Monthly Archives: June 2014

Making the most of circumstance on the Juniata River Sojourn.

Every year, during the second weekend in June, a group of about 50 canoes and kayaks filled with enthusiastic paddlers make their way downstream, enjoying the river, camping, socializing, and participating in an event that has become a fixture in the area. This is the Juniata River Sojourn, one of many River Sojourns throughout PA that promote watershed conservation and stewardship while providing a fun and inspiring experience.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The first Juniata River Sojourn took place in 2001, and until this year, has been organized by the Juniata Clean Water Partnership. Unfortunately, funding cuts left the non-profit organization unable to take on the financial responsibility and time of organizing the Sojourn this year, but Rothrock Outfitters of Huntingdon stepped in to take over organizational responsibility in addition to their usual guide services they’ve been providing for the event for years.

The annual Sojourn rotates between three different sections of the watershed—the Little Juniata and Frankstown Branch, the Mainstem, and the Raystown Branch, this year’s locale. The plan was to paddle from Everett to Heritage Cove Resort over the course of three days, stopping to camp at specified locations along the way. However, Mother Nature had other plans, as inches of rain dumped on Central Pennsylvania in the days preceding the scheduled event, rendering the Raystown Branch of the Juniata at a level too high to safely lead a group of paddlers of varying experience.

But rather than cancel the event that is important to so many, a new plan was made—paddle the length of Raystown Lake instead, beginning at Heritage Cove and ending up at Snyders Run.

The clouds and rain cleared just in time for the multi-colored flotilla of canoes and kayaks to launch on Saturday morning, and paddlers of all ages, from 7 to 70, began to make their way down the lake, keeping a steady but casual pace while enjoying the scenery, beautiful weather, and the occasional great-blue heron flying by. Farther down the lake, as the channel widened, the great-blues disappeared but we did have an eagle sighting.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Sojourn is about more than just paddling. It’s about camaraderie and taking a break from everyday life for a few days, spending evenings by the campfire enjoying each others stories and a variety of entertainment, from live music to educational programs. As long-time Sojourner Mark Fasick says, “Paddling is secondary. It’s all about the people we are with, old and new friends, and great memory-making!”

 

The three-day event ended in the early afternoon on Monday after a short and much-quieter paddle from Susquehannock Campground to Snyders Run, where goodbyes and til-next-years were exchanged.

 

Advertisements
Categories: Events, Outdoor Recreation | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Go outside, get happy!

By Bobbi Hicks

In a world where people are too often bogged down with responding to emails and jumping on their next conference call, it’s refreshing to know that retreats like the Raystown Lake Region exist. As a transplant to Huntingdon County, I quickly found that the natural beauty of the area makes it nearly impossible not to close your laptop, go outside, and get happy.

Matt_Raystown_Paddleboard_ecsDSC_6866www

If getting outside is your goal, there are a plethora of things to fill your time and your spirits. I’m a firm believer that a family that paddles together stays together. That said, if you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend renting a few Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) from Rothrock Outfitters, Seven Points Marina or the Lake Raystown Resort, Lodge and Conference Center and getting out on the water for a sunset paddle. The views are breathtaking and the time that you get to spend unplugged with your family is invaluable. For Yogis visiting the lake, there’s nothing like performing sun salutations on a SUP as the sun peeks over the mountains to take your practice to the next level.

For those visiting the area that prefer to stay on dry land, taking a walk, run, or bike ride on the 2.5 mile Greenside Pathway is an enjoyable way to spend the afternoon. The pathway connects 19 different recreation facilities and is composed from 100% recycled tires, which means that your run, ride, or walk will not only be convenient, but comfortable.  Win-win, right?!

If getting out of your comfort zone and into the woods is more your speed, then grab your GPS and take to the trails and surrounding area for a Geocaching adventure! For those unfamiliar with Geocaching, it is basically a real life, outdoor treasure hunt. Several caches have been placed by Juniata College in partnership with the Corps of Engineers around the Seven Points Recreation Area. Each site has a set of GPS coordinates that indicate where a local geocache is hidden. Using a GPS enabled device, the adventurer navigates themself to the coordinates and then searches the site for a hidden Geocache (container). A list of local Geocaches can be found at http://www.geocaching.com.

When you’re visiting the Raystown Lake Region, go outside, explore all that our region has to offer, and get happy. Tour the local waters by SUP, keep it low-key with a stroll along the Greenside Pathway, and go adventuring for Geocaches. The biggest risk that you’ll take is the possibility that you may never want to leave.

Bobbi and a group of friends enjoy an evening of paddleboarding on Raystown Lake. Photo by Helena Kotala.

Bobbi and a group of friends enjoy an evening of paddleboarding on Raystown Lake.

 

About the author: Trailblazer. Raconteur. Adrenaline junkie… “Carpe Diem!” Bobbi is a mom, wife, and Juniata College graduate currently living life to the fullest in Huntingdon County, PA. 

Categories: 2014 Visitors Guide, Lifestyle, Outdoor Recreation | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: