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What's your Portage Pace?

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I watched a YouTube video last night where the kid (yep, I'm again considering taking advice from someone 1/2 my age... slow learner) ...anyway... this kid said that he's found longer portages to be easier if he walks rapidly / jogs them and felt that, in the long run (pun intended), it was less tiring than walking / plodding.

While I doubt that my (twice broken, mildly arthritic) right ankle can survive a forced march over uneven terrain with pack &/or canoe, I can see where the youngster might be right and I may try picking up the pace as much as the terrain and the ankle will allow. What's your experience been? Does moving more quickly tire you less? Does the length of the trek influence the pace? (should I stop watching YouTube? lol)
 
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Jake and I travel almost exclusively solo so time is not much of a factor, we do not fret over things like slowing down a group on long portages. To that end, we always double port, if taking a wannigan, triple port. there is no way jogging with a waningan or other pack being tumped sounds like a good idea. We walk the port, often at a brisk pace, only to drop pack and canoe, or larger pack, and leap frog immediately for the next pack, or to load the canoe and head off to the next spot. We do not jog, but are in a hurry to walk the port and put on miles. Sometimes, we stop on or near the port for lunch or a coffee before moving on. So I guess I can see taking longer, but never running to try and finish a port faster. For us, the pace of a portage remains the same, slow and steady.
 
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I like Ports and I always double. On the return, you are most likely going to find me off on the side of the port looking at the vegetation.
There is one that I do at a quicker pace and that one is the Carry around Allagash Falls. By the time you get there, it's been 4-5 days sitting in the canoe and is a great place to stretch out your legs
 
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Well, the answer certainly depends. When I solo trek Adirondack trails, always in a single trip traverse, I tend to take it easy in recreational mode, taking time to enjoy the landscape as I walk carrying everything with me. When I bushwhack in the woods between remote untrailed ponds, it necessarily is at a slower pace, given time to navigate with map and compass as I proceed through the terrain with gear on my back and canoe overhead.

On the other hand, during races, such as the Adirondack 90-mile Canoe Classic, it is a race, and portages (historically referred to as “carries” in the Adirondacks) are traveled as fast as you can go. Over the three-day period, carries total about five miles. Now in my later years my pace is certainly much slower than it was decades ago when I started racing. I have difficulty keeping up with my younger team mates or with the competition who tend to run with canoes, either on fast carts or overhead. When I am solo, many will pass me. Now, in more recent years I have often paddled in a C4 canoe with a young brother team who heft that 23’ canoe up on shoulders with food and water still onboard and run the carries while I hobble along behind. At the put-in, they have it all configured waiting for me to show up a minute or so later and hop into my bow seat.

When almost every year I paddle the unofficial (not a formal race) “Cannonball-90” (completing the entire traditional old 90-mile route in a single day), I walk the total 10 miles of familiar trail and road carries at as brisk a pace as I can handle.
 
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I go slow and steady… when I stop to break…. I walk in slow even paced circles to bring heart rate down… once im feeling settled.. I start up again… I don’t have the coordination to jog on a slog with gear… my portaging is limited compared to folks here… but I have used this in hiking and has served me well.
 
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I tend to go at a fairly fast walk as I find that easier than going more slowly, however, that speed is influenced by the condition of the trail, length and difficulty of the day. My "fairly fast walk" is leaning forward with knees bent more than in my usual walking form.
 
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Firstly, I say, to each their own. We all walk in our own shoes, and that's a good thing I am sure.
I'd like to say that I've always lived my life at a slow and steady pace, but that wouldn't be true. It has only been a recent revelation, learning to love a slower pace, in all things. There've been too many times where I've hurried thru what otherwise would've been wonderful experiences if it hadn't been for the fact that I was in a hurry. Looking back I see that there was no justifiable reason for my haste. Just foolhardiness I guess, thinking that I had a need for speed. That is one of the few real regrets I carry with me these days, my blinkered rush thru all the good stuff to arrive...where exactly, and for what silly reason? Arriving somewhere a few minutes earlier so I'll have "more valuable time to spend, doing what I really need and want to do". Work, play, travel, it's all been the same; wasting these opportunities to realize those others. Is it a coincidence that all of my most memorable moments anywhere and at anytime, whether skiing thru a forest, working on a project, portaging down a trail, or playing board games with the kids, they've all come, and stayed, when I paused long enough to drink them all in?
My own answer to the age old put-down question of Where's the fire!? has changed. No longer is the fire under my feet and in my belly. It is now in my soul and in my bones. I should've slowed down ages ago.
tree huggers .jpg
 
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I have always double portaged and on really long ones I will do it in stages. I enjoy the walk back. I walk in the woods most days at home so I like to do the same on my trips. And since many of my trips in recent years have been base camping or mostly base camping guess what I do while at camp.
 
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At 69, I'm not in a hurry anymore and have been that way for some time now. Like others have said, I like to take time to enjoy my surroundings and the trip. Also, on every trip I build in "zero days." Thee practices not only make for a more relaxed experience, but also provides me with more time for photography, videography, field recording and fishing.
 
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A lot of the portages I have been on won’t allow a fast pace, each step has to be placed carefully. But, if the portage was paved and all downhill both ways I’d still walk at a somewhat slow pace.

If I saw someone running towards me on a portage, I’d drop my pack, scream “mommy” and run the other way.
 
