Portaging refers to the act of carrying a canoe, kayak, or other watercraft overland between bodies of water, typically to bypass an obstacle such as a rapid, waterfall, or shallow section of a river. It is a common practice in canoeing and kayaking, especially in wilderness areas with rivers, lakes, and interconnected waterways.
Portages can vary in length and difficulty, ranging from short and relatively easy paths to longer and more challenging routes. They may involve carrying the boat and gear on your shoulders, using a specialized portage yoke or harness, or employing a wheeled cart designed for traversing over land.
The purpose of portaging is to continue the journey on water when it is not feasible or safe to paddle through the obstacle. It allows paddlers to explore and navigate through waterways that may have sections that are impassable or too dangerous to navigate by boat alone.
During a portage, paddlers often unload their gear and remove any equipment that may be damaged or hinder the carrying process. They then carefully lift and transport the boat and gear to the next accessible body of water. Once there, they reload the gear and continue their journey on the water.
Portaging requires physical strength, coordination, and proper technique to navigate uneven terrain and carry the watercraft and gear safely. It is an integral part of many canoeing and kayaking adventures, allowing paddlers to access remote areas and experience the natural beauty of waterways that would otherwise be inaccessible by boat alone.