What was the Conodoguinet Sojourn?
The Conodoguinet Sojourn was a group canoe and kayak trip that included educational events and activities intended to raise awareness about watershed issues. It was an opportunity to take a break from your routines, see the stream in a new way, spend time in the great outdoors, and have some fun on the water, while learning a bit about history, earth science, the environmental value of the stream.
The Conodoguinet Sojourn was 21-23 May 2021
The Conodoguinet Sojourn was 21-23 May 2021. The total trip was 2.5 days.
Friday evening features the Carlisle Cave, dam & waterworks, “Carlisle Venice”, and (hopefully) a sunset.
Saturday is a fun part of the stream with interesting geological features, historic bridges, and good wildlife viewing.
Sunday starts at a covered bridge and lunches at a restoration area. It passes former mill sites and state game land.
To Participate, You MUST Know How to Swim
For safety reasons only people who know how to swim may participate in the Conodoguinet Sojourn. Knowing how to swim is mandatory, because there is always the possibility of unexpectedly ending up in the water.
How Long is the Conodoguinet Sojourn? [Maps]
The total trip is 21.6 miles: 4.8 miles Friday, 9.2 miles Saturday, and 7.6 miles Sunday.
The pace will be easy, with occasional stops. For the Sunset Paddle on Friday, participants will arrive around 4:30 and finish before 9pm. For Saturday and Sunday, participants will arrive around 8:30 am and finish before 4pm.
Map of Friday Sunset Paddle
Map of Saturday Paddle
Map of Sunday Paddle
Map of Alternate Section of Stream
Can I do just Part of the Conodoguinet Sojourn?
Possibly, depending on which part(s) you want to do. Registration priority will be given to participants who want to do all 2.5 days of the sojourn. Registrations for specific days will be accepted to the extent spaces are available.
There will be extra spaces for Friday evening. There may or may not be spaces for Saturday and Sunday.
How Many Participants will there be?
Saturday and Sunday trips are capped at 40 participants each day.
The Sunset Paddle Friday evening is open to a larger number of participants.
How Much is the Registration Fee?
The registration fee for the whole sojourn (2.5 days) is $50.
The registration fee for each day (or part of a day) is $20 per day if registering for less than the whole weekend.
This fee includes the $10 per day cost of American Canoe Association (ACA) insurance.
Our sojourn has been made possible by these partners and sponsors:
What if I Don't Know How to Canoe or Kayak?
Past experience canoeing or kayaking is not required. We are excited to introduce new people to paddling and to the Conodoguinet. The sections of the stream we will be paddling are suitable for novice paddlers, and there will be brief basic paddling instruction before each day's paddle.
Novice Tip: If you are new to canoeing and want more than a brief instruction before paddling, Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission is conveniently offering a FREE ONLINE class "Virtual Paddling Basics for Beginners" on 20 May, the day before the Conodoguinet Sojourn: See https://www.register-ed.com/events/view/167227
The Conodoguinet Sojourn will have a trained safety team.
Participants are required to heed the team's safety instructions.
There will be a mandatory safety briefing for all paddlers prior to each day's paddle.
People who miss the safety briefing will not be allowed to participate in that day's part of the sojourn.
To minimize potential for strainers (e.g. fallen trees) and other potential hazards, each part of the sojourn will be scouted for safety concerns a few days prior to the trip. Even so, it is possible there may be unanticipated portages where participants need to walk or carry their watercraft for a short distance.
Do I Need to Bring My Own Canoe or Kayak?
No. If you have your own canoe or kayak you are welcome to bring it, along with paddles and Coast Guard certified PFD vest. If you do not have your own canoe or kayak, or do not want to bring your canoe or kayak, the sojourn will have some canoes, along with paddles and Coast Guard Certified PFDs, available.
If you bring your own canoe/kayak, note that there will be no individual shuttles. For Saturday and Sunday paddles, ALL canoes and kayaks will be part of the group shuttle. (No shuttle is needed for Friday evening).
Parking / Shuttle
The Friday Sunset Paddle is out and back on flatwater, so there is no shuttle. Participants will arrive directly at the put-in and takeout point, and plenty of parking is available.
