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07/11/2016 12:17PM   (Thread Older Than 3 Years)
What is the hardest thing on a solo for you?
For me right now is keeping busy, if I'm not doing something all the time I'm bored, so I try to stay on the water most of the day and get to a camp before five, then get all my stuff done relax for awhile then go to bed early, then get up early and do it again, love the staying on the move and seeing new things nonstop.
 
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07/11/2016 01:29PM  
Same here. I've got to stay busy for most of the day. About the only downtime that I build in is at the end of the day. If I have a zero day, I try to read and do things around camp to keep my mind occupied.
 
Bogwalker
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07/11/2016 01:39PM  
I like to solo in the fall, so for me its staying up as late as I should when it gets dark out so early.

I also find I don't eat as much or as well as I should-if its been a long day I often just eat trail bars and such rather than making a big dinner.
 
Alan Gage
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07/11/2016 01:43PM  
Hardest part of a solo is coming back out.

I can't think of anything particularly hard about a solo but will agree with the getting bored part. I generally only take rest days when forced to by weather. Instead of making camp early I tend to take longer breaks during the day. I usually stop for a full hour at lunch to cook an actual meal and might sit on a rock for 20 minutes at the end of a portage before getting back in the boat. I usually don't make camp until 6:00 or later. Just enough time to sit on a rock and relax while my feet dry off, put on dry shoes, set up camp, cook dinner, write in journal, maybe read a little, and go to bed a little after sunset.

Alan
 
07/11/2016 01:50PM  
Agree on all the above. It's hard to enjoy the evening campfire alone. I get bored without any fireside chatter and in the Fall, it gets dark early. Go to bed and up early and start travelling again.
 
PortageKeeper
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07/11/2016 05:11PM  
Not having someone there to share it with - otherwise, I really don't have any issues.
 
mjmkjun
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07/11/2016 07:30PM  
I do same as you. When I'm done setting up camp if it's too early, I fidget.
I'm beginning to understand more and more the attraction of keeping on the move and not staying more than two nights in a spot. Also, I sleep better with a more demanding level of activity than a lesser one.
 
07/11/2016 08:24PM  
Getting on the water early. And drinking enough water to stave off dehydration.

Apparently I'm a minority of one here. I don't want to be busy all the time - that's my regular life. I have joking told family and friends who asked "what do you do alone out there and do you not get bored", that "some of us are more easily amused than others". May be it's true!

I feel that I've arrived at my trip's destination when I'm neither busy nor bored, but three hours of time has disappeared.
 
07/11/2016 10:19PM  
quote boonie: "Getting on the water early. And drinking enough water to stave off dehydration.


Apparently I'm a minority of one here. I don't want to be busy all the time - that's my regular life. I have joking told family and friends who asked "what do you do alone out there and do you not get bored", that "some of us are more easily amused than others". May be it's true!


I feel that I've arrived at my trip's destination when I'm neither busy nor bored, but three hours of time has disappeared. "


You can make that a minority of two boonie. It's taken several trips for me to develop the aesthetic of just enjoying the time that I'm out there. Hydration is an issue for me but I'm developed a system that works for me. My ideal solo is to plan in enough time "in camp" to sit down, drink coffee and take in the view as well as enough fishing and exploring time out on the water. I feel that there is something to the "zen" of living in the moment -- at least for me. Everyone has their own approach to this style of travel which I find interesting as well to read and try when I'm out there.
 
OBX2Kayak
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07/11/2016 10:31PM  
quote Alan Gage: "Hardest part of a solo is coming back out.
Alan"


I agree. The hardest part for me is when I have to re-enter civilization.
 
bwcasolo
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07/12/2016 05:17AM  
quote PortageKeeper: "Not having someone there to share it with - otherwise, I really don't have any issues."
i found a partner last year from st. louis, many solo trips before alone, we now take our solo boats and have a great week.
 
sunnybear09
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07/12/2016 06:02AM  
I fall into the Boonie/HighnDry model, particularly the dehydration aspect. The hardest part for me is the first day. I try to get as far from the entry point as possible, usually to some fringe area, and I stupidly stress myself out, get really dehydrated because I'm too impatient to stop and refill my water bottle. Plus no matter how much I bring myself to train, the first day is always a wake-up for my 68 year old body.

