Day 28: Can you believe this would be the last day of February?

What do baked beans, treefrogs, square dancing, and western hemlocks have in common? They’re all state or national symbols, of course! As you take a look at what our Apogee groups were up to today, please enjoy some highlights of what some of the symbols are for the places they’re having their adventures in!

Cape Cod & the Islands (CI)

Welcome to Cape Cod! This morning our leaders Meg & Ben kicked off the 3rd Cape Cod & the Islands trip of 2021 and we’re ecstatic. After student pick-up, the CI crew warmed themselves up by cruising four miles on their bikes to their campsite, where they dove into introductions, camp games, and Apogee traditions. Ten days of adventure awaits and the fun has just begun! Did you know that the State Bean of Massachusetts is the Baked Navy Bean? We didn’t either! 

Caribbean Service (CS)

Our CS crew had their last day of service this morning and spent the afternoon relaxing at La Playa Negra for a final beach trip. Look how beautiful that sand is! As the trip comes to a close, we’re so happy that our crew got to call Puerto Rico home for this bit of time. The national symbol of Puerto Rico is the coquí, a 1-inch long treefrog. The coquí is loved in Puerto Rico because just like the island and the people that live there, it’s small, resilient, and has a big voice that will always be heard!

Maine’s Downeast Explorer (DEXA)

Ahhhhh Maine. Beautiful pine forests, rocky coasts, and the schooner Bowdoin, the State Vessel! While DEXA will not be exploring the Arctic in this beast of a boat, they did in fact get to hop into a different type of boat and head into Casco Bay to begin their kayaking trip! Beautiful blue skies and calm water welcomed them as they paddled around the southern coast of the Pine Tree State. They’ll be island camping tonight, so fingers crossed for some clear shooting stars! 

Maine’s Downeast Explorer (DEXB)

Today was a BIG day for DEXB as they accomplished a DOUBLE summit of Mt. Katahdin! Standing at 5,269 ft., Katahdin is the highest mountain in the state of Maine. Speaking of large things: the biggest mammal in Maine is also the State Animal! Can you guess? They can stand up to seven feet tall, weigh over 1,200 pounds and have antlers that can be as large as 6 feet in length. (Hint: it rhymes with goose but not NEARLY as intimidating or elusive.) 

Vermont & Lake Champlain A (VLCA)

VLCA spent the day kayaking on Lake Champlain! They had an amazing day resting their legs and enjoying the water. We wonder if the group spotted any brook trout, the state’s Cold Water Fish!

Spotted: the U.S. Olympic Hydration Team!

Vermont & Lake Champlain B (VLCB)

VLCB had a great day crushing their 26-mile ride to Shelburne. They were greeted by picturesque farmland and open country roads — hopefully on their ride today they were lucky enough to see Vermont’s State Butterfly, the Monarch.

A group game while watching the sunset

Costa Rica Mountains & Coast (CRMC)

POV: You’re a student on CRMC. You finish your lovely desayuno típico with the crew, apply your sunscreen and take to the beach for your snorkeling adventure. You enter the water and your goggles open up to an underwater world full of life! Wait… what’s that? You see a quick flash of blue pass by you. There it is again! The national fish of Costa Rica, the sailfish! Okay, probably not, but our CRMC’ers did have a lovely day exploring the water with their snorkels and admiring the ocean life under the surface!

The crew had an awesome day spotting a mother and baby humpback whale, sea turtles, pufferfish, and many other creatures!

California Mountains & Coast (CMC)

As Crush the sea turtle from ‘Finding Nemo,’ famously said: “Fin, Noggin, DUUUUDE.” CMC woke up bright and early to spend the morning ripping waves in Santa Cruz. After the gnar was most definitely shred, they drove to Half Moon Bay and set up camp for the night. Fun Fact! Where our crew surfed today is a popular spot for California’s State Marine Mammal, the gray whale, which sometimes can be spotted during their yearly 10,000+ mile round trip migration! That’s totally righteous! 

Backcountry photos came in from their most recent excursion!

Golden State Adventure (GSA)

Welcome to the Golden State, Golden State Adventure! Our beloved leaders Amelia & Harrison excitedly welcomed the GSA crew at the world’s most calm and easy-to-navigate airport, LAX! Once all their ducks – I mean students – were in a row, they loaded into their van and headed to Santa Barbara to set up camp. Their first coastal day hike awaits them tomorrow!

Alaska Mountains & Coast A (AKMCA)

Glacier hiking and ice climbing in July? That’s what our awesome AKMCA friends in the far north did today! Besides being known as The Last Frontier, Alaska is also rightfully nicknamed The Glacier State. How cool is that?

Alaska Mountains & Coast B (AKMCB)

AKMCB wrapped up their backcountry adventure today and it was an experience that they’ll truly never forget-me-not (Alaska’s state flower; see what I did there?)! They resupplied and rested for the rest of the day so that they can be energized for their community service and last full day tomorrow.

Northwest Explorer (NWXA)

Howdy, NWXA! Leaders Emma & Tommy were psyched to start their second Northwest Explorer Trip of the summer. They picked up their students in Seattle and then made their way to camp in Manchester State Park. As they explore the wonders that The Evergreen State has to offer over the next 20 days, they’ll be sure to enjoy plenty of delicious and healthy camp meals. Don’t forget to eat your greens! We recommend the Walla Walla sweet onion, Washington’s State Vegetable! 

Northwest Explorer (NWXB)

Imagine you step off the plane in Seattle and you are SO stoked for your adventure with Apogee. You scan the crowd at airport pick-up and see two bright green figures, waving their arms and looking quite excited. Is it a pair of western hemlocks, the State Tree? Heavens no! It’s leaders Jonathan & Emmaline in their snazzy green Apogee shirts waiting to greet you! Once the crew was gathered, they headed north to Mount Vernon to set up camp and start their trip. Woohoo!

Just some van fun while celebrating being a fully vaccinated group!

Pacific Coast (PC)

With both Northwest Explorer trips starting today in Washington, the Apogee PNW party continued with our Pacific Coast trip beginning in Oregon! Leaders, Nellie & Alex, and Support Staff, Ajed, were so excited to meet their students and begin their adventure. After pickups at the Eugene Airport, they square danced*** (aka rode in a bus) over to Winchester Bay for a good night’s rest so that they can be ready for their first ride tomorrow!

***Square dancing is The State Dance of Oregon! 

America Coast to Coast 1 (ACC1)

It’s Day 26 for ACC1 and these champions are stronger than ever. Today they rode a breezy 75 miles under the New Mexico sun to Roswell. Will the crew start repping New Mexico’s State Tie, the Bolo, before they cross into Arizona? We sure hope they do, so stay tuned!

Pit stop to the UFO museum!

America Coast to Coast 2 (ACC2)

It’s Day 24 for ACC2 and you know what that means? 100+ MILER DAY! ACC2 rocketed through their ride to Brownfield, Texas. The State 10k, the Texas Round-Up 10k, has NOTHING on our rock stars and we’re so proud of them. Keep up the stellar work!