Thursday, July 31, 2014

Lake Ontario Trek Returns to the States

On our Lake Ontario Trekkers' last day in Canada, part of the group got a tour of the area from a retired seasonal camper, while the rest got an early start on their biking.  By lunch time, they had already ridden 30 miles!

They all met up in Kingston for lunch, and to find a cake -- it's Trekker Julia's birthday!  She's the one our very smiley group is holding up in the photo above.

The Trekkers will reenter the U.S. today and stay at the Tibbets Point Lighthouse Hostel, where they'll get a chance to tour the historic lighthouse and break up their camping with a night indoors, sleeping in beds, before striking out across NY state for the last leg of their journey.

D&R Canal Trek Visits Washington's Crossing on the Delaware River

The D&R Canal Trekkers enjoyed another beautiful day of biking, leaving the canal itself behind for even prettier scenery along the Delaware River.  Early in the day, the group stopped at Washington's famous crossing and learned about the importance of crossing the river to the success of the Revolutionary War.

Next, they stopped in Lambertville for lunch and explored the town together.  Everyone did great, cruising through their 30-mile day to reach the little town of Frenchtown in the evening, where they finished the day with some delicious local pizza and a sunset over the water.

Tomorrow, they'll have their last full day of riding, and they're hoping it will be their best one yet!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

New England Shore Trek Bikes Across Rhode Island

Today was a big biking day for the New England Shore Trek!  They packed up their gear, left their comfortable hotel rooms and hit the road for a 40-mile day crossing Rhode Island to catch a ferry to Block Island.

Everyone was feeling up for the challenge and excited to get 2 days biking the island, swimming at its gorgeous beaches, and exploring its historic lighthouses and the friendly downtown of New Shoreham.  They zoomed along their route, made the early ferry, and set up camp in what might be record time for trips on this route.

You know a group is getting along when they all collapse into a pile to take an afternoon nap together.  We look forward to hearing what they discover together on Block Island!

Friendly Faces in Prince Edward County for the Lake Ontario Trek

Today our Lake Ontario Trekkers woke up in dry tents and warm sleeping bags, with a sky full of sunshine! They enjoyed a hearty breakfast and made great time to a small town, where they had lunch with cookies for dessert.

The Trekkers biked on to Bloomfield -- stopping to horse around in a cornfield along the way -- and enjoyed handcrafted ice cream in the afternoon, plus a stop at the local bike shop. The dinner crew then biked ahead to Picton to buy dinner and breakfast for the next morning. 

A wonderful Picton family hosted the group for the night. They even fired up their barbecue for a classic hot dog dinner by the fire and gave everyone warm, homemade blueberry-lemon cake!

"Every day," leader Zari says, "we enjoy seeing how kind people are, and how beautiful Ontario is."

D&R Canal Trek Reaches New Jersey

The D&R Canal tow path has brought our Trekkers from lovely Princeton to Yardley, Pennsylvania! The weather was absolutely gorgeous for their ride, and they picked up some company in the form of a flock of geese.

About two thirds of the way to their destination, the group stopped in Trenton, NJ, to have a picnic on the State House lawn and play some frisbee. They then took a tour of the State House, learning about the history of New Jersey and some fun facts about the state legislature.

They continued on in the late afternoon, making one more necessary stop for some water ice and ice cream before heading to the hotel to make a delicious dinner.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

New England Shore Trek Gets Inside History at Mystic Seaport

Our intrepid New England Shore group reached the living history museum at Mystic Seaport early in the afternoon, so they had lots of time to explore the seaport and learn about old New England maritime life.  Our report from leader Josh included the phrase "and it was just really cool" no fewer than five times, and "the kids loved it" four more times, so apparently it was a real hit.

In addition to taking a few funny photos, the Trekkers went to the planetarium to learn about navigating on the ocean by the stars, got a demonstration from a blacksmith about how whaling harpoons were made and used, checked out ship-building exhibits, made candles, made rope, and generally poked into every corner of the site.


They have a long day of biking ahead of them -- almost 40 miles -- so they plan to take full advantage of the cushy beds and air conditioning at their hotel tonight, so they can wake up fresh and ready to face the next day's challenges!

D&R Canal Trek Samples Local History and Local Ice Cream

Our Trekkers had a great second day along the D&R Canal! The first bit of the trail was a little rocky, but the path smoothed out into a finer gravel, making the kids' ride much smoother.

Along the trail, they saw several old shipping locks and the bridge that George Washington crossed after the battles of Trenton and Princeton in the days of the American Revolution. We emerged from the wooded trail near Princeton and biked through the town.

In town we met up with Caroline, one of the Trekkers from a New England Shore Trek leader Dana led earlier this summer.  Caroline took the group to a sweet ice cream shop, and then everyone rode through Princeton University's beautiful campus before heading to the hotel for the evening.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Lake Ontario Trek Bikes Toward Brighton

A gray, drizzly morning didn't give the Lake Ontario Trekkers a lot of hope for a great start to their day. . . but as they got into the biking, they found that the cool temperatures and the beautiful landscape around them made their first 15 miles some of their best yet!

