Posts Tagged ‘the pig’

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

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Don’t Worry Honey…It’s Still Gonna Suck

We were out at dinner the other night and an interesting debate ensued. As you know, our family will be hiking the LaCloche Sihouette Trail in May. Fraser was hyping up the trip for the boys and stated proudly, “now you guys can say that you’ve done “The Hump”!”. The Hump AKA The Grind AKA The Pig, for those not in the know is a grueling 1320m portage that runs between Artist Lake and Three Narrows. It’s a stretch of rocky, ankle twisting, uphill slogging that tends to run like a river in the wetter months (read: when we are going). It is painful and soul crushing and only the most devoted portager (read: crazy, read: Fraser has done it a few times) would do it with a boat on their shoulders.

NOT the Hump/Pig...it's way too hard to take a pic and portage it at the same time!

NOT the Hump/Pig…it’s way too hard to take a pic and portage it at the same time!

I turned to Fraser with a look of skepticism. “No they can’t!”. And so the debate begins…

We can’t possibly claim to have done The Hump because we won’t be portaging it, we will be hiking it! Fraser looks back at me and says that he’d like to see me say that to the face of someone who carried the portage pack and not the boat…would they not be able to claim to have done it just because they were boat free?

My argument? Portage packs are WAY heavier and don’t provide the same support, nor are they loaded as impeccably as a backpack that you’d be carrying for days on end. Portaging involves carrying an unreasonably heavy load in an imperfectly fitted pack that while thoughtfully arranged, hasn’t been “Tetris-ed” the way a hiking pack has been. The reverse would be saying that it is equally difficult to HIKE the whole trail with a canoe or portage pack!

We've hiked our share of steep hills!

We’ve hiked our share of steep hills!

We went back and forth on the issue (I truly believe that Fraser agrees with me and was just trying to get my goat) much to the amusement of the rest of the family. In the end he settled the debate with the simple statement… Don’t worry honey, it’s still gonna suck.

And so it will dear. So it will.

Anybody out there done this section of Killarney?  Who do you side with?

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