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sconnie84
member (28)member
  
01/26/2024 09:36AM  
I know there are a number of well known portages that are really tough. I wanted to take a poll and see what everyone's worst portage is that they've ever done in the BWCA and why it was so terrible (length? terrain?)
 
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01/26/2024 10:44AM  
My worst 5 in order;

1. Mulligan to Wanihigan (now that Grassy lake dried up) - despise this portage - unknown rods...my guess puts in north a mile. It's a muddy rock and root path right along the edge of the swamp that was grassy lake.
2. Seagull to JAP (now Paulsen) - 515 Rods of up, down, across a creek, through a swamp. It's a burner!
3. Muskeg to Kiskidinna - Climb, straight up climb - 178 Rods
4. Tuscarora to Missing Link - 360 rods, it's worse going from Tuscarora to Missing Link.
5. Spaulding to Bench - 88 rods. The portage has been listed as unmaintained by the USFS. It hardly exists anymore. In fact, i'd say it doesn't. It went to pot after the blowdown, just a tangle of trees and mess, which for a short period was semi cleared by users, but then back to overgrown and the original winding goat trail down to bench became a straight shot, slide down a hill type of event. It's kind of ridiculous.

Honorable Mention
Horse Portage
Canoe to Pine Portrage
01/26/2024 11:58AM  
Malberg into River Lake was basically flooded waist-deep the whole way on my September 2023 trip. I never thought of it as a hard portage until last year.
tumblehome
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01/26/2024 02:03PM  
YaMarVa: "Malberg into River Lake was basically flooded waist-deep the whole way on my September 2023 trip. I never thought of it as a hard portage until last year. "


Well I have to ask. If it was flooded waist deep, would you not just paddle it?
01/26/2024 02:15PM  
tumblehome: "
YaMarVa: "Malberg into River Lake was basically flooded waist-deep the whole way on my September 2023 trip. I never thought of it as a hard portage until last year. "



Well I have to ask. If it was flooded waist deep, would you not just paddle it?"


It was fairly thick with tree growth to be paddled easily, but on the return route there was an obvious secondary path people used to paddle around most of the portage.
01/26/2024 02:20PM  
Two worst in my experience are Cherry/Hanson and Angleworm. One is long, the other is steep.

I've done the Tusc/Missing Link so many times it doesn't seem difficult anymore.
01/26/2024 03:34PM  
i havent done too many toughs ones but 3 that come to mind is seagull-to-jap & pine-to-Gadwall because you could end up waist deep in swamp land if not staying close to tree trunks. i use to long piece of rope to pull/float the canoe over those swampy areas. & Clearwater to Gogebic is a good hike , especially after you cross the bridge.
01/26/2024 11:44PM  
There's a pretty long thread running since 2009 with lots of great info: https://bwca.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=forum.thread&threadId=190263&forumID=12&confID=1

Several of mine have already been mentioned so it's good to know I'm not alone. Since writing it, I did two of my dreaded portages in 2023, Oyster-Hustler (long, not that hard, but rough at end of the day) and Ruby-Lynx (shorter and slightly easier), but there is still plenty of huffing and puffing ahead of me!

Worst one in my experiences? It's a tough call between Cherry-Hanson, Canoe-Pine, and Boulder-Cap. Or maybe Ensign-Vera. I've done longer, but it's a combination of weather, elevation, technicality, length, hydration, energy levels, and mood, that really determines which portages are the worst. Some people will say that the 17 rod portage on the Frost River from Afton to Fente is their worst, because it has an insanely steep part that makes it difficult or nigh impossible to get a canoe through it by yourself, gracefully anyway. I'm hoping to do that one this spring. :)
chessie
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01/27/2024 10:16AM  
Misquah
Michwall2
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01/27/2024 10:30AM  
1. Fente to Hub - Straight up for the first quarter mile (or more?)
2. Sitka to Cherokee - No Flat spots and a 4' rock face to scramble up/around.
3. Muskeg to Kiskadinna - I think the Fente to Hub climb equals this one, but fewer people travel through there so it is less well known.
4. Lujenida to Zenith - Just for the length. If it's hot, you are well out of water before the end.
01/27/2024 10:37AM  
In the bwca duck to big moose. First time I did this portage in the mid 70s there was logging debris obscuring the trail. It’s better now but a tough mile and a half.
Northwoodsman
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01/27/2024 10:39AM  
Muskeg to Kiskidinna (aka "The Wall").
01/27/2024 02:36PM  
Badwater, during horrific thunderstorm.
01/27/2024 02:52PM  
Mine are a combination of length, conditions at that moment, our fatigue before hitting it…as in my first example I’ve done some portages twice and my feelings change a lot.

