View topic - So, How about Solo Night travelling in October?

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So, How about Solo Night travelling in October?
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Author:  romey [ October 5th, 2017, 6:57 am ]
Post subject:  So, How about Solo Night travelling in October?

HI folks,

new to the site but not new to backcountry camping. Been lurking for a while and really enjoying the vibe and all the great info and stories!

Anyway, what are everyone's thoughts on departing at Night Solo (in not so cold early October weather)? There's just something about the calmness at night and seeing your wake brake up the star's reflection off the glassy water. I'm sure we've all done the night paddles after base camp is set up but what about getting to your destination under the guidance of say a full moon, decent weather/temps, and relatively easy navigation through familiar territory. It could even be super early before the sun breaks.

any major concerns? would love to hear anyone's input or experiences.



Author:  kinguq [ October 5th, 2017, 8:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: So, How about Solo Night travelling in October?

I've always wanted to try a night paddling trip, sleeping during the day. Haven't, yet.

You might start out in a fairly well-travelled place like Massassauga PP that is well-signed and the coordinates of the campsites are available. That way you can use your phone or gps to find them if you have trouble.

I would also suggest an area where there is no chance of motorboat traffic.

Other than that it sounds like it could be quite fun. I love paddling at night.


Author:  romey [ October 5th, 2017, 9:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: So, How about Solo Night travelling in October?

that's for the quick reply Kinquq! it'll definitely be on easily marked provincial parks like Massassauga/killarney/algonquin to places i've been before so small chance of getting lost. after the eyes have adjusted, i should be able to see clearly...for that purist approach. just have to watch the weather..

speaking of motorboats (great point), i don't think there'll be any but guess i should get some lights ready.

Author:  Gerald Guay [ October 5th, 2017, 3:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: So, How about Solo Night travelling in October?

I've traveled at night and sometimes leave in darkness in the wee hours of the morning when bad weather is looming. It is a special experience and is a confidence builder. There are two things that are important. One, when crossing a large lake, you have to take a compass bearing before leaving and identify that bearing in relationship to a height of land which is visible where sky meets land. Lakes with multiple islands can be a problem. Do not rely on the moon or stars except the North star as everything else up there moves quite a bit in a very short amount of time.
Second, on very dark nights spacial awareness is not easy for everyone. When you cannot see the water's surface nor the front of the canoe things can get difficult for some people who may have balance problems.
Once in October I unintentionally provoked a moose who decided to swim out to see if I was in heat. That was scary as hell. Another time I had no choice but to leave a campsite:

I'm oldschool so maybe there are is technology available today to help with night travelling that I am not aware of.

Give it a try. You most likely enjoy it.


Author:  littleredcanoe [ October 5th, 2017, 3:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: So, How about Solo Night travelling in October?

A mapping GPS is very useful at night. I travel at night sometimes in the Everglades. The wind often comes up early and the only way to beat it is by doing some nighttime travel. With mazes of mangroves and nothing that stands out compass use is a problem.
I have a pic of a CCR member with headlamp at night but as we were in gator country he had that deer in headlight look.
I can't get it off Photobucket anymore.
We very much enjoy kayak travel at night in Maine as the ocean bioluminescense is often outstanding and the stars bright against a dark sky
It takes about 20-25 minutes for your eyes to adapt to total darkness so give yourself some time after getting on the water. I assume you will want to break camp with light so you don't forget anything.

Author:  romey [ October 5th, 2017, 9:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: So, How about Solo Night travelling in October?

you guys are awesome. thanks for the awesome tips and links to more adventures. will definitely check those out. hoping i'm not a cow in heat! lol.

Author:  elGuapo [ October 5th, 2017, 11:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: So, How about Solo Night travelling in October?

On a bushy shoreline it can be tough to identify a place to camp from the water. Your light bounces off the nearest leaves and doesn't penetrate well. Best to go to a known campsite, preferably one loaded onto a GPS, and have some back-up sites in case your first choice is occupied.

