Here are a few ways to be safe. First, leave this information with someone you trust: route plan; vehicle description; date you’ll call the trusted person; phone numbers of the relevant authorities (Park Manager, RCMP, Pilot, Shuttle driver). Second, travel conservatively: choose to portage instead of running a questionable rapid; do an extra trip on portages; realize everything takes longer when you’re alone and plan accordingly. Last, be careful what you listen to in the car – it can be downright painful to have certain songs stuck in your head for a long time.

Finally, look forward to the experience when you meet people as a solo paddler. People are amazingly open to solo travellers. They’ll tell you stories about the area, feed you, and sometimes give you a bed. My first few lengthy solo trips I dreaded seeing people, now I look forward to meeting them.

Bear Paulsen is Northstar’s General Manager. He’s spent over a year canoeing solo in the Boreal Forest and remembers every trip.