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Look… before you Portage

My partner and I canoed together as young adults, and then reunited several years ago after some 35 years apart (this is another story!). After getting back together, we found were both still interested in the outdoors and paddling, and planned an inaugural 4-day trip back to Ontario's Algonquin Park.

My partner, now being in his 60's, was a little worried about whether he could manage to carry both a canoe and barrel pack on a portage in one go, rather than having to make several trips. He said later, this was a "guy thing."

When we arrived at our first portage, we surveyed the map, guesstimated the distance, and over the course of 10 to 20 minutes of "animated" discussion, we finally sorted out who would carry what in order not to backtrack.

Well… there was quite a bit of weight involved (remember...this was a first canoe trip in many years and we did take a few things we could have done without!). Of course, this prompted a somewhat heated discussion of who was responsible for the extra weight. With quite a bit of trepidation and some huffing and puffing, we both set off, weighed down... but definitely managing.

Imagine our surprise when the trail ended after about a 2 to 3 minute walk!

We laughed so hard our sides hurt at our folly in trying to carry everything at once given the shortness of the trail! We could have been in out of the water in minutes given the distance involved had we made 2 trips (and done without the "discussion"). This map was definitely deceiving.

Motto.... best to check out a "short" portage first!


p.s. - we subsequently completed several more very successful (and lighter) canoe trips and are looking forward to lots more! We also think a canoe trip should be a prerequisite prior to marriage... it definitely sorts out the communication kinks.


Written by: Fran Lennie (with Mike Galbraith) - Hamilton, Ontario


For more great stories: See the Archive!


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