Once into the wilderness I relax, enjoy the lack of phone calls, emergency, traffic, the news, etc. so much that sitting and pondering is so soothing. Plus, for the last 3 years I have been taking my dog Cupcake, and she adds a wonderful level of companionship and energy to the mix. On an 8 day loop, usually 7-8 lakes/portages per day traveling I will stay over at a good campsite twice, fishing, cleaning, relaxing, exploring. I am not so efficient as to having a great deal of extra time--the length of day is the controlling factor. And I get tired so going to bed just as it gets dark works just fine--9 or 10 hours of sleep is so functional. And since I started bringing a chair to go with my coffee habit (huge), sitting and watching just gets better every time.
 
07/12/2016 06:51AM  
The hardest part is setting up and tearing down camp. It is much more work than with a group. I'd rather be doing something else than blowing up an air mattress on my knees and slipping poles into tent sleeves.

Actually taking down and loading the packs is probably the hardest. It's a necessary evil I guess.

 
07/12/2016 08:02AM  
quote TomT: "The hardest part is setting up and tearing down camp. It is much more work than with a group. I'd rather be doing something else than blowing up an air mattress on my knees and slipping poles into tent sleeves.


Actually taking down and loading the packs is probably the hardest. It's a necessary evil I guess.


"
My tear down and setup has gotten a lot easier with all the new gear I have gotten the last few year. Some of the steeper portages can be a real challenge when soloing when putting into the water.
 
gymcoachdon
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07/12/2016 10:22AM  
I am going to respond as a rookie soloist. When I read the title for this thread, I thought it would be from someone who hasn't done it, and was looking for info, so that is how I will answer it.

Like TomT said, setting up and tearing down camp was an eye opener for me. I had never solo camped before, and when every camp chore is your responsibility, it really adds up. I guess I didn't realize how much my wife was doing while I was setting up the tent, etc.

I decided on a system of 2 nights in a camp, since day 2 would always match my preconceived idea of what a BW trip would be. Camp chores, camp meals, fishing, exploring...travel days were work! Not that I didn't enjoy them as well, but totally different!

Being alone was liberating, didn't bother me at all. I guess I like doing what I want when I want to.
 
ZaraSp00k
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07/12/2016 11:08AM  
setting up and tearing down camp is easy because I have developed a routine or system that is efficient. When with others it is more disorganized because everyone has their own idea.
I agree about lacking someone to share it with, but then chances are that what I'd like to share wouldn't exist if somebody else was there.

I like watching the sun set with the awesome change of colors followed by that glow moving around the horizon until finally daybreak. Throw in shooting stars, the moon, satellites, wolves and loons ...
I've stayed up all night watching it by myself, I compensate by taking naps during the day. If someone else is around they have to be doing something or constantly talking about the BS I'm trying to get away from.
 
PineKnot
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07/12/2016 11:26AM  
Great thread. Interesting and diverse perspectives. Over the past 20 years or so, my solos are usually 7 to 19 nights. Two "problems" come to mind more than anything else. First, I like to fish and I find it can be a real pain when it's windy, resulting in much more trolling than I'd prefer. Secondly, is forcing myself to eat when I know I need to, especially after a long day paddling and portaging in the heat...probably the main reason I lose 5-15 pounds on each trip...

As for boredom, I guess I'm lucky. When not feeling like killing myself covering many miles and portages, I can become "sloth-like" and literally enjoy sitting around camp for a day or two doing, well, almost nothing but enjoying the solitude...
 
jeepgirl
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07/12/2016 12:02PM  
The hardest thing for me was hanging my food. Solved that problem with a bear vault this year.
I am one of those people that are never bored on a solo. I like to read so on windy day's I will spend the day reading. I usually can get through 3 to 4 books on a 6 day trip.
 
07/12/2016 12:45PM  
Good thread. In the past few years, I have tried to get out at least one week alone each summer. I enjoy the solitude and downtime after a year of teaching, and I really like being able to do whatever I want at my own pace.

The hardest thing for me on a solo is getting home and having to clean and store all my gear again. That said, that is also what I like the least about any trip.
 
07/12/2016 05:58PM  
quote jeepgirl: "The hardest thing for me was hanging my food. Solved that problem with a bear vault this year.
I am one of those people that are never bored on a solo. I like to read so on windy day's I will spend the day reading. I usually can get through 3 to 4 books on a 6 day trip."


I need the emoticon with the eyes bulging out for this. :) I like to read and always bring a book but it's usually reserved for the evenings before bed.

 
07/12/2016 06:16PM  
The hardest thing for me is boredom ..I have to be moving, exploring, or catching fishes.
 
GraniteCliffs
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07/12/2016 07:26PM  
quote PortageKeeper: "Not having someone there to share it with - otherwise, I really don't have any issues."

You captured by perspective well.
 
Banksiana
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07/12/2016 08:27PM  
Big water and big winds. Never bored really. Quite content to sit and listen to the wind and the water against the rock.

