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 Post subject: Portage Etiquette
PostPosted: September 4th, 2018, 11:41 am 
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So we were coming back from Stratton yesterday, and were almost fully loaded on the other end and just about ready to go when these 6 guys in 3 canoes showed up and man were they in a hurry. I explained to the first guy that we were a bit slow because we'd just gotten a baby to sleep, but they just plowed right through ahead of us stumbling over our gear with their canoes. And they woke the baby.

I didn't say anything to them - 20/20 hindsight I should have.

IMO they were real f**king jerks even if we did not have a sleeping baby.

Is there an etiquette here? I know with Scouts we've often let people go ahead if we felt we'd be slow. In this case we were maybe 5 minutes from pushing off, and that should have been obvious especially after explaining the baby situation.


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 Post subject: Re: Portage Etiquette
PostPosted: September 4th, 2018, 12:17 pm 
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Joined: March 23rd, 2006, 11:21 pm
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Location: Burns Lake, BC
I don't think any portage or put-in/take out should be blocked for anyone else to use.

I would push anybody's gear aside with my feet, I would move any of their gear out of the way for any other users to use unobstructed. Baby or no baby.
I would not leave my gear in anybody's way. Regardless of the size of the area or my predicament.

People can be assholes. It's their choice.
People should be able to continue on without having to follow your gear, etiquette, or parenting routine.

So in this case, if your gear was everywhere, you will learn from this experience. Tidy up.
If your gear was tidy, then next time just continue loading and disembark in a timely manner.

I like to walk everything to the put-in and have it out of the way and ready (with everything!) to load.
When I'm ready.... throw the boat in (or pull it in if it's tied on a 20' painter), grab my few things and load up and paddle away. A 2-4 minute procedure and I'm not in anyone's way during the lead up.

Granted, I've been tripping for a lot of years and have weeded out a lot of waste of time moments.
Trying to get those type of people to conform is a waste of time.

Maybe next time have the canoe loaded and ready to go for your precious cargo. Then call the other parent and the baby when the boat is ready to leave.


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 Post subject: Re: Portage Etiquette
PostPosted: September 4th, 2018, 2:47 pm 
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Canoeheadted if you approached a portage departure and saw a group fully loaded and basically ready to go, would you not communicate verbally with them first and ask the simple question "are you guys ready to embark"? Or would you just bluster through kicking their gear aside without saying a word?

You are making an awful lot of assumptions.

We are by no means quick portagers - this was our first ever family canoe trip. But we portaged at the best speed we could. We were also anxious to get on our way because weather was not great and we were counting on it getting worse. But our version of our fastest portage is different from yours. We moved watercraft one at a time - first the gear, then the craft, then loaded it, and went back for the next one. We kept everything very tidy while doing so, and as out-of-the-way as possible on that portage (smallish at both ends). While I did that with the 2 teenagers my wife stood watch over the 3 younger kids, with the baby in her arms. When we were ready to depart save for 2 or 3 small 5L dry bags along with our paddles on shore, my wife commented that the baby had fallen asleep during all of that, and it would be great if we could get her into the canoe and keep her asleep. We did that, and she became restless, so we wanted to wait a few minutes for her to fall back asleep. We were probably 2 or 3 minutes from departing when the other group blustered through without saying a word to us.

Keep in mind that without beginners routes become non-viable to maintain. Old timers need to realize this. They need not only to accept that beginners will be on the routes and not be as fast, they also need to embrace it. If old timers don't want to come in contact with beginners, perhaps they should not be using beginner routes such as Stratton Lake.


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 Post subject: Re: Portage Etiquette
PostPosted: September 4th, 2018, 2:51 pm 
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Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
Canoeheadted wrote:
I don't think any portage or put-in/take out should be blocked for anyone else to use.


I (family we) go to considerable and sometime inconvenient lengths to not block access. On a family trip we typically have four boats and a lot of gear.

On a crowded weekend launch site, a situation we try to avoid, we will take two boats and gear down and get the paddlers on the water and out of the way to wait in an eddy or noodle around just offshore, and then carry down the next two boats and loads.

If the launch area is wide and wide open we stage the boats and gear well off to one side, even if it is empty when we arrive. Same routine taking out if need be.

We do not use many boat ramp type launches, but I always grit my teeth when someone with a canoe or kayak sets their boat on the ramp at the water’s edge and proceeded to futz with gear while powerboats wait to back down trailers.

