Day 6: This Trip Is A Movie!

Every now and again, doesn’t your life feel like a movie?  Well on Apogee trips, every day feels like a movie!  Gazing at stunning sunset skies, cruising over the salty seas in a kayak, jamming with your friends around the campfire, climbing to the top of a mountain – these are all cinematic experiences that happened on Apogee trips around the world today.  So go pop some popcorn, put on your 3D glasses, and sit back to enjoy tonight’s feature blog post!


Maine Coast Junior (MCJ)

“Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.” – Dead Poets Society (1989)

There are few better ways to seize the day than by waking up early enough to see the sunrise. MCJ woke up at 3:45am (yes, that early indeed) to watch the sun peak over the summit of Cadillac Mountain, one of the first places in America to see the sunrise (the group even got to witness a proposal at the summit!). After this morning hike, the group went back to Brunswick to enjoy some awesome sea kayaking. Halfway through the kayak excursion, they all took a swimming break in an ocean cove. As pictured below, “some of us even got to take naps while the leaders paddled on with vigor”. The group is now headed to Freeport, Maine for the next few days!


Cape Cod & the Islands (CI)

“You’re gonna need a bigger boat.” – Jaws (1975)

It was a bright and early morning for CI today! They packed up camp for a sunny ride to Oak Bluffs where they hopped on the ferry to Hyannis. After sailing the seas, they biked 18.7 miles to their new campground in Brewster. Here they relaxed, fueled up, and got excited for their adventure-packed day tomorrow. Sounds like you’re gonna need a bigger boat for all of their contagious energy!

Is that Santa? It is Santa!

New England Mountains & Coast (NEMC)

“I want to adventure in the great wide somewhere.” – Beauty and the Beast (1991)

I think, deep down, we all want to adventure in the great wide somewhere. Our tidy lives, lived with cars and houses and cities, separate from the forest or anything wild, fail to satisfy our need to adventure in the great wide, whatever exactly that may mean to you. Apogee’s mission is in a lot of ways to provide this sense of adventure, wherever it may be. And, so it seems, there is plenty of adventure to be had along the New England coast. After a long hike yesterday, this spirited group did a nice little hike to a swimming hole and bonded with a beach ball. Rumor has it that they might even be stopping for some ice cream tonight.  Yum, yum, yum!

Colorado’s Rocky Mountains (CRM)

“Somewhere, over the rainbow, skies are blue.” –The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Last night, the hearty CRM crew braved a thunderstorm and were rewarded in the end with a gorgeous sunset and, you guessed it, a rainbow!  This morning, the team work up to find an entire moose family traipsing through the woods behind camp.  After packing up camp in Grand Lake, CRM hopped into Bruno (yes, the van has a name) and crawled up Trail Ridge Road, the highest continuous paved road in the country, to the Alpine Visitor Center (over 11,800 feet above sea level!), where they took in the breathtaking panoramic views of the Rockies.  The group finished out the sunny afternoon at their new campground with some fiery rounds of Woosh (an Apogee classic in-camp game), and the longest game of Who Stole My Jedi Juice (another iconic activity) in Apogee history.  More fun to be had tomorrow!

Caribbean Service (CS)

“Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you’ll find one at the end of your arm. As you grow older you will discover that you have two hands. One for helping yourself, the other for helping others” -Audrey Hepburn 

The Caribbean, as most know, is a lovely place for hiking, sightseeing, and exploring. The terrain can be, however, both treacherous and difficult to navigate. Enter: trails. These fantastic human inventions help to ensure we don’t get lost. But these trails don’t maintain themselves (that would be really cool though. A self-maintaining trail!). Enter: your kids. Today, the CS group did some trail maintenance in the Utuado valley, helping to clear the trail down to the magnificent Tanama River. The group then drove back down through the mountains and finished their day in the only way suitable after a laborious morning and afternoon of community service — with an epic card tournament!

Maine Coast College Essay (MCCE)

“You must write your first draft with your heart. You rewrite with your head. The first key to writing is to write, not to think!” – Finding Forrester (2000)

Don’t think, just write. Don’t think, just write. I repeat this 10 times every morning when I get told I have to write blog posts. The MCCE group is working to balance a healthy mix of both: writing with the head, and writing with the heart. Today was the group’s final writing session with Leah and students were able to share their essays with each other through peer editing time. After lunch, they spent the afternoon with a local nonprofit, the Adaptive Outdoor Education Center in Brunswick, helping to create more accessible trails right here in Brunswick, ME. In the words of the leaders, “we are so sad to only have one day left with this group!” Sounds like they’ve been having an amazing time and I’m sure they will make the most of their last day tomorrow. 

