Solo Trips

There is no question that there is some element of risk associated with solo trips. Most canoeing organizations take the official approach that solo tripping is foolhardy, and there is probably some merit to that position. When we head out paddling on our own, there is nobody around to help us if we get into trouble. Problems that are trivial or a minor inconvenience in a group setting can quickly become life threatening on a solo canoe trip.

In spite of this, the experience of being in the wilderness alone can be a profound one. It is not often that we escape the bedlam we call the "civilized" world and spend a few days in absolute solitude.

Most of us have forgotten what it is like to be alone for any length of time. I would venture a guess that there are those among us that have never spent more than an hour or two alone in their lives.

Solo tripping can be a rewarding experience. Our fast-paced lives demand that we balance things out by spending time in quiet reflection, and a solo canoe trip can be just the place to do this.

Before you plan a trip like this, you should ask yourself:

  • Are my paddling skills adequate to travel solo for the distance being considered:
  • Am I in good physical condition?
  • Is the trip a safe one, with few potential hazards such as whitewater or large, exposed lakes?
  • Am I comfortable with the psychological aspect of being alone in the wilderness

Thoughts ...

It is in solitude, in quiet communion with nature, that we reach most deeply into truth.

Sam Campbell

Into solitude went I.  And wisdom was revealed to me.

Winnebago Song

Wilderness can only be appreciated by contrast, and solitude understood only when we have been without it.  We cannot separate ourselves from society, comradeship, sharing and love.  Unless we can contribute something from wilderness experience, derive some solace or peace to share with others, then the real purpose is defeated.

Sigurd F. Olson