Day 44: Cities and a Whole Lot More! (But Mostly Cities)


By Olivia “Here Till the End” Box

As the final round of trips begin to wrap up, our crews are exploring their final destinations and enjoying some good Apogee company. From San Francisco to Edinburgh, these groups deserve a relaxing day in the cities they’ve been dreaming about all summer! Imagine how it feels to walk the streets of San Diego or Quebec after days on the saddle, or to surf in the Pacific after a back country exploration. Most groups will be enjoying their final dinners tonight, delving into the local fare and flair. Of course, they’ll be keeping with tradition and quakering before their meal and sharing A&P’s after. From the great roaring metropolis of Brunswick, we’re proud of the Apogee groups across the map!

Today, blogger Will Vietze hopped on a bus back home where he now has just 24 hours to pack up his life, hop on a jet plane, and start his new job teaching in Tahoe. Best of luck out west, Vietze! Now, love it or hate it, you blog readers are stuck with me until the end! My jokes are only half as good as my New England co’s, but I’ll do my best. To make up for it, I’ve sprinkled some fun city facts throughout the blog.

Maine Coast Junior (MCJ)

After a farewell to Acadia this morning, MCJ headed to Freeport where they’ll spend the remainder of the trip. This afternoon they kayaked in the Harpswell Sound, paddling the salty Maine sea and singing sea shanties in the sea breeze.

New England Mountains & Coast (NEMC)

NEMC transited from their rafting adventure in northern Maine to the Freeport area today. After quality van time where they sang along to Jack’s killer playlist, they spent the afternoon volunteering with the Mid-Coast Hunger Prevention Program. Nice work, NEMC, and welcome to our neck of the woods!

Teamwork makes the dream work

Caribbean Service Adventure (CSA)

Farwell to Island life! Just kidding, this is a Caribbean trip, after all. CSA transited from the island of Vieques to Puerto Rico’s main island. This afternoon they explored colorful San Juan, wandering the 500-year-old streets, immersed in the cities’ Carribean history.

Fun fact: San Juan is the capital and most populous city in Puerto Rico, and is the oldest city in the US territory.

Matching hats is always Apo-approved

Maine’s Downeast Explorer (DEXA)

DEXA had their ultimate challenge day, and their last day of hiking, this time on Maine’s highest peak, Mt. Katahdin! They cruised up The Hunt Trail, which is also the last stretch of the Appalachian Trail. This evening, they enjoyed a warm fireside meal and one of their last nights of camping! Unfortunately, they weren’t able to get any pictures through, so we’ll have to wait til tomorrow.

Maine’s Downeast Explorer (DEXB)

Another gem of a day for DEXB, kayaking in the Isle au Haut bay. They paddled alongside the National Park Island, a place even many Mainer’s don’t get to see! They also did some “guerrilla service” today, putting those LNT skills (leave no trace) into practice.

Costa Rica Language & Service (CRLS)

CRLS started their morning with a guided tour of Manuel Antonio National Park, home to white sand beaches and evergreen trees. Their company for their picnic lunch was some new, very slow-moving friends, too…

Wait, what? Was this on the trip itinerary?
Surrounded by great greenery!

California Mountains & Coast (CMCA)

Surfs up! I am doggone out of surfing jokes, I apologize. Regardless, the crew hit those waves which was much needed after all that backcountry time. They adjusted from land legs to sea legs in no time, and look at how good this crew looks! They then drove up the coast to Half Moon Bay, where they worked alongside the Park Rangers on a service project. What a day!

California Mountains & Coast (CMCB)

Who are the better surfers, CMCA or CMCB? It’s hard to tell because everyone looks like they’re having so much fun (awww). CMCB also spent the day in the sea, rocking some wet suits and catching the gnar.

You think I would leave you without a fun fact? Au contraire, my faithful readers. When Captain James Cook first saw surfing in Hawaii in 1778, he described a surfer as someone “who had the most supreme pleasure while he was driven so fast and smoothly by the seas”.