Cacacabic to Thomas in 2002…was flooded waist deep mud/swamp…did it last year and it was dry and had boardwalks…piece of cake actually just a longer one.

Gratton Death March…long in the middle…no air flow on a 90 degree day…the straight down again at the other end. The photo doesn’t do it’s justice you can see the depth.






Raven Lake PMA after a blow down. That was also harder because we put in at Snowbank that AM, so it was already a long haul and hit this mess.







Finally the Kashipiwi to Yum Yum up and over again…long and one part was a shear rock wall had a big angle…had to crawl down was all dusty and no traction. Here is a pic of the top of the portage looking down.

OldGuide2
distinguished member (119)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
  
01/27/2024 03:06PM  
The worst portages I remember in the BWCA are not so much the particular portage as the conditions, the worst being a few in sleet/snow storms that were both wet and slippery. Up in the Canadian bush north of the border it is more the places we had to make our own portage with a compass to guide us to the next lake.
01/27/2024 04:23PM  
Maybe not the worst, but in the top five: the 920 meter portage into Kahshahpiwi from the no-name east of Joyce in Quetico. Our notes from a 2007 trip called the portage "The Sampler" because it had some of everything: climbs, drops, some bog-walking, some boulder gardens, then an incredible descent to the lake. While the 2007 photo below shows logs along the bog crossing, on a later trip we found that the logs had been replaced with a bog bridge. The bridge wasn't in the best of shape--I broke through a plank about 2/3 the way across, but only suffered scrapes and bruises, no broken bones.

TZ

01/27/2024 04:52PM  
Lake One to Lake Two backed up like a black Friday sale!
01/28/2024 03:37AM  
I agree with the short Frost River one. We named it Humpty Dumpty. Also making my list is the Muskeg to Kiskadinna Steps Portage. Whew. There is a video on Youtube of me huffing and puffing at the top trying to describe it. 3rd would be from Fente to Hub. Not so bad all by itself but if you have done the Frost all day wiht 15 portages and 20 beaver dams and then this portage to Hub is 300 rods up hill. The legs they do protest.
And this one is leaving Ram
01/28/2024 11:58AM  
Rock Island to Clearwater. Long, unmaintained, and a muddy start at Rock Island. Brutal.
OMGitsKa
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01/28/2024 05:41PM  
Missing Link to Tuscarora.... Up, down, left, right, boulder, mud pit... As the guy I crossed paths with on that portage said "It's a death march"
exemplaria
member (14)member
  
01/29/2024 09:19AM  
Not as long as some of you hardmen, but my first BWCA trip with the guys - Boot to Ensign. It had just rained, and I drew the straw to carry the aluminum canoe. Up, down, up, down, and inclusive of basically a marsh that when wet is a mosquito paradise. Made extra difficult because of perception - having just done Snowbank to Boot, I figured I more or less knew what a portage was. Hoo-boy.
papalambeau
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01/30/2024 11:28AM  
Another vote for Cherry/Hanson. My three younger brothers who were in their 30's at the time (and in good shape) couldn't believe this portage. It was their second trip to the BW and compared to our first trip into Lynx they were breathing hard!
adittli
  
01/30/2024 01:49PM  
My worst portage was Hog Creek. It was August 2021 and the water was very low. We hiked as much as we paddled for the entire length of the creek.
01/30/2024 04:17PM  
Not even close. Trease to Angleworm. A mile through a bog. So deep in the muck you push your canoe over the top of the bog while you wade through it.
pileofleaves
member (15)member
  
01/30/2024 04:56PM  
Boot to Ensign is a tough one! Especially as it's your second portage from Snowbank into Ensign. Seeing water from the high point - only to discover that it's the swamp & the halfway point is more demoralizing than anything.
01/30/2024 06:37PM  
On May 4, 2016 the Morgan Lake entry portage was the worst I've experienced because of what a winter storm had done to it. It is about mile long with some good elevation changes, but I was still planning on a 30 minute single portage. But, that turned out to be a very difficult and tiring 2 hour adventure because of the large number of trees that were down across the portage. After my trip, while I was eating at the Trail Center the waiter told me that they had a snowstorm that winter that dumped a foot of wet and heavy snow that was immediately followed by a long stretch of sub zero temps that knocked down a lot of trees.

