Looking for the Next Challenge

Since young, I have always had a passion for the outdoors: camping; canoeing; fishing; skiing and more! As a youth I financed my addiction for adventure by working long and hard hours as a labourer on farms, in a landscaping business and in the timber industry.

Courting Outdoor and Adventure

1985 came along and “common sense” said I had to train and qualify as something, so I became a mechanical engineer technician. However, in 1987 common sense was pushed aside. My physical being wanted more than the “machine shop atmosphere” and so I joined the military as a combat engineer. I thrived in the physical fitness regime of the army, and the adventure of travelling and learning my new trade took me to a new high. I learnt to dive, parachute, trained for winter warfare and participated in the inter-army winter games.

However, common sense snuck back in and, in my army years, I attained a diploma in general science through correspondence courses.

1994, my thirst for adventure drove me to join the SAR Tech trade. The SAR Tech trade is an Air Force trade that specializes in search and rescue operations in Canada. SAR Techs complete gruelling training in parachuting, scuba diving, ground search, mountain climbing, mountain rescue systems, land survival, arctic survival and sea survival. This trade is considered an elite part of the Canadian Forces.

As a SARTech, my first posting was in Greenwood, Nova Scotia. I flew out on many missions both on fix wing Hercules aircrafts and rotary wing Labrador helicopters. In spite of this, “outdoor” and “adventure” were on the lookout for new challenges. It was in Greenwood, I competed in a few adventure races and was taught the importance of teamwork, cohesiveness, leadership, planning and preparation.

My love for “outdoor” and “adventure” gave me the opportunity to partake in the crossing of the Newfoundland’s Northern Peninsula, from Great Harbor Deep to Hawke’s Bay by snowshoe ( 80 Km). The following year, again on snowshoe, I led a group of four SARTechs across Cape Breton Isled from Cheticamp to Ingonish (50 Km).

…And now the Polar Bug

I am still a keen SARTech who loves the North, and at every opportunity I volunteer for training in the higher latitudes. Luck gave me a few very noteworthy Arctic SAR missions. At about the same time, I read Polar Attack by Richard Weber.  This book gave me the Arctic Bug and incited me to mount a SAR Tech expedition to the Geographic North Pole.

After some persistent negotiations, Richard accepted to train my SARTech team. We spent one week learning from Weber on the Arctic sea just north of CFS Alert. That week was the highlight of my career.

In that week, Dr Gordon Giesbrecht, physiologist and director of the University of Manitoba’s Laboratory for Exercise and Environmental Studies, joined us and taught us about Artic travel and survival. To further prepare for my polar expedition I completed a 60 Km and a 100km trek on Lake Winnipeg in Jan and Feb 2002. More training was to take place to ensure my team’s readiness for a March 2004 expedition start but due to lack of interest from the military the expedition was canned.

Now, two years later my interest has been revived...