Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Taking Buffalo Gal for a Walk

Buffalo Gal with the NFCT decal on the bow.

Katina Daanen’s “Through-Paddler’s Companion” lists every portage, but more importantly, it breaks each portage into what portion is wheelable, and what is not.  She even breaks some of them down to ‘wheelable with difficulty,’ indicating where roots, rocks, or other problems may make using a cart difficult.  Unfortunately, most of the hand carries, versus portage cart carries, appear early in the trip, and one is 1.3 miles.  Later, the portages are longer, but are mostly wheelable with an appropriate cart. 

With a new hat on top, and my Keen hiking shoes on the bottom,
it was time to give it a shot.

With the canoe yoke done, it was time to make a portage and try everything out.  The wind yesterday was blowing about 20-25 mph, but I tried to make a portage as we took a break from watching the radar for tornado development.  It was like carrying a sheet of plywood on a windy day, as the wind tried to spin me and the canoe first one way, and then the other.  The pads pressed into my neck muscles and caused a lot of strain.  I went about a quarter mile, and was done.  After a bit of thought, I decided the pads must be too close, so I moved them outboard on the yoke so they had a 20 cm separation.

This morning, I tried the portage again before the wind got up to normal strength.  It was only about 15 mph.  The separation of the pads made all the difference in the world.  I walked a full mile with two short stops of 2-3 minutes to give the shoulders a break, one at a half-mile, and the second at about eight-tenths of a mile in.  I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before, but upon my return, I took a tape measure and measured the spread on the Adirondack pack canoe yoke.  It is 19 cm, so I know now I’m in the right ballpark, and am happy with the results. 

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