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PostPosted: August 31st, 2016, 5:39 pm 
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Joined: August 30th, 2016, 3:36 pm
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I'm rapidly approaching my first solo trip, which will be about 5 nights (plus or minus 1) in the French River Delta, Ontario. I guided canoe trips in the area from 1996-2000, and did an ambitious tandem trip in October 2006 (which you can view a quick picture and caption of here: http://www.komlenic.com/2006.jpg)

I have been out of the scene completely since then, but am approaching middle age and illness, and *now is the time*. I got bit with the desire to go solo. A big "thank you" for member "hoop" who's videos I watched over and over and who inspired me to do this. I literally have no idea why I never considered going solo before now. Thanks "hoop"!

This forum, particularly this solo section has been helpful! My question is: what one (or several) piece of advice do you have for someone who's about to go on their first solo trip?

Thanks in advance! Would love to hear any replies!


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PostPosted: August 31st, 2016, 6:22 pm 
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Location: GTA
Download a few good e-books in case you're wind bound somewhere for a day or two & bring something to recharge your device.

If you're driving far, get some good podcasts or audio books.

Carry a PLB or SPOT (or whatever) with you on the portages- like on your body - so that it's not at one end of the portage if you're injured on the other. Also, of course, have it in a PFD pocket when on the water.

Step carefully and always err on the side of safety over speed or convenience.

Bring a little tripod or other method of taking decent selfies.

Although animals have never been an issue for me soloing over the years, some say that solo folk are more likely to become food - you might consider bear bangers/bear spray more seriously than you would with a partner/group.

You might pack more carefully than with a group - like protect your sleeping bag better or whatever - no one will be able to help you in the case of hypothermia.

If you're parked well off the beaten path for a while, consider contingency planning if your vehicle doesn't start for whatever reason when you get back to it.

If you don't normally tie gear in the canoe, you might consider tying certain critical gear on some crossings.


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PostPosted: August 31st, 2016, 6:32 pm 
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Joined: August 30th, 2016, 3:36 pm
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Thanks Brad for the tips!

I've got a DeLorme InReach for emergencies - I always tend to wear my PFD even on portages, so I'll likely keep that strapped to it. Bears, I've got bear spray - this is one of my bigger worries, as in a group you make a LOT more noise than solo. Also have a bear canister for food/smelly items that I plan to stash away from camp each night.

I do worry a little bit about boredom, especially if wind/weather bound for a day or two, so books/ebooks it is.


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PostPosted: August 31st, 2016, 6:58 pm 
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Location: Rattlesnake Pond ME
Relax. You are approaching the age of noticing. Bring a camera if you like and look around.
Keep warm and dry.

It's not likely you will even see a bear but encounters do happen. If you see a bear being bear, rejoice. If the bear seems to be interested in you, make noise. Bangers are a good psychological aid. Make sure the banger goes off between you and bear...yes practice
I have a heck of a lot of shots of bear hinies. They dont usually stick around.

Yes, an ereader is useful.
Dont turn an ankle. This is way more worrisome solo than bears but frankly someone is going to find you before winter anyway. Its not like you are going to the Arctic.
Do as much as you feel up to. Don't worry about impressing anyone.

Have a good time and relax!


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PostPosted: August 31st, 2016, 7:31 pm 
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Joined: December 19th, 2011, 4:44 pm
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Location: Waterloo, ON
You will possibly have periods, particularly in the late afternoon / evening, when you may feel very alone. You may question why you decided to go solo in the first place. Don't worry, it's a common reaction when people are new to solo tripping. It's normal. All of our lives we are in contact with others, or at least the option to contact people is at our fingertips. Solo tripping takes a bit of getting used to, and sometimes it takes several trips - even a few longer ones - before you are able to "cross the threshold" psychologically speaking, and learn how to take it all in stride. If you begin to doubt your decision to go solo, allow yourself the benefit of the doubt and embrace the trip.

When tucking into your tent at night, if you have any anxiety about bears, trust that there are tens of thousands of people that sleep in tents in the woods every summer, and there's no problem. Also, you're more likely to have a problem due to lack of sleep because of bear anxiety, than experience a problem with an actual bear. Get a good night's sleep and embrace the new day when it comes.

Resist the urge to bail out early. Commit to your trip. Often the real benefit of a solo trip is realized upon reflection. Solo tripping - you'll either love it or you'll hate it. There's not a lot of in-between, and you may not be really sure which camp you're in until you've had some time to let it sink in.

Have a great trip.

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PostPosted: August 31st, 2016, 7:47 pm 
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Joined: May 5th, 2015, 2:14 pm
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Location: London, ON
I have an inReach - I find that the more I use it, the more I want to bail out early on solo trips. And I'm pretty sure it's causative. I now tell people (i.e. wife) to not expect daily updates, and I don't use the tracking feature as I really find these things make soloing more difficult rather than easier.

