Why I went out alone in Algonquin Park
This blog is written by guest blogger Cobi Sharpe.
I gained so much from my experience. Not only did I prove to myself that I can go out alone for four days, portage a canoe and carry all the necessities with me, but I also surprised myself in how I handled the adventure both mentally and emotionally.
For me, typically, the first night of camping in the backcountry is spent believing that every sound I hear is a bear getting at my food barrel or wandering around the campsite. The second night, some of the noises sound like a bear, and by the third night, I’m so exhausted from not sleeping that I crash for the night and don’t hear anything. After that, I’m familiar with the sounds of the night and sleeping isn’t an issue anymore.
The first night of my solo trip, I only woke up to the sound of gusting wind blowing the fly around. I had to go out a couple of times to re-peg it down, and then eventually moved my tent altogether. I had an amazing sleep. Maybe it was the fresh air; maybe it was not being able to hear any noises but the wind. Either way, I completely surprised myself because I thought I would be afraid.
My plan to paddle some distance and portage each day quickly dwindled. There was a lot of wind, and I just didn’t feel comfortable paddling in those conditions. The ice had melted off the lakes in Algonquin only a couple of days before I embarked on my trip. I was on my own and playing it safe was my number one priority.
Even though it rained during the first two days of my trip, I found solace in reading my book in the tent, and going out to gather and cut wood for a fire that I didn’t end up having anyway because everything was wet. I don’t ever mind the rain, especially on a canoe trip. On day three the sun came out, and I followed the sun patches around my campsite all day.
The other way I kept myself busy was photography. I love being able to get to know a campsite, and start taking photographs that bring out the special aspects of that place. Maybe it’s the view, maybe there are huge mature trees, or maybe there is just an unbelievable amount of moose poop (you’ll have to watch the video). Either way, I love seeing and discovering nature through my camera’s lens.
I wasn’t scared, I wasn’t nervous and I wasn’t emotional. I couldn’t understand why. I thought it might be because I was ready, capable and prepared to venture out solo. But when I paddled back on my last day and saw the permit office on Canoe Lake, I started crying. What an incredible accomplishment! My confidence went through the roof.
So why did I go on my first solo canoe trip? Because I can.
You can watch the video of my adventure here.