This Is What Happens When Geologists Need To Leave Their Boats

United States Geological Survey field researchers have needed to get creative over the years at getting their boats up-stream. While portaging and lining up boats is common practice, the activity is far more amusing when undertaken while wearing such lovely field hats.

Top image: The Brooks party of USGS field researchers carrying their craft from the Niukluk River to Kruzgamepa River along the Seward Peninsula in Alaska in 1900. Don’t ask about the boat to go with those paddles. Credit: USGS


Portaging is when a boat is pulled out of the river, unloaded, and carried by its former riders. This can be to get around a particularly nasty hazard, or to take an overland shortcut between sections of river.

Lining boat up Allen River, Alaska on July 21, 1911. Image credit: USGS

Lining up is an alternative when the boat stays in the river and is towed up-stream by its riders hiking along the banks or wading through shallow water. Leading the boat upriver by lining up is a preferable technique when the stream slopes are too steep to haul the boat out, or to avoid a brief hazard like a set of short rapids.


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