Newsletters - Volume 53
DAOD 5031-10, Adventure Training
Article written by Sergeant Dave Stuhlmueller, CFSCE, 2 Sqn
"The aim of adventure training is to develop, through challenging outdoor pursuits, leadership and other qualities that enhance the performance of CF members." Recently, 10 members of CFSCE, 2 Sqn participated in Adventure Training with Chocpaw Expeditions (www.chocpaw.com). Chocpaw provides a Dog Sledding Experience inside Algonquin Park, and what an experience it was. Our 5 day round trip was challenging, exciting, hard work, and lots of laughs. To begin we received our brief on how to properly handle and hook up the dogs, give verbal commands, and the Golden Rule; "Never let go of the sled". What a sight when we pulled into the compound to get our respective teams and pack our sleds. Every dog there knew that we would be heading out, and as we started to gather our teams, their excitement level grew. It was almost as if every one of them were barking "Pick Me"!
Under the watchful eyes of our two professional guides, we slowly learned the intricacies of sledding, controlling, and hanging on. We travelled approx 20 Km that first day and stayed at a semi-permanent camp of the edge of Algonquin. There was always something to do around the camp. Tending to the dogs was always our first priority, giving them water and food, then laying straw for them to sleep on. For ourselves, we needed to gather wood for the tent stove and prepare meals. We quickly learned that Sgt Duane Fougere was fantastic with a frying pan. A little of this, a dash of that, and dinner was incredible. PO 2 Jason Hynes decided that we needed a good old fashioned camp fire, (Newph style he says) so set out with a posse to gather fire wood. It was such a success, we had one every night.
Everyday we hit the trails and moved to another camp, working our way deeper into the parks interior. The trails leading in were freshly blazed, with barely enough room to squeeze a sled through, and very little room for error. There was brush beating off our sleds and ourselves, with fallen trees laden with snow forming arches across the trail that forced us to "thread the needle". To see nature in the dead of winter, undisturbed, was quite a sight.
The dogs were fantastic. Even tempered and very friendly, everyone soon had a favourite. It was obvious that all the dogs wanted to do, was run. From the moment we grabbed their harnesses their excitement level grew. MCpl Scott Seal noted that when we had them all hitched up and ready to head off, it was like being at a NASCAR race. 30 Engines ROARING to go.
We all thoroughly enjoyed the time and the opportunity to participate in this unique outing. Our most experienced, and most kitted out photo geek, Capt Eric Allaire captured many great moments that week, enabling us all to share our trip with those back at work and at home. We all agree that it was an experience of a lifetime, and that we are all very lucky to have been able to participate. If anyone is looking for a uniquely challenging winter experience, I suggest that you talk to the folks at Chocpaw.
PO2 Hynes and MCpl Dostie ready their team.
Cutting Firewood at the first camp.
Left to Right: OS Onyshchenko, Pte Charbonneau, Sgt Fougere, PO2 Hynes, WO Bard, Cpl Cote, MCpl Seal, Sgt Stuhlmueller.
Running on the trail day 2