Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Why Not Sign Up for A Mid-Week Day of the Schuylkill River Sojourn?

Photo by Jeremy Quant
It's happened again. Only a week after we opened up registration for individual days on the annual Schuylkill River Sojourn the first three days of the seven-day guided canoe/kayak tour (June 7-13) have already sold out. Sure, everybody wants to paddle on the weekend. But, to keep things safe we allow only 100 boats per day. That means we wind up turning people away on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, while, often, Tuesday through Friday don't completely fill up. If you are one of those who hesitated a bit too long to get on the sojourn's weekend days, don't despair! Tuesday through Friday offer plenty of fun paddling opportunities. Here's a day-by-day guide to the sojourn's mid-week days. All have openings so you can sign up for one or all four!
As always the sojourn will begin in Schuylkill Haven and end at Philadelphia's Boathouse Row with participants paddling 14-18 miles per day. The program theme is Schuylkill River: PA's 2014 River of the Year.

 Tuesday June 10. (13.9 miles: Gibraltar to Pottstown) (Updated May 2: We're sorry, this date is now filled!)
Sojourners rest at Morlatton Village
If you have never done the sojourn before, and want to test out a day, this is the day to try.  It's an easy paddling day, featuring a lot of beautiful scenery. Paddlers in this area have reported seeing bald eagles and other interesting wildlife. Another reason to consider Tuesday? We have great programming planned. The lunch stop is at Historic Morlatton Village, a beautiful and historic setting where this year there will be a presentation on the restoration of Frick's Lock Village, a canal town turned ghost town. And the evening stop, at Riverfront Park in Pottstown, includes arguably the best dinner on the trip, catered by Bause Catering. The evening program will feature a special River of the Year panel presentation by six watershed conservancies who will discuss efforts to protect the river and tributaries.

Wednesday June 11. (17.8 miles: Pottstown to Mont Clare Lock 60) One of the major highlights of the weeklong sojourn happens on this day, which ends at the restored Lock 60 on the former Schuylkill Canal. Sojourners end the day by "locking through" the lock (see photo on left). This is such a cool experience, it's worth doing Wednesday for that alone. But, there's also some nice scenery and an enjoyable lunch setting  at Victory Park, in Royersford, where the Borough officials welcome sojourners with a delicious cake.  In the evening, paddlers can camp out near the canal, eat spaghetti dinner at nearby St. Micheal's Pavilion, and listen to a presentation on Dragon Boating.

Thursday June 12. (14 miles: Mont Clare to West Conshohocken) This is a great day to paddle for several reasons. For one thing, this year, we will be accompanied for part of the trip by a dragon boat. For another, the river features a nice mix of scenery through this area. Paddlers begin the day in the canal and make their way into the river and through some wooded areas. For the first time, the sojourn lunch will be at Valley Forge National Historic Park, where the program will be on a new pedestrian bridge being built across the river.  Later in the day sojourners encounter some interesting bridges and urban settings. At dinner, in West Conshohocken, they'll hear about the network of trails in the Philadelphia area known as The Circuit.

Friday June 13 (16 miles: West Conshohocken to Philadelphia). This may be the final day, but it's also one of the best days of the sojourn! Sojourners love having the opportunity to paddle with the Philadelphia skyline as their backdrop and alongside the iconic Boathouse Row. If you need another reason to paddle on Friday, lunch is at the historic Philadelphia Canoe Club, where you eat surrounded by some amazing antique boats. You'll also hear a presentation on the Schuylkill River Boardwalk, an amazing project that extends the Schuylkill River Trail in Philadelphia by  The final takeout is Lloyd Hall on Boathouse Row, but before that the sojourners always organize for everyone's favorite sojourn photo, the Sojourn Salute (see photo below).

Monday, April 14, 2014

Ten Reasons to Sign Up for the 16th Annual Schuylkill River Sojourn

Registration for the 16th Annual Schuylkill River Sojourn is now open! If you've always wanted to do at least one day on the sojourn, let this be the year you do! This 112-mile, seven day guided canoe/kayak tour takes place from Saturday June 7 to Friday June 13. You don't have to do the full trip. You can do as little as one day, if you'd like. But keep in mind that the first three days fill up quickly, so if you want to paddle on Saturday, Sunday or Monday, register early! Click here to register.

Still not sure whether to sign up? Here are 10  reasons why we think you should.

1. The Schuylkill is Pennsylvania's 2014 River of the Year: If you paddle on the sojourn this year, you will be paddling on the River of the Year. How cool is that? The River of the Year logo is our program theme, so all our lunch and dinner presentations will focus on the some aspect of the river. And, the awesome logo on the left? That will be featured on the sojourn T-shirt. It was designed by Laura Mikowychok Smith, winner of our River of the Year logo design contest.

2. We make it easy for you: No really, we do. We give you breakfast, lunch, dinner and a place to camp. We shuttle your gear and take you and your boat back to the car. We provide water and Gatoradeat all stops, and on long paddling stretches, we have breaks.  Our guides and safety people have been doing this for 16 years. If you're a novice, they'll give you pointers to make sure you have a great time.

3. You can leave your worries behind: Seriously, this is a fun experience. You are out in nature, on the water, surrounded by friendly people in colorful kayaks. You don't have to think about the route, worry about where you'll stop, or even wonder what to do about dinner. You can just relax and enjoy the day.

4. You will learn something: We provide speakers at all lunch and evening stops. This year,  the  presentations will focus on a river-related issue or activity. For example, we have a dragon boat club  on Wednesday evening (they'll also join us in the water on Thursday and Friday);  a  new Schuylkill River Water Trail Guide presentation on Saturday; and a talk about the new Schuylkill River Boardwalk on Friday. For a full list of programs click here.

5. Every day is fun: People often ask us which is the best day to paddle on the sojourn. Truth? All the days are great! Saturday and Sunday are favored for their scenery (and also because they are weekend days!) Monday features a short section of white water called "Kelly's Rapids."  Tuesday is a nice, easy stretch ending at our headquarters, where we promise a great dinner! Wednesday ends with sojourners "locking through" the only watered lock remaining of the Schuylkill Canal. Thursday features a lunch stop at Valley Forge National Park (new this year). On Friday, the journey ends at Boat House Row, and we always get a photo of the sojourn against the Philly skyline.

 6. You don't have to be an expert paddler: Every year we have beginners sign up for the full trip. Our guides are particularly good at helping out newcomers.

7. You won't recognize the place: Think you know the Schuylkill River because you pass by it regularly? You will be surprised. Being on the river is a whole different experience. Only minutes away from highways and down towns, you'll feel sequestered in nature. It's not called the "Hidden River" for nothing.

8. You will make new friends: You are paddling beside 70 to 100 other fun-loving people. Of course you'll make new friends!

9. Your age doesn't matter: Octogenarians and elementary school children have paddled the full trip and loved it.

10. It only happens once a year: If you've always wanted to paddle on the sojourn, but don't do it this year, you'll have to wait all the way until June 2015 to get another chance!

We hope we've convinced you! If so, hurry: we only allow about 100 people on the water each day, so registration can fill up quickly for certain days. You can learn more about the sojourn on our website.
Or, if you're ready to join us for the 16th Annual Schuylkill River Sojourn, Register Here!