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Poll: How often do you paddle alone (one boat) vs. with a group?

How often do you paddle alone (one boat) vs. with a group?

  • Never

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Rarely

    Votes: 2 3.5%
  • Sometimes

    Votes: 6 10.5%
  • About half the time

    Votes: 7 12.3%
  • Mostly

    Votes: 8 14.0%
  • Almost always

    Votes: 28 49.1%
  • Always

    Votes: 6 10.5%

  • Total voters
    57

Glenn MacGrady

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How often do you go out alone in a solo canoe or just the two of you in a tandem canoe vs. paddling with at least a two boat group? Let's say in the past 10 years of your paddling career, because these things change over time.

In my serious whitewater days I was always with a group, often as the leader, 20-40 years ago. In those days there also were more flat water canoe clubs around, and I led flat water trips, too. Still, I'd paddle alone fairly frequently because it's hard to find someone else to paddle when and where I want to.

In the past 10 years it has been increasingly hard find paddling groups, especially open canoe groups. so I've almost always gone alone since then.

(P.S. This poll is completely anonymous, unless you want to talk about your vote as I have, and you can change your vote within the 48 hour editing period.)
 
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Same here. there was once a small crew but some had kids and some started mountain biking so it's mostly me and my dog. River shuttles are a bitch solo but otherwise I'm just fine with it.
 
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Solo as much as possible. Marry a good woman and Shuttling isn't problem. She picked me up twice this week !
 
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Solo mostly. I sometimes day paddle and trip with people from a local club, and pre covid there were races, but these days it's mostly just me.

For overnight trips, as I've become interested in harder routes with portages and upstream travel it's difficult to recruit and vet a coalition that's game for that sort of thing. Still, I like having some company around camp. The ideal is when the planets align and I can trip with a few knucklehead canoe race buddies.
 
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I am similar to Alan, about 99% of my day paddles or backcountry trips are alone. My dog Jake and I often explore the Wisconsin River backwaters, but returning upstream can get tiring after a while. Also, it was always very difficult to find others who wanted to trip the routes I enjoy, for the same duration and dates so I just quit asking folks. I found I enjoy traveling alone . I see much more wildlife as I am quieter .
 
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Much more wildlife seen when only one canoe. Even more seen when that canoe is soloed.
Unless the canoe is a Grumman. I saw four bears on the Amable du Fond River in Ontario playing. Mom and her three cubs were jumping off a log over the river and going back and doing it again.. Until the six Grumman canoes approached; you could hear them before you saw them
 
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Almost always solo, unless.... a number of exceptions. I pretty much spent most of my earlier outdoor career hiking and paddling solo. Now as a racer for many recent years, I will often race either solo, or in a C2, or in a C4 in a voyageur canoe. When training with my team for races in any particular season, of course I am not solo. If my team is not training together, then I wil go out solo for many miles of my own training and strength building. When I put on my instructor hat to train wilderness guides, I almost always am in my solo canoe so that I can zip around from student to student canoe and watch up close and coach the new paddlers on their technique.
 
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I cast my vote for “almost always,” but like Glenn, it varied depending on the kind of paddling. For the first 15 years, from 1987 to 2002, we focussed on running whitewater with our canoe club in Vancouver, BC. Trips were organized nearly every Sunday throughout the year on a wide variety of rivers. People tended to push themselves to increase their paddling skills, as rescue was always quickly available. Paddling with our club members was instrumental for developing our whitewater skills and confidence.

In 2003, until 2008, Kathleen and I moved to an oceanfront property on Pender Island, about halfway between Vancouver and Victoria. We kept our canoe right on the beach, and paddled nearly every day, to the coffee shop, pub, restaurant, to visit other islands, or to circumnavigate our own island. We paddled alone virtually all the time, as theire were no other canoeists. Eventually we became friends with an avid kayaking couple, and sometimes paddled with them (Oh, the horror!).

The main reason we became canoeists was to go on extended trips in northern Canada. We had been backpackers, and 7-day trips were about our longest. But canoeing gave us the opportunity for month-long trips with greater comfort. Most of these trips have been just us. We have occasionally tripped with one or two other couples, but compromise was always necessary and appropriate. We much prefer to trip by ourselves, as we are free to paddle when we want, to stop when we want and to camp where we want. A perfect life! We have been so very fortunate.
 
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The only group paddling I do now is with fellow volunteers several times annually at the local nature center I volunteer with, otherwise my paddling is solo. I have friends I paddle with in Canada but not for the last two years. Most of my friends in my home town have no interest in paddling, never did or aged out (I am in my mid 70’s).
 
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I ran the St. John river again this past May with my father and 22 others. Although a great group of people I find that paddling solo is what I prefer, however, I will never pass down a trip with my father but those opportunities are winding down. I like the ease of planning, traveling and paddling at my own pace on solo trips. Solo paddling is like stealth paddling and I have always encountered an abundance of wildlife while paddling solo, while not so much (or any at all) with group trips. Too much jibber jabber.
 
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Does this heavy skew towards paddling alone surprise anyone?
 
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It always starts out as a group. But alas I always end up alone........ Really about 50/50. Paddling partner will jump in a tandem and paddle with others sometimes. Other times it is a group of solo's paddling together. But when you are in a slow boat you will get left behind. We shuttle together but do not train/race together.
 
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I always paddle with my wife. Sometimes tandem and sometimes with our solos.
Occasionally at a put in if some one asks us if they can join us, naturally we don't say no.
On those times we might make some new friends or we say never again with them
 
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I have done 49 trips so far in 2021, and 17 of them were alone, so about a third.

I'm happy to paddle alone, but all things being equal I'd rather paddle with friends.

Of the 49 trips, I did 9 tandem - more than usual, but I am getting lazy on longer trips and it is nice to have two engines ;-)
 
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