Day 38: Outside the Comfort Zone

Comfort zone: a place or situation where one feels safe or at ease and without stress

Sounds nice, right? A blissful state of contentedness. Sure, a comfort zone is, as the name would imply, comfortable. But we, here at Apogee, have found that the most rewarding and fulfilling growth takes place outside of this realm, which is why our itineraries are designed to include achievable challenges – ones that, by their very nature, will push students to stretch beyond familiar experiences. However, with a little bravery, determination, and the support of their new friends and leaders, this stretch is worth every minute of discomfort. Today’s blog is dedicated to the students who stepped outside of their comfort zone today, no matter how small or large their stride.


Cape Cod & the Islands (CI)

CI spent today cruising a nice and easy 13 miles. This bunch of bikers even made a quick pitstop in Orleans along the way – just look at those sunny smiles! They’re gearing up for tomorrow, when they’ll be dropping their wheels and hitting the waves for a gnarly surf sesh – hang loose, dudes!

New England Mountains & Coast A (NEMCA)

It has been quite a journey for our NEMCA group. From flying high on the ropes course to hiking high in the White Mountains, this group has pushed themselves far beyond their comfort zones over the course of the last 9 days. This morning, they packed up their bags (and a whole lot of new memories!) before final goodbyes. We miss them already!

New England Mountains & Coast B (NEMCB)

First time away from home? Never been on a ropes course before? No better way to step out of your comfort zone than with team building activities on their first full day together!

Caribbean Service (CS)

CS left the comfort of their home of the last four nights and ferried over to the island of Vieques. Nothing says adventure like exploring new territory! They look forward to settling into their new accommodations and preparing to work with their service partner Reach for Success tomorrow.

Maine Coast College Essay (MCCE)

Calling all essayists! The transition to college is uncharted territory for rising seniors, to say the least. Lucky for this bunch, they’ll head into senior year with a completed essay draft for their applications in addition to a new group of friends. This group is on the brink of busting out of their comfort zone and will get a taste of it this week!

Maine Coast Photo (MCP)

It’s go time for these photographers! Today our Maine Coast Photo folks take the plunge into a new group of friends and some new, beautiful surroundings on the Maine Coast. For the next nine days, they’ll explore the local area together as team through their camera lenses.

Maine Farm to Table (MFT)

Have you ever been clamming? Well, our MFT students headed out to the mud flats of Maine to learn the ins and outs of this aquaculture process. They slid into their waders, and the search was on! MFT also took a trip to a farm-to-table restaurant and got to do some hands-on work in the kitchen. The group brought their day’s findings home and ate well this evening (photos below) – our mouths are watering!

Pasta al vongole (clam pasta) and salad with local veggies.

Maine’s Downeast Explorer (DEXA)

Lacing up their boots and hitting the trails, DEXA is ramping up their days with some solid hikes. They’ve gotten used to their boots and their packs as a warm-up for their backcountry section, all while enjoying the extraordinary views of Acadia National Park.

Maine’s Downeast Explorer (DEXB)

These B-for-Bold Downeasters embark on their backcountry adventure today – heading onto the Appalachian Trail, where they’ll learn to live off-the-grid and enjoy their time in the beautiful backwoods of Maine! Carrying everything they need on their backs, this is certainly an opportunity for new experiences for this crew.

Vermont to Montréal A (VMA)

It’s pretty fair to say that weeding and mulching isn’t in many of our comfort zones, but these Vermonsters finished their entire weeding and mulching project (right along their bike path, too!) in record time. Speaking of Vermonsters, the gang spent the afternoon enjoying the street performers in Burlington before topping their off day with a Ben & Jerry’s Vermonster!


Vermont to Montréal B (VMB)

Liam & Tess’ determined bunch had a combo day today – 12 miles of riding plus a full morning of kayaking on the waters of Lake Champlain. While they pushed themselves out of their comfort zones on their exciting day today, they’ll hopefully step back into it during their rest day tomorrow in Burlington!

