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Doing the Pig - with a bum leg
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Author:  PacketFiend [ July 16th, 2019, 10:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Doing the Pig - with a bum leg

(Not sure which forum to put this in, feel free to relocate it)

I've got a five day Killarney trip planned starting this coming Saturday. I've been wanting to go back to Killarney for 20 years and finally found the time and companions, so I'm going, come hell or high water. Our route takes us from George Lake on night one, through KIillarney Lake, over the La Cloche range into Threenarrows for nights two and three, and then back south over The Pig to Muriel for a night 4 before heading out.

Here's the rub - I've actually been training for this trip (as it involves both one of the steepest and one of the longest portages in Southern Ontario). I sprained my knee at the gym on Thursday (today is the Tuesday following). Ran too hard and too fast and probably on too much of an incline, too quickly. I sprained it bad enough that I could barely walk through the weekend. It seems to be healing quickly but a sprained knee is not something I have any experience with to speak of, and as mentioned, I have one or two really gruelling portages coming up.

As it is now (and this is four days later), I can walk around the house fine, do yardwork and housework fine, but I still find when I walk any sort of length, as of tonight, I still really should be using a cane. I think this injury should be fully healed by the time we leave, on Saturday, but I'm not sure about that. I'm male, 40 years old, and in mid-to-well health and fitness, but not great fitness. 6 feet tall, 210 lbs with a small Buddha Belly (as the missus calls it). I can run for an hour but my joints can't bounce for an hour. (Sorry but that all matters when you're re-evaluating your ability to pull your own weight, both figuratively and literally.)

My question is thus: can anyone speak to any kind of experience doing named portages with a knee injury, and more generally, can anyone speak to this kind of plan, with this kind of recent injury?

Author:  jedi jeffi [ July 17th, 2019, 6:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Doing the Pig - with a bum leg

Can't relate to the knee, but a triple sprain in the ankle/foot.
One make sure your companions know what you can and can not do.
Before you depart!
And do not "tough it out" (see being on the news below)
It may mean more trips on a portage or even you not carrying anything on the hard ones.
A cane or trekking poles will be a must on all portages and short hikes.
But you need something you can put some weight on when needed.
If you wobble even a little bit it may make things a whole lot worse.
And in that case if you can not walk,
well ,you will be on the news.
And your tripping partners may not like being on the news with you.
And it is awfully late but go see a physio therapist on how to tape you knee for support and take the supplies to do it!
If they don't mind carrying all the gear, don't feel guilty about not pulling your weight.
You will owe them, and sooner or later Karma will ask you to help them.

Author:  frozentripper [ July 17th, 2019, 7:36 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Doing the Pig - with a bum leg

Much of the Pig is washed out steep slope leaving large loose rocks where the footing can be a problem, going slow helps.

Did it once, hated it, and then avoided it the next trip, going around the long way through Baie Fine, then the short and easy port to MacGregor and the creek to 3-narrows... lots of short little ports but much more enjoyable.

You'll probably get an idea of what you're capable of on the long port from Killarney to 3-narrows... if that's a problem, the Pig will be worse. Me, I wouldn't do it (although I don't know your capacity for recovery time), since even after doing the dreaded Pig, there's still a lot of porting to do and if the injury persists, finishing the Pig won't be the end of it.

Good luck, take some painkillers of some kind if things aren't working out.

Author:  deepnet [ July 18th, 2019, 6:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Doing the Pig - with a bum leg

I've done both of those portages several times, Killarney to Three Narrows and the Pig. Both are very grim, not to be taken lightly!

Double trip if you have to, and count on your canoe mates to help! And don't be a hero... take it easy :)

If I were in your shoes, I would probably go, because missing a trip would make me contemplate suicide ;)

Author:  daypaddler [ July 18th, 2019, 8:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Doing the Pig - with a bum leg

You're clearly pushing your luck if you are still injured so close to your trip. But if you plan to go anyway I would definitely advise you to go buy an Ace knee bandage (kind of like a tight elastic sock for your knee) since that will add a little support and also help keep your knee stable. I'd also suggest that you stock up on Ibuprofin since that helps reduce inflammation and if your knee is swollen at all it is easier to reinjure. It takes time to build up Ibuprofin in your system so your want to start taking it 12 hours before you leave and then keep taking it 2 every six hours (I was prescribed to take up to four every six hours and I don't weigh as much as you). I'm not a doctor and I think every injury is probably unique.

Author:  Wilsauceez [ July 19th, 2019, 5:41 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Doing the Pig - with a bum leg

Hey Packet ... Two Options

I've been thru that park to many times to count. I'm not trying to change your plans, but seeing how your a group, what if and a "volunteer" left Three Narrows and came back thru the 3 k'er then into OSA and on to Muriel and the others stuck with the other route??? I've hiked over the pig, portaged over it and the one injury I probably wouldn't want is a sprained angle (or bum knee, which I've had lol).