On Saturday and Sunday paddles participants will arrive at a central parking location near the put-in. After signing in (and putting their boat on the shuttle, if they brought there own canoe or kayak), they will board a short shuttle to the put-in location. Participants will be shuttled back to their cars from the takeout at the end of the trip.
Wearing a mask will be a mandatory Covid precaution on the shuttles, regardless of participants vaccination status.
There are no bathrooms on the water. Time between access to toilets will often be 3-3.5 hours.
On Friday a public bathroom will be available near the put-in and takeout point.
On Saturday there will be a bathroom or port-a-potty at the assembly point (start and end) and lunch break site.
On Sunday there will be port-a-potties at the put-in and lunch break site.
Food, Snacks & Trash
Due to Covid precautions, Conodoguinet Sojourn will NOT be providing meals or snacks on this sojourn.
On Saturday and Sunday participants should bring a lunch for themselves, and at least one late morning snack.
On each of those days the sojourn will stop for a lunch break.
Food is optional for Friday evening.
Participants should pack out of their canoe/kayak what they pack into it. Please pack food and other gear in ways that minimize trash, and have a way to keep trash secure in your canoe/kayak. Trash disposal will be available on lunch breaks and at the conclusion of each paddle.
Water / Hydration
Staying properly hydrated while paddling is important. Participants should bringing sufficient water (or hydrating beverage) for themselves for each trip. Remember to drink before you get thirsty.
Clothing, Hat, Footwear & Other Gear
Participants should wear comfortable clothing that is suitable for the trip and expected weather conditions and does not interfere with wearing a PFD vest. A brimmed hat is highly recommended.
Footwear should be suitable for wading (e.g. water shoes, old sneakers).
Please pack a towel and backup set of clothes in a dry bag or other waterproof container, in case of mishap.
Bring a face mask. Covid precautions will be in effect in the shuttles and whenever a person is within 6' of any other person who is not a member of their household. Except for information stops, that situation should be rare on the water, so generally participants can take masks off while on the water.
Other suggested Gear include dry bags, insect repellent, and sunscreen.
We encourage you to bring a cellphone to take photos and for safety in the unlikely event of an emergencies, but while we are on the water please silence your ringer and do not make or receive phone calls. Keep your cellphone in something waterproof when not in use, and secure to your person. It is very easy to lose a cellphone into the water. Also be aware that cellphone coverage can be very intermittent on the water.
Each person should bring a safety whistle.
Friday Sunset Paddle participants should bring a small flashlight, or a wearable head lamp.
Personal Flotation Device (PFD) is Mandatory
Everyone is required to wear a Coast Guard certified PFD / Safety Vest at all times while on the water.
Each person should bring a safety whistle.
Friday Sunset Paddle participants should bring a small flashlight, or a wearable head lamp.
The sojourn will have a trained safety team. Participants are required to heed the team's safety instructions.
There will be a mandatory safety briefing for all paddlers prior to each day's paddle. People who miss the safety briefing will not be allowed to participate in that day's part of the sojourn.
Even though the portions of the Conodoguinet that we are paddling are very safe, the entire route of the sojourn will be scouted for safety concerns approximately one week prior to the Sojourn to minimize the chances of any safety surprises. EMT in the area have been notified of the sojourn and ready in the unlikely event of an emergency.
What if there is Inclement Weather?
The safety team will make a decision, not more than 48 hours nor fewer than 12 hours prior to each day's paddle, regarding suitability of weather, based on current and forecast water level, forecast precipitation, forecast wind, forecast temperature, and perhaps other factors. Generally, the temperature needs to be between 50-90 degrees F, the wind not more than 12 mph, and there not be significant danger of strong storms or steady rains. The sojourn will not postpone or cancel if only light, intermittent rains are forecast.
If water levels are too high or other weather conditions unsuitable the sojourn will postpone to a rain date TBD, probably the next weekend, or cancel. If water levels are too low, which is only likely to be a concern for Saturday's paddle, the sojourn may use an alternate route. If the decision is made to use an alternate route, participants will be notified ASAP after the decision is made.
