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Canoe Route Maps what do the P numbers mean?

Looking at canoe route maps, I cannot seem to figure out what the p-numbers refer to (e.g. P10, P200, P1380). I would think they would be identifiers or refer to the difficulty but I cannot find a resource.

Example in Algonquin:


Usually it means a portage and the length is measured in rods. 

Ppine is correct, the P refer to the portages (carrying the canoe across land). If you note the P is always beside the little blue line which is showing how to connect the two lakes.

Here in Ontario portages are measured in meters.

Thank you so much :) 

Thanks Jake.  In Algonquin we are talking meters.  Now those portages don't seem so long.  A rod is 16.5 feet.  An archaic English measurement.  A lot of times fence posts are a rod apart.  Consider that next time you drive through some fenced pasture land. 

Much more than about 500 meters  or a 1/4 miles starts to feel pretty long.  Three of those on the map.  One is over 1000 meters which you have to kind of psyche yourself up for.  For trails with longer portages it makes sense to go lighter. 

One of the things I love about big western rivers is almost no portaging.  We line some rapids occasionaly, but most trips keep the boats in the water. 

I'm not a canoe person (maybe 1x/ten years) but I'm so glad I read this, I had no idea! 

A 30lb royalex solo canoe and a 20 lb pack make for a good longer portage. However part of the joy of canoe trekking is the extra gear you can bring along so there's a balance. My last couple of trips to the boundary waters ended up going light one time and the portages were a joy, and the other was a high end camp experience so the portages over a hundred meters or so got to be a drag. Both trips were equally fun. 

One quick aside...Ppines mention of the rod being 16.5 ft and archaic measurement comment reminded me of the origin of the measurement....take 16 random people leaving church and measure their feet. The total is a rod, and 1/16 would be a foot. What makes more sense than that and why on earth are we (USA) the only industrialized nation using such a wonderful idea? Meters just make too much sense:)

I have never seen a 30 pound canoe, much less a 30 pound Royalex canoe.  I was in the BWCA in 1985.  We rented aluminum Grumman canoes. They weighed around 76 pounds, but we were younger then. 

Many of the smaller solo canoes are well under 30 lbs (although the line between what is technically a canoe/kayak/pack boat is becoming increasingly blurred). With the addition of Carbon fiber the weights are becoming ridiculously manageable, the trade off is obviously in the durability. 

Old Town Pack solo canoe...just a hair over 30. A little too short for an extended trip but works well enough for a few days. 

Well there's thefamious Rushton solo canoes, the Wee Lassie and the Sairy Gamp. The original Wee Lassie weighed something like 10 lbs and about the same number of feet in length. Not exactly big water canoes but great for pond hopping in the Adirondacks (I tied a Wee Lassie for a few hours years ago). The have been resurrected by various builders in various materials.  Wenonah's kevlar versions weigh 16 and 25 lbs. respectively.

November 24, 2020
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