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PostPosted: May 16th, 2014, 4:55 pm 
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8) Sell that OT Pack and get a real canoe.


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PostPosted: May 16th, 2014, 6:16 pm 
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As I have gotten older (58) I try and make sure I have "rest" days.
They are not so much rest but exploring, or if the weather is iffy sitting by a fire and having hot coffee or tea.
The dry/warm thing is a big must for me, plus being able to take pics.
Having other goals hobbies on the trip is a plus.
(I am not a book reader either)
A 5 k plus carry.......... :x
So I don't trip light but tripping light in the shoulder season could be troublesome if the weather really turns.
Don't give up on the solo thing it does take a mind set to get use to it.
I would give up those "longer" portages though.
Jeff

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PostPosted: May 16th, 2014, 9:14 pm 
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Hey was hardcore now pg at least you had the motivation to do it. ALso you certainly did face some tough times from the very start. I say all trips are successful though as long as you survived.
I've taken 4 or 5 trips in northern ontario. I paddled my kayak up outside Wabakimi this past couple years with similar outcomes as yours. Rain, snow, cold, bad wind, I lasted 3 days one trip and 2 days the other. (it was october)
The sleep issue and the cold temps was the clincher for me, the excitement of the trip and then the creeping thoughts of being vulnerable to a bear at night that late in the season caused very little sleep.
I did have fun though! I'm planning to go again somewhere in ontario a couple short trips this summer.
Thank you for sharing about your trip. I hope you chance it again sometime.


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PostPosted: May 16th, 2014, 11:44 pm 
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Good for you. :clap:

Total success. I bet you learned a lot.
I don't think there's anything wrong with your boat, just work on the trip plan a bit.

If you insist on those big portages then you should work on a single carry. :D


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PostPosted: May 18th, 2014, 3:01 pm 
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I think for a first solo, you really did go overboard.

Of course you know you better than anyone but I would not give up on soloing so quickly.

Try again in the warm/non-bug season. Do an easier trip.

Soloing should be fun. It does not have to be a physical or mental challenge.

When I started, I looked for routes that mostly ensured that each night I camped on a lake that was likely to have other campers on it.

There is a lot of comfort in seeing a fire from across the lake at night.

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PostPosted: May 18th, 2014, 10:17 pm 
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I just started a new thread that may be of interest to anyone following this one. It is entitled "Alone In The Wild"...

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PostPosted: May 19th, 2014, 3:33 pm 
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Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada
Hi WHCNPG,

Welcome back. I have many years of solo trips under my belt, and I would like to encourage you to stick with it. Its not for everybody, but who knows. Maybe re-assess your route and goals, and work up to what your long term goals are. Solo can be enormously rewarding, and when planned well to keep yourself occupied with travel, making camp, breaking camp, photography and video, fishing, swimming, camp craft and bushcraft skills practice, wild edibles, birding and botanizing, etc, you will never have time to be bored or lonely!

Choosing your first route with a 5.5km portage, and with rough portages that can break a cart, is maybe a bit too much for your first solo. There are routes in Algonquin and other places in other parks and on crown land where you can plan an easier physical go of it, but still get back into many lakes to get some solitude and sense of remoteness.

One mantra that has helped me out a lot is the “smooth it, don’t rough it”. It does not mean taking on less remote or demanding trips, but instead it has more to do with developing a tripping style that does not make it enormously unpleasant. That includes keeping the gear load down so that you don’t punish yourself with huge weights on portages, but also using skills to make life far more enjoyable. That usually means planning in more time for hard carries, bad windbound weather, and sleeping maybe 9-10 hours per day sometimes to get a long restful and rejuvenating sleep, and stuff like that. It also means doing extra carries on portages to reduce pain and be much safer. More carries take more time, but you see the bush more and what’s the rush anyways? Plan the extra time into the route.

You mentioned alot of your gear got wet with a dumping. I would suggest investing in some dry bags to waterproof key gear items (like you wisely did for your sleeping bag), so that you avoid the soaking event even if you dump again. In my kit I use a dry bag each for my extra clothing, tent, sleeping pad, and dry footwear. No matter how wet it gets, I will be warm and dry with good raingear, and a good tent and chosen well-drained site, and a tarp to live out under so as not to be cloistered inside a tent. I plan much of my trip style around staying warm and dry, and I recommend it, because being cold and wet destroys morale.

On tarps: I think for the solo tripper, tarp skills are really essential to make sure you spend as little time in the tent as possible. Being cooped up in a tent too long is not good. I will usually bypass a site if I cannot rig a tarp on it, (but as one builds a diversity of tarp setting skills and a tarp kit that includes lots of cordage, and using cut poles form the bush or your paddles, you will find that you can rig a tarp on many types of sites).

Good food that is easy to prepare, like hearty one pot meals that you learn to dehydrate yourself, (and add lots of cooking oil at cooking time to make it very hearty), goes a long way to building morale. Dehydrating your food at home also builds a continuum in your lifestyle that links your home life to the anticipation of and travelling on your next trips. The solo trip becomes part of your lifestyle.