This is what the whole portage looked like.


mrmapleoak
  
01/30/2024 07:11PM  
Nothing like all you experienced folks, but it was my first real portage from Kawaschong to Townline to Polly- was fat and out of shape…was not prepared for that one. Double portage with way too much gear.
01/30/2024 07:35PM  
Surprised nobody mentioned the Misquah to Vista portage. We were 6 guys in our early twenties and in the prime shape of our life. This portage kicked our butts and we camped on Vista while figuring any other way out of the BWCA that didn't involve that portage. Checked out the South Brule River but that looked impassable and finally settled on Morgan lake portage. Long enough in its own right but we were happy to take it in comparison. Had a 7 mile walk/jog back to the truck and came back to pick up the others and gear.

It had everything you don't want on a portage and the elevation changes combined with the risky trail pretty much did us in. It's a moot point now, some 45 years later but I would not take it again.
01/30/2024 09:19PM  
TrailZen: "Maybe not the worst, but in the top five: the 920 meter portage into Kahshahpiwi from the no-name east of Joyce in Quetico. Our notes from a 2007 trip called the portage "The Sampler" because it had some of everything: climbs, drops, some bog-walking, some boulder gardens, then an incredible descent to the lake. While the 2007 photo below shows logs along the bog crossing, on a later trip we found that the logs had been replaced with a bog bridge. The bridge wasn't in the best of shape--I broke through a plank about 2/3 the way across, but only suffered scrapes and bruises, no broken bones.


TZ


"


The "bog bridge" portage is the portage from no-name to Joyce. The no name to Kahshahpiwi portage includes a stretch of bog crossing but it is not as threatening as the one they built the bridge over (Rebuilt in the last two years).
Loneshoreman
member (17)member
  
01/31/2024 05:39AM  
The Misiqua portage via Ram lake entry...
1985 family vacation and my dad was always looking for solitude. The outfitters even raised an eyebrow at our route. I was 12yrs old and my brother 6 respectively....

It was hard to find and went straight up to start. It had a swamp section with boards that my brother stepped off and went hip deep in mud... mosquitoes and more mosquitoes.... my mom was singing songs to keep my brother distracted from the misery...

All was forgotten about within a half hour of being back on the water lol

exemplaria
member (14)member
  
01/31/2024 11:22AM  
pileofleaves: "Boot to Ensign is a tough one! Especially as it's your second portage from Snowbank into Ensign. Seeing water from the high point - only to discover that it's the swamp & the halfway point is more demoralizing than anything. "


Yup - physically it's only "kinda bad", but mentally it's awful.
tonyj
member (18)member
  
01/31/2024 12:10PM  
Haven't done any of the legendary ones I've heard so much about, but my worst was Stuart River. It was the day after the 2016 storm that resulted in the tragedy on Basswood with the Boy Scouts group. 480 rods with so many trees down. Just as we were about to hit the portage, we realized we left the fishing poles when the shuttle picked us up at Moose River EP. It was my fault, so I took the jog, 13 miles round trip. And it was very hot.

Fortunately we started early, we'd done Stuart before, and were packed very light. We were able to make pretty good time once we got on the water.
01/31/2024 02:00PM  
Technically not in BW/Q but the Fowl port from S.Fowl to Pigeon River is a bear. Several years ago (2019-2020? ) there was wind event that knocked down over 75 trees on that portage. And if it's wet- the last 20-30 rods will earn you serious merits and likely scars on your face from the over grown buckthorn.

And after doing the Fowl- try the Grand Portage on little food and mentally shot and likely wet feet after the Pigeon. The Grand is not difficult tech wise-- but 9.5 miles after a long 90+ hours from Rainy lake makes it my worst portage I've ever done.
foxfireniner
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01/31/2024 02:22PM  
Horseshoe to Gaskin, 56yo man, Osagian canoe made from scraps of the USS Iowa.

That portage had me talking to myself.

But I think any "horrible portage" story has to start with Portage, Age, Weight.

I took that Osagian, Big Alice, into Wood Lake a couple times and wanted to die halfway down and then again halfway up to end my suffering. The last time I was there I rented a 35lb solo and was snapchatting my kids and singing a tune like an idiot tiktokker the whole way in.

