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thinblueline
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05/17/2016 10:04PM   (Thread Older Than 3 Years)
Heading out in the morning for my first ever solo trip. Going in through Prairie Portage and spending ten nights up there. My plan was to go big or go home, ignoring all the warnings to make my first solo a short one to test the waters. I'll head up through North Bay, Sarah, McIntyre, Brent, Conmee, Suzanette, Burt, Marj, Joyce, Kahsh, Yum, Gray, Shade, and back out through Burke again. I'm renting a Wenonah Encounter from LaTourrels, and it will be the first time in my life I've sat in a solo canoe. Hopefully it will be a good trip and nobody has to read about me in the papers. Take care everybody.
 
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IceColdGold
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05/17/2016 10:52PM  
Epic. Have fun. Will be doing my first solo later the year. It will not be as long as yours.
 
05/18/2016 06:07AM  
Awesome! Can't wait to hear about it when you get back.
 
05/18/2016 06:41AM  
Your first solo - an epic adventure into the unknown realm of your own mind! I can't wait to read all about it.

I will make a guess that you'll enjoy it so much you won't want it to end, that you'll find a rhythm in a couple of days, and you'll be planning the next one before you get out.

Have fun!
 
05/18/2016 08:59AM  
I decided to go big or go home, too (well, my big is 7 days...)

Have fun!!
 
05/18/2016 10:28AM  
Looking forward to hearing about it. I'm jealous!
 
thinblueline
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05/18/2016 02:38PM  
Rolled into Ely an hour ago. Stopped by the chocolate moose, took a look at what they were asking for a burger, and decided to walk out and go to Dairy Queen, lol. Got a flamethrower half pound burger, cheese curds, soda and a blizzard for less than what they wanted for a burger. I must be getting old, cuz there isn't a hamburger in the world worth $12 or $13, ha ha.
 
05/18/2016 08:35PM  
God's speed, and safe travels fellow warrior!
 
BlueSkiesWI
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05/19/2016 12:14PM  
Best wishes to you!
 
GraniteCliffs
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05/19/2016 10:34PM  
Best of luck to you. Hope it goes well.
 
thinblueline
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05/21/2016 08:52PM  
Thanks for all the well wishes but my first solo was a fail. This was my eleventh trip, but the first time I've ever gotten myself severely dehydrated...on the first night.

Got dropped off at Prairie Portage by about 07:15 with beautiful weather...sunny and flat calm. Popped right into the Wenonah Encounter and was completely comfortable from the start. Paddled across Bailey Bay and hit the Yellow Brick Portage. I knew one of my packs was too heavy but I thought I'd tough it out. I knew immediately I was going to regret it. Anyway, paddled across Burke, hit the two portages into North Bay and then it was decision time. The outfitter did not believe anybody had been up toward Isabella so he had no idea what kind of condition the stream was in to reach Isabella, but nor did he know the condition of the two portages to bypass that stream. I opted to save time, LOL, by taking the stream. What a butt buster. I was in and out of the canoe repeatedly as I came across shallow riffles and rapids with too little water to paddle. Even went down on slippery rocks and fast water and got soaked to the waist. Ended up getting out to drag over three beaver dams. You should have seen me trying navigate that small twisty turny stream in that 17 foot solo canoe that was born to go straight...it was comical. Anyway, I reached the end only to have a relatively short but nasty and uncleared portage to navigate. By the time I hit the campsite midway on Isabella, I was spent, and just shook my head when I saw I had to portage my way too heavy packs up that mountain of a campsite.

Now I knew about dehydration, and had been drinking regularly straight from the lakes while on the move, but I guess the warm sun beating down on me all day plus the exertion just dried me out.

I broke out my gravity filter, gathered some water from shore, and dang, my water filter cartridge wouldn't move any water. I couldn't squeeze any water through it all. By this time in the mid afternoon, a massive, debilitating headache had set in. I was drinking some more unfiltered lake water, but I just couldn't adequately hydrate. By late afternoon, my motor skills were starting to falter and I was dropping things and fumbling around as I went about the business of trying to set up camp.

By this time I was beginning to question my next move, whether I should stay a couple days in this spot to see if I could rehydrate and move on, or get the heck out of there before I should worsen, as I really wasn't studied up on what happens next with dehydration.

