Technique is more important than sheer strength when lifting your canoe.
- Standing at the canoe’s center, rock the boat to generate enough momentum so that it’s sideways, with the top facing away from you.
- With your right hand, reach over the boat and grab the center of the yoke. Then spin the canoe completely around toward your thighs.
- As the canoe comes up, grab the top gunwale with your other hand.
- Using your thighs to support the canoe (which is now facing you), move your other hand from the yoke to the bottom edge of the canoe.
- Push the canoe up with your knee and snap it around your head.
- Settle the yoke on your shoulders—not your neck—and go on your merry way.
On the first portage, Michael Jokl was wearing sandals and almost twisted his ankle in the thick mud. Michael learned the hard way that while sandals are ideal at home, they don’t provide the necessary ankle support for doing a wilderness portage.
When carrying upwards of 80 pounds over mud, rocks and roots, you need sturdy boots with good traction. Matt Hidding’s swamp boots — or any jungle boot with a vulcanized sole — are ideal.