A Family Divided – The Epic Trip

It’s finally time.  For six years now we have been loading our canoe with ever heavier cargo, namely two adults, two kids and enough

all together in one boat

food and gear to support us all.   Every year the gunwales sneak closer to the water and push the load limit capacity to its breaking point.  With a ten-year old that stands nearly as tall as his mom and a seven-year old not far behind, this is the year that we have to start a new chapter in the family trip log.  This is the year that we divide and conquer.  We will be taking not one, but two canoes into the backcountry.

portage conditions are not always ideal

This presents a whole host of challenges.  I have never, NEVER portaged a canoe!  I know.  How is this possible.  I have lost track of how many times I’ve been on a canoe trip, but I have always managed to skirt this duty.  Normally, I jump at the chance to prove just how tough I am, but portaging a canoe is one of those things that has intimidated me from the get go.  I’ve carried packs just as heavy, but something about trying to balance that thing up on my shoulders while navigating tricky terrain, arms held above my head and at the mercy of the mosquitos, has never appealed to me.  I could probably convince Fraser to run back and retrieve the second boat.  He’s good that way.  He’s always had to double back for an extra pack.  That wouldn’t be fair though and the guilt would get me in the end anyway.  I’ll be a trooper and start hauling my share.

waiting for Fraser to double back on a portage

This is going to be a “training” year.  In my last post, I talked about doing an epic trip.  Well purely coincidently, Fraser told me about

hauling my share

a trip that he would love to do.  He was thinking maybe two years from now, but my enthusiasm has pushed the date up to next summer.  I don’t want to give anything away, but the trip is going to take 11 days (it could be done in 9, but I like a couple of play days built-in), it involves 31 portages totalling almost 18km and means that we’re going to have to eat some freeze-dried food…blech 😛  Most importantly though, it means that I’m going to have to be well-practiced at portaging the second canoe!  Any guesses where we’re going? what we’re doing?

5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Roger Bartlett on May 23, 2011 at 1:33 PM

    Personally, I have always prefered to take a boat (often times multiple boats) and more often than not a pack at the same time.
    I enjoy portaging, as much as I like paddling, I need to have a break from it and do a portage every hours so. Am I nuts? most likely but in central and northeren Ontario, portaging is essential and part of the experience.
    On a few occasions, I have paddled 6-7 hours accross Georgian Bay and on to Superior- did not like it


    • Just like Fraser. He always carries a full pack along with the boat, while I carry one full pack. When we get to the end, he RUNS back and retrieves the third pack. Sick. I can appreciate the portage, and they’re always good for a story or two, but I’d much rather just keep on paddling. From now on though, I’m gonna have to carry a small pack and a boat, while Luke takes the extra pack. Yay for big strong kids that want to help out!


  2. Posted by Roger Bartlett on May 23, 2011 at 1:39 PM

    You’ll do great JennyJ


  3. Posted by Roger Bartlett on May 23, 2011 at 1:50 PM

    I’ve got one for you- 2700 metres, 1300 verticle feet all of in the last quarter


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