In Cobourg, they found a friendly bike shop owner/mechanic who not only changed one of the Trekkers' tires for free, but sent them on their way with an extra innertube, too. By lunchtime, the rain had let up and the group had excellent energy levels for the last part of their ride to Presqu'ile Provincial Park in Brighton.

Everyone's looking forward to biking through Sandbank Park and the Thousand Islands region before returning to the U.S. in a few days.  Hopefully, they'll get more cool weather and meet more bike-friendly people along the way!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Lake Ontario Trek Bikes the Northern Shore

On their last full day in Toronto, the Lake Ontario Trekkers had an easy morning and a delicious breakfast at Average Joe's Cafe in Kensington Market. They trawled through the district's shops and put together a fantastic "Parisian" lunch -- fresh baguettes, fruit, meats, and cheeses, all from Kensington Market shops.  In the afternoon, they packed and prepared to hit the road the next day, swam in the hotel pool, and went out for pizza in Little Italy.

They wrote this haiku about their stay at the Hyatt Regency --
This hotel is nice
Lots of free coffee and food
I don't want to leave.

and this one about their Parisian-style picnic --
Fresh bread and savory cheese,
Meats, baked treats, and mangos galore,
Market hustle and bustle.

Warm, hotel beds or not, the group got back on the trail, for a bright, sunny day biking with stops for ice cream and Tim Horton's donut holes along the way to Darlington Provincial Park.  After a night of thunderstorms, they woke up to another beautiful day.  They cruised along the waterfront, admiring the views out over the lake and enjoying some breezy downhill biking that kept the summer heat at bay.  They also got to ride alongside Friends for Life, a group of 400 bikers going from Toronto to Montreal to raise AIDS/HIV awareness.

When they reached their lakeside campsite at Victoria Park Campground, they went for a swim, cooked dinner together, and shared stories.  They have three more days camping out in Canada before they'll cross back into the U.S. at Cape Vincent, NY.

New England Shore Trek Meets in NYC and Guilford, CT

The New England Shore Trek met in NYC and picked up a few more bikers in Guilford, CT, beginning a 16-day adventure along the shorelines of Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.  The group played some name games to start getting to know each other, went over bike safety rules, and then hit the road towards Hammonassett State Park campground.

The group had a very enjoyable ride to their campsite.  In the evening, they walked along a beautiful beach together and made Sloppy Joes for dinner before heading to bed.  Tomorrow, they'll have a slightly longer day to reach Rocky Neck State Park near East Lyme.

Trekkers, Parents, and Trip Leaders in NYC

D&R Canal Trek Leaves New York City

The Delaware and Raritan Canal Trek left New York City today for a 6-day, mostly off-road adventure along beautiful canal bikeways.  These are our youngest Trekkers, ages 10-12, completing a self-supported Trek with full panniers and group gear.

Since this was the first day, they started out by discussing bike safety rules and group biking procedures, then caught a train out of the city.  They did their first biking together around Rutgers University and New Brunswick, NJ. 

Their destination for the day was the Doubletree Hotel in Somerset, NJ, where they had a swim in the hotel pool and then cooked and ate dinner in the fresh air at a picnic table on hotel grounds.

Trekkers, Trip Leaders and Parents meeting in NYC

Friday, July 25, 2014

Downtown Toronto Welcomes Lake Ontario Trekkers

The Lake Ontario Trekkers started their day by doing laundry, then checked out the shops in Chinatown and bargained with a restaurant owner for their lunch.  In the afternoon, they got in some swimming at the hotel's pool, then headed to the harbor for dinner, live music, and a little salsa dancing.


An evening stroll helped everyone digest their delicious dinner out.  Tomorrow, they'll begin the second week of their Trek, heading east along Lake Erie.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Lake Ontario Trek Reaches Toronto

Trails along Lake Ontario gave the Lake Ontario Trekkers fantastic views of the landscape and lake as they made their way to Toronto.  The group had a breezy ride without any problems at all -- not even a flat tire! -- and made it to a Subway for lunch in great spirits.

They continued on through beautiful parks, finally cruising into Toronto and signing in to some wonderful rooms at the Hyatt Regency on King Street.  They found a delicious burger joint nearby and spent the evening exploring downtown Toronto and sleeping hard to get ready for the next day.

They'll be in Toronto two more nights, then strike out across the Canadian countryside along the northern shore of Lake Ontario.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Lake Ontario Trek Explores Southern Ontario

The Lake Ontario Trek group biked out of Niagara Falls and coasted down a series of beautiful hills, heading toward Toronto.  They stopped for lunch at the Museum at Lock 3, where they had a picnic lunch in the museum's park and watched a barge get lowered down beyond the canal walls.

In the afternoon, they had a great swim in the pool at their campground, then built a fire and roasted hot dogs.  They're camping out again tonight, and then they'll spend three nights in downtown Toronto before striking out on winding back roads and bike paths through Great Lakes country.

