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distinguished member(4401)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
12/19/2014 11:00PM   (Thread Older Than 3 Years)
Here's a treatise about going solo. While the title talks about solo hiking, the article also applies to solo paddling.

Going solo
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distinguished member(1128)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
12/20/2014 12:34AM  
Personally I think that guy is a fool. I solo canoe at least a couple trips into the BWCA and north of the Q every year and I tell my wife what entry point my car will be at. When I'm north of the Q I tell her what lake I'm going in and what area I'll probably be in or at least near and about when I should be out of the bush country. FRED
12/20/2014 08:33AM  
"Key tips for solo hikers
1. Pack wisely. Decide which extras to bring—like a sleeping bag or bivy sack on a long dayhike—by weighing the consequences of not having it against the burden of carrying too much. Always carry a signaling or communication device.
2. Be realistic about your abilities. Stay within comfortable limits for mileage, elevation gain, navigational challenges, and technical skills. Choose a familiar trail for your first solo. Err on the side of caution.
3. Consider the consequences. Before taking even routine risks (like crossing a moderately challenging stream), evaluate the potential dangers. Never rule out an alternative route or simply retreating.
4. Leave word. The author’s preferences notwithstanding, you should give your itinerary—including emergency routes—to a friend or family member, with clear instructions on who to contact if you fail to return on time." Quote from end of the article.

One item missing is,
5. DO NOT PANIC, think then act.

My best example is what happened when I found myself looking up thru several feet of water at the bottom of my canoe. Instead of thrashing about I just held to my paddle and let my floatation take me to the surface. Once there just held the side of the canoe and started a steady kick to shore. No big deal but panicked action would have made it worse. I got to shore drained the canoe, got back in and paddled across Seagull, arrived fully dry at the Island camp by the Alpine portage. Early May temps in the low 50's.

Got my start solo hiking, backpacking and remote bowhunting camps. All before solo canoe tripping. even a bit of solo rock scrambling, selfie atop bluffs at Gov. Dodge.

12/20/2014 03:49PM  
First thought is the guy is a wack job. But if you really think about it we do some goofy things. Just a solo paddle across Snowbank in some of the craziest water I ever paddled comes to mind. What good is the itinerary when I was forced off course due to a fire? Even so, if I flipped and perished the only thing I'd have going for me is if my canoe floated and someone found it so they could look for my body. I've taken a lot more precautions since that hair raising ride. I think about Dan cooke going thru the ice that time and how proper clothing and experience made it nothing more than a little inconvenience. Like Butthead said... Know your limitations. Because you are going to run into situations and if your pushing your limits you are going to have troubles. BeaV had to make some pretty tough decisions... A lot of unknowns... He did a lot of research and prep work and could make decisions that would normally be trip stoppers. He was in great shape and covered his bases well. So the guy in the article was maybe taking some pretty risky chances. But it sounded like he was experienced and that experience will I'm sure make him at least leave a note saying where he's going. Would be funny if the first his wife heard of it was reading the article.
distinguished member(520)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
12/21/2014 08:20AM  
His "tell no one" attitude and willingness to take unnecessary risks is ridiculous, actually rather selfish, in my opinion. The article could have been just as good with a different, less unrealistic, hook to capture the reader, and the the author carried the bs through the column.

"Standing on the summit of this insignificant little mountain, I was glad that I’d left no word of my plans, that no one on earth knew my whereabouts. Had I told someone where I was going, there would have been a tether. Without it, I was free! It was just me and the mountain."

Really? When I solo I have yet to feel 'tethered' because I had shared a tentative agenda with my wife. She knows where I put in and where I'll come out with weather variables impacting every day of the trek. Late ice has changed my spring plans dramatically and yet I never considered anyone else as I implemented my hopefully well thought out tactical decisions. Sad to say perhaps, I really don't think about what others think about my adventures alone.
That is my freedom.

There is some great content in the piece, but the background story is crap in my opinion.

12/21/2014 09:32AM  
Thanks for the link, Cliff. I enjoyed his honesty and perspective even if it's not PC. Let's face it, leaving an itinerary won't save you from all possible deaths.

Yeah, I leave an itinerary when I go on solo BW trips. No, I don't leave one every time I go on a day hike. Oddly enough, it now seems to me that that is when it would be most useful. The longer and more remote the trip, the less likely it is to save me. If something bad happens on the 3rd day of a 12-day trip. . .how useful is that itinerary when they start to look 10 days later?

Many people knew what BeaV's plan was (and many thought it was crazy as hell), but if something happened between the Chandalar and Koyukuk rivers. . ?

And then again, we are not Mark Jenkins. . .and he is not us. He has a whole life's experience of doing things we'd never attempt.
Alan Gage
distinguished member(1087)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
12/21/2014 09:44AM  
Pretty tame stuff compared to Muir and Stickeen

distinguished member(1932)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
12/21/2014 12:49PM  

I liked the article. I understand his desire to leave no itinerary. Wish I had the courage to do so.

Kinda like writing the article itself. People are going to burn him for his opinion, but he still put it out there and for that I admire him.
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