From my last solo- day 1
 
07/12/2016 08:38PM  
Back in my other life (before retirement) I was the typical workaholic, whether at work or on vacation. "If you're not working your butt off, you're guilty of something and can't possibly be having a good time."

I've taught myself to slow down. Stop and smell the flowers. You don't have to be busy every single moment. It's a canoe, it's meant to get you there slowly and once there, slow down and you might discover something new and interesting.

The feeling that I had to be doing something every minute used to be my hardest thing on a solo. Not anymore, but it took me a long time to learn to relax and quit stressing out.

I'm a star gazer so I'm not a big campfire lover. I love watching the heavens on clear nights. If the evening isn't clear, I'll either read or carve wood. Spend the evening making a spoon or a kuska (wooden cup).

I love the new found ability to relax.

I no longer care about the destination.....it's the journey that is important.
 
07/12/2016 09:03PM  
My favorite part of a solo is just sitting and letting my brain go empty. Nobody to try and talk to me. I can sit and just stare out at the lake doing nothing. Boredom has not been a problem at all.

The hardest thing I've had on a solo was this... 1 mile portage of tree after tree down. It took 2 1/2 hours to get through and it was very tiring without anyone to help lift canoe and pack over or under as well as having to do all of the sawing. I was exhausted before I even saw a lake.
 
jcavenagh
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07/12/2016 09:09PM  
quote GraniteCliffs: "quote PortageKeeper: "Not having someone there to share it with - otherwise, I really don't have any issues."


You captured by perspective well."

Me, too. I have no problem with camp chores as I do those when doing solo overnighter hikes. But several days by myself just doesn't work for me. I grew up in a big family, and in a neighborhood where we had dozens of friends. I just like to have fun with at least one other person.
 
07/12/2016 09:34PM  
When I first started going solo I really looked forward to being alone, but over time I find that the wall is harder. I think we all know the wall...the point where the initial rush is over and the missing the comforts of home hits and the trip takes a dive. I know, as you, that this will pass and just like running it really becomes awesome. It seems harder to get through that wall when I am alone now.
 
07/13/2016 06:26AM  
quote Banksiana: "Big water and big winds. Never bored really. Quite content to sit and listen to the wind and the water against the rock.


From my last solo- day 1
"


That's one of those things I have trouble with - the hardest part is knowing when to go and when to stay.
 
07/13/2016 06:45AM  
I agree Boonie. I tend to err on the safe side when solo. Respect the winds and the currents. I've decided to bring my weather radio after all because a wind forcast would give me the opportunity to leave in the early AM to get some travelling in.

 
07/13/2016 11:41AM  
I guess for me it's not so much being bored, I just like to explore nonstop, like hearing water in the woods and going to check it out, checking out the top of a hill with a good overview, looking for awesome pictures to take and so on, just enjoy the hole experience.
 
07/13/2016 06:31PM  
I have only been on one solo so far. Being bored and finding something to do was not an issue for me. My biggest issue was not being efficient at setting up and breaking camp. I think that part of the problem was bringing to many odds and ends therefore I had too much to sift through.
Another issue was fully embracing the concept of doing my own thing. I brought pancake mix and I really don't care for pancakes (most others on in a group enjoy pancakes so I brought some), I won't do that again.
 
gkimball
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07/13/2016 09:25PM  
Portaging (mostly because I'm in lousy shape), followed by setting up and breaking camp.

For these reasons I tend now to plan less aggressive trips, allowing more time in camp and exploring the area without moving all the gear. Base camping or allowing 2-3 nights per campsite.

I have never been bored soloing, even if the weather isn't cooperating. Just too much to be aware of - whatever is happening.
 
hobbydog
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07/13/2016 09:52PM  
quote Frenchy19: "
The hardest thing for me on a solo is getting home and having to clean and store all my gear again. That said, that is also what I like the least about any trip. "


That's me. I get a real hangover after a good trip. The second hardest part is the last week before the trip.
 
07/13/2016 10:25PM  
Solo tripping is kind of natural I suppose because I'm used to being alone. I always said of being married that I feel less alone now than when I was married. I like to be busy and I like my time being a veg. I can relate to most everyone here. I like that we can be different in so many ways and still enjoy so much of the same. As far as setting up and taking down, I find it gets to be a rhythm. You wake up, you pack up everything inside your tent as you dress and before you get out of your tent. The way you do things become deliberate. Every move determines how efficient you'll be. I like my coffee and breakfast in the morning. Everything is premeasured and tried and tweaked at home. Even group soloing tosses me off a bit. I'm best alone, I have my routine. With little to think about except the tasks at hand I do pretty good. The hardest for me is when that unexpected tooth splits in two, or when something important fails. Or if you know someone is having medical or other life issues. I'm rarely bored, but I'd rarely stay at a campsite more than two nights. Being windbound on Lac la Croix was one of the hardest things on my forty day trip. But solo tripping is so rewarding to me.
 