Having said that (again not telling you how to trip), but I WOULD with out a doubt bring a set of poles. Use them on ALL the ports, if I was going I would 100% guarantee I'd bring you a set. Let the group know that you can help with everything but the canoe(s) and use the poles when carrying packs or whatever. This would be my resolve to "that" injury. But whatever you decide I'm sure you'll get thru it.


Author:  4badboyz [ July 19th, 2019, 10:51 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Doing the Pig - with a bum leg

I can't speak to the difficulty factor of portaging the pig, but I can speak to the knee injury. I did Ironman Mt Tremblant a couple of weeks back and I'm still dealing with the knee pain issue. If it's the front of the knee, possibly "patellar fasciitis" or the side of the knee "ITB syndrome" both require extended periods of rest to recover.
Try a lunge or two and see how it feels, then imagine doing it with weight on your back. If it's anything like what I'm dealing with, it's a deal breaker... sorry. :(

Author:  PacketFiend [ July 20th, 2019, 6:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Doing the Pig - with a bum leg

Thanks for the advice everyone, we're leaving this morning, got my ace bandage, tensor bandages, copious amounts of painkillers and anti-inflammatories, a shiny new set of trekking poles (which I used to think people looked ridiculous with, until I needed them), and a nice, light pack.

Wish me luck.

Author:  PacketFiend [ July 26th, 2019, 11:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Doing the Pig - with a bum leg

Well, we did it. Arrived at the campground 5 hours behind schedule, but we did it.

I can say without reservation that the 3K from Killarney Lake to Threenarrows is tougher than the Pig. The steep incline at the beginning notwithstanding, it is not otherwise flat and easy, despite every report I was able to find. Sure, most of it is flat and easy. It's the sections that aren't that make it a beast. There are two or three spots where you descend 40 to 50 feet down to a riverbed, cross a bunch of slippery rocks, and then back that same 40 or 50 feet back up. There are obstacles along the way that make solo carries nigh on impossible. That one portage took us 4 hours all told, and we had to make emergency camp at the unnamed pond before Threenarrows, going back for the canoes we left along the trail the next morning.

To be fair, our gear is a bit old and heavy, and we carried a few too many luxury items (and of course, one of us had a bum leg), although we did have 44lb kevlar canoes from Killarney Outfitters (great outfit, I highly recommend them) The biggest difference between the 3K and the Pig we found was that we could pace ourselves on the Pig, but the 3K was a different beast; there were too many changes in terrain and slope to effectively pace yourself, whereas the Pig was just up (way up), and then down (way down). The Pig is also much more heavily used by day hikers coming from Baie Fine, and help is available if you're desperate and ask nicely (We didn't. Yay us :clap: ). On that 3K, you're alone. Just knowing that help is there if you need it is a motivating factor.

As for the bum leg, mornings were especially rough. By morning you've metabolized all the NSAIDs and painkillers from the day before, and they take a good hour to become effective. That really slowed us down in the morning. I was able to carry a light pack (40 or 50 pounds), double a canoe most of the time and one or twice solo carry, and one injured person is still quite capable of performing domestic campsite duties such as cooking, washing, fetching water and such. Pitching tents was a bit troublesome when the terrain was crowded. Above all though, it did instil a sense of fear that we could not sustain another injury in our group, and that there was a real possibility of me reinjuring myself to the point of requiring an airlift, or at least a good samaritan leaseholder.

I went with good people, who carried more than their share, and did not begrudge my injury and lack of mobility - that went a long way (admittedly, one of them was my brother and one of them was my wife). With the wrong people this would have been a Very Bad Idea.

But at the end of it all, we did it, 7.5K(ish) of portages, including The Pig, some of them magnificently brutal, with a serious knee injury. Two emergency campsites and 5 hours behind schedule but we got out without the cavalry being called in.

Author:  frozentripper [ July 27th, 2019, 8:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Doing the Pig - with a bum leg

Welcome back! Yeah, that Killarney - 3-narrows port is sort of pig-like... gotta try those painkillers.

Author:  daypaddler [ July 28th, 2019, 8:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Doing the Pig - with a bum leg

Nice to hear that your story has a happy ending and everything worked out for you

Author:  jedi jeffi [ July 31st, 2019, 7:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Doing the Pig - with a bum leg

Good to hear!
Now get it better. 8)
Your turn to be a Sherpa will be at hand :P
The slowiing down part can be hard for many.
But now that you have "discovered" slow you may like it better for your other trips.

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