View topic - Considering a solo trip, have some questions

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PostPosted: August 2nd, 2014, 1:56 am 
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I'll admit I didn't read this thread in it's entirety up front yet I'll suggest you do a route you are familiar with as a solo.

When you come back, let us know which you found easier and more rewarding.

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PostPosted: August 4th, 2014, 6:53 am 
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When I travel solo, I keep my total distance (water and portage) around 8-10 kms per day, counting in portage length at x3. I want to enjoy myself, and have some free time every day for pictures, bird watching, reading and fishing. I do not want "difficulty" be the main memory of any of my trips; I canoe because I enjoy it!

I always double carry. It is not the time to show off and risk pulling a shoulder or twist an ankle... It allows me also to take a look at the view along the trail.


Last edited by GetOut on August 6th, 2014, 6:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: August 4th, 2014, 9:18 pm 
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Few more questions for everyone...

I consider myself a strong paddler, but not necessarily an educated one. I've never travelled solo in a canoe before and I'm realized there are a lot of small differences that get overlooked when traveling with others. For example..

- how do you go about loading/unloading at the beginning/end of portages without someone straddling? Turn the canoe sideways? Hop out and get a bit wet?

- do people add weight to their boats, or is their gear enough? For example, on previous threads here I read that people will add logs (which someone suggested was better than rocks), and I also saw someone recommend filling a drysack with water

- difference between sitting on the seat, or kneeling in front?


Also, I decided the most probable route would be either 2 nights on Burnt Island, or 3 nights, Burnt Island - Little Otterslide - Burnt Island

My logic for the first option is just simplicity; get to a major lake, stay 2 nights, get back. Keep it simple for my first solo. My logic for the second option is that I can camp on one of the first available sites of Burnt Island, so that I don't have to paddle that lake at the end of my day (I would end up paddling to and from Little Otterslide early in the morning when there is less wind); as well switching campsites and doing a little bit of canoeing/portaging would keep me busy for at least part of the day.


I'm still not 100% sure if I will be able to follow through with the trip, but I'd still like to get all my bases covered and take the time to learn how to do things properly.

Thanks in advance

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PostPosted: August 4th, 2014, 9:36 pm 
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Location: Rattlesnake Pond ME
Quote:
- how do you go about loading/unloading at the beginning/end of portages without someone straddling? Turn the canoe sideways? Hop out and get a bit wet?


Sideways slide to the shore if possible. Its always a solo problem how to get out dry. In a dedcated solo boat you simply cant scamper bowards. You do learn how to read higher rocks underwater. This is less of an issue with a designed for tandem canoe than it is for a skinny dedicated solo.

I take it that you have been supplied with a tandem canoe. Ouch. You get the best control over the beeest by kneeling just aft of the center thwart.No one like that for long. So most sit on the bow seat facing backwards and hope for some control. In that case the boat needs a load forward hence the suggestions for logs and rocks. Your steering will still be a rough estimate course. If the winds come up throw more weight farther forward. Personally I use a Buddha prayer bench just in back of the yoke...plant butt on bench and forget about the rocks and sandbags. If there is a headwind.. well hell , I spin around so the boat is a little bow heavy.

You're route is doable either way. You're frustration level may vary but you will not die.

Don't overthink this. There is merit in trying and doing and later time for evaluation.


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PostPosted: August 4th, 2014, 9:49 pm 
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littleredcanoe wrote:
Quote:
- how do you go about loading/unloading at the beginning/end of portages without someone straddling? Turn the canoe sideways? Hop out and get a bit wet?


Sideways slide to the shore if possible. Its always a solo problem how to get out dry. In a dedcated solo boat you simply cant scamper bowards. You do learn how to read higher rocks underwater. This is less of an issue with a designed for tandem canoe than it is for a skinny dedicated solo.

I take it that you have been supplied with a tandem canoe. Ouch. You get the best control over the beeest by kneeling just aft of the center thwart.No one like that for long. So most sit on the bow seat facing backwards and hope for some control. In that case the boat needs a load forward hence the suggestions for logs and rocks. Your steering will still be a rough estimate course. If the winds come up throw more weight farther forward. Personally I use a Buddha prayer bench just in back of the yoke...plant butt on bench and forget about the rocks and sandbags. If there is a headwind.. well hell , I spin around so the boat is a little bow heavy.

You're route is doable either way. You're frustration level may vary but you will not die.

Don't overthink this. There is merit in trying and doing and later time for evaluation.



Thanks. I haven't rented a boat yet, but I assume I will find a solo one, not a tandem.

And yea I'm all for learning as I go, I just want to make sure I don't screw up on the silly things that could have been easily avoided (ie. getting to a portage and being clueless on how to unload lol)

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PostPosted: July 25th, 2015, 3:45 pm 
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TT, did you ever do this trip?

If, so...How did it go?

I may do my first solo (Canisbay aside) this year.


