1. On a canoe, the yoke is the cross beam in the boat’s center, connecting the starboard and port sides. Hopefully, yours has a curved indentation in the center for better ergonomics while portaging.

2. Non-paddlers might be more familiar with the kind of wooden yoke traditionally used to secure a pair of oxen together, enabling them to pull a load when working in pairs.

3. An ox can pull its own weight, usually between 1,500 and 3,000 pounds. A well-trained team of two can pull up to 12,000 pounds for short distances, according to Lancaster Farming. The word acre was once defined as the area one pair of oxen yoked to a single- beam walking plow could till on the longest day of the year. The measurement of an acre has since been refined to 43,560 square feet.

4. The first yoke used for agriculture dates back to 4000 BC. With such a lengthy history, it’s not surprising the word yoke has connotations of servitude. Common idioms like under the yoke or a yoke around someone’s neck refer to oppressive forces—not portaging a 70-pound canoe.

5. In aeronautics, a yoke, also known as a control wheel, is used for piloting fixed-wing aircraft. The pilot uses the yoke to control the altitude of the plane, and pitch and roll. In November 2018, an Australian pilot of a small, twin-propeller plane fell asleep at the yoke and overshot his landing on the island of Tasmania by 30 miles.

6. Egg yolk is a major source of vitamins and minerals. It contains all of an egg’s fat and cholesterol, and nearly half of its protein. The yolk of the egg is just one cell and provides nutrients to a developing embryo if the egg is fertilized.

7. Replacing or upgrading your yoke is a straightforward, seven-step process any paddler with a drill can manage.

8. To truly make portages comfortable and avoid the pain of the yoke digging into shoulders, some paddlers suggest padding your yoke with tiny, clamp-on shoulder cushions. Meanwhile, traditionalists just shake their heads and tump on by.


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