By: Hannah Gensheimer
It’s hard to believe that we’re already a week into our trips! Today is, almost unbelievably, the end of our first Maine Coast Junior trip, but the majority of our other trips are now in full swing! After having led Apogee trips for four years, I am feeling pangs of jealousy, nostalgia, and excitement seeing the hikers in the Alps, the bikers along the Pacific Coast, and the Caribbean crew doing service in the beautiful rain forest. And yes, it is as fun and beautiful as it looks! Let’s see what all of our groups are up to today!
Maine Coast Junior (MCJ):
It’s a bittersweet day for our MCJers today as they said their goodbyes to their new friends this morning. This crew was up early today to eat their final breakfast as a group before making the drive to meet back up with parents. There were huge hugs, laughs, and even a couple of tears dabbled in there as they left their leaders, Isa and Pom. It was a spectacular week, so thank you to all who participated!
Nothing like enjoying some of Portland’s best pizza by the water with new friends!
Sparklers to celebrate the 4th of July early!
Cape Cod & the Islands (CI):
Yesterday, Kevin and Alyssa’s CI group spent the day doing community service work at the Island Grown Initiative on Martha’s Vineyard, planting in the humongous green house and learning about sustainable farming. Here are a couple of pictures from their hard work! And a hard day’s work wouldn’t be complete without some s’mores! Today, these guys are enjoying a great day of cycling, ferry rides, and exploration as they say, “Goodbye!” to Martha’s Vineyard, and, “Hello!” to Cape Cod (again)!
Roasting the perfect marshmallow is all about patience, young grasshopper.
Vermont to Montreal (VM):
Our VMers are enjoying the day in Burlington today! Their morning was filled with service work, where the group worked with Burlington locals to remove some invasive species from some of the local parks. This afternoon the group explored the town and decided to treat themselves in proper Vermont fashion with the infamous Vermonster! “What is a Vermonster?” you might ask yourself! 20 scoops of ice cream. ‘Nough said. These hard working bikers are enjoying a much-deserved afternoon of sweet treats and bonding.
California Mountains and Coast (CMC):
Today our CMCers are on day three out of four days in the back country! Chad checked in with the crew today, and all seems to be going great! We’ll have plenty of details and pictures to come but for now we know enough of the good stuff: everyone is safe and sound and enjoying their off-the-grid excursion!
Caribbean Service Adventure (CSA):
It’s a big service and transit day for our CSA group! This morning, our group did a few more hours of service work with Casa Pueblo and now, after spending most of their first week volunteering in the rain forest of central Puerto Rico, they are headed to the west coast. Over the next few days, this group will go surfing off the coast of Rincon, explore white sand beaches and clear ocean waters, and even hike up to the most famous lighthouse in Puerto Rico in Cabo Rojo.
Puerto Rican coffee, anyone?
Coast to Quebec A (CQA):
100 miles down! Rosa and Kyle’s group sent us this picture in celebration of American pride and the completion of their first 100 miles cycled! After their service day yesterday, everyone was excited and ready to hop back on their bikes and push further up the coast! Today they will definitely face a couple of “rollers”, as our leaders call them (aka, pretty good hills). But this group is sure to take them in stride!
A few of our CQAers making big 1-0-0 to show their big mile marker today!
Coast to Quebec B (CQB):
It was a day of blue skies, blueberries and lots of weeds for our CQB group! Emily and Dixie’s group spent their first rest day working with the Coastal Mountains Land Trust removing invasive species and enjoying the sunshine. They’ve already had some big days of riding, so I’m sure they’re all finding the balance of working hard and some deserved relaxation before hopping right back on the saddle tomorrow! Looks like they’re having fun amidst the greenery here too!
Maine’s Downeast Explorer A (DEXA):
Our DEXA group could not have had a more beautiful day to be hiking in Acadia National Park! Today was sure to be one of the most memorable days of the trip! This morning (or should we call it last night?), the crew woke up for a sunrise hike of the tallest mountain on the Eastern seaboard, Cadillac Mountain, which means they were the first people in the country to see the sun today! Naturally, this gorgeous sunrise was followed by a nap on the summit. They spent the afternoon enjoying lunch in Bar Harbor and getting in some good R&R before starting their back country portion tomorrow. In John’s words, “High spirits all around!!” The pictures below are truly magical!
