For my part, I really enjoy, and always look forward to, heading out for a solo hike or canoe trip. It's a wonderful experience that I'd recommend to anybody. After having gone for days without hearing a human voice, the voices of wind, the forest, the shorelines and their inhabitants all become clearer. But like most things, it might be best to start small. Eventually you'll want to take the plunge and once you have, the world's yours to explore. For me it started as because I couldn't always find a paddling partner, but it soon became a conscious choice.
My first solo trip was also my most memorable. I had left work late on a Friday afternoon and by the time I had driven up to Algonquin park and canoed in, partially in one of those pitch black, moonless nights, I reached my campsite well after dark. I was exhausted, so I quickly set up camp, had a sandwich and cold drink, hung my food and turned in for the night. Not a word or sound, and no fire. In the middle of the night, I awoke to the sound of sniffing through the fabric beside my head. As I lay listening, all the while my heart pounding, I heard what surely sounded like one of Algonquin's wolf packs coming down one by one to the small landing beside my canoe to drink from the lake as one of them stood guard a few feet from my head!!! For five minutes I could hear the familiar patter of paws, soft growls and yelps and that I associate with dogs I've known. When it was over, I felt great, excited, honored. Thinking back on it now, I guess that was the moment for me when my own Bogeyman finally died. A visit by wolves in the dark had turned from a nightmare into one of the most wonderful, life-changing events of my life.
That's not to say that you shouldn’t take every precaution to avoid encounters with the four legged problems, keep a clean site and properly store/hang you food. One tactic I used when I first started soloing was to drag some small downed trees, usually bushy pines, and lay them in a simple square around my tent. I'm a light sleeper, and the idea was that any large critter trying to get into the tent would make noise moving the trees and at least I'd have a few seconds to make some noise and get prepared. It wasn't much but it gave me piece of mind.
I have NEVER given any thought to the two legged types while camping here in Ontario. Well, except for the time I watched the Blair Witch Project the night before a solo trip.. Bad move. As I've mentioned before I don't carry a sidearm. For better or worse, as a Canadian the carrying of firearms is not really an option, particularly in the National or Provincial Parks I'd be traveling through. Personally, I like it that way. 'Nuff said on that. I can only imagine that for the two legged types, stealth camping and avoiding high traffic areas would be the best tactic.
There's a scene in the 1999 movie "The 13th Warrior" where of our intrepid band of Vikings are preparing for a terrifying nighttime attack by lying down in the chief's longhouse to get some rest.
Antonio Banderas' character asks in disbelief "How can you sleep at a time like this?"
To which he receives the tired reply "The old father rolled the skein of your life a long time ago. Go and hide in a hole if you wish, but you won't live one instant longer. Your fate is fixed. Fear profits man nothing."
Whenever I get a little nervous at night I think back to this quote, shrug my shoulders and try to go back to sleep.