Day 45: ApoGeology!

It’s time to ROCK n’ roll, people – ApoGeology is here to bring you the latest scoop on all of our trips happening on the face of the Earth! Currently, Apogee leaders and students are on four out of seven of earth’s major tectonic plates – wowie! Read on to learn more about the rockin’ activities each trip is doing today and what types of formations they’re adventuring on!


Alaska Mountains & Coast A (AKMCA)

Meanwhile on the Pacific Plate… Today, our AKMCA dream-team paddled into Resurrection Bay for a night of kayak camping! Resurrection Bay presents a massive, sheer cliff to the pounding of the waves. The rock here is pillow basalt, a type of igneous rock that formed when lava flowed out underneath the water and cooled rapidly. Our AKMCAers might not be seeing any lava flowing, but their paddle will present them with some sweet wildlife spotting opportunities. Tomorrow, they’ll head back to dry land and begin preparations for their upcoming ice climbing adventure.

Alaska Mountains & Coast B (AKMCB)

Pacific Plate Continues… Today was an exciting day for AKMCB as they headed back out into the backcountry! The group kicked off their three-day backcountry expedition on the Williwaw Lakes Loop today, a journey that will include incredible views of the Chugach Mountains. The breathtakingly beautiful range is made of metamorphosed sediments that were deposited in the now-extinct Border Ranges Trench, which was an ancient subduction zone!








Alps Explorer (AX)

Over on the Eurasian Plate… THEY DID IT!!! Today, our intrepid Alps Explorers completed the Tour du Mont Blanc in style, waking up to hike with the sun rising on the horizon. After crushing their last 10 miles of hiking for the trip, the team was rewarded with some awesome medals to celebrate their accomplishment. While we’re not sure what their medals are made of, we do know that our AX crew saw some pretty sweet rock formations along the TMB – the Alps are the result of a rock building process that took place 700 million years ago! Tonight, they’ll zip on over to Geneva to get settled in for their celebratory day of exploration tomorrow.

Cape Cod & the Islands (CI)

North American Plate fun continues… It may have been a rainy day out on the glacially-formed Cape Cod today, but that didn’t stop our awesome CI crew from having fun! The group stayed dry today and played some classic Apogee games inside and then soaked up some afternoon rays with some mini golf before heading to sleep early to rest up for another day of riding tomorrow. Tomorrow, they’ll be biking on land that was formed from the advance and retreat of the last continental ice sheet – which occurred within the last 25,000 years!

Caribbean Service (CS)

Down on the Caribbean Plate… Today our CS crew said adios to beautiful Cabo Rojo and to move on to their last stop of the trip – San Juan! A culturally vibrant capital, San Juan happens to lie at the boundary between the Caribbean and North American plates. This means that it is currently being deformed by the tectonic stresses caused by the interaction of these plates! That’s not the only action happening in the city, though – our CS team headed to explore the old town (filled with blue cobblestone streets, colorful homes, and aromas of flavor!) before celebrating the end of their trip with a final dinner out together!

Costa Rica Mountains & Coast (CRMC)

Adventures on the Caribbean Plate continue… It was a bittersweet day for our CRMC crew today as they soaked up their last full day of adventure together! They made the most of their last morning in Uvita today by catching some waves during a rockin’ surfing session before heading over to Alajuela for a final dinner together this evening. While our CRMCers may be departing from the land of pura vida tomorrow, Costa Rica certainly isn’t going anywhere – it emerged from the deep ocean about 200 million years ago, long after life was already on the planet.

Golden State Adventure (GSA)

No stopping the parties on the Pacific Plate… Out in coastal California, our GSA crew is taking it easy today as they prepare for their challenge day hike in Big Sur tomorrow! The group broke down camp this morning and began transit toward Santa Cruz after a breakfast feast. After a morning in the van, the crew did a big grocery run, took some showers, and set up camp in the redwoods. The mountains of Santa Cruz may not seem as impressive as the ancient trees in altitude, but they’re the result of compressive uplift caused by a leftward bend of the San Andreas Fault!


Maine Coast College Essay (MCCE)

On the eastern edge of the North American Plate… Our MCCE crew did some excellent crafting on their essays this morning before leaving Maine’s classic coastline and its metamorphic rocks and traveling through the lush Maine countryside that some take for granite. They arrived at Bates, however, after admiring the landscape and had a very informative – but also very fun! – admissions workshop at Bates College. They hit the grocery store, headed back home, and were excited to spend some time together this evening!


Maine Coast Junior (MCJ)

The eastern edge of the North American Plate continues… Our youngest group of adventures hit the rocks today (literally, but only with their feet) up in Acadia National Park! Acadia is known for having some incredible (and old) granite! It holds some of the best rock climbing in the country and our MCJ’ers may have seen some climbers at it! They stuck to hiking up their rocks, though, and felt pretty powerful upon completion (as evidenced below)! Back at camp, they cooked up a delicious dinner and played some rousing rounds of “Bob the Weasel”!


