Seagull Outfitters Paddler’s Tales

Solo Canoe-Camping

By: Ralph Watkins

Choosing a lightweight Kevlar solo canoe from Seagull Outfitters I’ve enjoyed several solo trips into Seagull and beyond. Since I’m a senior and not the strongest paddler, my preference is to get a tow as far into Seagull as possible, portage once into Alpine, and set up camp to stay several days. With an early morning start I can be in my site for lunch.

The benefits of solo canoe-camping are several:

  • Bull moose standing in the waterSince there is no one to talk with, on the lake or in camp, it’s quiet. The result is I see more wildlife.
  • A pair of moose once thundered through my campsite.
  • At dusk a “fish hawk” (goshawk?) came up off the water in a hurry and flew high speed straight toward my face. Dumbfounded, I held its gaze in mine and it veered off at the last second.
  • Another time, with binoculars, I watched as a loon worked so hard to swallow a fish too large for it.
  • Once I watched two loons swim away from an area leaving behind two “golf balls” floating on the surface of the water. When I paddled there the golf balls turned out to be two white loon feathers, which I still have.
  • Once a duck swam to my site, walked ashore and up to me, looked up and said, “Give me something to eat, right now!” and refused to leave until I had done so.”
  • Another thing I do that enhances my wilderness experience is to not take along a timepiece of any kind. It helps me connect with nature and my own body senses.

Solo canoe-camping is risky, however the benefits are well worth it.

Paddler’s Tales