Day 8: Clear Eyes, Full Bellies, Can’t Lose

Although the fourth of July undoubtedly featured the consumption of millions of toasty franks across the 50 states, there was certainly no hotdoggin’ it on our trips today! Fueled up after a holiday of berries and barbecue, all 25 of our trips channeled the fourth’s positive vibes into another stellar day of hiking, biking, surfing, and exploration around the globe. In what can only be described as a post frankfurt fiesta, the Apogee community pushed the concept of adventuring to its limit, covering mileage via hike, bike, kayak, and surfboard in nine states and five countries. Hit up the coverage below and ketchup (zing!) on all the day’s activities.


Maine Coast Junior (MCJ)

It’s the final day of Maine coast exploration for our MCJ kiddos! Where did the time go?! They grow up so fast *Apogee Office sheds collective tear*. Last night, in celebration of July 4th, team MCJ had a night of fine dining in Freeport, Maine, and enjoyed the fireworks. Today, the squad spent the day exploring and adventuring in Brunswick (in homemade, matching tie-dye t-shirts no less!). Sounds like a fantastic way to wrap up a fantastic trip!  

Cape Cod & the Islands (CI)

Team CI is rounding the elbow and cruising up the arm of Cape Cod. Vroom, vroom! 13 miles of biking in the bag (rather, panier) as our CI squad rode into camp for a night in Wellfleet. Rumor has it our CI kiddos have a day of surfing tomorrow. Here at Apogee HQ we can only imagine the excitement brewing in camp this evening!

“Big shopping day! Food everywhere! Spirits high” – Leader Taylor!

New England Mountains & Coast A (NEMCA)

Today NEMCA enjoyed a well-deserved rest day after their challenge hike yesterday. They cooled off by taking a dip in a lake with some splash-worthy views. Tomorrow will be their last day in the White Mountains before moving on to new territory!

New England Mountains & Coast B (NEMCB)

Our NEMCBers did some worthwhile community service this morning. Working alongside the New Hampshire Forest Service, they aided in the removal of a bridge that is in need of replacement. Their work will allow visitors to once again enjoy this lovely trail in the Whites. What a productive morning! They finished off this fruitful day with freshly picked strawberries collected by their own 16 hands.  

pullin’ roots is our business

Colorado’s Rocky Mountains A (CRMA)

Although CRMA’s trip is coming to an end, the adventure isn’t stopping anytime soon. Today the squad took a break from hiking, but no off days here! Instead, our Rocky Mountaineers took to the water for a fun morning of whitewater rafting. Unfortunately, the combo of not wanting to lose your phone to a rad rapid + spotty service meant no photos for us today. But, still a sweet day – rock on, CRMA!

Caribbean Service (CS)

Team CS spent the morning volunteering at the Vieques National Wildlife Refuge! The refuge and its surrounding waters are home to at least two plants and eight animals on the endangered species list. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! (To be clear, none of those animals will be at the refuge, but we’re sure the crew saw some other cool creatures.) After a rewarding day of service, the group took to Vieques for more exploration and adventure.

Visiting the Fortin Conde de Mirasol – the last Spanish fort built in the America’s in the 19th century!

Maine Coast College Essay (MCCE)

Our MCCE crew spent the morning in another intense writing session. As their trip comes to an end, these writers are working to put the final touches on their college essay!. If that didn’t already make for a productive Wednesday, the group then headed out to do some community service at Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program. Our MCCE leaders can’t help reminiscing about their July 4th beach day, however, and sent along some photos to share. Turns out those chic outfits from yesterday double quite well as beach outfits. Who would’ve thought?

Maine’s Downeast Explorer (DEXA)

So many peaks in so little time! Our DEXA explorers can check yet ANOTHER peak in Acadia National Park off their bucket lists. At 3:35am the DEXA team made it to the peak of Cadillac Mountain, early and eager to watch the sunrise. Where is the coolest place you’ve ever taken a nap? For DEXA that might just be on the summit of Cadillac mountain, where the kiddos clocked some zzz’s post-sunrise, pre-breakfast. Now prepping and getting stoked to go into the backcountry. Fun fact: the peak of Cadillac Mountain is the first sight of sunrise in the US!

Maine’s Downeast Explorer (DEXB)

And they’re out of the backcountry, emerging in high spirits after crushing a 4 mile hike back to Maine civilization.Tonight the crew is in Baxter, Maine, getting amped to further explore the beautiful north woods of Baxter State Park. Enjoy the backcountry pic below that leader Lucia sent us – looking good group!  

Vermont to Montréal A (VMA)

VMA continued to make their case for being the coolest group of people in the entire world today as they completed a day of service with the Intervale Center, a nonprofit dedicated to improving local food economies through farming and sustainable land use. Tonight’s activities included another nutritious dinner cooked on the shore of Lake Champlain.

Vermont to Montréal B (VMB)

Feeling wiped from this New England heatwave? Take a tip from VMB and go catch some waves sea kayak style. These Apo pros hit the water with Vermont adventure company True North, touring around Lake Champlain before returning to their beachside campsite this evening. Life is truly looking good for this Green Mountain gang.

Costa Rica Language & Service (CRLS)

We had another sloth sighting today in Manuel Antonio National Park! After ample animal appearances (hopefully a few caught on camera!) this troop went for nice dip in the crystal blue waters of the Costa Rican Pacific Coast. After some relaxing beach time tomorrow they are going to pick up some speed and, ahem, zip through the tops of the jungle via zip line.