That night in the tent was rough. If I even thought about bending my legs, they would immediately seize up with cramps. At one point my inner thighs cramped up and I almost tore a hole in my tent trying to get out and walk off the cramps as I was I agony.

After a night of little sleep, I woke up with a dull headache and my body was a train wreck from the exertion of the previous day, the night of cramping, and dehydration. I decided I needed to get out of there while I had some strength because the last thing I wanted was to pay for a flight (I had borrowed a Delorme Inreach texter).

I had decided to try to take the two portages out of Isabella to avoid that stream. Let me tell you, the day before had been somewhat of a grinder on a fresh body, but this next day I really had to dig deep in a dehydrated state. There had been nobody through those two portages out of Isabella yet that I could tell, because massive tangles of fallen willows and saplings were covering the trails. I was able to pick and bull my way through the blocked areas with my pack on, then I had to go back and break what I could by hand and cut some of the rest with my saw, just to get the canoe through. I had some help on the second of the two portages as I ran into a great pair of brothers and we all helped cut and clear the trail. Anyway, long story short, I had sent a text to my wife to call LaTourrels and have a tow for me at 5pm. I'm telling you, by the time I hit Prairie Portage, I didn't have a single paddle stroke left in me.

I kind of felt like a wimp to have been unable to continue on with the trip, but then I just remind myself I was hauling an embarrassing 100 pounds of gear...plus the canoe! Granted, stupid me had my CCS guide loaded with two bear canisters full of food for the eleven days, and that pack weighed 75 pounds. That was a pretty grueling two days for me, with half of it being dehydrated, but it would probably be a walk in the park for a guy like BeaV.
 
05/21/2016 11:02PM  
Never a fail, just a learning experience. I've had a few trips with similar results. I just went home, regrouped and went and had enjoyable second tries. To dehydrate that soon you may have gone into it not hydrated enough. Don't let it get you down. The guide pack is an awfully big food pack. A CCS explorer pack is a good one for up to eighteen days of food in my experience. I put two large bear vaults or up to four ursacks in there with cooking stuff. I did carry a bucket to carry cook kit ,stove and such. But all the talk about downsizing taught me a lot and was better prepared this year. I'd work hard on getting your food pack to about forty pounds max for eleven days. That would still have some great meals and such. Just don't give up.
 
ObiWenonahKenobi
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05/21/2016 11:30PM  
I've had a similar first day on a trip 3 years ago.
In addition to becoming dehydrated was also near hypothermia.
I lost count of the number of muscle spasms.
Fortunately I was not alone and we were going to base camp at the same spot for the next four days. So I was able to recuperate and complete the trip.

Hopefully you can get back on the horse soon.
 
thinblueline
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05/22/2016 03:41AM  
Well, it's 3:00am and I'm sitting in the intensive care unit 12 hours after I got home...not for me, but my mother in law. Turns out within two hours of getting home we were calling an ambulance for her because she had a stroke or something and was nearly unconscious. My wife stayed but just called me back at this hour when she almost slipped away. Awaiting the results of another CAT scan. Wife is a basket case. All other siblings and relatives are scattered in other states.

I'm guessing she pulls through whatever it is, but it does seem either a strange coincidence or the Good Lord knew I needed to be here for my wife, so He allowed a circumstance to get me out of there. Maybe I shouldn't even post this, cuz I know some people like to keep God off the website.
 
05/22/2016 08:34AM  
I'm sorry to hear about your MIL; I hope she pulls through. It's good that you are there for your wife. My brother often says, "You either believe in coincidence or you don't".

I'm also sorry to hear about your miserable experience on your first solo, but like nctry said, it's a learning experience. I've made many changes since the first one in regards to planning, equipment, weight, etc. My loads are lighter now - less than 100 lbs. including canoe and everything for a 12-day trip.

I have often - and still do sometimes - struggle with dehydration even on Sept. trips when it's not usually that hot and humid. oftentimes, I'm just so busy and focused on the travel that I just don't take the time to drink. A couple of years ago I bought a Sawyer Water Filter Bottle and find that convenient for drinking on the go . . ., but still have to take the time to do it. The walk back for the 2nd portage load is a good time to do it.

I've also been happy to have switched to a filter that is field maintainable by back flushing.

I know that water is more important than food in the short run, i.e. dehydration will kill you faster than starvation. But I still have trouble with drinking early and often on trips. Two years ago, Steve and I spent a whole day on Little Sag rehydrating.