My son had a tough portage last year coming out of Gabbro. So tough an old man admonished him, "that's why you don't wear crocs on portages."
schweady
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01/31/2024 06:47PM  
Angleworm to Trease. We thought it would be a great 'shortcut' back to Hegman to avoid doubling back on that long Angleworm EP portage. So wrong.
analyzer
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01/31/2024 09:52PM  
YaMarVa: "
tumblehome: "
YaMarVa: "Malberg into River Lake was basically flooded waist-deep the whole way on my September 2023 trip. I never thought of it as a hard portage until last year. "




Well I have to ask. If it was flooded waist deep, would you not just paddle it?"



It was fairly thick with tree growth to be paddled easily, but on the return route there was an obvious secondary path people used to paddle around most of the portage."


Gotta love the "Obvious secondary path" on the way back. The one trip, the wife and i did a LISN clockwise loop. We were on some river coming out pocket heading south. We missed a turn, to Gebe, and ended up at some beaver dam. We looked over the dam, and it was about a 5 foot drop, to a boulder field as far as you could see. We were thinking to ourselves "this can't possibly be the portage". We looked at our map, and our compass, and it seemed we were in the right spot, but it just didn't seem to be possible, that that's where everyone goes. So we looked around a little but just didn't spot a portage, so we shrugged, lifted our canoe over and down, and all of our gear. It was extremely buggy there, worst part of the trip. Carrying a canoe and packs over the boulder field was an adventure I don't really care to repeat. It was basically just hopping from one boulder to the next, and trying not to break/roll and ankle. Not for the weak at heart, but we made it. I carried all the gear, as I didn't want my wife to risk an ankle injury or worse. We get to the water, and paddle a couple hundred yards, and as we get to the next lake (which was actually part of Lac LaCroix), we quickly realize it's not matching with our map. We know we missed a turn. We sit there slumped over, at the thought of having to return across that boulder field. But we know what must be done, so we turn around and go back. As we are approaching the boulder field, we can see off to the left, the "Clear and Obvious Portage". It's a very short, simple, flat, portage, that was relatively obscured by a pine limb or two, on the up-river side. We just didn't see it. We were definitely relieved to have that option, but shaking our heads at our mistake, and needless extra work/risk, on the first pass. But it sure makes for one of those memories you hang on to later.
02/02/2024 09:24AM  
OMGitsKa: "Missing Link to Tuscarora.... Up, down, left, right, boulder, mud pit... As the guy I crossed paths with on that portage said "It's a death march""


That portage wouldn't have been so bad. The worst day I had, besides my first trip with the worst gear choices and borrowing a 95lb square stern canoe, was the day we tried to take Tuscarora to Missing Link then exit on Round. Instead we were blown off course due to the wind and ended up doing the 280 to Hubbub by mistake. It's a terrible feeling realizing that we just went 280 rods in the wrong direction.

What made it worse was that we did the math and figured it was shorter to do the loop through Cooper and Snipe than it was to backtrack. The factor we failed to consider was how overgrown the seldom used portages were. It was a lot of underbrush where we could barley see the trail, tripping hazards hidden in the brush, downed trees, and stopping to even find the trail. Snipe to Missing Link was the worst. It also included a 4' ledge, which by itself was not bad, but we were just exhausted and walking up to a wall on the portage was a blow mentally.
02/02/2024 11:27AM  
Banksiana: "
TrailZen: "Maybe not the worst, but in the top five: the 920 meter portage into Kahshahpiwi from the no-name east of Joyce in Quetico. Our notes from a 2007 trip called the portage "The Sampler" because it had some of everything: climbs, drops, some bog-walking, some boulder gardens, then an incredible descent to the lake. While the 2007 photo below shows logs along the bog crossing, on a later trip we found that the logs had been replaced with a bog bridge. The bridge wasn't in the best of shape--I broke through a plank about 2/3 the way across, but only suffered scrapes and bruises, no broken bones.



TZ



"



The "bog bridge" portage is the portage from no-name to Joyce. The no name to Kahshahpiwi portage includes a stretch of bog crossing but it is not as threatening as the one they built the bridge over (Rebuilt in the last two years)."


Thanks for the correction, Banksiana--it's been a few years since moving through that part of the park and I've lost more than a little of the detail. Think we were last through those portages in 2018 and I can't find my notes from that trip. A bridge had replaced the logs across the bog, but it was aging poorly. You're saying the bridge was rebuilt a couple years ago?

