Saturday, December 29, 2007


In the past few months, when I have described the upcoming trip to those I've come in contact with, there have been those who have been aghast at the notion that I am planning to do the journey alone. There is safety in numbers, goes the saying, and for many folks, that is dogma. In this crowded world, it is considered somewhat odd if you go to the movies alone; to kayak alone, and on a trip like this one, is well past odd as far as many people are concerned. I've tried to explain it, tried to put my reasons into simple words that can be easily understood and, for the most part, have failed.

It's not that I am antisocial. If anything, I can be a bit of a butterfly. It's true that most of my morning paddles are done alone, but then again, there aren't too many people I know who are even out of bed that early, much less in the mood to go kayaking. There have been a few times when I've had company – thanks Gary and John for the companionship and conversation – but for the most part, I've been a one-man show.

I was thumbing through my well-worn copy of Edward Abbey's Desert Solitaire before bed last night and I came across a passage that says it as well as I could ever hope to do (trust that old curmudgeon to find the right words). As usual, Abbey's subject was the desert, arid and unfailingly hot, but in many other ways a dramatic and magnificent landscape with more than a few similarities to the places I will be seeing very soon.

”Most of my wandering," Abbey writes, "I've done alone. Not so much from choice as from necessity – I generally prefer to go into places where no one else wants to go. I find that in contemplating the natural world my pleasure is greater if there are not too many others contemplating it with me, at the same time."

Well put, Ed.