Being storm bound is absolutely normal. That’s where a good book (waterproofed of course!), a good sheltered tarp set up, and a little chair to seat you up off the cold wet ground, can make a shore bound storm day pleasant. If you bring a little stick stove, you can enjoy little cooking and tea/coffee boil up fires under the tarp, and expend lots of time preparing your sticks from dry wood that you gather with saw, and split up with knife and axe. This can occupy hours of time. Maybe better than just turning on and off a gas stove. When you set a goal to live and cook by fire, it changes everything on a trip. Cooking fish over the fire (which means spending time to catch the fish, clean it away from your campsite, and washing up to minimize bear risk issues, etc), will occupy many hours and give you a good feeling inside.

Practicing bush craft skills on a trip can consume unlimited hours of your time, eliminating loneliness. I highly recommend purchasing Mors Kochanski’s "Bushcraft". Having Mors’ book in your library will give you all kinds of ideas to keep you creatively busy for hours and hours. http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/bushcraft-outdoor-skills-and-wilderness/9781551051222-item.html?ikwsec=Home&ikwidx=0

Best of luck for your next solo, should you chose to go again.

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PostPosted: May 19th, 2014, 5:23 pm 
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I have been tripping for over 30 yrs my experience in the bush is pretty good. Other than my cart breakdown I was prepared for everything. But the cart breakdown was pivotal in the hardship endured. Because I was carting I packed for carting not for portaging. Pack/Food Barrel/ Canoe. I didn't bring a yoke for the canoe and therefore it had to be carried on its own when I ended up portaging. It was the isolation more than anything that I didn't like. I use a hammock not a tent and have a system were I combine its fly and a tarp into a large rain proof space for living.

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PostPosted: May 19th, 2014, 6:01 pm 
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was hardcore now pg wrote:
It was the isolation more than anything that I didn't like.



Keep the solo boat and find another solo to paddle with. There are plenty of similar "solo" paddlers out there.

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PostPosted: May 19th, 2014, 8:48 pm 
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whcnpg, I'm sorry to hear that your first solo was a rough go. All the previous posters make very good points, based on very good experience. Maybe just look at the trip as a major learning opportunity and factor in what everyone above is saying, and plan for another solo in better weather.

For my part, I recommend that EVERYTHING you bring should be in dry bags, even if it's only one big one, like a waterproof, roll top canoe pack, like Eureka or MEC sells. Sooner or later, nature will always provide an opportunity to get everything you have either wet, sandy, muddy, frozen, snow filled, ect. Drybags come in many sizes, shapes, and thicknesses, and dry kit equals better morale.

A 5k+ portage??? Yikes. Sounds pretty ambitious for a first run at solo. Sounds pretty ambitious anytime, ever, under any circumstances, other than escaping from a POW camp maybe. Canoe carts are fine on groomed, leveled ports like the Bowron Lakes circuit, but beyond that, breaking in the bush is pretty common.

HOOP's right about tarps making a huge difference in a trip. Very good for morale to take a break more or less out of the weather for little time or effort to set up. And even better in a camp so you're not tent-bound in bad weather.

I think Recped's suggestion was excellent. Keep the solo, and find someone else with their own solo, and solo together. I find, it's great as it allows for concurrent activity, (cutting wood, cooking, purifying water, fishing, fixing something, etc.) in doing all the work involved, and gives you someone else to share the experience with and talk with, but while paddling, you can separate by as much as you like, and still enjoy the solitude and freedom of solo paddling.

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PostPosted: June 2nd, 2014, 10:00 pm 
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Wow, bummer.I too find that my solo trips are not as much fun as they used to be. I like to have someone along to share with. The occasional late fall solo is nice but the rest of the time I like company, especially for helping with the portaging.

Speaking of portaging...a lesson to be learned here. Solo means you are entirely on your own and must think of "what if's " ahead of time. Me, I save the harder stuff for when I have accomplices in case of problems. Like we used to say in the army, teamwork is essential ( it gives them someone ELSE to shoot at). In this case it gives someone else to help hump the gear.

I am 55 with a bad heart and a propensity to cut and otherwise injure myself. My friends cringe when I say solo trip...lol. But if I can do it, then goodness knows most anyone can. Give it another go.

Christy


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PostPosted: June 2nd, 2014, 11:09 pm 
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I like the idea mentioned above of soloing in the company of other soloists. Set a destination for the day. See you later. And if you don't show up, somebody is ready to come looking.
I'd even insist on separate campsites as I love having a site to myself, and a visit across a bay for coffee and to look at the photos we took that day appeals to me. Company when you need it or want it, but a bit of isolation and independence, too.

Solo-ensemble? Co-solo? It needs a name...

I have done 5 solo canoe trips (3 to 8 days each) and 3 solo hikes in Algonquin and Killarney etc. since 2011. 49 yr old male, flat water experience only, hammock n tarp camper, not a big fisherman but not against it, live in Toronto (wife isn't interested in canoeing or camping). If that style of solo-not-solo tripping appeals to you, give me a shout.

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PostPosted: June 3rd, 2014, 8:03 pm 
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I did a quick solo this weekend to McCrea. It was great! The irony is that it really turned into a non solo since I got lost on a hike only to be rescued by boy scouts ( no kidding) and then having some guy swim to my site who also got lost trying to find his site and then getting lost again and then two russian isreali girls who showed up at my site who also got lost and camped in the bush (covered in bites!) so alone?...hardly.

I like sturgeons idea to trip with other solo-ers and if you dont like the company well..leave ..no one will be offended...its bothersome when folks commit and then cancel..and yes wives dont want to go...perhaps another forum?..soloists who want to join up...hmnnnn great idea...


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