Pennsylvania heatwave scorches local kayakers (includes video story)

Kayaking participants in Pennsylvania’s 26th annual Schuylkill River Sojourn faced an unexpected obstacle this week: extremely high temperatures. The seven-day race proved to be a challenge for the 275+ paddlers who took to the stream amid a nationwide heatwave that spiked at 99 degrees.

Summer staffers like Benjamin Drago ensured that jugs filled with water and Gatorade were available for participants during the 112-mile journey.

“They’re on the water paddling all day in 90-degree heat,” said Drago. “You want something refreshing, something cool, so I have ice for them at every stop and make sure that everything is full. We go through it pretty much every single time.”

After a safety briefing, paddlers left the canal in Mont Clare and headed to Norristown for lunch. Participant Brianne O’Neill shared that despite the challenging kayaking conditions, she felt safe with those around her.

“I have someone in my back pocket thinking about me and keeping me hydrated,” said O’Neill. “It’s really nice to just feel taken care of and safer than if I was on my own.”

Isabella Menendez is a sophomore majoring in Broadcast Journalism at FIU with a certificate in pre-law. She is interested in entertainment and public speaking. After graduation, she wishes to attend law school to become an entertainment lawyer.