By: Michael Kravitz & Jack Messerly
All over the globe today, a new batch of Apogee trips are off and running. Whether it be in Central America, Maine, or California, we are thrilled to welcome another promising crew of students into the Apogee family. While it’s just another day for many of us, there are 19 amazing groups of students and leaders out there enjoying the great outdoors and making memories. For the rest of us, we’ll just have to be content with reading the stories and seeing the pictures, living vicariously through our students – something we’ve become very good at these past few weeks…
Cape Cod & the Islands (CI3): Today Grace and Henry’s crew biked to the FARM Institute to learn about sustainable agriculture and harvest chicken eggs. After a day of hanging out with the chickens, the crew headed back to camp for a well-earned dinner. Breakfast for dinner seems appropriate… am I the only one craving scrambled eggs?
Caribbean Service Adventure (CSA3): Sam and Zach’s group spent the day working hard at a local conservatory, digging drainage ditches to protect against soil erosion. It wasn’t all work, however; the group spent the afternoon at a swimming hole and is looking forward to a night of trivia. Trivia, you say? On this date in 1790, the first US consensus was completed – can you guess the country’s population at the time? Correct! It was 3,929,214. (Thanks, http://www.infoplease.com/dayinhistory/)
Vermont to Montreal A (VMA3): The VMA crew made their way north today through Addison County, passing through the quaint town of Middlebury. The most agriculturally productive region of Vermont, the greater Middlebury area is an incredible nexus of farmland, mountains, and the great Lake Champlain, all of which form an incredible landscape. The group is excited about more lake and mountain vistas in the days to come.
Vermont to Montreal B (VMB3): Our Vermonstesr cruised through 22 miles today and are settled in at their beautiful lakeside campground for the evening. Right at the intersection between the flatlands of Addison County and the Green Mountains, the campsite tonight is a truly beautiful spot. Unfortunately, that beauty comes at a price – not enough cell service to send in photos tonight.
Maine’s Downeast Explorer A (DEX3): After meeting up today in Freeport, ME, Jared and Shannon’s DEX3 crew headed up the coast to a beautiful campsite just steps from the beach. After getting acquainted with each other and the camping lifestyle, the group will do a short day hike tomorrow and then continue up the coast for an incredible kayaking adventure.
Costa Rica Language & Service (CRLS3): Our final CRLS group of the summer arrived today in central Costa Rica and made their way to the Spanish school and hostel that they’ll call home for the next few nights. After some get-to-know-you games and an orientation to the Apogee way of life in the tropics, the group had a great first meal together. Excitement is high as the group looks forward to the first day of classes tomorrow.
Tener diversión, amigos! (I can only hope Google Translate accurately translated, “have fun, friends!”)
Coast to Quebec A (CQ2A): Along the Maine coast, it’s wise to take advantage of some of the most beautiful sunrises in the country (in our non-biased opinion). This morning, Emily, Kadin, and co were up at 4:15 AM to take in all the colors over the Atlantic, complete with one of Maine’s most picturesque lighthouses in the foreground. The crew continued to make their way up the coast with their biggest ride of the trip so far. After completing the first half of the 40-mile ride, the group stopped at an art “junk” yard where they perused the hundreds of metal sculptures displayed on the side of the road. They’re feeling accomplished and are happy to rest their legs tomorrow on their community service day.
Coast to Quebec B (CQ2B): It’s Day 4 en route to Quebec City, and Tim and Jess’ group is hitting their stride, completing their second 28-mile ride today, riding along Maine’s beautiful coastline. Afterwards, they checked out one of Maine’s historic lighthouses, where they’ll try their eyes at whale-watching in an area that is known to harbor whales.
California Mountains & Coast (CMC3A & CMC3B): It was a busy day at the San Francisco airport, but we’re pleased to report that Jessi and Nick (CMCB) and Isa and Dave (CMCB) have corralled everyone, and are off to their first destinations. After completing initial safety talks and orientations to outdoor living, Isa and Dave’s crew will head up the coast, while Jessi and Nick will make the drive in-land, towards the giant Sequoia groves.
Montana Service Adventure (MSA2): Anna, Freddy, and co were back on the saddle today, continuing their quest across the Big Sky state. They’re making excellent progress through the plains, enjoying some largely flat and rolling terrain, looking forward to their service projects in the coming days.
Northwest Explorer (NWX2): John and Erinn’s intrepid gang of hikers is taking today to gear up for their five-day stint in the backcountry. Once they enter woods, they will be without cell service (which sadly means no pictures) or many of the amenities of normal life – in other words, it’s the perfect recipe for bonding, with an added bonus of epic mountains.
Pacific Coast A (PC2A): Bonnie and Mike led the way for their gang during a big ride today – nearly 50 miles. It was a big day, but they’ve earned a day-off tomorrow, so we’re excited to hear how they spend their day tomorrow. Sleeping in? An extravagant breakfast? We’ll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, great work today, guys!
Pacific Coast B (PC2B): After an amazing day riding the waves yesterday, Lindsay, Spencer and the crew got back on the saddle and completed a short (but hilly) 29-mile day. Tomorrow they’ve got one of their biggest rides yet – 54 fun-filled miles. They’ve been making amazing time thus far, so we have full confidence in their abilities for tomorrow’s big challenge.
Scottish Highlands Explorer (SHX2): Our Scottish Highland Explorers, led by the fearless Matt and Midge, are feeling “sore but happy” as they conquered a half-marathon (13 miles) of hiking to Glen Nevis today. They loved exploring the old ruins (pictured below) and the incredible views of the mountainous Scottish countryside.
Alps Explorer (AX2): The AX crew started the day with a big climb this morning, followed by their longest descent of the TMB (and thus, their entire trip) into the historic village of Chamonix — the climbing Mecca of the West. If you’ve ever descended 1500+ meters (about 5000 feet) with a fully-weighted pack, you’ll feel for our Alps Explorers’ knees today. Fortunately, Chamonix is an excellent reward, and the group enjoyed exploring the many quaint shops in town before making their way to camp for the night. Oh, and that descent might have been a bit easier given today’s views…
Europe Coast to Coast (ECC): To cap-off their epic European adventure, I’ll let Mia and Tim describe their day: “We took the Vaporetto into Venice proper and wound through tiny alleyways, eating plentiful gelato! We gave everyone kudos as we roamed and even made time for a gondola ride! We finished with dinner on the grand canal and one last scoop of gelato before heading back to the hostel.” After biking across seven countries, these guys earned their share of gelato. Congrats, congrats, congrats ECC!
America Coast to Coast 1 (ACC1): Today the ACC1 group enjoyed a “zero day” that offered some much-needed relaxation. Not too much rest for for the weary though — the group volunteered at a local Boys and Girls Club today, teaching some basic bike maintenance and sharing the story of their incredible adventure with local kids.
America Coast to Coast 2 (ACC2): Dixie and Lucy’s cross-country crew had a smooth 66-mile day today, cruising into camp by 2:30 PM. The ride did included 10-mile climb which the group conquered with aplomb. What had we done by 2:30 today? Well, Apogee’s Instagram recorded 66 likes… that’s just as impressive, right? It’s hard to believe that after tomorrow’s ride, ACC2 will enjoy their last rest day of their epic journey.