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The Canoe Hump

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I’m reading the book “Last of the Coureurs de Bois” by Paul Provencher. He spent lots of time with the Montagnais in Quebec, and he had great admiration for them.
“The Montagnais Indian has won himself a great reputation in our northern forest as a mighty load-carrier. I’ve met many canoe-carriers; and it’s rare to find one who’s not developed the famous ‘canoe hump.’ This cartilaginous growth covers the sixth or seventh cervical vertebra, where the cross bar of the canoe rests when the Indian puts it on his shoulders to carry it”
Notice the piece of molded birch bark attached to his hat for protection when carrying a rope thump.

IMG_4673.jpeg
 
Looks unhealthy to me to portage such heavy loads for so long that a hypertrophy like that would appear. Maybe a medical person like @pblanc could explain what this is and why it would happen.
 
i had something similar (albeit at least an order of magnitude smaller) happen on my left shoulder, where i always carried tools for a decade of trail work. it's no longer visible, but i can still find it by feel so i know it's still there. i can't even imagine the force x time (not to mention tenacity) that would be necessary to form something that large.
 
Used to joke with my students that I was 5' 9" when I entered the outdoor ed field but now I'm 5' 7". I told them I'd shrunk due to the many years of carrying heavy aluminum canoes and large packs. Then one day, I started having issues with my neck. Went through a battery of tests and imaging and my doctor said my tale wasn't a joke. The pictures show I have no space between any of my cervical vertebrae and the doc says it's probably a direct result of what I used to joke about. Oh well, live and learn.

That's all for now. Take care and until next time...be well.

snapper
 
I think it's some kind of lipoma, an accumulation of fat that forms a cushion over time to protect the bones of the spine. I had one remove from my lower spine in my younger years that the doc said was caused by siting all day at school, my spine rubbing constantly against the back of a wooden chair.
G.
 
Life for the Montagnais in those days was a lot different than those of us today. Some of us might see medical issues, others might see the reality of life of a migrant people who needed to move their families to areas that supported them through different seasons.

Yes, good point. I meant it would seem unhealthy to portage that much weight for such long times to produce such a hump, today, when it's not necessary for life to do so.
 
I think it's some kind of lipoma, an accumulation of fat that forms a cushion over time to protect the bones of the spine. I had one remove from my lower spine in my younger years that the doc said was caused by siting all day at school, my spine rubbing constantly against the back of a wooden chair.
G.
I think I have one of those on the back of my head from my father slapping it when I was a kid. It's the reason I'll never shave my head.
 
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