Saturday, August 27, 2011

Portage Trails Layout

I apologize in advance for my long write-up before the photos, but this requires some explanation for those of you who are not familiar with wilderness canoe tripping. I have always wanted to do a layout on the realities of what it is like to portage gear while on a canoe trip. Many people think you just pack up gear and stuff it in a canoe and off you go. That is so untrue. Everything has to be carefully thought through and packaged in certain ways. Some things have to be packaged in special places inside the pack due to the weight or size or even their shape; for example, the saw has to go in directly against my back as it is the only place it will fit due to its height. Things like the food (which we dehydrate and prepare ourselves) and the cookware must go in against my back and as close to the top as possible as it is heavy and I want it to sit high as it is easier to carry that way. Things like the sleeping bags can go at the bottom of the pack as they are lighter. There is a careful method to packing a heavy backpack, especially if we are unfamiliar with the terrain we will be traveling. We also portage ALL our gear in ONE trip. That means that whatever doesn't fit in the backpack does not go on the trip. My backpack usually weighs around 100 pounds. The big bag on top of my pack is our tent. Hiking boots are a necessity and rain gear, water and a first aid kit must be easily accessible at all times. My husband, Dave carries the canoe and a small backpack with some other necessities. We do fly-in trips as well. This means that we hire a float plane and the canoe gets strapped onto the pontoons of the plane and we choose a lake to fly into. The plane drops us off there and he picks us up and a pre-arranged destination lake usually about 150 km away 7-10 days later where we flag him down in the center of the lake in our canoe using our PFDs.
The title reads "Portage Trails... it can be changed around to read Portage Trials..." as well because this often can be a trial... it is often a very difficult process and Dave and I have walked some extremely difficult trails - some have been very long - others have been very steep and rocky. Some have been so steep that we have had to lower the canoe and pack on ropes. We have had to slide down others, jump from rock to rock, use our GPS to find the correct route, walk through waist deep mud (and pick of the dozens of leeches afterwards), wade through waist deep rapids holding the canoe over our heads... you name it.... We have walked a 6.5 km forest trail to reach the mouth of a river on the hottest day of the year with a full load, thinking we would never reach the end... THAT was a trial if there ever was one!   
Anyways, these pictures were taken by a friend who recently joined us for her first canoe trip EVER (brave sole, isn't she?) That is why there is a barrel in the photos. It shows the process of Dave helping me to get the pack on my back and him balancing the canoe. 
I hope you enjoyed the story. Feel free to ask any questions or make any comments. I know people think we're crazy but this is the way we spend our vacation time!
As always, click on the photos to see more details.


Supplies used are all CTMH
Paper: Believe Paper Pack, Animal Cookies Paper Pack (ret.), Pear Cardstock, White Daisy Cardstock
Stamps: Trinity Alphabet
Inks: New England Ivy, Pear, Sweet Leaf, Cranberry, Dutch Blue
Accessories: Art Philosophy Collection, Sweet Leaf Mini-Medley (ret.), Corner Rounder, Micro-Tip Scissors, Foam Tape

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