Recce on the ‘Wet’ Coast
By: Lt Ross Sturgeon
24 February 2009
As the seatbelt lights came on and the plane crested over the last of the Costal Ranges, some lucky members of Recce Squadron looked out the windows to see green fields. Winter on the West Coast is certainly not as harsh as Edmonton and more than a couple of folks had to peel a layer of clothing at Vancouver International Airport.
The OC, Maj McKenzie, and five others spent a week examining locations in preparation for OP Podium, the defence of the 2010 Winter Olympics. Upon arrival, the Recce team joined fellow Strathconas already on the ground for dinner and revelry at a local ‘watering hole’ of LCol Macaulay’s choosing. The following morning, the Greater Vancouver Regional District was saturated with teams determining the local pattern of life. Many valuable lessons were learned, including how to order an authentic no-fat vanilla latte and the proper pronunciation of the grammatical subject ‘dude.’ The next few days were spent in the fashion all good Vancouverites expound. The team spent their days in the mountains and evenings perusing the downtown core. Team members skied, snow shoed and marched through the hills, gathering valuable information for follow on operations. All was not soft and cushy though; more than a couple team members were forced to soak their weary bones in the hotel hot tub. This may not seem perilous at face value, but fending off overly ‘friendly’ elderly gentlemen is no laughing matter! There was even an Elton John sighting in the lobby. As inferred, accommodations for this excursion were more than generous, for which the team members send their heart felt thanks to those responsible. As the week drew to a close it began to dawn on everyone that our time spent in the warm weather was ending. Our sunglasses would soon have to be retired.
As the return flight left Richmond, the snow of the eastern longitudes reasserted its prominence. Returning to Edmonton, team members were forced to face the reality of an Alberta winter. They stood resolved in the fact that Recce Squadron was one step closer to success at the Olympics and that spring would eventually find Edmonton.