• Happy Birthday, Ansel Adams (1902-84)! 📷🌄

Voyageur portage loads - still almost unbelievable...

Eric Morse, in Fur Trade Canoe Routes of Canada: Then and Now, relates that the voyageurs divided their cargo into packs or bundles of furs weighing about 90 pounds. The usual load for a man on a portage was two packs, 180 pounds, "or more if he was showing off." Morse's book is well-researched, so his figure seems more reliable than Bill Riviere's hearsay.


Another source says that one of the many uses for a voyageur's sash was as a binding to prevent a hernia. It's plausible to believe that a sash could be used to compress a hernia that had already breached the abdominal wall.


180 pounds would be more than enough to give me a hernia. In the wilderness, many miles from medical care, a strangulated hernia would mean a certain and very painful death.