I'd like to show you three different ways to pick up a canoe and carry it by yourself on a portage. The first way will be the safest way to do it, the second way will be a bit more of a challenge but it's faster and the third way will be if you're struggling with the weight and you're having a hard time. Let me show you.
This method supports the weight of the canoe by cradling it in your arm. To begin you need to figure out how to pick it up. Take your arm and point it towards the front of the canoe and that's the one that's going to reach across to grab the gunnel. Then the other arm goes underneath, cradle it so that's right up against your elbow, and, if you don't get it right there it's gonna hurt like stink, put it on your shoulders and you're good to go. To get it down again, you're gonna cradle it, your arm pushes up on the canoe, get it down on your knee, grab the thwart and then set it down.
This method requires a little bit more oomph. You're gonna pick up the canoe and rest it on your knees. Then you're going to use momentum with your hips and your knees to bump it up. Set it on your shoulders and you're good to go. The opposite to get it down is basically the reverse. Boost it up, get it down on your knees, grab the thwart and then set it down.
The last method is what you do if you're having a really hard time with the weight of the canoe. The easiest bet is to go to the stern, lift it up and use the stem to roll it over. Get it up on your shoulder, put your hands on the gunnels and then hoist it up as you're walking towards the thwart. Get it down on your shoulders and then you're good to go. The key is just to make sure that the end of the canoe is up against something that won't let it slip. To put it down again, anchor it, lift it up, walk backwards slowly lowering the canoe and then roll it down.
Easy peasy! That's all there is to it. Hope you found it helpful!