Strathconas Take to the Hills on Ex STEELE ROCKY
By Trooper Jacqueline Hodgson
The Strathconas couldn’t have picked a more amazing place to conduct adventure training then in the vast mountainous shield that is in our back yard! On 15 Oct 12, Lt Brandon Frizzell kicked off the Steele Rocky exercise and lead twelve well prepared and more than willing volunteers south just outside of the beautiful town of Canmore in the Bow Valley/ Kananaskis Country Provincial Park. The long drive from CFB Edmonton to the stunning back country was worth the trip, waking up every morning to a picture perfect scene of what the west is famous for!
The first day was dedicated to setting up the camp and starting the well needed and highly anticipated campfire. Cpl Evan Barton and Tpr Vaughan Elston, from Recce Sqn, were the designated firewood OPIs, keeping the camp topped full up with nothing less than several bails of wood ready to be tossed on the fire. LS Mike “Chef” Grobov, LdSH(RC) cook, was amazing enough to keep the camp happy and well fed through the week. From what little he had to work with combined with his manly grilling talent, he managed to make a feast every night for the mountaineers. Should anyone need medical attention, Pte Jared Pollard and OS Erika Provost were quick on hand to give great advice and help relieve sore muscles, blisters and head aches.
On Tuesday morning with everyone ready to go, Lt Frizzell mapped out a nice hike around Upper Kananaskis Lake. It was a medium difficulty hike that started off in the mossy forest and took the soldiers up to the top of a small mountain. The summit was a sight that was hard to forget looking down on Upper Kananaskis Lake. Cpl Matthew Freeman described the top as “mountainous” and that it was amazing to look down on a lake which had a unique icy green tint and across to the distant peaks which were frosted with fresh snow.
As the week progressed, the afternoon hikes that were planned by Lt Frizzell all topped the previous day’s to say the least! From the long hike up Barrier Lake trail, which was roughly a four hour hike up the side of Lookout Mountain, to the beautiful 8 kilometre hike up Hai Ling Peak which gave you the lookout of the bottom of Calgary in the distance and its vast flatlands that stretched east. The views from those hikes alone ironically left Tpr Russell “Mountain Goat” Glennie speechless as he seemed to always lead the pack of mountaineers up every trail. He overcame every obstacle on the side of each mountain and managed to land the first foot on the peaks every time.
The weather throughout the week was very windy and the nearby lakes appeared very choppy on the surface. Lt Brandon Frizzell, Trp Jeremy Kozack, Cpl Lance “Gypsy Caravan” Banman and I made an attempt to navigate the waters of Barrier Lake but the effort to fight the wind sent us two strokes back for every one stoke forward. Had the wind been less aggressive, we would have been out there for hours checking out the seemingly endless inlets and streams that ran into the lake.
As the week came to an end with Friday just around the corner, it seemed that a quiet sadness lurked in camp. All those who had come to play in Alberta’s back yard had to leave and return back to the asphalt jungle they called home. With morale at its highest, new stories to tell and a great sense of accomplishment lingering in every mountaineers head, I personally would recommend that if given the opportunity, no one should pass up the chance to take part in Strathcona’s adventure training.