Why Your Next Canoe Trip Should Be Solo

Glenn MacGrady

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So says an article in Paddling Magazine.

The extinct ancestor of this site, solotripping.com, inhabited by many of the same dinsosaurs, was dedicated to the joys and challenges of tripping alone.
 
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I totally agree with the article Glenn and almost exclusively travel solo ... except the last few years I have traveled with my dog ... still sort of solo.

Bob.
 
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That's a good article, thanks for posting it Glenn. I'm familiar with the author, he has a huge following on YouTube and we have even shared notes in the past about solo tripping with a wood canvas canoe.
I solo trip for many of the same reasons he mentioned, flexibility of dates, routes, travel times, fish or no fish, easy meals or draw out affairs requiring my assistance with the necessary chores all have been a factor in my desire to travel alone.
Even as I age and my health has had some issues, I still feel capable of taking some easier solo trips. I bought a smaller, lighter, wood canvas canoe, and a wood canvas square stern canoe and plan on buying an "In Reach" device with texting ability for added security.
Hopefully, these will assist me when I can get back out there.
 
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Robin -

On the Boundary Waters forum this morning it was mentioned that both Cabela's & REI are having sales on Garmin In-Reach units this weekend. The information says the units will be $100.00 less than usual. Just wanted to share that in case you haven't picked one up yet.

That's all for now. Take care and until next time...be well.

snapper
 
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Kathleen and I prefer to trip by ourselves for the reasons mentioned in the article. We share the same approaches and perspectives regarding tripping. By tripping alone, together, we have built a lifetime of memories, shared adventure, challenges, victories and satisfaction. I would never even consider leaving my paddling partner and lifetime soulmate behind. To exclude Kathleen, would not only diminish the experience for her, but also for me.
 
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Most of my canoe trips have been solos. At first, it was because my work schedule was so demanding that I was frequently forced to alter time-off plans, even at the last minute. I quickly realized the rejuvenating effect of going solo. Not having to talk for days at a time is what I need.

But, my solo habit bit me in the rear once, big time, sometime around the mid 1990s.

I was on the carry from Forked Lake to the Long Lake, in my Prism. Enjoying the solitude. Early fall. Four guys in solo canoes were behind me. I was not in the mood for company, even though, in those days, solo tripping canoes were not all that common.

They caught up to me while I was messing around at Buttermilk Falls. I don’t remember the specifics or how I was doing it, but I was purposefully keeping my distance and not making eye contact. Shoot, one of them hikes on over through the woods. We chat a bit. We are all headed for the Raquette River Falls carry and points north.

He encourages me to join them. I defer. He keeps encouraging me. He says his companions are really experienced and great fun. He tells me I don’t know what I am missing. I am not listening. I say maybe I will see you all later on. I never get close to the other three. I quickly get in front of them and don’t look back. In fact, I paddle all day, longer than I ordinarily would.

I was messing around exploring the north end of Long Lake, so I knew they would pass me at some point. I don’t remember the time sequence, but they went by while I was resting on high ground, just before where (I think) the Cold River empties into the Raquette. Here they come, one by one, with hearty greetings, over about a half-hour’s time. I was impressed. I began to doubt my insistence on staying solo.
 
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Back home some time later, the latest edition of Canoe Magazine arrives in the mail. The cover story is about the author’s trip across part of the Adirondacks with three canoeing legends. I probably kept a copy of it and it is in a file around here somewhere.

Yep, that was them. One was Cliff Jacobson. The author is the guy I talked to. I forget who the other two were, but I remember reading their bios in the article and thinking, whoops. Double whoops.
 
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Dave, never really thought about it before, but now I wonder how many luminaries and well known names in the paddling world I have passed, or been passed by, or seen across the lake.

I wrote about a trip down a Pennsylvania river where I spotted four canoes on the bank and began to kinda pour it on; I didn’t feel like company and didn’t want to be dawdling behind a group.

When I got close they got back in the canoes. Three tandems with septuagenarian paddlers, and one younger (but still older than me) guy at the back in a solo. Yeah, good luck with that, I poured on the gas.

The three old folks in tandem canoes toasted me. It didn’t help that the younger guy pulled a sneaky move, taking a line such that I went into the shallows and had my own wave wash past me, bogging down and losing all speed. He just kind of grinned slyly and sped away. Never caught so much as a glimpse of them downriver.

Month after I had posted a trip report about that outing I got an e-mail. From the younger guy. The three oldsters were well known racers.
 
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Mike, I paddled once with you and Topher on the Susquehanna. At the time, I had no idea you guys were celebrated paddling legends!
 
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Dave, more infamous than celebrated.

Did you ever make one of the Trap Pond or Pocomoke group trips?
 
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By phone, I planned once to meet you all at Trap Pond, when your kids were young, but I never made it. Double whoops again.

I've met by chance many a fine paddler out there. To me, each and every one is celebrated.
 
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Geez, years and years ago, I suggested myccr.com have a section for solo tripping and everyone kept saying, what for? It's all the same. Later, I saw they put one in and it has been well-used.

I have never met anyone who wants to spend as much time as I do looking at plants, birds, sign, stars, puddles, whatever. Sniffing the air, the pines, the fish, mushrooms. Listening to the birds and the waves and the wind. I have always felt like I am being pressured to go faster. When I am by myself, I can take all the time I want.

I have never met anyone who wants to be as quiet as I am. I don't want to talk, although I do sing to keep up the strokes going across a lake.
 
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I didn't realize this was an old thread. It just popped up and I read it.
 
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I have paddled tandem canoes solo a lot of times but usually with another person in another boat.
I do a lot of truck camping and RV camping solo and like to go with company if possible. It makes shuttles easier and is safer.
 
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I try to have at least one solo trip annually, it helps me reset my mind and puzzle out any plans or goals for the next year. My main canoe is set up for either solo or tandem.
 
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