Friday, July 12, 2024

Sojourners’ 2024 Delaware River of Inspiration

Inspiration was just a little bit of what it took—after a long, hot and humid, blazingly sunny 90-degree trek from Worthington State Forest group campground (RM 215) to Ramsaysburg Homestead (RM 204), the 11-mile river journey with more than 70 people in tandem—for canoers to climb the skinny slope along a newly-formed, eroded cliff’s trail.

The erosion occurred from the rainstorm deluge on July 16, 2023, which knocked out most of nearby Route 46 in a landslide, across from Ayers Garage & Body Shop.

The livery took care to mark the slope with caution tape since some of the beach and shore were washed away in the area where adventurers hike and carry their canoe up the slope from the rocky shore along the Delaware River at the Ramsaysburg Historic Homestead in Knowlton Township.

There are many groups involved in the sojourn, which is in its 29th year, and offer folks a chance to paddle the river for a day or two or for the entire seven-day trip, which is carefully mapped out and full of adventure, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, camping events and even awards.

After a brief and happy greeting from Art Charlton, director for Warren County NJ & Explore Warren County Tourism Partnership, he eagerly made his way down the narrow, treacherous slope, out the rocked embedment, to the furthest point, to capture the 70-plus canoes as they came in at 4 p.m. The heat and adventure inspired the giddy deliriousness of kids after a game of kickball, beet-red and full of adrenaline.

A group of various organizers gathered around a picnic table in the shade, sipping cold water, merrily eating snacks, telling stories and jokes, while waiting for the arrival of the canoes to shore.

Chuck Haupt, one of the organizers, explained that he is a long-time member of the National Canoe Safety Patrol.

“I have been patrolling upper Delaware since 1979. We have about one safety for every 10 people on this trip. Some are EMTs, for medical emergencies. We are a well-rounded group,” said Haupt.

Stephanie Uhranowsky, from the Brodhead Water Association, is the day planner and said, “I started with BWA last year, so I got to paddle down for the day last year. I love it, so I am the boots-on-the-ground day planner for this year. It is fun to watch this part of it and see everyone move through the segments.”

Karen Tiesling, with the Friends of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, explained that “the friends have been doing it for years. Total volunteer. All volunteers. Once a year. And this year the river looks good. It’s low, but we kind of like it low, we’d rather have it low than too high. There are a lot of tadpoles, a lot of fish, a lot of little critters, and bugs which means the diversity is good and the river is healthy, which is why the Delaware has been designated a Wild and Scenic Destination.”

“Every day they award a member involved in the water community the High Admiral Award,” Tiesling added. “Day planners choose someone. This year the theme is ‘A River of Inspiration.’”

Daniel Corrigan, owner of Northeast Wilderness Experience NEWE, which is a canoe livery service, said, “It is our 14th year with them. We do it all, help land support, headwaters, upper scenic.”

For more information or to join the 2025 Sojourners, visit: https://delawareriversojourn.com/.

Laura Ward with long pink earrings on
Laura Ward, Contributing Writer

Laura Ward is a gallerist at Infloressense in Belvidere, NJ, whose motto is "poetic synthesis of all the cultural arts." Born in West Orange, NJ, Ward had a unique childhood growing up in a three-story, three-generation, 1895 Victorian where she learned gardening with her great-grandfather, theater with her grandmother, and typing with her mom. Ward spent the last two decades in the architectural design industry, followed by her present pursuit into the entrepreneurial world of art and event planning. Ward lives in the esoteric Delaware Village Historic District and volunteers at Ramsaysburg Historic Homestead. Ward spent 11 years in Florida where she graduated with an English B.A. from FAU and later The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale with an art history minor.