Monday, July 21, 2014

New England Shore Trek Reaches Boston

A smooth ferry ride brought our New England Shore group to Boston, where they've been having a great time exploring the city.  This morning, they checked out Faneuil Hall and Mike's Pastry, widely acclaimed as one of the best Italian bakeries in the city.  (And in the whole country, for that matter.)

In the afternoon, the group worked together to pack up bikes, and then shared a delicious and very fun dinner at a Chinese hot pot restaurant.

They're taking a bus back to NYC today and will all be back home later tonight, telling stories about their adventures!

Architecture, Art, and More Poutine: New York - Montreal Trek Enjoys Montreal

The New York - Montreal Trekkers had a superb day in Montreal.  They started off with a great breakfast at McGill University:

Next, they walked to Old Montreal and admired the beautiful French architecture and numerous historic statues and landmarks:

They ran across a car show and some murals painted by the Etam Cru, a team of artists leader Rachel particularly likes.  Here's one of those:

It's not hard to see why she's a fan!

They went up to the Chalet du Mont Royal at the top of Mont Royal, the hill that gives the city of Montreal its name, and ate lunch while enjoying sweeping views of the city.  They cooled off by going to the movies to watch Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and capped off the night with some delicious Portuguese chicken and pastries -- and more poutine!  Finally, they got in some exercise on the swings and slides at a playground and had a pull-up contest on the monkey bars.

Tonight, they'll take an overnight bus back to NYC, where they'll run around the city together before pickups in the afternoon.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Lake Ontario Trek Gets Soaked on the Maid of the Mist

The Lake Ontario Trek enjoyed a gorgeous, sunny day at Niagara Falls.  They enjoyed a picnic lunch including some very tasty rotisserie chicken and then biked the trails around Goat Island. 

Teen Treks' Director, Cliff Madell, joined the group for the day and gave them some tips about bike mechanics while he was there.

Next, the Trekkers went on the Maid of the Mist boat tour, which takes you right up next to the Falls themselves.  Here's the group looking cheerful -- and dry -- before Maid of the Mist:

And here they are afterward, drenched!  But still cheerful:

Check out leader Zari's t-shirt.  It's hot pink in the first photo, and it gets so soaked it actually looks dark red in the second.

The group is staying at the Niagara Falls Youth Hostel again tonight.  Tomorrow, they'll bike up to Jordan, Ontario, for their first night camping out together!

New York - Montreal Trek Bikes through Quebec

The New York - Montreal Trek has been riding through Quebec to Montreal, and the Trekkers are really excited to be traveling through another country.  One of this group's members is from France, so he's been a big help with interacting with the province's French speakers.

They followed winding country roads through lower Quebec and happened on a small-town street festival where the kids got to sit down in some shade and listen to traditional African music.  When they reached Montreal, everyone had a nice, warm shower, then went downtown for poutine, Quebec's signature dish -- fries with fresh cheese and gravy.

In all, the group has ridden more than 400 miles!  They'll spend a couple days in Montreal before catching an overnight bus back to NYC for one last day together.

New England Shore Trek Hits the Beaches in Provincetown

After a climb up Pilgrim Monument -- 252 feet tall! -- to take in sweeping views of Provincetown, its harbor, and the surrounding dunes, our second New England Shore Trek walked along Commercial Street and sampled some delicious malasadas from a Portuguese bakery. 

Then they biked a beautiful bike trail for a fun afternoon at Race Point Beach.  They're getting in plenty of sun and sand -- yesterday, they went to Coast Guard Beach, often listed among America's top 10 beaches.

The group has been camping out at Dune's Edge Campground, and today, they'll catch a morning ferry to Boston and spend the night at the Doubletree Hotel.  Tomorrow, they'll take a bus back to NYC for last goodbyes.  Congratulations, New England Shore Trekkers -- you're almost home!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Lake Ontario Trek Heads for Niagara Falls

An overcast, drizzly day brought the Lake Ontario Trekkers into Canada via the Peace Bridge on their first day out.  In all, they rode just over 20 miles to reach Niagara Falls.  After fixing a flat tire and making a few mechanical adjustments, the Trekkers are now all official road warriors, ready for whatever their journey brings them!

The group was all smiles when they reached the Falls.  Tonight, they're staying dry at the Niagara Falls Youth Hostel and looking forward to the Maid of the Mist boat ride in the morning.

The group wrote us a haiku for the day:
A beautiful finch,
Soaring over Niagara,
Color was yellow.
We look forward to hearing more about their adventures through Canada and back across New York State!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Mini Golf and S'Mores for the New England Shore Trek

The second New England Shore Trek continues across Massachusetts, biking 33 miles from Sandwich to Brewster -- and discovering all sorts of things along the way, like the distinctive (though unfortunately closed) store pictured above, where they took a break.

They enjoyed the ride, and stopped at noon to have a picnic lunch and take advantage of a laundromat, then set up camp at Sweetwater Forest.  In the evening, they went for a round of mini golf at a nearby course.

After cooking dinner together, they made a campfire and ended their day with s'mores for dessert.  Next on their route, they have their last major biking day, heading for Provincetown.