Schedule time for a meal, a swim or a rest.
...or all three, especially on the longer portages.
Keep your camera with you.
The trip back for the remaining gear is a great time to get a great shot!
Drink plenty of water.
It seems like a no-brainer, but we all need a reminder sometimes.
Use the buddy system.
Without naming names (Dan,) we did have an incident where the lead person took the canoe, missed the turn off to the lake and had an extra long walk! If this happened to a child or someone unfamiliar with the outdoors, the situation could be grave. Regardless of safety considerations, using the buddy system means you have company and that can make the trip more enjoyable.
The first canoe route that my father took us on had three portages that exceeded two kilometers in length, one of which was more than three kilometers. As a child, I felt that the portage was nothing more than a necessary, treacherous hurdle that had to be overcome. It has taken me a long time to realize that some of the best memories can be made along the trail. These days, we make sure a meal or snack is planned for the longer portages and we stop to investigate the streams, lookouts and wildlife signs along the way. Recently, we took the family to Louisa Lake in Algonquin Park. There is a 3 km portage between Rock Lake and Louisa. Did you know that if you have to make three trips, you will have walked 15 km? I had plenty of time to do the math that day!