07/15/2016 01:48PM  
For me the hardest part is the first 24 hours. That's the amount of time it takes me to transition to the good life.

JD
 
07/15/2016 07:55PM  
quote hobbydog: "The second hardest part is the last week before the trip. "

I agree. I can rarely think of anything but the trip. As Tom Petty sings "The waiting, is the hardest part...".

Also, there's that little worry while on the road that something crazy could happen to derail the trip. I overheated in 2006 and had to be towed 25 miles. Ever since then there's been a bit of anxiety on the road. Once I get to the outfitter I know I'm good to go.



 
DeterminedOrange
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07/16/2016 06:12PM  
Very good topic, great responses that make me feel pretty normal. I find loading and unloading the canoe the hardest part. I am trying to reduce scratches on me stripper and load and unload out in the water. Obviously it is difficult by myself and made much worse by wind.

Reading the old stories about tripping with canvas covered canoes I use some of those same tricks like prop the canoe up on a stick or tie the bowline to myself while carrying the packs in.

As far as being busy goes, I can say the solo experience leaves me either wide open or shutoff and I don't care for the abrupt transition between them. To overcome this I kind of mentally schedule break times while doing chores and it seems more welcome. In the evening I just go to bed once after dinner and evening chores are done.
 
FOG51
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07/17/2016 01:26AM  
The hardest thing for me is tying that solo down for the trip home on the last solo of the fall, knowing I'm not going to get back on the water till late May or early June. Then going through the same emotions when I wrap The Dark Lady in plastic and hang Her in the poleshed. FRED
 
07/21/2016 10:31PM  
I really don't have a problem with not moving or staying in one place for a while. Some of my solo trips have been to get out as far as possible on the first day and the set up base camp for a few days. I don't get bored. I fish, read, nap and watch the wildlife. I've learned to enjoy the small things you do in camp. The 125+ mile trips are behind me. Now I can really enjoy the woods without the rush....
 
07/21/2016 11:26PM  
I have always rolled solo, since I was a kid. I live off grid on a 12 mile long logging road with no one else living on the road. So solo is all I know, I struggle in the company of others.

Having given my background, the part I have trouble with is not moving. I had a unplanned lay over day on a recent trip in AK due to rain. It rained all day and all I could do was huker down under my tarp.
Couldn't build a fure, couldn't canoe, couldnt hike.

Staying inactive is my hardest thing about going solo.

 
07/22/2016 06:02AM  
quote LindenTree3: "I have always rolled solo, since I was a kid. I live off grid on a 12 mile long logging road with no one else living on the road. So solo is all I know, I struggle in the company of others.


Having given my background, the part I have trouble with is not moving. I had a unplanned lay over day on a recent trip in AK due to rain. It rained all day and all I could do was huker down under my tarp.
Couldn't build a fure, couldn't canoe, couldnt hike.


Staying inactive is my hardest thing about going solo.


"


I have had the same experience and decided that boredom is a novel experience these days. I wonder what people did before all of the distractions we have . . . ?
 
07/22/2016 12:30PM  
I know when I have lots of bad weather I'll nap way more, then I'll hit it a little harder the next day and make up for lost time, luckily that hasn't happened lately.
 
sueb2b
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07/22/2016 12:57PM  
I found on my solo that I really needed to keep moving. I'd left myself an extra day if I wanted it...but I felt better moving and doing things than relaxing.

I'm going back this year on a non-solo. It'll be interesting to see how my "need to move" kicks in, or doesn't.
 
07/22/2016 05:47PM  
quote LindenTree3: "I have always rolled solo, since I was a kid. I live off grid on a 12 mile long logging road with no one else living on the road. So solo is all I know, I struggle in the company of others.
Having given my background, the part I have trouble with is not moving. I had a unplanned lay over day on a recent trip in AK due to rain. It rained all day and all I could do was huker down under my tarp.
Couldn't build a fure, couldn't canoe, couldnt hike.
Staying inactive is my hardest thing about going solo.
"


Yeah, that is tough for me too. It's one reason why I will spend some time on bringing the right book/books. A book I get so engrossed in that I don't want to put down is what I'm after for those tarp or windbound days.

 
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