Maine’s Downeast Explorer (DEX)

“The wilderness must be explored!” – Up (2009)

Even with a rainy morning, DEX still followed this mantra from Up and hiked up Champlain Mountain, yielding these stunning views. The group then traveled to Holden, ME to spend the night and get ready for their next adventure in the backcountry, making sure to load up on a hearty meal of spaghetti and meatballs in preparation. We can’t wait to see more of their incredible moments in photos in a couple of days!


Vermont to Montreal A (VMA)

“Vermont is a small state which makes a big difference.” -Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood (1968-2001)

Okay, I know Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood isn’t a movie, but it’s a good quote. But Vermont is definitely making a difference for our students and leaders on VMA (if not in their souls, in their quadriceps)! Today, they completed their first ride: a smooth 22 miler beginning their northward journey to Montreal. Along the way they saw geese, moose, cows, and a new caterpillar friend named Reginald (in true naturalist fashion, the group apparently spent lunch observing Reginald’s every movement). And when these bikers met some hills today, they were apparently “singing and howling out all the way up”. They have now named themselves “The Pack”. We can’t wait to see what is in store for The Pack tomorrow!

Vermont to Montreal B (VMB)

“On this journey that you are making, there’ll be answers that you’ll seek. And it’s you who’ll climb the mountain. It’s you who will reach the peak.” -Tarzan (1999)

Today this group woke up near the beautiful Lake St. Catherine and packed up for a 15.6 mile bike day. Over and up hills they went, coasting along the picturesque Vermont fields and breathing in the fresh air. A few hours later these folks found themselves in Lake Bomoseen (fun fact: Bomoseen is an Abenake word that translates to “keeper of ceremonial fire”). Here, the group camped for the night, went swimming in the campsite pool (rumor has it the pool has a totally radical water slide) and got some well deserved rest before tomorrow’s next adventure.

Costa Rica Mountains & Coast (CRMC)

“Nice Guy Eddie? What makes you think he isn’t on a plane halfway to Costa Rica?” -Reservoir Dogs (1992)

This movie quote is one of many examples of how Costa Rica is used colloquially. It’s referenced as this mystical jungle, a sort of world away where anything is possible. A place where our intrepid Apogee group is right now! And what might they be doing in this mystical jungle, you might be asking? I’m glad you asked! CRMC ventured into the Manuel Antonio National Park and got to see sloths, monkeys, lizards, birds, insects, along with all sorts of exotic flora.  Then, they swapped the jungle for the beach where they found, husked, cracked, and (the best part) ate fresh coconuts! I truly never knew you had to husk a coconut. These niños are truly living a pura vida. 

California Mountains & Coast A (CMCA)

“Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.” – Finding Nemo (2003)

You may or may not have guessed it, but this morning CMCA went…swimming! And even more, they went on a sea kayaking adventure in the Inverness basecamp. After some splashing around and soaking up the sun, they hopped back onto land for more activities. The group had a short drive to Drakes Estero Trailhead (through an amazing cypress tree tunnel! I didn’t even know amazing cypress tree tunnels existed!) to then hike the Estero trail. Here, they did a four mile hike, laughing and singing along the way. To wrap up the day, they made it to North Beach to check out the incredible views before heading back to their campsite for the night. We can’t wait to see what is in store for them tomorrow!

California Mountains & Coast B (CMCB)

“See that line where the sky meets the sea, it calls me” – Moana (2016) 

These water voyagers traveled today to the beautiful Point Reyes for a sea kayaking adventure. Just like Moana, the sea seemed to call out to CMCB, and they absolutely crushed it on the water. They got to paddle to their incredible Blue Waters base camp where they are going to spend the night under the stars. Sounds like an incredible sunny day with even more adventure planned for tomorrow! 