TZ
02/03/2024 10:24AM  
TrailZen: "
Thanks for the correction, Banksiana--it's been a few years since moving through that part of the park and I've lost more than a little of the detail. Think we were last through those portages in 2018 and I can't find my notes from that trip. A bridge had replaced the logs across the bog, but it was aging poorly. You're saying the bridge was rebuilt a couple years ago?


TZ "

I usually travel to Marj and Joyce area every year, but I skipped two years due to COVID and then fires. When I went through last August I was concerned about the portage from Joyce to unnamed due to the how rickety the bridge was the last time (2019) I went through. However the portage crew built a brilliant new bridge that was an easy crossing.

The bog on the portage to Kahshapiwi has been getting steadily more solid as the years have passed. It has become simple to cross. Once in the eighties my group offered to carry some gear for a scout group on our return trip. They demurred, explaining they were single tripping and the most fit of the group took off with two packs and an aluminum canoe. When we got to the bog there was an upside down canoe on the trail, as we passed a muffled "Little Help!" came from beneath the boat.
CanoeingWithKids
member (19)member
  
02/04/2024 07:36AM  
Mountain to Moose.
It hadn't rained, yet the trail had huge puddles and mud everywhere. My teen son was ahead of me portaging a canoe, which he dropped when he stepped in a puddle which he sank thigh deep in. I did the same thing with the other canoe in the same spot. The only spots that weren't mud were hopping over huge rocks, but if you stepped between, it was mud.
Beth to Grace
We went during rain. Everything was wet. The mosquitoes were intolerable. The middle had enough tall plants that we were soaked from the waist down. Maybe it's better when it's dry.
02/04/2024 11:51PM  
In the BWCA, the Caribou to clearwater sticks in my mind as a tough one, but only because it was wet, dark, and is after a loooong travel day beforehand. Mountain to Pemmican is a straight shot uphill and on a 90 degree day, I was a little flusterated as I snapped my favorite rod on a downed tree. In winter, the Tuscarora to Missing Link portage is a bear, and even tougher breaking trail with an overloaded toboggan after 6" of wet snow. These all come to mind because the were done when I was still learning the tricks of the trail and pushing myself and gear beyond what I should have. All great learning experiences though!
02/05/2024 12:08AM  
OgimaaBines: "In the BWCA, the Caribou to clearwater sticks in my mind as a tough one, but only because it was wet, dark, and is after a loooong travel day beforehand. Mountain to Pemmican is a straight shot uphill and on a 90 degree day, I was a little flusterated as I snapped my favorite rod on a downed tree. In winter, the Tuscarora to Missing Link portage is a bear, and even tougher breaking trail with an overloaded toboggan after 6" of wet snow. These all come to mind because the were done when I was still learning the tricks of the trail and pushing myself and gear beyond what I should have. All great learning experiences though! "


I also have done the Missing Link to Tuscroara port in the winter breaking trail. Not with the best gear- (94 or 95' ) it was one of the hardest things I've done. If we consider winter ports- I will put the "supposed" 576 rod port between Big Sag and Saganagons as #1 as we never made it. Had to turn around as wasn't even a port past the little cottage of cabins-- just a left and right through the woods keeping your compass out. We made it to a gravel road covered by 4' of snow in early March 1996 and camped the night in a low spot. (Didn't expect a road, so we thought we were completely lost-- turns out, if we had more accurate maps, it made sense.) Coldest night I've ever camped in. Good thing we turned around as we were planning a loop through the heavy current into Cache Lake and out. ( almost certainly bad) Good thing we followed back on what was left of our tracks. Learned alot from being young and dumb.
HowardSprague
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02/06/2024 12:59PM  
Banksiana: "
TrailZen: "Maybe not the worst, but in the top five: the 920 meter portage into Kahshahpiwi from the no-name east of Joyce in Quetico. Our notes from a 2007 trip called the portage "The Sampler" because it had some of everything: climbs, drops, some bog-walking, some boulder gardens, then an incredible descent to the lake. While the 2007 photo below shows logs along the bog crossing, on a later trip we found that the logs had been replaced with a bog bridge. The bridge wasn't in the best of shape--I broke through a plank about 2/3 the way across, but only suffered scrapes and bruises, no broken bones.



TZ



"



The "bog bridge" portage is the portage from no-name to Joyce. The no name to Kahshahpiwi portage includes a stretch of bog crossing but it is not as threatening as the one they built the bridge over (Rebuilt in the last two years)."