What if part or all of the Sojourn is Cancelled?
If water levels and/or bad weather prevent us from running one or more days of the event, we will try to schedule a makeup date, which will probably be the following weekend. If we are unable to schedule a makeup date and have to cancel part of the event, or for participants unable to attend the makeup date, we will refund registration fees.
At the put-in on for the Friday Sunset Paddle and the Sunday Paddle there will be display of some historic photos of the Conodoguinet, its mills, bridges, and other features.
We will also have an online Story Map site featuring historic photos relating to the Sojourn.
Is there a minimum age?
Every participant must be old enough to have learned how to swim and be capable of swimming.
Person age 16 and 17 with parent/guardian signature on both waivers may participate without parental/adult supervision. Persons under age 16 with parent/guardian signature on both waivers may participate if sharing a boat with, and under supervision of, a parent or guardian.
The appropriate of the sojourn for young teens or children depends on the individual. You know your child or teen. Is he or she capable of spending hours on the water for multiple days, among a group of adults? Will she or he enjoy that time? Does your teen or child have past experience canoeing or kayaking? If not, we strongly recommend that you introduce them to paddling in a smaller, more manageable way than by having them try the Conodoguinet Sojourn. Similarly, if you are new to canoeing or kayaking, we do not recommend bringing your child or young teen with you.
Registration in Three Easy Steps:
1) Complete & Sign Waivers
Each participant needs to complete BOTH a Conodoguinet Sojourn Waiver AND an ACA Waiver (either for Adult or Minor, depending on participant's age).
Conodoguinet Sojourn Waiver ACA Waiver for Adults ACA Waiver for Minors
On the ACA waiver, most participants will check the "$10" box near the upper right corner. The $10 fee (per day) fee with that box is included as part of your registration fee. Fees for other boxes on the ACA waiver are not generally included (but see note below about ACA membership) and the registration fee for the Conodoguinet Sojourn is not reduced as a result of checking any other box (e.g. if you already have ACA membership).
OPTION: ACA ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP, which includes year-round insurance for on-water events, is $40. Participants registering for the full 2.5 days of the Conodoguinet Sojourn are already spending $30 on 3 days of ACA insurance, as part of their $50 sojourn registration fees. For an additional $10, participants registering for 2.5 days may instead opt to get ACA annual membership with insurance for the whole year. To take this option, participants should check the "$40" box on the ACA waiver (instead of the "$10" box) and mark the "Other" item for an additional $10 per person when completing billing information on the registration form.
Registrants will need to upload scanned versions of BOTH a Conodoguinet Sojourn Waiver AND the appropriate version of the ACA Waiver in the next step of the registration process.
3) Pay the Registration Fee
The registration fee should be calculated from your registration form. There are two ways to pay the registration fee:
TO PAY ONLINE using PayPal, Venmo, or with a credit card, scan the PayPal QR code below with your cell phone PayPal or Venmo app, and follow the directions in your app.
IF YOU ARE PAYING WITH A CREDIT CARD, please add 2.9% additional to the registration fee plus thirty sense, to offset the fee PayPal charges us for credit card payments. Thank you.
IF YOU ARE PAYING WITH A PAYPAL OR VENMO ACCOUNT, you do not need to add any additional fees.
TO PAY BY MAIL send a check for the total amount made payable to Middle Spring Watershed Association, along with a note indicating that it is for the Conodoguinet Sojourn and including the names of the registrants, or paper copies of your waivers, to Middle Spring Watershed Association, PO Box 309, Shippensburg, PA 17257.
After You Register for the Conodoguinet Sojourn
In early May, organizers of the Conodoguinet Sojourn will review how many registrations have been received and contact registrants to acknowledge that their registration has been accepted, or if registrants exceed available slots, in some cases to inform people that their registration has not been accepted. Those registration fees will be refunded. Participants registering for 2.5 days will have priority over registrations for part of the the sojourn.
Those whose registrations are accepted will receive further information in the mail, including information about parking, an itinerary of the sojourn, and a booklet featuring some of the themes and content of the sojourn.