The Worst Portage EVER

At the bottom and ready to tough it out

At the bottom and ready to tough it out

The Pig, the Hump, the Grind, call it what you will, it is a beast.  Stretching on for 1320 meters and uphill both ways, this stretch of interior that runs between Artist Lake and Three Narrows in Ontario’s Killarney Provincial Park is a rock laden ankle-twister.  We had the not so pleasurable pleasure of completing this exercise in masochism both coming and going.  The first time we hiked it, the ground was fairly dry, the air temperature was comfortable and it was sunny.  It still sucked.DSC_0290

You may recall that Fraser and I disagreed as to whether we could claim to have portaged this portage if there was no canoe present.  I’m here to tell you that the point is moot.  I promised all within earshot that I would carry a boat up and over that monster when pigs could fly… and maybe not even then.  Because I will never truly portage the Pig, I don’t have the credentials to weigh in on the matter.  I do however want to express my deepest respect for all who have battled the beast for real and won.

As I watched the worst portage ever get smaller in my rear-view, I was sure that would be the last I’d see of it for, well for forever I hoped.  I was all too wrong.  When we later came to a washed out river crossing and had to make the painful decision to turn around, it didn’t even occur to me that meant having to do battle again.  This time however, the portage was running angry.  We’d get a second crueller kick at the can.

The "are you kidding me?!" face

The “are you kidding me?!” face

The first time we climbed its rocky stairs, it was the worst.  The second time we climbed it, it was the WORST.  After days of rain, the narrowed corridor ran like a river.  The ankle deep water poured down the incline and we were herded straight up the middle by its impossibly deep bathtub sides.  With no escape to higher ground and unable to avoid a total soaker, we could only give in and trudge along beaten by the Grind…in the rain, in the cold and already defeated from our failed hike.  This is however, something that every Ontario tripper must attempt at least once in their career in order to check it off the list.  You can’t call yourself serious and avoid this one.   At the best of times, this portage was awful.  At the worst of times, this was the worst portage EVER.

A little bit damp

A little bit damp

4 responses to this post.

  1. I don’t get it. What on Earth were you doing out there? Aren’t there more pleasant hikes around? This doesn’t look like much fun, with the rain and all.


    • You must take everything I say with a grain of salt as I’ve been known to exaggerate just a tad…lol! This was one small section of a gorgeous hike in a gorgeous park and of COURSE I’ll do it again. Every time I do something difficult I say it’s the last time, but everything worth doing has its challenges. Would I do it with a canoe on my shoulders? Not a chance!


  2. Posted by juliet on July 1, 2013 at 3:59 PM

    Oh. My. Goodness. See, we portaged the Pig. But… did we really??? A canoe and no gear– does that count? I think self propelling yourself up the Pig regardless of any weight you may or may not be carrying counts as having done it. ‘Nuff said. Kevin and Addison have a trip planned going the opposite way around this month, then we’re supposed to do the trail the ‘right’ way around as a family later in the fall. Which means Kevin and Addison will be doing the Pig at least 3 times this year (unless we decide to portage it on a canoe circuit complete with gear).


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