OK, now that photo to me is sort of a portage nightmare. Anything where I have to balance on a couple skinny logs or boards laid lengthwise. In such a case I am apt to walk through the mud/muck. My balance sucks. Laid across, like continuous corduruoy, fine. But otherwise I'm afraid of being a falling Wallenda with a pack on my back, down in a swamp in an upturned turtlelike position.
Jefflynn06
member (30)member
  
02/07/2024 12:10PM  
Two stand out and not for length.

First, the "up and over a house" portage on the Frost River from Afton to Fente. Very short but seemed nearly as vertical as is was in length. I can picture my wife below me as I'm pulling the canoe up the rock wall with a rope, hoping that I didn't let it fall back on her. I didn't! And me hoping I didn't become a rolling object going down the portage.

The second was the portage from Portage Lake to One Island Lake (EP 49). I had taken the portage a few years earlier and when I pulled a last minute permit for this area this time, I told my wife I didn't remember it being a bad portage. It was much longer than I remembered (230 rods) and was uphill for the first 2/3 to the Banadad Ski Trail. Coupled with 85 degree heat and thick mosquitos, it wasn't good. However, the worst part was the female grouse who had a nest in the hollowed out tree that butted right up to the portage path. I was a bit ahead of my wife with a loaded pack when she let out a scream of terror. I ran back without even taking off my pack to find her being "attacked" by a female grouse who was trying to protect her eggs (there were 7 in the nest). So getting past the grouse on the way to One Island Lake was the first adventure - going into the woods and around it wasn't too bad with the packs. But we double portage. So it meant going back past her to get to the canoe and then try to bushwack the canoe through the woods to avoid her. And that was only on the way in. We were backtracking on our way out several days later so we had to repeat the avoidance procedures.

So one portage for the severe up and down and the other for somewhat of a forgotten and miscommunicated length (when you anticipate it being shorter and it's longer, it's wayyyy longer - my wife still reminds me of my failing memory on this one) but mostly for the protective mother bird that had to be negotiated several times.

walleyejunky
senior member (83)senior membersenior member
  
02/07/2024 12:32PM  
I don't have near the trip experience that everyone else has having only made 6 trips. The two that come mine are:

1) The climb out of Nikki into Wagosh
2) The stretch of 3 portages between Fourtown and Mudro

By the time I was done I felt part "billy goat"
Anonymous
Guest Paddler
  
02/08/2024 11:30AM  
I'd have to agree that conditions at the moment are a big part of how tough it is. My worst was the series of portages from Brant-Edith-West Round-Round. They are very easy portages actually but due to extremely heavy mosquitos and too much complacency when packing bug protection for the trip, they are the worst portage portage experience I've had.
Deeznuts
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02/08/2024 12:12PM  
Hands down the bushwack between brigand and pageant. But actual portages I'd have to say going from thumb to finger was pretty rough. By no means the longest portage out there, but still tough. Ruby to Hustler was also a tough one.
02/08/2024 03:15PM  
Last year end of July, we ended up taking the portage that's not really a portage from Slim to Fat. I had asked the outfitter if there was indeed a portage between those two lakes and he said there was. It took us a minute to find what we thought was the entrance. My oldest son had to climb over some limbless fallen trees onto shore and explore up the path quite a ways to make sure. The guys hauled the canoes over the trees and we all set off. The trail was very narrow, hilly and winding. I was in front with the two other women and the three guys were behind with the canoes. We could hear the two three-person canoes bumping into the trees all along the winding way. I made it halfway before bonking and had to sit down, drink water and eat a Jolly Rancher, so the guys ended up catching up. We made it to the end of the portage which was a large rock, and the whole sweaty group jumped into the lake fully clothed.
Our reward was the only campsite on the lake so we had the lake all to ourselves. It was all worth it.
jsmithxc
member (31)member
  