Maine’s Downeast Explorer (DEXA)

More of the eastern edge of the North American Plate… Our DEXters conquered their biggest pile of rocks yesterday with an awesome Mt. Katahdin summit! Mt. Katahdin, interestingly enough, is actually not volcanic rock as many assume, but almost pure granite! Our DEXters then headed across the state, back to the coast, where they did some prep for their kayaking trip tomorrow! They’ll hit the water in the morning and spend two nights on the islands off the coast of Maine that are maintained by the Maine Trail Association. We can’t wait to see the beautiful pictures they return with!

And a couple of bonus pictures from their Katahdin summit yesterday!


Maine’s Downeast Explorer (DEXB)

More of the eastern edge of the North American Plate… These DEXters absolutely crushed their backpacking today! This was their biggest day of mileage, completing almost 8 miles of the Applachian Trail, and they were in camp by 2:30 PM! We love to see that because it means there is more time for games, cooking a delicious dinner, and getting some time to relax before they hike out of the backcountry tomorrow. We’re excited to hear about all the fun they had (and see those sweet, sweet BC photos) when they emerge!

New England Mountains & Coast (NEMC)

Somewhere west of the east coast on the North American Plate… Rain simply can’t stop this crew! Our intrepid NEMC’ers took to the water today to enjoy some good ol’ fashioned river rafting. After a day on the Androscoggin River, the crew returned to their newest campsite and settled in for the evening. Did you know that New Hampshire is also known as the Granite State? Granite, its official state rock, was formed by millions of years of magma cooling underneath the Earth and being uplifted by glacial activity and erosion!


Northwest Explorer (NWX)

Out on the westernmost edge of the North American Plate… The fearless NWX team continued their seafaring adventure today! For their full day on the waters around the San Juan islands, this crew spent the day soaking up all the ridiculously beautiful views one can only be afforded while sea kayaking. After camping out on Cypress Island again tonight, they’ll paddle back to the mainland tomorrow. While on the water, the crew may ask how those beautiful islands got there – and we have the answer for you! The San Juan Islands were formed by massive geological events: mountains moving, land shifting, volcanoes erupting and glacial ice carving  – that’s a lot of action for these islands in the span of 540 million years!

Pacific Coast (PC)

Biking on a Tectonic Boundary… PC is definitely on the most exciting geologic formation of all our groups today – the San Andreas fault! This geologic zone is famous for some notorious tectonic activity – in fact, the town of Mendocino, where the group had their last rest day a few days ago, is a Triple Junction location, where the North American and Pacific Plates meet a THIRD plate, called the Juan de Fuca Plate. All of these subduction zones and geologic activity are no doubt responsible for the fantastic backdrops that our group has been riding along the past few weeks! Speaking of fantastic backdrops, the crew had some beautiful views as they cycled through the beautiful Point Reyes and Marin County today. To make matters even more exciting, they’ll go to sleep tonight with the knowledge that tomorrow is the final day of riding for the whole trip! We can’t wait to see those Golden Gate smiles tomorrow as the team finishes their journey in fantastic style!


Pyrenees Mountains and Coast (PMC)

Back over to the Eurasian Plate… PMC once again crushed their hiking (mostly downhill!) back to La Torre today – but first, they had to push through and over the Portarro d’Espot, a solid 500m of elevation gain. They hiked 10.5 miles with smiles, and how could they not smile with views like that?! Here’s a fun, geologic fact: this area constitutes some of the most spectacular scenery in the Pyrenees. Its center is formed by a huge mass of granite rocks around 300 million years old, which, thanks to tectonic forces on the one hand and erosion on the other, outcropped on the surface. Their leaders report the crew is proud to have finished the backcountry section, but sad to say adieu to the Pyrenees! Way to go PMC!

Vermont to Montreal A (VMA)

The North American Plate Dazzles… Our energetic VMA crew awoke with vigor in their legs (perhaps inspired by their “W” day yesterday?), and they made record time today as they conquered their longest ride of the whole trip, cruising a whopping 37 miles! And what a rewarding journey it was, since at the end they made it safe and sound into their final destination of Montreal! They can’t wait to check out the beautiful downtown areas of Montreal tomorrow, and revel in their accomplishments over the past 10 days or so – just think, they started biking in another country, and now they’re celebrating in one of the brightest cities in Canada! Bravo, VMA, and enjoy your exploration/celebration day tomorrow!


Vermont to Montreal B (VMB)

And the North American Plate Amazes! The hard work over on VMB comes to an epic conclusion today as the group makes their way through the Canadian countryside and on to their final stop – Montreal! Wooho, they made it! The city and the surrounding countryside were formed some 125 million years ago when magma rose through the Earth’s crust in the region, crystallizing slowly and thus forming the Monteregian Hills – so cool! The group is excited to explore the historic city tomorrow, with some beautiful sightseeing and an epic dinner celebration. But for now, they’re basking in the successes of their trip after a delicious dinner, and soon they’ll be heading off to a warm hostel bed to finish off their day!