Canoeheadted wrote:
Trying to get those type of people to conform is a waste of time.


Two of the most egregious examples I can think of. We had just finished a family day trip on our home river and had begun to carry boats and gear to the van. The trail up is short, maybe 100 feet to the parking area, but very narrow. As we came back for the last canoe a group of kayakers arrived to use that same narrow trail takeout.

They were psyched at their derring do at having run a class 1 river in WW kayaks, whooping and hollering. They dropped their paddles in the middle of the narrow trail. While they walked empty handed to their vehicles. Before we had carried the last canoe up.

BTW, that derring do – my 10 and 12 year old sons had just paddled the same stretch in pack canoes. I just shook my head sadly, but admittedly thought about oops stepping on their paddles.
(I have a personal pet peeve about paddles left on the ground).

The single most ignorant thing I have ever witnessed was four people (I will not call them paddlers) in two high end composite tandem sea kayaks show up at a multi-site camping area that was getting busy with camper arrivals.

They got out and immediately complained that all of the permits for that site had been taken and they would have to paddle another 5 miles down the bay. Having been so dastardly wronged they decided to picnic there at the site landing before continuing. It is a wide grassy landing, so they pulled their kayaks ashore AND SET THEM END TO END PARALLEL TO THE WATER, completely blocking every inch of access with 40 feet of boats.

We had come in a day or two before, and I did not need to use the landing, but other folks with permits were still arriving and struggling to get their stuff ashore. I am pretty non-confrontational, but I told the kayakers that someone was going to move those boats, and they wouldn’t like where I shoved them.

The happy ending to that tale was a lone canoeist who arrived during that confrontation. He took me aside and said “Uh, you seem to be in charge here. I don’t have a permit for this site, do you think I could camp here anyway?”

His other choice was to paddle another 5 miles and camp with the asshats. I assured him that I was in charge of very little and helped him carry in his gear.


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 Post subject: Re: Portage Etiquette
PostPosted: September 4th, 2018, 3:51 pm 
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If I saw those kayakers I would have politely pointed out to them that they should be pulling their kayaks up the other way, and pointed out why. Sure it is obvious to us but it is not necessarily obvious to everyone. And everyone benefits if we try to educate people in those situations.

I've seen all sorts of atrocities - just about every single time I take my Scouts on a canoe trip. But when they dump their gear in the middle of the portage path I don't tell them I'm going to shove it up their backsides, I educate them on why what they did was wrong and how to do better.

You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.


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 Post subject: Re: Portage Etiquette
PostPosted: September 4th, 2018, 4:23 pm 
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Joined: March 26th, 2013, 9:27 pm
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Location: Winnipeg, MB
Last time my wife and I ran into someone on a portage - here in Manitoba - we said "Oh Emm Gee! It's people!". Then we proceeded to have lunch with them and realize we had previously corresponded on myccr.


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 Post subject: Re: Portage Etiquette
PostPosted: September 4th, 2018, 4:28 pm 
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Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
P16, had they not been dripping with entitlement and an oddly superior attitude from the second they arrived I would have been happy to help educate them. I believe they pulled the kayaks up in that rude manner so that it was easier for them to disgorge picnic stuff from the hatches without walking the extra couple feet, despite quite obviously blocking everyone else’s access. They just sat there behind their boats picnicking and watching arrivals, with permits for that site, struggle to get their boats and gear ashore past the obstacle they had created.

For unmentioned educational starters the grassy area where they were sitting was thick with ticks. I could have mentioned that. Or that there was a magnificent clean sandy beach with great bay views another quarter mile down their route. And another one after that, and another after that.

As a Scout Leader you have an obligation to teach good manners and ethics. FWIW I led 12 to 14 group trips a year for almost 30 years; had they been my folks I would have taught a gentle lesson, but in that case I had no desire to catch stuck up entitled flies.


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 Post subject: Re: Portage Etiquette
PostPosted: September 4th, 2018, 4:37 pm 
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Neil Fitzpatrick wrote:
Last time my wife and I ran into someone on a portage - here in Manitoba - we said "Oh Emm Gee! It's people!". Then we proceeded to have lunch with them and realize we had previously corresponded on myccr.


+1 I think we are spoiled Niel.

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 Post subject: Re: Portage Etiquette
PostPosted: September 4th, 2018, 6:09 pm 
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Joined: March 23rd, 2006, 11:21 pm
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Location: Burns Lake, BC
P16... all I can do is assume.