Coast to Québec (CQA)

Upon gliding smoothly into Quebec yesterday and simultaneously becoming fluent in French, CQA had a full day to rest and explore, sans bikes. Tonight, they enjoyed a French-Canadian meal and shared their A&Ps (in French, of course)!

Worth biking to? I think so
Looking stately in the city
High vis: can’t stop won’t stop
One for all and all for crepes!

Coast to Québec (CQB)

CQB is also fully immersed in the Brunswick of Canada: Quebec of course! On the docket: exploring cobblestone streets, speaking french, and final dinner. Who will eat more poutine: CQA or CQB?

Our CQ Quebec fact: 1.5% of the population speaks English., 95% of the population is French speaking. But rest assured, a third of the population can speak both English and French. Also, Tina can speak French AND English! (Ezra is fluent in English and bike mechanics)

Montana Service Adventure (MSA)

After a big birthday celebration this morning, our MSAers enjoyed a day of exploration in their final destination, Whitefish! Today they soaked up the last of The Big Sky, walking (not biking) around this charming Rocky Mountain Village. They didn’t even need to wear bike shorts!

Whitefish fun fact: The alpine (al-fine, amiright?) village gets 300 inches of snow annually! Thank goodness it’s summer.

Maybe the “show me your sassiest face” picture?
The big 1-4! Happy Birthday!

Northwest Explorer (NWXA)

A full day in Seattle for NWXA, and they’re soaking up the last of the Pacific Northwest. With clear skies, the group spirits are high as they see the sights and share a final (and delicious) meal together. Spotted: the Space Needle!

Most definitely not the backcountry

Northwest Explorer (NWXB)

Hiking boots no more, it’s city time! NWXB is also in Seattle, visiting all the must-sees. They went to the Public Market, Pike’s Place, caught some ocean views, and strolled the streets. Looks like they enjoyed some sunshine too!

A double fun fact for Seattle: Despite it’s bad rap, Seattle’s annual rainfall is less than Houston, Chicago, and NYC. I guess the residents are celebrating that fact that Seattle-dwellers buy more sunglasses per capita than any other city.

Pacific Coast (PCA)

Having successfully completed their biking mission yesterday, PCA is basking in the glory of this victory. To celebrate, they’re spending the day in San Francisco. They just can’t get away from hill days! Fun fact for PC: The steepest city street is Filbert St., coming in 31.5 degrees!

Please tell me this was purchased
Newly beardless leader Ryan, eating all of the kids ice cream
I seriously hope chocolate followed this picture

Pacific Coast (PCB)

Likewise, PCB is in San Francisco today seeing the sights they have dreamt about for the past 20 days. They checked off the Golden Gate Bridge yesterday, so today was a walk on the steep streets, checking out the city trolleys, and scoping out the best place for dinner!

New friends?

Scottish Highland Explorer (SHX)

Continuing with the Harry Potter theme, our highland explorers spent some quality time in the city where it all started! J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter in a cafe on one of the main streets, and we also expect our crew worked on the next great fantasy novel. In between becoming famous authors, the crew explored the cobblestone streets and basked in the lovely architecture.

Fun fact: Edinburgh is my favorite European city, despite having studied abroad in London.

Could it be? ECC biker BECCA in Scotland? You don’t say!
Exactly the architecture that makes you swoon over Scotland

Alps Explorer (AXA)

Down from the mountains and into the city! On their last full day, AXA explored Geneva, eating as much cheese, baguettes, and chocolate as possible.

What lovely fronds… But where are the children?
Foreground: Amazing hikers. Background: Amazing mountains

Alps Explorer (AXB)

Coincidentally, AXB is also in Geneva having finished their epic TMB and glacier explorations. Geneva is their home for their last night, where they cleaned up the Geneva Botanical Gardens (in the rain!), explored Geneva, and shared a final dinner before heading back home tomorrow morning.

Couldn’t be more Swiss if ya tried
Service in the city (a good name for a musical?)

America Coast to Coast (ACC2)

Ah, the best rest day of them all. After, you know, casually biking across the country in a summer, ACC2 spent today organizing gear and stretching their legs (#whatiswalking). Tonight they shared their last dinner together in San Diego before they depart tomorrow and likely avoid biking for a while.