Maine’s Downeast Explorer B (DEXB):
Jonathan and Jessi’s group hiked out of the back country this morning and celebrated this afternoon with some well-deserved pampering! They greeted civilization with a hearty hello and, in turn, civilization gave them some juicy burgers and ice cream! Tonight the gang heads to camp toward the base of Katahdin. Tomorrow they will make the hike up Katahdin- the largest mountain in Maine! Katahdin is sure to be the biggest challenge of the trip so far, but we feel confident this crew is up for the challenge. See below for the groups “fierce backcountry faces”… those faces will surely get them to the top! Go get ’em Down East Explorers!
Check out these fierce faces!
Nothing says welcome back like a meal out on the town!
Montana Service Adventure (MSA):
Our Montana crew is beating the heat today as they make their way to Wolf Creek, Montana. Beautiful, beautiful Montana! They’re working hard to get in their mileage on these longer days – but spirits are high as they continue towards Glacier National Park. We can’t wait for the pictures to come…
Northwest Explorer (NWX):
Our NWXers made it out of the back country today! Welcome back, team! They spent the last two nights exploring the Hoh Rain Forest- the only temperate rain forest in the continental United States! They’ve been busy getting comfortable with their packs, laughing and bonding, and admiring the majestic hanging mosses, massive trees, and deep sparkling waters of the Hoh River Valley. This area is lush and magical, and it looks like the crew had a magical time too! Next up they’ll enjoy some rafting and resting before they’re off to the North Cascades!
Basking in the glory of these glorious trees!
Pacific Coast A (PCA):
And the miles continue! PC A had a long day of riding yesterday, and today they crossed over into California! Tomorrow will be the group’s first rest day, and we’re sure they’ll start it off with an extra hour or two of sleep, followed by some time exploring the town of Crescent City. Who knows, they might even treat themselves to a little Fro-Yo (if I remember correctly, there is an AMAZING Fro-Yo place in Crescent City that I still day dream about regularly…) PC A takes on another epic day!
Showing off their strong side as they cross the border!
California’s stunning coastline
Pacific Coast B (PCB):
Our PCB group is doing an incredible job riding; this shot was taken yesterday as they completed 35 miles before lunch! The lunch feast that followed at Battle Rock State Park was sure to be a memorable one They had plenty of time to explore the coastline, before hopping back on their bikes. Then, at camp, Mike borrowed a guitar from the campground host and entertained the group with some sweet tunes. What a beautiful spot and what a beautiful bunch! PCB= PC Beautiful!
Alps Explorer A (AXA):
After a train ride, a big grocery shop, and laundry, the AXA group finds some downtime at their campsite, playing mini golf and creating “ha ha” circles. (When you have your head on your neighbors stomach and have to resist the urge to start laughing as they try to make you!) They’re all resting up for tomorrow, and are SO excited to start their Tour du Mont Blanc! This happy gang is just basking in their glorious surroundings and enjoying their R&R!
Alps Explorer B (AXB):
Our AXB group is well underway on the Tour du Mont Blanc! Here is a picture they took right before starting their journey, and we are waiting on the edges of our seats here for more photos to come! Tonight, they are staying in a French Refuge (aka upscale camping hostel with some of the most amazing food!) I’m sure they’re wishing they could stay there forever – or least a few weeks! Smiles a plenty, this gang is ready to go!
Europe Coast to Coast A (ECCA):
ECCA had a huge day of riding yesterday! They rode 120 km, and last night we got a few photos of their ride as well as some pictures from the ferry. Today, they had a MUCH deserved day off of their bikes, and spent the day exploring beautiful Bruges, Belgium! Jeanne called in to the office today to check in and was beaming with excitement about how cool Belgium was, how incredible the food tasted (see pictures of the most scrumptious looking waffles), and how well the group is doing! Wonderful to hear!
Apparently french fries originated in Belgium, not France. However, the Dutch say it was their invention… so the argument continues…
Belgium waffles in Belgium! We’re drooling…
Europe Coast to Coast B (ECCB):
Lookin’ good – ECCB! Today was a Big Day for these European trekkers. They booked it from Renesse to Bruges and tackled a whopping 120 kilometers and two ferries along the way! Yowza! Now it’s time for all ECCers to be sleeping soundly, and you bet your sore cyclin’ legs they’re long snuggled up in their sleeping bags dreaming of tomorrow’s day off in Bruges!
America Coast to Coast (ACC):
It’s rest day for our ACC group!! Or as Mia calls it, “restock” day! The group has already cycled almost 400 miles (YES, I SAID 400 HUNDRED MILES!), and they’re loving nothing more than stocking up on good food to keep them trucking for the next few days! Tomorrow they will cross off another state on their journey, leaving Georgia and heading to Alabama. These beaming faces are enjoying the day off their bikes but are excited to get back at it tomorrow and put some more miles away!