Portage trails usually follow the shortest route to the next lake. The problem is - not all portage trails are equal; some trails will test the endurance of seasoned veterans.
It is important to plan your trip according to your capabilities. If you are new to canoe tripping, stay on well traveled portage trails. These routes will be well maintained and if you find yourself in trouble, a fellow tripper will come along in a short time to help you sort your trouble out.
Portaging is a workout. It will force you to use muscles you may not have known even existed. Heat, bugs, rain and a myriad of other environmental factors could cause your mind to slip a gear and force you into a state of self reprisal. You may even wonder what the heck you were thinking when you sat down at your desk and planned the route you now find yourself on.
Yep, a picture is worth a thousand words. This photo was taken on day six of a planned ten day trip. Total trip length was 140 km. The yellow signs informing us of another portage ahead became beacons of foreboding. Unless you have crossed the same portage prior - you have no idea what lies within the twisting confines of the forest trail which you are about to traverse. Once crossed, the mystery of that trail is now exposed and you have learned much.
The trials of the trail are soon left behind as you set up camp and settle into the wilderness. The soft subtle sounds of the forest serenade you as the fire sends tendrils of smoke into the air and fills your camp with its intoxicating smell.
The primitive person in you escapes from the confines of civilization and your mind relaxes to the point where it is free to roam where it chooses. The only way to get here from there - is across the portage trail.