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When trip planning, I typically use "2 mph" for my travel speed and that includes portaging and paddling.....I may adjust up or down if I am: triple portaging, bad portages, etc......with that said, I typically double portage and take my time. I've seen a lot of wildlife and other interesting things by slowing down. I also am not a big fan of carrying two packs, one on my back and the other on my front.....I like to see where I am putting my feet. I have occasionally swung a second smaller pack on top of the pack on my back or slung it over a shoulder. I have had two bad experiences with other people trying to double carry front/back. The first was years ago taking the Scout troop up to the BWCA and one of the scouts decided to double carry and wound up on the portage behind me, he couldn't see where he was placing his feet coming over a hill and fell and rolled and took me out like a bowling pin. The second time was more recent and one of my buddies who has a bad back to begin with decided to double carry on a portage and hurt his back. He spent the last two days laying in camp eating aspirin and I wound up having to arrange for a "tow" with an e-mail to the outfitter via my in reach mini for the second half of our exit day....

Mike
 
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Also use 2 mph for portages and never been a fan of 2 packs. A canoe with a light pack about my speed. I'm resigned to double portaging, and I might triple solo. Of course if my son is with me, I'll single and let him carry the rest. Was the other way around once upon a time.
 

Glenn MacGrady

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this kid said that he's found longer portages to be easier if he walks rapidly / jogs them and felt that, in the long run (pun intended), it was less tiring than walking / plodding.

It seems to me that the faster you move, for any reason, the more tiring it is on all the muscles involved including the heart. Of course, when I was young and fit as a runner, I could jog reasonable distances without getting particularly more tired than walking. Perhaps fast walking on a long portage, if you are fit enough to do it and the terrain allows, could make trip more endurable for some folks than slow walking.

I've always walked fairly slow on portages. When I was young, I could heft and carry 85 pound boats fairly easily, but walking fast or jogging with that kind of top-heavy load wrapped around my head never seemed like a good idea. Now that I'm old and carry lighter canoes, I walk comfortably slow to make sure I don't slip on any step. A fall in the woods could be disastrous for old bones.
 
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Kathleen and I started our outdoor excursions as backpackers. As you might guess, all trips were single carries. We took up canoeing because we could take so much more gear. And we did. We never worried about weight. All of our our portages have been three carries. We have never tried to reduce to two carries. Our longest portage has been five km (three miles). That’s a total of 25 km (15 miles). Fifteen km with packs, Ten km just sauntering back to get the next load. Fifteen km with a load is a short backpacking trip. Ten km of sauntering back is memorable time on the land. We have never thought, even for a moment, how we could do it faster. It is what it is, and we are not in a hurry. There is no deadline, and we always reach the end.
 
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Thanks to all for your input thus far and, like most here, I have always taken my time on portages and plan to enjoy all aspects of the trip as much as possible. As I double portage, the return trip is my "stop and smell the roses" time and I was most curious about the possibility of reducing fatigue with a more robust pace over a shorter period during the carry part.

Perhaps this will require experimentation as each of us responds in different ways and individual mileage may vary. Happily, the first planned trip of the spring has 2 required ports and 2 that are advisable if the water is high... perhaps I can try some more intense / shorter duration (ie: increased pace but hardly a "jog") vs slow & steady & see how tiring each appears to be.

PS: Michael, I love that you always post in km & miles. Saves me from doing the math & I'm just too old & too stubborn to switch to metric.
 
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I stopped hurrying or single carrying about 30+ years ago, that's when my daughter was little. free tip- toddlers still need everything a baby needs (except maybe the bottles)PLUS their blankie, and their stuffie, and a ton of dry clothes (how a kid loses a shoe in camp, or gets their pants muddy during a drought baffles me...). Before that I was the type to shorten toothbrush handles, cut off all pot handles in favour of an old pair of non-spark aluminium water pump pliers, and eat or drink everything from a sierra cup, and RUN portages with a 17lb pack (former cross-country racer).
Since my little one came along everything changed, I went from only a day pack to adding a canoe pack, and added a barrel and sometimes a wannagan, requiring me to do 2 or even 3 carries, and also to do a lot more 1 1/2's. it's hard to carry everything when there's a little urchin wanting exclusive 24/7 access to my right hand...As she got older, my health deteriorated more and more, culminating in a massive MI at 46 which legally killed me for a bit. That slowed my pace even more (I had one of those stupid heart monitor watches that screamed at you every time you stretched, yawned, or laughed).
A funny thing happened following that issue- because that damn cardiac monitor FORCED a slower pace, I actually started enjoying most portages, especially the trip back for the second load- I saw more cool sights, explored a little more, and generally made time to stop and brew up a quick coffee and snack at some point, and I suddenly started seeing far more wildlife than ever in the past. I also had far more energy when I did get to camp and was in a better mood.
It took a kid and a heart attack to teach me to slow down and smell the roses, my pace now is anywhere from 1/4m (.4km), to maybe 3m (4.8km) per hour (I'm numerically bilingual) because how I'm feeling, and how interesting the portage is, has a direct impact on my speed and amount of breaks. Those events also taught me that I needed to remember I was on a VACATION, and not working...:rolleyes:
 
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I think I interpreted the original question differently than many others. I assumed that the question was about how I moved when carrying a load.
I tend to go at a fairly fast walk as I find that easier than going more slowly, however, that speed is influenced by the condition of the trail, length and difficulty of the day. My "fairly fast walk" is leaning forward with knees bent more than in my usual walking form.
After reading other people's responses, I should add that I normally double or triple carry because we pretty much bring all the creature comforts. Like others have said, the unloaded walk back is very interesting and enjoyable - part of the experience - time to enjoy the forest, to look around, etc. When loaded, I do find a slightly faster pace to be easier for me.
 
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