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PostPosted: July 26th, 2015, 5:51 pm 
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No special precautions for me, just err on the side of caution when it comes to making decisions:
Take as many trips on the portage as you need to instead of loading yourself to maximum capacity;
Don't portage after dark, even if it means sleeping in a less than ideal spot.
Allow more time to do stuff, and if it's doubtful you will complete a side trip hike to a look-out before dark, skip it;
When considering whether or not to do something, if in doubt, don't.
Be extra careful getting in and out of the canoe;
Be extra careful preparing firewood, etc.

I wouldn't go as far as wearing a life jacket all the time, if you can swim across the lake and back, except in rapids where you might hit your head.


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PostPosted: July 27th, 2015, 9:55 am 
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Most of my canoe trips are solo and all of them I paddle a solo boat...with my dog...always.

No need to weigh canoe down...packs are enough with the heavier of packs placed in bow of canoe (in front of you).

Getting wet is just part of a canoe trip. I wear thick wool socks all year round even in the summer and hiker boots. Then plan to have a second pair of socks and shoes for camp...these should be packed in a dry bag or barrel to keep dry.

If you really don't want to get your feet wet then a pair of dry bottoms help...but I'd do a trip first, and see if you enjoy it before spending the money.

Most canoe injuries occur on land. Portaging or walking around your camp is when you will likely get injured ie slipping on wet rocks or rolling an ankle. So for portages don't be afraid to make 2, 3, 4 trips with lighter loads. When walking on wet rocks, keep knees bent and stay low to the ground...especially when walking on very wet rocks in the water...then should you fall you won't fall as hard.

I'm not familiar with that route. For a first solo trip, pick an easy one and plan for 1 night or 2 nights. Keep it short and sweet and progress from there. So maybe your route is good...I don't know...never paddled it before.

So extra safety precaution when going solo:
stay low when walking on wet rocks
keep portage loads light and make more trips
purify your water...filter or boil or chemicals...beaver fever sucks when solo!
remain calm at night...people tend to make poor decisions when they get scared or nervous...night time is usually when that happens...watch some of kevin Callans videos on bear phobia...even he is a little too nervous about bears...I've NEVER had a problem...keep a clean camp...food away from tent...especially in Algonquin.

KNOW YOUR LIMITATIONS - if you are not comfortable paddling in waves or wind then stay close to shore...if you dump in the middle of the lake it's just you there to swim to shore or self rescue...so for first few trips routes with smaller lakes and streams are ideal until paddling skills increase.
Axe - leave it at home for the first few trips...you shouldn't be swinging an axe if you got the jitters being alone...but the jitters will go away with time.

As for life jackets...if you aren't a fish in the water then wear it...it's one less thing you have to worry about.

There are lot's of other things that can be added for a successful solo canoe trip but the above are what comes to mind the most to me.

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PostPosted: July 28th, 2015, 8:46 am 
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I would agree with Sam that most hazards are ashore. When walking/portaging do not fall down. This may seem obvious but don't do it. Watch where you put your feet. This means looking down and placing your feet in the best possible spot. Transfer your weight smoothly and think about what you are doing. If you get mad because of bugs/bush/heat etc. sit down, have a drink of water and chill out. If noises in the night frighten you wear earplugs for a better sleep. Don't push it. Always err on the side of caution. Trees fall in the wind. Think about this when you put up your tent. If the site is threatened by a lot of dead standing timber --- move.
Finally, have fun. If you are scared shiteless all the time maybe this isn't for you.
Spending time alone in nature is about as close as you can get to the universe, a universe that is cold pitiless and dark. What's not to like about that?


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PostPosted: July 29th, 2015, 9:25 pm 
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I'd suggest leaving Main St and entering off 11 on the west side. Butt Lake (now Ralph Bice Lake) is one of my favourites. Short portages. or you can go south from the access to daisy - little petawawa - little misty. small intimate waters.


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PostPosted: August 23rd, 2015, 6:39 pm 
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Thought I'd jump into this discussion. I am planing a 2 night solo trip....first time for me!
Will be headed to Poker Lakes area in early September.

Anyone care to add anything to the discussion? I plan on double carrying (at least)....early on the water. Bear spray and air horn.... Simple meals. Toque and bag liner.

I like the two painter idea...and ditch kit. Any other suggestions?

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PostPosted: August 24th, 2015, 11:42 am 
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On windy lake try to distribute your load so that the leeward end is lighter than the windward, otherwise in strong headwind you might be turned backwards.


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PostPosted: August 28th, 2015, 6:25 pm 
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Last question ( packing tomorrow...leaving Monday am.....does anyone take an extra paddle??

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PostPosted: August 28th, 2015, 7:18 pm 
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Always! Imagine dropping it and it drifts away. Have you ever tried paddling with your hands to catch up?! lol
Many of us solo canoeists prefer one double blade and one single blade, or two different single blades for different applications. If I bring two single blades, I have one ottertail for easy lake paddling and a shorter sugar island for shallow water or for pushing more water into a head wind. Others use a bent shaft as their main open water paddle and another straight shaft for maneuvering.

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PostPosted: August 29th, 2015, 4:25 am 
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always two paddles. Put your paddle down for a picture and its too easy to lose it.
Personally I carry a straight and a racing bent shaft for when the wind is up and I want to use hit and switch.


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