Alaska Mountains & Coast A (AKMCA)

“I told you. I spent it with my uncle in Alaska hunting wolverines.” -Napoleon Dynamite (2004) 

~This quote is too good not to include the link to watch it:

Woefully, Apogee has not planned any wolverine hunting on the AKMCA itinerary. However, the group begins their backcountry portion of their trip tomorrow so you never know…Anyway, today over in Uncle Sam’s attic (yes this is a nickname for Alaska, and yes it is the best one out there) the crew packed up camp and had a short hike back to the van. Then, they headed to their next campsite for the evening. The group took a hike along Eagle River where they saw…a bald eagle! We can’t wait to see what other creatures they happen upon on this trip. 

Alaska Mountains & Coast B (AKMCB)

“To be safe, we lose our chance of ever knowing what’s around the riverbend, waiting just around the riverbend”-Pocahontas (1995)

Today is the start of AKMCB’s first day of their two day kayaking trip! They began by taking a ferry to their campground where they met with their fearless kayaking guides. The group will be exploring the Aialik Bay, winding their way through the Kenai Fjords National Park and glancing up at the crisp views of the Ailak glacier. Fun fact about Kenai: of its 25,600 miles, only 15,600 is land. That’s a lotta water! This is one of the most memorable experiences of the trip due to its remoteness and serene views. But that means…no service! We will hear from them in about two days with some more incredible pictures!

Northwest Explorer (NWX)

“We have friends in Washington…” -Scarface (1983)

After arriving yesterday, NWX is together and finally off on their adventure. After packing up camp, the took a beautiful drive into Olympic National Park to find their new campsite. The group then completed a lovely day hike along Hurricane Ridge to break in their hiking boots.  The clouds cleared just as the group approached the top of the hike, revealing the beautiful Olympic range!


Pacific Coast (PC)

“Come on, stop the bike.” Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

No, Arnie, we will not! These bikes won’t be stopping until they reach San Francisco! (Well maybe also for food and sleep and that stuff too). The group shredded 31 miles south through Oregon today, passing scenic beaches, sand dunes, and big pines and other conifers. The group also made sure to stop, as is crucial, for some mid-ride stretching. The biking will continue the next few days through Oregon, passing beaches and mountains alike.

Look at those matching pink socks!

Alps Explorer A (AXA)

“The core of man’s spirit comes from new experiences” -Into the Wild (2007)

It’s day 2 of exploring the Zermatt trails and AXA climbed up Trist today! Before reaching Trist, the group fueled up at the glorious Edelweiss mountain café, getting to eat lunch with Roger Federer who was stopping by! Just kidding, but that would’ve been awesome. Tomorrow brings new mountains and sights; in the words of AXA’s fearless leaders, “steep but rewarding…more to come!”

Alps Explorer B (AXB)

“The hills are alive with the sound of music” -Sound of Music (1965)

I think we can all agree that we all want to be right where AXB is; check out these wicked views! Today, these explorers hiked more of the Zermatt mountain trails. Not only did they spend their time laughing up the mountain, but their views consisted of misty mountain tops and icy streams and brooks….sign me up! 

Europe Coast to Coast 1 (ECC1)

“Louis, this looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” Casablanca (1942)

It’s happening! Everyone is finally together in Haarlem, Netherlands to start their adventure. After unpacking and getting camp set up, they spent some time getting to know each other through some games and chats. They have been rather busy, so pictures are forthcoming. Stay tuned as they begin the ride of a lifetime tomorrow!

Pyrenees Mountains and Coast (PMC)

“I want a new life, all over from the very beginning. A perfectly glorious, free, adventurous life” –Dodsworth (1936) 

The soft sun shining on your face. A gentle sea breeze, slightly salty, blowing up from the Mediterranean. A refreshing swim at the beach after exploring the quaint Spanish town of El Port de Selva, followed by a lunch of baguettes with cheese and meats and other fixings. No, this is not just some daydream inspired by Hemingway’s novels. This, my friend, is the day our students are having on their Pyrenees trip. At some point they will be doing some serious hiking, don’t be dismayed, but for now they get some time to enjoy the more relaxed joys of Spain and her coast. To end off their day, the group will be staying at the famous Monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes, practicing contemplative thought and meditation with Spanish gurus. Not actually, but rumor has it that Apogee is working on such a trip for next year. We have hiking, we have biking, and add in “3 weeks at a Catalan Monastery practicing mindfulness, self-reflection, and contemplative silence,” and we will be set.