Expect to be surprised by the slap of a beaver tail or the splash of a duck or fish fleeing at any moment. Try not to jump too much.

If using a double blade, one with a bent or ovalized shaft is best so that you know which way your blade faces without seeing it.

Author:  Kalmia [ October 6th, 2017, 6:05 am ]
Post subject:  Re: So, How about Solo Night travelling in October?

As I was paddling at night in a swamp I once bumped into a sleeping beaver. At least it felt like a beaver, but I've never heard a beaver squeak like that one did. On a dark or hazy night when there is not a clear horizon line my experience is that many of the cues for staying balanced in a boat are not there. Disorienting. I can manage that on a lake on a calm night. With any kind of waves, it is a little too unnerving for my taste. Paddling under the full moon is magical. Enjoy!

Author:  romey [ October 9th, 2017, 8:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: So, How about Solo Night travelling in October?

well, i'm back! turned out okay in a creepy yet peaceful kinda way. full moon was out, but there was quite a bit of cloud cover. I could still see where I was going and oriented my self with the trees and points. made one small error in thinking that I went around an island (and only because i didn't check the map frequently enough/tried it on memory, lol). reoriented myself and went around the island.

definitely got a couple beaver tail slaps and some waterfowl hustling about. also spooked myself after hearing a loud enough splash and thinking it was a bigger animal swimming out to me (and thinking i was a female moose, haha). it's funny how your mind can play tricks on you. entering the portage site in the dark or paddling through a narrow channel is definitely spooky. every rustle or noise must be scrutinized and explained (and hoping their not from a big animal!).

would i do it again? definitely. it was definitely a confidence booster but there are always risks involved. i.e. if i dump it in the cold water (not too too far from any shore/need to get out quick and dry off/change) / animal attack (low likelihood/ bearspray should've been more accessible) / get lost (park it somewhere and wait for daybreak to reorient) / or god forbid, a medical emergency and there's no quick help close by (guess this is the part the worried most, not that i have any medical issues...but the "what if's" and the "you never know...").

other than that, definitely great for areas you've been to and are familiar with.
anyway, i know that Solo tripping isn't for everyone. It's something i've done for many years starting with motorcycle riding and there's just something about "finding yourself" and reflecting on things which I believe helps build character and grounds your spirit. I think some people have a natural ability to go solo while others will never ever consider it (safety/risks, just can't be by themselves, etc..). i'm sure we can all agree here that solo tripping is something very special, guess this is why it has it's very own section on the forum! :). i might try and encourage some buddies to do it but i don't think it'll happen, lol. (or if they're not comfy with it, then it could be a "help will be close bye" kinda solo trip if say we split up campsites but be within a 2 way radio/or cell call distance away from each other...). but like i said, it's not for everyone, and there are bigger risks. speaking of risks, someone suggested a small gps that you can click buttons to let everyone know how you are doing (OR if you needed help asap then it would call in 1st responders). guess this would be good piece of mind to have and acts like a modern s.o.s. whistle. anyone use these?

Author:  Paddle Power [ October 12th, 2017, 3:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: So, How about Solo Night travelling in October?

Cooler temperatures in October, water and air.
Night travel adds an interesting dimension to any trip.
Often it's calmer on big lakes. Plus it's good for seeing some wildlife species.
Moon light can help but clouds can reduce moonlight.
I find leaving camp at night is easier than making camp at night--it's especially difficult to find suitable camping when the shoreline is silhouetted/dark.
If you get into a nighttime travel routine it may be difficult to quickly revert to daytime paddling. Once I finished off a 3 week trip with a week of night travel that started with avoiding strong winds but morphed/ended as my usual routine.
A Thermos is a nice treat for your midnight meal/lunch break.

And yes, many paddlers are using satellite communicators such as Spot devices and InReach as well as satellite phones some of which feature SOS buttons and texting capabilities.

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