You will learn from the experience and have a better time on the next one.

I hope your MIL recovers.

 
thinblueline
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05/22/2016 09:10AM  
Good advice from you experienced solo trippers. MIL has got some strange cardiac related issues going on they're trying to figure out but she's going to be alright. So that's about a wrap. Thanks everyone.
 
hobbydog
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05/22/2016 10:05AM  
Sorry it didn't work out for you after all the planning and preparation. I took too much stuff and got pretty dehydrated on my first big solo. I took way too much camera stuff for the difficulty and distance I was trying to cover. After the first night I back tracked a bit and base camped for a couple of days. Once I was re hydrated I wondered why I backed out. I wondered that same question all winter. I did a little research. One symptom of dehydration is poor decision making. I think you made a poor decision to jump back in the canoe and risked further complications before giving your body time to recover. It would have recovered. I think on a first solo there is so much apprehension, anxiety and excitement that pushing too hard, too far and going too fast is real easy to do. On my next solo I still pushed it one portage too far the first day. Hydration was more than water, more importantly you need the electrolytes too. You can actually make the situation worse by drinking too much water without the electrolytes. It was recommended on this forum that I uses this product as it was much lighter than packages of Gatorade mix. It was excellent advice. There are many other options/products available to get your electrolytes.

As far as your MiL. I pray she fully recovers. One of my biggest concerns when soloing is something happens to my immediate family when I am gone. That is what is nice about the 2 way communication with an InReach for peace of mind.

 
thinblueline
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05/22/2016 10:55AM  
quote hobbydog: "Sorry it didn't work out for you after all the planning and preparation. I took too much stuff and got pretty dehydrated on my first big solo. I took way too much camera stuff for the difficulty and distance I was trying to cover. After the first night I back tracked a bit and base camped for a couple of days. Once I was re hydrated I wondered why I backed out. I wondered that same question all winter. I did a little research. One symptom of dehydration is poor decision making. I think you made a poor decision to jump back in the canoe and risked further complications before giving your body time to recover. It would have recovered. I think on a first solo there is so much apprehension, anxiety and excitement that pushing too hard, too far and going too fast is real easy to do. On my next solo I still pushed it one portage too far the first day. Hydration was more than water, more importantly you need the electrolytes too. You can actually make the situation worse by drinking too much water without the electrolytes. It was recommended on this forum that I uses this product as it was much lighter than packages of Gatorade mix. It was excellent advice. There are many other options/products available to get your electrolytes.


As far as your MiL. I pray she fully recovers. One of my biggest concerns when soloing is something happens to my immediate family when I am gone. That is what is nice about the 2 way communication with an InReach for peace of mind.


"


I think you're probably right on with a lot of what you typed. Strangely though, I don't remember much anxiety and apprehension going into this trip. Three of four of my last trips up there I handled every single task while tripping twice with my wife and once with my aging father. On this first solo, it never seemed anything more than business as usual with kind of a been there, done that feeling from the get go. I'll admit, if anything it was the excitement of fishing those reputable lakes that had me pushing to get in there. Oh well, some other time I guess.
 
05/22/2016 05:12PM  
I hope that "some other time" is sooner than later. I'm guessing your next try will be epic. Thanks for sharing... we're pulling for you.

And glad your mil is going be fine.
 
05/22/2016 06:24PM  
I hope all goes well for your mother in law, and as Ben said, you did not fail! It sounds like you learned some valuable information that will help you next time out. Glad to hear that you made it back safely.
 
05/22/2016 07:50PM  
I tend to get dehydrated easily on trips. I've had people tell me to salt my water and drink continually while travelling. I think stopping on North Bay would have saved you the trip. I've learned that a big first day means an exhausted 2nd day.

Sorry to hear about your MIL. Hope all is well and you should be better for your next solo. I could tell you some crazy stories about my first solos. We all live and learn.



 
GraniteCliffs
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05/22/2016 08:35PM  
It is too bad the trip had to be cut short. And it was a blessing the trip was cut short.
Make sure there is a next time. It won't be any worse! And think of all you have already learned.
Carry less, expect less, easier route, etc. We are all different in what we value and how we trip. I carry almost nothing on a solo but still struggle with taking it easy. Still learning I guess.
Good luck on your next trip and good luck with your mother in law.

 
thinblueline
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05/22/2016 11:00PM  
You are a good bunch of folks. I appreciate this group. I have my twelfth trip coming up in September with three co-workers who seem to have been turned on to Quetico after I introduced them to Quetico in 2013 with a good trip. Next year will probably only be one trip, and almost certainly I'll be accompanied by one or three others for that one as well. Not sure if or when I'll pull another solo, as I can tell I'm inclined to enjoy the fellowship of at least one other individual over being alone.

