Portage Pads- A necessity not a luxury

     The other morning I had the opportunity to transport a group to an entry point into the Boundary Waters.  While they unloaded one of their own canoes I noticed there were not any portage pads on their canoe and jokingly said, "I hope you have some portage pads along unless you’re into torture."  He then informed me he didn’t have any along but it would be OK.

     There are people who can portage a canoe without portage pads but why?  One word comes to mind when I think about doing it, "OUCH!"  I’ve asked people who have experienced a canoe trip without them and I’ve been told it isn’t too bad.  I don’t know what too bad is, but I know I don’t want to find out.

     I mentioned to him I could try to find something for him when I drove the women back to leave their vehicles at our place.  He didn’t want me to worry about it and of course I forgot all about it until I had left the landing the last time.  Back at Voyageur I figured I would try to bring something out to him so I grabbed some duct tape and portage pads and took off for the landing.

     Of course they had already left the canoe landing but I could see them so I decided to take one of our canoes and head out after them.  It took awhile for me to get their attention and eventually catch up to them but it was a beautiful morning for a paddle. 

     I have no doubt he could have done the trip without portage pads but again I ask the question, "Why?" If you ever find yourself at the end of the Gunflint Trail without portage pads then please stop by and we’ll see what we can find. Portaging can be painful enough with portage pads so don’t be stubborn and go without.  If not for yourself then at least for me.  I’ll feel much better knowing there’s some paddling while you’re portaging.