Costa Rica Language & Service (CRLS)

Bienvenidos a Costa Rica! This group is eagerly awaiting the arrival of its final three members. Together, they will push their Spanish skills this week as they swap Inglés for Español and spend their down time giving back to the local community. They all left their comfort zones back in the USA and look forward to a wonderful trip!

Costa Rica Mountains & Coast (CRMC)

First big day of hiking today for CRMC! After breakfast today, this group packed its bags and set off in a new environment (and a new climate) on the summit trail for Chirripó. Together, they hiked through Cloudbridge Natural Reserve, where they checked out some beautiful waterfalls and remarkable rainforest.

Cuddle up!

California Mountains & Coast (CMCA)

CMCA managed to squeeze in a little morning hike today, 5 miles out-and-back with the Pacific on their left and Tomales Bay on their right (though they couldn’t tell through the fog!). They even spotted some tule elk along the way, reporting to HQ that “this trip definitely has the coolest wildlife in all of Apogee!”

California Mountains & Coast (CMCB)

CMC Bravo hit the coast for one more stellar hike this morning before putting in their final preparations for their three-night stint in the backcountry, which starts tomorrow. Talk about stepping out of their comfort zones – how about carrying four days and three nights of food and gear on your back?

Northwest Explorer (NWXA)

The anticipation is killing us! Only one more day until we get to see photos from these comfort zone pushers! 5 nights in the backcountry with everything you need to survive in your pack? What an experience. Add that to the stunning beauty of the North Cascades, and you’ve got yourself an amazing week.

Northwest Explorer (NWXB)

Though they have one backcountry stint already behind them, this group is just embarking on their challenge section – 5 nights in the magnificent wilderness of Olympic National Park. Living off the grid is always excellent facilitation for group bonding!

Pacific Coast (PCA)

PCA conquered a big day and rode a whopping 60 miles today! Everyone geared up early for an amazing ride, and the group pushed through the forest to the ocean, conquering the highest climb along the Pacific Coast between Canada and Mexico along the way! Whew – talk about pushing past comfort zones. What a day for PCA!

Pacific Coast (PCB)

PCB legged it to Leggett today as they rode 47 miles through rolling hills alongside the Eel River. We hear their campground has trails leading down to the river, with a great swimming area – we hope these bikers took a dip to cool off after their hilly ride this afternoon!

Scottish Highlands (SH)

Our intrepid Highlands are checking off the miles as they make their way toward their final destination of Fort William. Another day and approximately 10 miles behind them! Rock on, Scotland – way to push on!

Alps Explorer (AXA)

AXA’s last few days were filled with views on views, challenging but rewarding hikes, goat cheese, and a Refugio. Today, they followed their Refugio breakfast with a hike over a mountain pass and a descent into Courmayeur. They greeted their fellow hikers with “ciao” and hiked merrily along, knowing a much-deserved rest day was in sight.

Alps Explorer (AXB)

AX Bravo was back at it today, and they cruised through the gorgeous Val Ferret up to their quaint rifugio tonight. While their hiking was tough and certainly outside their usual comfort zones, hot cocoa, a home-cooked meal, and real beds tonight will certainly be a welcome respite.

America Coast to Coast (ACC1)

Pushing one’s comfort zone is a nearly constant occurrence when biking across America. You can’t take on 2,700+ miles without knowing there will be challenging moments, but our ACC1 crew has been up for it over the past 5 weeks! With only two more days of riding to go (yes, two!), the end draws near, and they can almost smell that salty Pacific air. We are in awe of you all!

America Coast to Coast (ACC2)

Ok, so maybe ACC2 relished in their comfort zone on yesterday’s rest day, but today, they’re back to the daily challenge that is America Coast to Coast. This group was up bright and early to hop back on their saddles and get one day closer to their final destination. California is on the horizon!