A portage, I learned on our Minnesota Boundary Waters Canoe trip, is hiking with your canoe and gear between lakes. I was nervous about this part as I wasn’t sure how to carry a canoe–or if I even could. On my first portage I panicked, feeling bugs swarm my face that I couldn’t swat as I exhausted my forearms muscling the canoe nose up only to have it too far up so that I had to muscle it down.
The key, I learned after a few portages–is to keep moving forward, maybe even a bit faster than feels comfortable. You need to ride the canoe’s energy, somehow be one with it–instead of trying to muscle against it.
It’s funny how portaging–a thing that scared me so much–turned into the thing that gave me the greatest sense of pride at the end of this trip. Perhaps the things that are hardest are the things really worth doing. Trust the time. Trust the wait. One step, one day at a time.
Read on to Part Three.