look it up, they look like they’re wearing snow boots and it’s adorable.) Now that they’ve left Crow’s Pass behind, they’ll be taking on the Williwaw Lakes Loop for this backcountry portion. And as you can see below, a little rain never stopped AKMCB!

Alps Explorer A (AXA)

Welcome to the Alps, AXA! It’s arrival day in Zermatt, and this crew couldn’t be more ready to get going on their once-in-a-lifetime hiking adventure. On their first day hike out of Zermatt tomorrow, they’ll hopefully get to see plenty of Switzerland’s unofficial national animals – cows, of course! While they’ll be waiting to see those herds, for now, they can see a different type of horn from their campsite… the Matterhorn!

Alps Explorer B (AXB)

It’s go time, AXB! These new explorers touched down in Zermatt today, where they got to meet their new crew and get pumped up for their upcoming expedition into the Alps. Tomorrow, they’ll begin their journey with their first day hike! While we wish we could send a pack of Switzerland’s national dogs, the Swiss St. Bernard, with them for companionship, we’re more than confident that these adventurers will become fast friends and have each other’s backs the whole way. Stay tuned for photos; we can’t wait to see their smiling faces from the trails tomorrow!

Europe Coast to Coast 1 (ECC1)

It’s getting real for ECC1! Today was their last rest day before they end their trip in Venice. Time really does fly! These road warriors took a day off their bikes today to rest up, welcome their ECC2 friends into Italy, and enjoy the wonderful offerings of the town of Glurns. Reports from the field say the crew enjoyed plenty of authentic Italian gelato, went to a great museum, and overall loved every second of their rest day. Even when they’re not riding, this pack sticks together, much like Italy’s unofficial national animal, the Italian wolf! Tomorrow, the pack will hop back on their bikes to begin their last four days of riding. How awesome is that?

Bring some back for us, please!


Europe Coast to Coast 2 (ECC2)

It’s one thing to be able to say you biked across Europe, but it’s another thing entirely to be able to say you biked through three countries in one day! ECC2 began the morning in Austria, hit Switzerland along the way, and set up camp in Italy. What a day! Hopefully, the crew got to spot a black eagle, Austria’s national animal, before leaving the country behind. Did you know a group of eagles is called a convocation? ECC2 might have already known that, considering how awesome they are. Also awesome was their 48-mile ride today, one of their last riding days before making their final push to Venice after tomorrow’s rest day!

Pyrenees Mountains and Coast (PMC)

Today was Day 3 of Carros de Foc for our PMC crew, and they continued to absolutely crush every mile of it! They conquered eight miles today in preparation for their summit day tomorrow, and they did it with grace and ease – much different than a bull in a china shop, one might say. Speaking of bulls, the bull is the national animal of Spain, and a group of bulls is called a drove! PMC sure drove their legs up those climbs today to end up at a lovely lakeside refugi tonight. Looking good, PMC!