Good luck!!!
Marko


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PostPosted: August 31st, 2016, 9:07 pm 
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Location: Ringwood, NJ
Don't take risks, try to be consciously aware of your surroundings as much as possible (I'm not talking about bears). Take along spares or repairs for essential items (paddle, maps, knife, yoke, tent, sleeping pad, spoon, flashlight &c.). If get bored on the water work on your paddling skills. Take notes. Enjoy the solitude!
Very nice pictures of your 2006 trip.


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PostPosted: August 31st, 2016, 9:48 pm 
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Joined: August 30th, 2016, 3:36 pm
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Great advice, all - and very comforting! "commit to your trip" is very affirming. Awesome pics on your site also @canoeguitar! What canoe is that that you use?


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PostPosted: September 1st, 2016, 6:33 am 
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Joined: June 25th, 2001, 7:00 pm
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1. Always, always, always tie up your canoe when at camp, or leaving it on shore. You can easlily lose your boat.
2. Talk out loud or sing to yourself while on portage to announce you are coming. Bears don't particularly want to meet up with you.
3. there is no 3.


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PostPosted: September 1st, 2016, 8:35 am 
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There is excellent advice here. You're bound to experience some highs and lows over the week. The highs are easy, the lows will pass and you'll be glad you persevered. All the best on your adventure!


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PostPosted: September 1st, 2016, 1:42 pm 
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Location: Denver, CO
I'll add - Keep Busy. I get bored if I have too much down time, so I mostly travel long days and only have 1 or 2 layover days for a 2 week trip. Fishing is good and I do occasionally bring a book to read. By moving every day, you "use up" time in setting up and taking down camp - I much prefer that to doing a base camp trip.


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PostPosted: September 1st, 2016, 2:15 pm 
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@ canoeguide,

Regarding the canoe you see in my photos...I have 3 canoes, all are red with no company logos on them.

The one that you see most often on my website is a Nova Craft Pal in Kevlar/Spectra with ash trim. It is a symmetrical canoe, and though it is 16' long, it is narrower and shallower than many tandem canoes. This is my solo canoe, and I bought it specifically for that purpose. I've removed the stern seat and paddle it from the bow seat facing the 'stern'. The majority of my photography is done when on solo trips, so this canoe is featured more than the others.

The second is a Nova Craft Cronje, 17', also in Kevlar/Spectra. Ash trim, cherry seats and yoke. A great tandem flatwater cruiser. It is symmetrical, has sharp entry lines and a somewhat lively, rounded hull. It tracks like a dream.

The third is a 16' Nova Craft Prospector in Royalex. It's a great all-around tandem tripper if you expect some moving water or rough and tumble conditions.

For Lake Superior trips and sometimes when out on Georgian Bay I tend to prefer paddling my kayak - the classic Current Designs 'Solstice GT' (yellow) that you may have seen on my website as well.

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PostPosted: September 1st, 2016, 3:38 pm 
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Location: Milton
What they said ! 8)

Finding activities that fit your nature will help a lot.
My wife is very used to having no contact until I am out.

As the saying goes "Whatever floats your boat" :wink:

As many mentioned don't be afraid of sitting out the weather.
I can sit for hours and just watch the weather go by, that is where the camera comes in handy, it gives you a reason to stop.

On the trips that I have bailed (both solo and group) it is because of extreme weather and it is going to get worse for multiple days, but I have had to sit for a couple of days for the weather to break.
So a weather radio is very useful and and nights you can probably get radio "skip" from your area.
That will also help you from the frustrating texting for weather reports from home.
A good hot beverage and sitting down and enjoying it is a wonderful experience and you will probably want to go back for more solos.
Jeff

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Choosing to save a river is more often an act of passion than of careful calculation. You make the choice because the river has touched your life in an intimate and irreversible way, because you are unwilling to accept its loss. — (David Bolling, Ho


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PostPosted: September 1st, 2016, 5:42 pm 
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Joined: June 28th, 2001, 7:00 pm
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Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
canoeguide wrote:
My question is: what one (or several) piece of advice do you have for someone who's about to go on their first solo trip?


Lots of good advice above.

I would add one thing. When on land, whether portaging, splitting firewood, cooking or even just setting up camp, go slowly, deliberately and thoughtfully. Take your time and think.

Without a companion or group you have no one to caution you to take it easy on that slippery trail, watch where you set that pot of boiling water or check for a widowmaker above your tent.

I expect that most tripping accidents or mishaps occur on land, and I recognize that I need to deliberately slow myself down from a civilization racepace for the first day or two before I become acclimatized to a more measured steady state.


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PostPosted: September 1st, 2016, 6:11 pm 
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Quote:
I would add one thing.


Probably the best thing posted so far.........

Adding on to this comment, SLOW DOWN and enjoy yourself, the beauty of solo tripping is that is ALL about YOU, nobody else to please and/or accommodate.

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"What else could I do? I had no trade so I became a peddler" - Lazarus Greenberg 1915


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