Portage or portaging refers to the method of carrying the water cargo or crafts over land, and this is practiced at times when you need to overcome an obstacle in the form of water body. The place where this process takes place is known as portage. In the past, the French explorers had to face several difficulties due to the cascades and rapids, and the history has it that Amerindians used to carry their water crafts over land in order to avoid the water bodies.
As time went by, portages at important places were offered with canals, and sometimes portage railways were also established for to overcome this problem. The ancient style of portaging involves carrying the canoes and its items across the portage in numerous trips.
The small sized vessels can be easily portaged by carrying them over the shoulder, provided the vessel is designed in the style of a yoke to make this possible. Throughout the history, it has been seen that the voyageurs were often engaged with a trump line to bear the weight on their back.
These portages may often measure several kilometers in length, and sometimes they might span across a difficult terrain a hilly area. Some of the portages involve a slight elevation, pretty similar to the Mavis Grind in Shetland which traverses through an isthmus.
The portage trails were initially used as animal tracks, but later they were improved by the process of blazing or tramping. In some of the places, the iron-plated wooden rails were placed to create a handcart. In many cases, the highly used routes evolved into roads, especially when the rollers, sledges or oxen were used as the mode of transportation.
There’s no denying the fact that portaging is hurtful, regardless of whether you are carrying your canoe from one lake to another, or through some nasty rapids, each watery trail will have its set of obstructions that you will need to overcome, such as bug-infested hollows, slippery rocks, steep inclines, and the wrong turns. However, the moment of bliss that you enjoy after you have carried your canoe to the other end is incomparable; hence it is worth the pain.
Here are some tips that you may use to reduce the pain and make sure that portaging your canoe is not as tough. To begin with, make sure there are no items dangling out of the vessel, and everything should be neatly stuffed inside a large canoe pack.
When looking for a canoe pack, we would recommend that you opt for a chest strap, hip belt, and tumpline that can help reduce the pain of having to carry a heavy pack, particularly when you are going uphill. Finally, make sure you carry only the necessary items in the pack, and if it feels heavy consider unpacking and leaving out some stuff that you can do without.
No wonder portaging is not fun, you can cut the pain by being cheerful and taking it in a sporty manner, because at the end you will be rewarded for all your efforts.