A Sojourn for the Soul
I had heard about the Delaware River Sojourn for years and thought that maybe one day I’ll look into it. I had the impression that it was a grueling effort to canoe or kayak the river over a long period of time. Nothing could have been farther from the truth.
The Delaware River Sojourn is a unique opportunity to explore the river with an exciting and exceptional group of people. Families and friends gather from across the country to participate. You can bring your own equipment or easily rent. You can join for the day, or any combination or the entire 8 day sojourn. Your vessel is transported for you. Meals are prepared and waiting for you. Evenings are spent talking and singing around the campfire. Rangers and interpreters guide your journey.
I was only able to attend for a day last year but it was an extraordinary day as we passed through the Water Gap. I particularly enjoyed the river prayer with the Chief of the local Lenni Lenape tribe. I plan to join in for at least 3 days this year. They schedule the ride so that each tent set up is good for 2 nights – heading upstream the first day so you put out at the camp and the starting point for the following day where you are transported back.
This is a program that is ideal for friends, families, seniors – anyone with an interest to heighten awareness of, and appreciation for, the ecological, historical, recreational, and economic significance of the Delaware River.
The 19th Annual Delaware River Sojourn will take place June 22-29. For registration and additional information visit www.delawareriversojourn.org
What is a Typical Sojourn Day?
- Meet your paddling companions at the appointed rendezvous. 2. Check in for a welcoming address and the mandatory safety briefing. 3. Follow our river guides and enjoy the companionship of fellow sojourners. 4. Paddle a few riffles, Class I rapids, and occasional Class II rapids. 5. Enjoy the lunch provided. 6. Paddle approximately 10 to 15 miles (about five hours) at a moderate touring pace. 7. Learn about nature, recreational opportunities, history, and conservation from our naturalists, historians, and environmental educators. 8. Gather for an evening program on nature, culture, history, or river issues. 9. Enjoy campfire camaraderie or evening entertainment. 10. Pitch a tent and sleep to the sounds of the river.
The Delaware, the longest un-dammed river east of the Mississippi, is as steeped in history as it is diverse in nature.
George Washington and his troops rowed across it on Christmas night, 1776, en route to a decisive victory over the British crown. This marked a turning point in the Revolutionary War.
During the Civil War, more than 12,000 Confederate soldiers were imprisoned on Pea Patch Island, just down river of New Castle, Delaware.
The river also winds through Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, birthplace of another revolution – America’s Industrial Revolution.
In 1915, to meet the demands of WWI, the world’s largest shipyard was built along the Delaware on Hog Island, offshore of Philadelphia.
Upstream, the river flows beneath the Delaware Aqueduct, built by engineer John Roebling who designed the fabled Brooklyn Bridge. The aqueduct served as a watery passage for mule-pulled canal boats which hauled the coal that helped fuel the Industrial Revolution.
The Delaware River serves as a major source of water for big cities – Philadelphia and New York City – and heavy industry, yet supports a world-class trout fishery and bald eagles. Over 15 million people rely on the Delaware River Basin for water, but the river itself is small, draining only four-tenths of one percent of the total continental U.S. land area.
Downstream, the river then empties into the Delaware Bay, which washes by old whaling towns.
The Delaware River was voted River of the Year 2011.