Canoe Country Wilderness Canoeing
by © Lee Hegstrand


Portage Safety
Perhaps most injuries occur while portaging. Photo courtesy - Ken BrownBecause of the extra weight you carry, missteps often result in painful and sometimes serious injuries. Very often portages begin in wet conditions with slippery and loose rocks to step on. Portages often have exposed roots or rocks to trip or slip on. So, be careful of your foot placement before stepping! Try to step over rocks and roots.

Avoid fatigue while portaging, rest as often as you require. Pack carriers should look for places where both carrier and pack can rest simultaneously to avoid dropping the pack and then having to re-lift it. Simply leaning against a tree with the pack on will provide relief and you will avoid re-lifting the pack.

Canoe carriers should look for two closely spaced trees forming a “V” to wedge the bow of the canoe in or (rarely) a horizontal branch for a canoe rest. Again, to conserve energy, do not set the canoe down on the ground unless you must! Canoe portagers should be alert in open areas on windy days, the wind could dangerously pinwheel you and your canoe around!

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