Sunday, May 15, 2011

Dry as a Martini

I spent the first few months to heal and rehabilitate my left arm from my last trip to Chile. Luckily the feeling got better and better and I was pretty fired up to check my arm and my new Lettmann Granate in real conditions. So my inner pressure to get my ass off my office chair rose every day. Finally we decided to drive to Switzerland in April. Yes, you are right. This date is a little bit too early for this area. But, what do you do, if you’re not living near the mountains and near the spots? Yes! You just ignore the weather forecast and the water levels in the internet and try it nevertheless.

After about eight hours of driving or for me better to say, to get chauffeured (thanks for that) by my buddy Thilo Witzke, we arrived at the beautiful Tessin. But what we saw was sobering. All rivers were more or less dry! The Verzasca ran with about 4 m³/s.

Panic Phase I: What now?
We phoned some friends trying to get information where and what is still running. With the hint that the Piemont is running we started our little romantic tour beside the Lago Maggiore. Arrived at the closed camping place in Balmuccio we also had to recognize that the water was gone. We got the information that one week earlier everything was running with a good water level. Shi...!

Panic Phase II: What now again?
We paddled two spots of the Sermenza and a fucking long tour from Mollia to Balmuccia. But to our amazement the waterlevel of the Sesia was for some sections of the gorge even too high.

Panic Phase III: Ideas needed!
Nothing more to run and our plans got more and more abstruse. Drinking the whole day. OK, that was not abstruse. Find a girl and spend the whole day in bed. Borrow a dog and walk around. Or even read a book – puh, crazy! But short before we got loopy, we met a Belgium guy. He gave us the phone number of Severin Häberling. The phone call was a big ease! With a wide smile in our faces we drove to the Aosta valley
. Thanks for the coordinates Severin, you saved us from reading books! Arrived in Hône there was already a paddle camp with an own carrousel build up. Well done!

About 15 paddlers grouped around the upper section and the camp side section of the Ayasse. What a damned beautiful river! If you see the character there is no other way, than to fall in love! A bedrock steep creek with awesome slides, drops and waterfalls from 7m to 11m!

Because of the big group we had to pull numbers for running the sections. The fact that this was the last running river in the near we spent the next days for several runs. Just to say - ready for the next trip. Destination: Norway!

Big thanks to Severin for the hint, T.Love and Boby for the great pics.

Alex Rodegro
Nookie Team Rider