Army Cadet League of Canada (Alberta)

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2017 International Expedition to Chile By CWO Clarissa Stoffelsen

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I am Cadet Chief Warrant Officer Stoffelsen from 2850 Loyal Edmonton Regiment, Grande Prairie Alberta. When I applied for the expedition to Chile, I was definitely the most excited about hiking through Chile’s mountains.

I’ve done several expeditions in the Canadian Rockies and I wanted to see how mountains from different areas of the world compared. Between The Towers (two rock pillars), and Los Cuernos (meaning “the horns”, two peaks) I was certainly not disappointed. But as beautiful as the mountains were, I have to say my team was what really made the trip.

The team that was selected to partake in the 2017 International Expedition consisted of 18 of the top army cadets from across Canada. As the trip progressed, it was easy to see why each person made selections, and it was really cool to see how everyone contributed to the team dynamic in different ways. Even on some of our roughest days, whether it was hiking downhill in the rain and mud, pulling off a river for a couple of hours because the wind was too strong to kayak, or putting on the dreaded wet wetsuits, everyone was always laughing and smiling and making the best of the situation.

I think the most memorable part of the trip was when we hiked up to the base of the towers. It was a really steep hike, but getting to the top was so worth it, and while we were there we met people from several different countries who had all come to see the same view. I think the hardest part of the trip, for me, was kayaking.

Although I’ve always enjoyed canoeing on flat and white water, kayaking has always been something I was scared to try. Even though kayaking might not have been the best part of the trip for me, I think it was the most fulfilling. The trip to Chile was an amazing opportunity, and absolutely unforgettable.