Sunday, June 2, 2013

15th Annual Schuylkill River Sojourn

The 15th Annual Schuylkill River Sojourn got off to a great start on Saturday, with 112 people paddlers setting off from Schuylkill Haven Island Park. A total of 59 of them--a record number--will make the entire 112-mile, weeklong journey to Philadelphia. Here are some highlights from Day One of the sojourn:

Sojourners camp out in Schuylkill Haven

On Friday night, sojourners check in at Schuylkill Haven Island Park, and many camp overnight. This Friday, a longtime sojourn tradition was broken: that is, for the past 10 year, it has always rained during the pre-sojourn checkin. But for the 15th Annual Sojourn, we had sunny skies.

The Breaker Boys
The Sojourn includes entertainment and programming, with a different theme each year. This year's theme is ACivil War Odyssey. On Friday, the Breaker Boys entertained sojourners with Civil War Songs and stories.

Singing the National Anthem
Sojourners launched from Schuylkill Haven Island Park and began a new tradition, singing the National Anthem before the launch. Speaking at the launch were Sen. Dave Argall, Schuylkill County Commissioner Gary Hess, Schuylkill Haven Mayor Mike Devlin, and Schuylkill River Heritage Area Exec. Dir. Kurt Zwikl, all of whom wished the sojourners well.

It was a beautiful day to be on the water. With temperatures in the 90s, paddling on the river was the perfect way to spend the day.

Civil War Chaplain re-enactor Ron Long braved the heat, donning his wool overcoat while speaking to the sojourners at lunch about the important role played by chaplains throughout the Civil War.

A crowd gathered in Landingville along a bridge to watch the colorful flottilla of sojourners make their way down the river.

A popular spot on the sojourn, The Chutes, sends sojourners through fast moving water under an old railroad bridge.

Sojourners ended their day in Port Clinton, where they were served a delicious spaghetti dinner cooked by the Port Clinton Fire House. Afterwards, author Jim Corrigan gave a fascinating lecture to a full house on The Battle of the Crater, about a group of coal miners who used their skills to tunnel under the enemy.

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