02/28/2024 06:15AM  
The eastern access to Crocodile was interesting. I was told I would never find it but it was really not too hard. Three portages going down to the Crocodile River, not usually steep but very poor trail to follow, doubt it has had much maintance. Fell three times walking back up. pouring rain and very slippery vegetation. After you hit the river and turn west you are an easy portage from Crocodile. Quite remote feeling, especially the last downhill piece to the river. 4 portages total.
02/28/2024 06:57PM  
Not the BWCA, but NW Ontario. Obonga Lk to Kopka Lk on the east end of the Kopka Rv - 1500 meters of steep grade straight up one side and down the other side, probably up to 30%. In several areas going down the grade was too steep to carry the canoe so it was slid down by the painter while hanging on to bushes. In a total of 25 weeks of tripping in Canada over 14 years I have never encountered a more physically demanding portage.
paddlingredrock
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02/28/2024 08:06PM  
I can’t understand why some people consider the cherry to Hanson portage one of the “worst” ones? While I have a serious distaste for that portage, it’s not that long and it’s moderately difficult for its relatively short length, but personally, I would not put it in the “worst” category. There are some nasty hundred Rod or less portages into isolated lakes, but I don’t want to divulge any of them in the name of keeping those lakes under the radar! Still, that one from Misquah to Little Trout has to be up there. A few years ago I chuckled when someone on this website referred to it as the “little trout death march”. I think that is an accurate representation of that portage. And of course, there’s nothing like, stepping off a portage path, and sinking in mud up to your thighs. Some of my favorite memories are listening to my dad describe some of the portages he went on…….Absolutely hilarious!
papalambeau
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02/29/2024 07:26AM  
paddlingredrock: "I can’t understand why some people consider the cherry to Hanson portage one of the “worst” ones? While I have a serious distaste for that portage, it’s not that long and it’s moderately difficult for its relatively short length, but personally, I would not put it in the “worst” category. There are some nasty hundred Rod or less portages into isolated lakes, but I don’t want to divulge any of them in the name of keeping those lakes under the radar! Still, that one from Misquah to Little Trout has to be up there. A few years ago I chuckled when someone on this website referred to it as the “little trout death march”. I think that is an accurate representation of that portage. And of course, there’s nothing like, stepping off a portage path, and sinking in mud up to your thighs. Some of my favorite memories are listening to my dad describe some of the portages he went on…….Absolutely hilarious!"


Your right that the Cherry to Hanson portage isn't very long but it's the steepness that really gets the heart pumping. I think since our crew always single portages we felt it a little more than most.
TuscaroraBorealis
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02/29/2024 09:50AM  
Traveler: "Lake One to Lake Two backed up like a black Friday sale!"


I actually relate to this train of thought.

For the record, I'm not against meeting people in the wilderness & actually enjoy doing so and portages are perhaps the most likely places for that to happen. However, all things in moderation.

The biggest factor for me, regardless of what challenges the trail may present, is to portage at my own pace. Which may be faster/slower than others but either way (when crowded) it's an annoyance that takes my focus away from just enjoying the experience. Thus, busy portages are far & away the worst I've experienced.
bottomtothetap
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03/05/2024 11:34PM  
+ 1 Mine too!
bottomtothetap
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03/05/2024 11:43PM  
bottomtothetap: "+ 1 Mine too!"


Oops! Meant to agree with someone who mentioned Trease to Angleworm--my worst. I'v also done the Muskeg to Kiskadenia but do not think it was my toughest. We psyched up for it and I think we tackeld it with the right attitude to make it not seem as bad!
billconner
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03/06/2024 06:06PM  
I've always found any portage early in the day isn't all that bad, and nearly any portage after 3:00 or 4:00 pm is generally awful.

My personal worst was from Side to Kashapiwi, late in the day, my first trip with 4 Scouts and another leader reported to be experienced. Quadruple portage, two with Grummans. Very bad portage. Yum Yum, reportedly tough, was a piece of cake early the day later.
paddlingredrock
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03/06/2024 08:45PM  
Lindyfair - i think u r referencing that little trout to misquah portage? After u get in misquah the portage down to vista is pretty easy and all downhill. But I agree with your description of that portage into misquah from little trout! I would not take it again now in my mid 60’s, but in my 30”s and 40’s was no issue, other than challenging.
03/10/2024 08:34PM  
The portage from Lamb to Nina Moose May not be the toughest, but it’s certainly and ankle breaker.
03/27/2024 07:34AM  
I never know how to answer the "worst portage" question. To me the tough portages are part of the adventure so some of my best memories are of the satisfaction of conquering a tough portage. So is a very tough portage a worst or best thing? One of the most satisfying and difficult portages that I have done is the Muskeg to Kiskadinna "step" portage up up up over the continental divide. It was really hard, especially at age 65 but we were really psyched after conquering it. I guess what I am saying is that the most difficult ones are the most memorable ones and become part of your personal lore that that's what memories are made of.
 
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