Costa Rica Mountains & Coast (CRMC)

The CRMCers made a trip to Parque Nacional Chirripo today which is classified in 5 different ecosystems including primary rainforest and primary cloudforest. If you have never been a primary rainforest, they are some of the most special places on the planet. These forest wanderers got chances to view some of the most remarkable species in the world.

California Mountains & Coast (CMCA)

Day 2 of backcountry exploration for team CMCA, and it’s not without some cool adventures. The impressive Yosemite Falls greeted our crew today as they journeyed through the park, and their hike promised views of El Capitan! If you’re not googling photos of these landmarks as you read this, we highly recommend that you do so. Wish we could share some photos with our dedicated readers, but the backcountry offers spectacular views and natural wonders and little in the way of cell service. CMCA leaders had just enough service to send us the fun photo below last night! Double bonus points for sneaking a blog picture out from the backcountry!

California Mountains & Coast (CMCB)

Alpine lakes? Check. Rushing rivers? Check. Amazing views from at altitudes higher than 9,000 feet? Check! CMCB put in work in the Yosemite backcountry this afternoon, trekking alongside clear mountain pools and the park’s spectacular rock formations. These literal ROCKstars blew through their first group challenge day and we can’t wait to see photos of their adventure once they emerge from the land of no-service.

Northwest Explorer (NWXA)

Any doubts that NWXA is having a rad time in Washington? Put a Sauk in it. The recent Olympic peninsula departees took to the Sauk River for a day’s worth of whitewater rafting in one of the region’s most stunning glaciated waterways. In addition to chowing down on some mid-day watermelon with their raft guides, the Northwest fleet will settle into their campsite on the periphery of the North Cascades National Park where they will be for two nights.

Northwest Explorer (NWXB)

Bye, bye backcountry; hello to showers, laundry and that sweet, sweet post adventure feeling of accomplishment we all love and know so well. Upon hiking out of the Cascade range this morning the crew zipped west to Bellingham bay where they will set up shop in preparation for tomorrow’s sea kayaking expedition. With the mountains behind them and the wide ocean stretching out in front of them, team NWXB truly embodied the spirit of the Northwest. They also provided tons of pictures to fill us in on what we missed the last few days! 

Pacific Coast (PCA)

Day two of California dreamin’ brought the multi-talented PCA crew to Crescent City for an afternoon of some totally tubular surfing. The surf was up while the biking mileage was down as the west coast squadron rested their legs from the pedal grind of the past week. All in all, Crescent City was a real barrel of fun for the team, and heck, you could even say PCA had a pretty swell day (zing!).

Pacific Coast (PCB)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRACE!!! Jack (the wonderful human being that he is) and the band woke Grace up with balloons this morning to celebrate. The real celebration however, was their 30 mile coastal ride out out of Harris Beach. With a slightly shorter day today they’re saving their legs for an exciting day of surfing tomorrow!

Pyrenees Mountains & Coast (PMC)

Ariel, Red and the gang made the trek down from JM Blanc to Espot today. Having finished up their final day in the High Pyrenees, they are looking forward to a beautiful drive across the Spanish French border tomorrow disembarking on the Atlantic coast of France.

Alps Explorer (AXA)

Who are we? Apogee! What are we hiking? The TMB! And they’re off – team AXA started their TMB trek this morning in Trient, Switzerland, and roughly 9 miles of hiking later they arrive in Tre-le-Champ, France. From one country to another, our Alps explorers soaked up snowy Alpine views and took in the fresh, Alpine air. 11 days on the TMB – what could be better?

The “classic pink church start of TMB” photo

Alps Explorer (AXB)

And the Terrifically Mountainous Beauty continues on the TMB as our AXB squad treks through the French Alps. Bon travail! From La Flagere to Les Houches they trekked following in the footsteps of many great hikers and runners before them. Fun fact – the TMB is the route for one of the largest and most difficult foot races in the world. Every year, ultramarathon runners gather to complete the TMB; the best runners are able to do so in less than 24 hours — whaaaat!

Europe Coast to Coast (ECC)

The ECCers said goodbye to beautiful Bruges this morning and set their sights on Kluisbergen, a tiny rural Belgian town, known for its beautiful rolling hills. The ride was nice and relaxing with some expansive views of the Belgian countryside. Tomorrow, after a well earned mellow ride today, they will be making their second border crossing into what is known as the land of wine and cheese, but will just be the land of cheese and more cheese for our crew.

On the menu tonight: tortellini w tomato sauce, veggies, Belgian bacon, and beautiful views of rural Belgium!

America Coast to Coast (ACC1)

One week down and now it’s time for a REEESSTT DAAAAYYYY!! After a wonderful week of winding roads and and a new lovely little town everyday, they got to know the town of LaGrange, GA. This day off is well deserved and much needed as they will be creeping up towards the century mark tomorrow with their first 90+ mile day.

America Coast to Coast (ACC2)

Team Tizra cranked up the mileage today. Putting their first 80 mile day behind them. Still reaching camp early in the day (the before noon streak had to end at some point – goodness gracious). After a captivating cruise through the heart of peach country. They are looking forward to some lovely R&R, but not before another strong day tomorrow to finish out their first week with a total of 401 miles. Go team!!