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Painful reflections
Posted by Larry Bartlett on May 11 2003
Your post forces painful recollections of past watercraft linings. With multiple attempts behind me now, I have even deeper respect for early pioneers. These guys and gals were the real experts and hard-core adventurers, we're merely filling their footsteps with refined techniques they thought up out of necessity.

Two methods have proven themselves: (1) Advance planning the winter before your fall endeavor, which finds you snowmachining your watercraft upstream to the area you'd otherwise attempt to line. This methods demands road access from at least one end to make a reasonable go at it. (2) Muscle your watercraft upstream using various techniques, all of which force profanity-induced blunder. However, if this still is something you must do to escape the crowds and avoid fly-ins, here's a fundamental method.

Attach a painter (50-ft lining rope) to the watercraft's bow, about four feet from the back from the nose (you may need to attached d-rings or other handy fastening hardware). Most hardshell canoes have thwarts near these points, so you'll likely be able to run your rope under and over the frame construction for simplicty. This rope should be anchored to both sides of the watercraft and preferably coming off the center of the bow (represent a triangle with the tip being the rope leading to the puller). This allows the puller to have more control over the flailing boat as it's walked upstream. I prefer to have a stern rope (50-ft) connected the same way as the bow rope, except that instead of the rope exiting the back of the watercraft, it is run through the center and exits the bow at the same point as the first rope (I hope this makes sense). This way you have complete control over the watercraft and your physical strain will be worth it. Next, make loops at the ends of each rope so that you are able to cross them over your shoulders similar to backpack straps (I prefer to cross them for greater stability). Now you're ready to start plowing upstream. Make sure you can quickly escape your ropes should you slip and fall in the current. Here is a where  style comes in. If you have a partner, have that person connect a 10- to 15-ft birch pole or spruce beau to the same point at which the lines exit the bow (d-ring or other hardware). From a comfortable angle (20-40 degrees), that person will be pushing as you are pulling. This second person's efforts actually help keep the boat out in the current and off shore, and at least some of the burden off your shoulders.  

Hope this helps!

Larry Bartlett
Get your copy of my latest AK Hunting Book: Caribou Hunting: A Guide to Alaska's Herds

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