The 22nd annual Schuylkill River Sojourn is going to be an event not like any of the previous 21 sojourns. The community is invited to experience the revolutionary river through two evening video live streams on Aug. 9 and Aug. 16. The event also includes a tentative in-person guided paddling experience being offered on three separate days: Aug. 7, 8 or 9.
The regional adventure is traditionally a seven-day guided paddle along the Schuylkill River beginning in Schuylkill Haven and ending in Philadelphia. Participants who sign up for the whole week, camp along the banks of the river each night.
The Schuylkill River Greenways National Heritage Area organizes the annual journey and made several adjustments to this year’s event because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Schuylkill River Sojourn is going virtual for the first time in its 22-year history. Matt Stan, longtime sojourn guide and the owner of Bad Adventures, will be the charismatic host for two live-streamed events taking place next month.
The first virtual evening on Aug. 9 will kick off with the premiere of an original short film called “Schuylkill Soaring.” The film will celebrate recreation on the river through stunning imagery from land, water and air. Viewers will take a journey along the river starting in the lush landscapes of the headwaters in Schuylkill County, through both rural and urban communities in Berks, Montgomery and Chester counties, with a paddler’s arrival at the picturesque Philadelphia skyline.
Viewers will also bond over stories – both heartfelt and hilarious – told by past Sojourners; face-off against each other in a live, Schuylkill Trivia tournament; and meet characters through video interviews who paddlers have grown to love during the annual Schuylkill River Sojourn.
Registration is now open and includes access to both video live streams on Aug. 9 and 16, which will each begin at 7 p.m. Each registration includes a memorable 2020 Sojourn T-shirt to be shipped directly to the participant. The cost is $29.
People also have the option to add on a day of in-person paddling. Paddlers will begin from Pottstown Riverfront Park, stop for lunch in Royersford and end in Phoenixville.
If Montgomery County remains in the green phase through August, then a group paddle will be offered. Participants will be required to wear masks when not paddling and to maintain a six-foot distance from people outside of their household. People can select to paddle on Aug. 7, 8 or 9. Each day is limited to 25 participants. The route for each of the three days is the same. The cost for this add-on feature is $49. The fee includes expert guides, a provided boxed lunch and shuttle services. Kayaks and canoes will be available to rent through Take It Outdoors.
People can register for the 2020 Schuylkill River Virtual Sojourn by visiting schuylkillriver.org/sojourn. The registration deadline is Aug. 5, 2020. Read the caption of each photo for tips on what to bring or wear for the virtual event and the guided paddle.