Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Preparing for the 15th Annual Schuylkill River Sojourn

2011 Sojourn photo by Dan Creighton
On April 1 we opened registration for the 15th Annual Schuylkill River Sojourn which will take place from Saturday June 1 through Friday June 7 this year. For the first time, we are providing a two-week registration period that is exclusive to full-trip registrants only. Those wishing to participate in only part of the trip can sign up beginning April 15. This is being done because of the increasing popularity of the first few days of the trip, which fill up so quickly (for safety reasons only 100 boats are permitted on the water each day) that full-trip hopefuls often miss out on the weekend.

Photo by Jeremy Quant
At the Schuylkill River Heritage Area, we've been organizing the sojourn for the past 15 years. The Schuylkill River Sojourn is a 112-mile, seven day guided paddle that begins each year in rural Schuylkill Haven and ends a week later at Philadelphia's Boathouse Row. Participants can register for as little as one day, or the entire trip. Typically, the first three days are the most popular--the first two because the occur on the weekend, and the third because it includes "Kelly's Rapids," a fun section of fast moving water.

2012 Sojourn Performance
Paddlers travel 14-18 miles per day, taking occasional  water breaks and stopping for lunch and overnight campsites at parks along the river. All lunch and evening stops feature musical entertainment or programs on such topics as local culture, history or the natural environment. This year's program theme is A Civil War
Odyssey. It will feature experts speaking on topics such as the Underground Railroad, the role of Schuylkill County Miners in the war, a bugling performance, and a discussion on the commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg by Gettysburg National Park Superintendent Bob Kirby. Click here to learn more about the daily itinerary and programs for 2013.

Each year, the sojourn's popularity grows.  A survey of 2012 sojourners found that over 90 percent of participants rated their overall experience on the sojourn as either good or excellent. What do people like
most about the sojourn? Camaraderie, fun, and days on the river. Here's what some of our sojourners from last year had to say about their experience:
  • " I come away with a good feeling that there are wonderful, friendly people in the world!"
  • " Learned a few river paddling techniques, made a lot of new friends, and had a fantastic time!"
  • "Everyone who attended had high praise for the event and it was justified."
  •    "I learned that an amazing group of river guides can take a nervous newbie and teach her to have a fabulous and safe time on the river." 

Visit our website to learn more about the sojourn's costs, deadlines, programs and more.

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