Portage or portaging is the practice of carrying water craft or cargo over land, either around an obstacle in a river, or between two bodies of water. A place where this carrying occurs is also called a portage.

Early French explorers in New France and French Louisiana encountered many rapids and cascades. The Amerindians carried their canoes over land to avoid river obstacles.

Over time, important portages were sometimes provided with canals with locks, and even portage railways. Primitive portaging generally involves carrying the vessel and its contents across the portage in multiple trips. Small canoes can be portaged by carrying them inverted over one's shoulders and the center strut may be designed in the style of a yoke to facilitate this. Historically, voyageurs often employed a tump line on their head to carry a load on their back.

Portages can be many kilometers in length (such as the 19 km Methye Portage and the 8.5 mile (13.7 km) Grand Portage, both in North America) and often cover hilly or difficult terrain. Some portages involve very little elevation change, such as the very short Mavis Grind in Shetland, which crosses an isthmus.

Read more about Portage:  Technique

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