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Loyalhanna Sojourn, kayak raffle sign-up deadline nears | TribLIVE.com
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Loyalhanna Sojourn, kayak raffle sign-up deadline nears

Jeff Himler
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Tribune-Review archive
Jessica Smith, of the Derry Township village of Peanut, navigates Loyalhanna Creek during the second annual Loyalhanna Sojourn on Saturday, May 30, 2015, near Latrobe.
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Loyalhanna Watershed Association
Kayaks are at the ready as participants prepare to start the annual 9-mile Loyalhanna Sojourn by launching into the Loyalhanna Creek at Latrobe’s Cardinal Park.

The deadline is May 1 to register for the sixth annual Loyalhanna Sojourn, a 9-mile paddle down the Loyalhanna Creek from Latrobe to New Alexandria.

“We want to stay below 220 participants this year,” said Susan Huba, executive director of the Loyalhanna Watershed Association.

“It has to deal with our number of safety boaters. We have one safety boater for every 12 participants,” said Huba, whose group organizes the event in cooperation with Keystone State Park and the Latrobe-Greater Latrobe School District Parks and Recreation.

This year, all those who are signed up for the May 18 event will be entered in a drawing for a new single-person kayak. The winner will be announced at the beginning of the journey — at Cardinal Park, on East First Avenue in Latrobe.

The registration fee of $20 per person includes event insurance, as well as the shuttle transportation, refreshments and a commemorative T-shirt.

Check-in is set for 9 a.m., with the first wave of sojourners expected to enter the creek at about 10:30 a.m. Participants may leave their kayaks or canoes at the Latrobe park and drive to the take-out point at Gray Wing Park in New Alexandria to park their vehicles. A shuttle bus will take participants back to the starting launch in two runs, at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m.

Close to 1,000 people have taken part in the sojourn over its five-year history, Huba said.

“In the section we paddle, the water is relatively calm,” Huba said of the creek. “That part of it is deeper and slower-moving.

“There’s a large stretch of it that’s off the beaten path. People can’t see it from any roadway. It has a lot of interesting features — old bridge abutments and rock formations — that people would not be able to see otherwise.”

Derry Township farmland dominates the view during the latter part of the sojourn.

Depending on the water conditions, the trip to New Alexandria usually takes about three hours to complete, Huba said. Plans were incomplete for activities to wrap up the event at Gray Wing Park.

Paddlers may visit latroberecreation.org to register for the sojourn. For more information, contact the watershed association at 724-238-7560, extension 1#.

The sojourn is geared for water enthusiasts of all age levels and experiences, Huba said. She suggested those who need to rent a kayak for the event contact Two Dam Kayak Rentals at 724-541-7447.

The sojourn receives funding support through the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, jhimler@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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