I would walk to the lake (or canoe rest) while asking that exact question too.
If there was any gear underfoot blocking the path for me, then yes, I would carefully walk through while pushing their gear aside with my feet (no blustering or kicking involved). All the while explaining to them why I am doing what I'm doing. ("I'm moving your stuff aside so anyone can safely walk through here because it shouldn't be blocked")

Sounds like you had a bunch of reasons to do what you did. Those are your reasons, nobody else's.
Just like the six guys had their reasons too.
Most common reason up here is "Oh... I didn't think anyone else was out here"

Mike nailed it in his first three paragraphs.

I'm going to lead by example.
Life is full of people, not boy scouts.
I wear bug shirts and eat vinegar and honey.

Like Neil and Marten, we're very lucky up here in central/northern BC to have a lot of like minded individuals out on our routes.
Several times on our trips to the middle of nowhere, we've run in to people from across the country that used our trip reports for beta.
It's pretty cool hearing, "You're the reason we're here!"

So ya, I might come across a little harsh, but you asked.
BTW... I'm only 47.


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 Post subject: Re: Portage Etiquette
PostPosted: September 4th, 2018, 6:22 pm 
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Marten wrote:
Neil Fitzpatrick wrote:
Last time my wife and I ran into someone on a portage - here in Manitoba - we said "Oh Emm Gee! It's people!". Then we proceeded to have lunch with them and realize we had previously corresponded on myccr.


+1 I think we are spoiled Niel.


Agreed. Guys, lets all be civil. One of the things I hate about social media is the rage culture it promotes and this thread seems to be a bit of that from two different points of view. When I [or god forbid any of you] meet people outdoors, remember that we share with each other at least two things in common, that we love the outdoors and we love to paddle. Hopefully that common interest will spark some words and greetings and who knows it can turn into a future friendship or paddle buddy.

When I wanted a wife, I went to a lot of bars and a few dating sites. When I want a paddle buddy, I'm likely to go to a portage trail and MYCCR :)

Ken


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 Post subject: Re: Portage Etiquette
PostPosted: September 4th, 2018, 7:01 pm 
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Wow that's a lot of "get off my lawn" for only 47 :-)

Further to kgd's point, I struck up conversations with a lot of people on this trip, and in general they were all very pleasant people, eager to chat.


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 Post subject: Re: Portage Etiquette
PostPosted: September 4th, 2018, 7:24 pm 
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Joined: March 23rd, 2006, 11:21 pm
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Location: Burns Lake, BC
That's not "get off my lawn"... that's demanding respect when it's not present. (Something that's easier to do when you're 6'3" and scruffy)

Seriously though, I haven't had to demand it that much.
Thank baby cheese wiz I don't live in a populated area. :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Portage Etiquette
PostPosted: September 4th, 2018, 7:39 pm 
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Respect is earned.

You've certainly earned it in the eyes of anyone who reads this forum - let's be clear on that first. Myself included. But respect is not something you can demand or take. Terrifying people is gaining their compliance or capitulation, not their respect.


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 Post subject: Re: Portage Etiquette
PostPosted: September 4th, 2018, 8:22 pm 
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I always teach the kids to pile their stuff neatly by their canoe, which is stashed off to the side of the port. If I find one of them has blocked the trail, I will generally give them a scolding. However, we have as yet to run into anyone else on a port...........wait, I think there was one time, and the kids carried all their stuff over, and they were happy. Sometimes people get bent out of shape though. One time while clearing ports, my gas jug fell sideways at the end of the port, and one of the guys in our group accused me of having no portage etiquette, that he had to walk over our f"ing" crap, and then he proceeded to paddle away at light speed. The old fella paddling with me said "I guess we know why he's a solo tripper".


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 Post subject: Re: Portage Etiquette
PostPosted: September 4th, 2018, 9:11 pm 
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So if possible I'd like to summarize main points on portage etiquette
- get your portage completed as quickly as you can
- keep your gear well organized / not sprawled all over
- keep the portage endpoints as clear as possible
- if possible, send canoes away once full to clear the endpoint
- keep the portage trails clear of gear and people
- yield the portage to those faster than you
- larger groups yield the portage to singles / smaller groups (something we've always taught the Scouts)

Does that sound reasonable? Is there more to add?


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