I have to say, I also think I enjoy paddling a tandem canoe over a solo as well. I enjoy being the bow paddler to just make mindless strokes, switching as I feel the need. I also enjoy being the stern paddler, making the steering strokes while someone else provides a slightly larger percentage of the horse power in the bow. Even if it's windy, one guy can stop briefly to grab a drink on the fly, while the other keeps paddling and some forward momentum and control is maintained.

In the solo, with hit and switch, I get four to six strokes per side, and I always have to switch before I want to. Of course, stopping in windy conditions for a drink or a few seconds rest isn't a good idea for obvious reasons. I don't know, I felt completely comfortable in the solo canoe, but I think I just enjoy paddling tandem better. To each his own I guess.
 
05/23/2016 05:29PM  
You can put me into the easily dehydrated group as well. I struggle with it. Feels like I drink 2-1 over other people I trip with. And it's not just paddling. I have the same issue backpacking.

You can also put me in the packs to much food category!! I can also eat 2-1 other trip partners and still lose some weight on a trip. I worry about not having enough food, having some extra in case I get stuck from wind, over-packing lunch and snack items, etc.

Your first day sounded like a real ball breaker. Silver lining in leaving early and glad you were home for that scary time. Would have been real tough to be a few days into that trip and get the quick come home message and worry worry the whole trip back.

I enjoy both solo and tandem paddling. There is a trick to getting extended strokes...a few extra anyway. A quick j-stroke every paddle seems to get me an extra stroke or two. Combine it with a slight lean of the canoe...works for me anyway.

Well, I hope it's not your last solo!

 
thinblueline
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05/23/2016 08:04PM  
quote Exo: "You can put me into the easily dehydrated group as well. I struggle with it. Feels like I drink 2-1 over other people I trip with. And it's not just paddling. I have the same issue backpacking.


You can also put me in the packs to much food category!! I can also eat 2-1 other trip partners and still lose some weight on a trip. I worry about not having enough food, having some extra in case I get stuck from wind, over-packing lunch and snack items, etc.


Your first day sounded like a real ball breaker. Silver lining in leaving early and glad you were home for that scary time. Would have been real tough to be a few days into that trip and get the quick come home message and worry worry the whole trip back.


I enjoy both solo and tandem paddling. There is a trick to getting extended strokes...a few extra anyway. A quick j-stroke every paddle seems to get me an extra stroke or two. Combine it with a slight lean of the canoe...works for me anyway


Well, I hope it's not your last solo!


"


I actually did take to leaning the canoe in the small streams, and I was surprised to see the solo canoe did respond to the J stroke, albeit with a little loss of forward momentum.

Where do you serve Exo?
 
WhiteWolf
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05/28/2016 06:34PM  
quote nctry: "Never a fail, just a learning experience. I've had a few trips with similar results. I just went home, regrouped and went and had enjoyable second tries. To dehydrate that soon you may have gone into it not hydrated enough. Don't let it get you down. The guide pack is an awfully big food pack. A CCS explorer pack is a good one for up to eighteen days of food in my experience. I put two large bear vaults or up to four ursacks in there with cooking stuff. I did carry a bucket to carry cook kit ,stove and such. But all the talk about downsizing taught me a lot and was better prepared this year. I'd work hard on getting your food pack to about forty pounds max for eleven days. That would still have some great meals and such. Just don't give up."

+1

 
mjmkjun
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06/11/2016 08:47AM  
thinblueline, just read about a new product for some instant relief from leg cramps. Invented by a nobel prize-winning neuroscientist:
HOTSHOT. (source: ad in OUTSIDE magazine/July 16 issue) Unsure if active link to it is OK to include on this site.
I know about getting hit with leg cramps. The ordeal of unzipping tent to scramble out to stand and work the muscles loose can't happen fast enough. It's hell.
Your depletion had a part in it but for you and any others who are prone to leg cramps brought on by depletion/exertion it's likely a blessing.
sidenote: I haven't tested it yet.
 
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