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Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
   Group Forum: Canoeing with kids
      Longest Portage w/ kid under 10     



03/13/2017 10:14PM   (Thread Older Than 3 Years)
We're planning on a 420 rod this summer. Any tips for keeping the kiddo happy?

I figured I'd pack in some yummy suckers, and girl scout cookies... maybe a sand which for 1/2 way.

Any other thoughts.
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03/14/2017 09:44AM  
Always difficult to predict what conditions you'll encounter, and it's definitely a longish one, but it's still only a mile and a third. Stopping points, sure. But extended time for a sandwich or whatever mid-portage can turn out to be a buggy affair and less picturesque than waiting until that rewarding landing with a view of the next lake. (Just be mindful of others and stay to the side of the landing while you linger there.) Crazy things can keep kids going on the walk... counting steps, finding items that start with (letter), I Spy guessing game if you're within earshot, and -- of course -- asking, "Are we there yet?" :-) Everyone is different. Lighten their initial load and go back together for the rest. Good luck.
03/14/2017 05:48PM  
We made sure that our little ones at that age had good, comfortable walking shoes, extra juice or drink mix, water, a hat for the sun and a light pack. They preferred to walk with us and occasionally just "wait" at the end of the portage while mom and dad back for "extra things" like the canoe :). It worked!
03/14/2017 09:03PM  
Not portage specific, but we've been on several long day hikes in different national parks. Biggest thing for us with small kids was some sort of fun snack they can get into like fruit snacks or some sort of candy (gummy bears). Helps to have that carrot at the end, or to help keep them moving.

Previous comments on adequate and appropriate clothing is good. We always make sure they have their rain gear and some sort of jacket depending on conditions. On portages I tried to make sure they had a long sleeve shirt and a head net if needed.
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03/15/2017 05:23PM  
we hiked the 620 rod Big Moose - Cummings portage when our daughter was 3 months old & we did the 515 rod Sea Gull - Paulson fully loaded a few years later. (Have also done many other 'longish' portages)

Of course we have snacks along, but usually nothing extraordinary. It's usually just such an awesome experience seeing what she finds along the way that will fascinate her.

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03/18/2017 08:07AM  
Angleworm when they were 6 and 7.

It was a trip with my 79 y/o dad and a 90 degree Aug day. I had everyone drop their packs 1/2 through and I would leepfrog.

2 years ago, my then 9 year old and I did Zenith at 440. And last year at 10 she did the Crab 408 right after the blowdown taking almost 2 hours.

I may hand them a bar at the start, but for sure when it is done, a "reward". We have never done breaks 1/2 way through other than drinks. It all depends on how long you are out there on the trail. We usually single portage at about 2 miles per hour so it is just easier to take a break at the new lake.

We always load up packs and do walks in the neighborhood prior to trips to build confidence. "this portage is about as far as walking to the park" helps. Along with a game of -she who spots the water first wins or where are the mushrooms! So much to see and do along a trail.

Kids hike. A portage is no different.

03/19/2017 03:57PM  
Thanks everyone! I think we're going to "practice" at a few nearby state parks with their longer hike in sites to just build up confidence. TB - I've read about your daughter. Her attitude makes my heart smile.

My daughter on the other hand whines and complains more frequently - though she still is pretty tough too. I like the idea of the games. We usually play the alphabet game in the car, so maybe we'll play it in the woods.... and play an iSpy game etc.

I think one thing that will help is that we're getting a tow to our portage, and then its just that one portage, so we just have to focus all of our energy on that one portage, v.s. worrying about multiple portages.

I'll keep you guys posted. Thanks!
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07/31/2020 12:11PM  
Aurora (9 yrs old) and I just returned from a trip where we base camped on Duncan Lake.
With our day pack on her back; she ably made it across Stairway portage, The long portage (Rose - Daniels) and a couple of others all on the same day trip.

Bugs were the primary deterrent but, she mostly kept herself entertained with the natural surroundings. Frogs, toads, rocks, flowers, fungus/mushrooms tiny creeks etc. The wilderness is such a great entertainer and teacher. I know it can be hard to trust but, if you just let the wilderness work it's magic; I think you'll be amazed at how few 'crutches' you need to bring along.
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