Army Cadet Emma Foster, 15, traveled to Canmore last month to brave the winter weather and learn new skills in the Rocky Mountains.
Foster joined a group of 10 other cadets from across Canada as well as three officers on Feb. 21-28 to take part in the ultimate army cadet adventure – Wild Winter 2012.
The group traveled to the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains near Canmore where they stayed in a cabin and ice climbed, hiked and skied.
“The purpose of the trip was to get out and do cool things and of course you get to meet people from all over the country,” said Foster. “To go on this trip you have to have a high enough fitness level. The different levels are bronze, gold, silver and excellence – and I’m an excellence.”
Foster added one of the highlights of the trip for her was learning how to ice climb.
“It was the first time I’ve ice climbed and we were able to climb up different ice walls,” she said. “I thought it would be really hard because I’m not very good at rock climbing, but it was actually easier than I thought and it was a lot of fun.”
Foster was also able to learn about avalanche safety. “We learned about different snow packs and what makes them weak, what causes avalanches and how avalanches slide. I think it’s one of the biggest things that I learned because I didn’t know snow could do all of the things it could.”
The group was also able to do some alpine skiing and camp outdoors at Mosquito Creek.
“We had to dig out our camp site because there was a good couple metres of snow. We had to find the picnic table and dig out everything around the area,” said Foster. “That was a really cold night because it got down to -30C. We took our water bottles and filled them with boiling hot water and put them in our sleeping bags and they acted like a little heater. It was really the only thing that kept me warm.”
Captain Cameron Thompson, coordinator for the cadet exercise said the group on the expedition were, “Proven dedicated cadets and have been part of the program for many years now. Our gold star cadets get this great chance to learn more leadership and outdoor skills during this week.”
Meanwhile, Foster, a Grade 10 student at Notre Dame High School, first joined cadets four years ago. “My brother was a part of the cadets and he was really enjoying it so I decided to join too. I really like getting to meet a bunch of people from all over.”
Looking ahead, Foster said she hopes to get on with one of the international exchanges with the cadets.
“This year they are going to Iceland and next year they are going to Argentina. It would just be so cool to do something like that.”