Alps part 1

ULKC had the annual summer trip this year, and I was a part of it as a safety boater. The trip was scheduled from May 20th through June 8th or so. The first week involved training and skills improvement in Val Sesia, Italy (the steep creeking mecca of southern Europe. Week two was the Soča river valley in Slovenia with the lesser-experienced members of our club. Week three was a return to Val Sesia for the application of the training and expertise gained on the Soča to the rivers in the Sesia valley.

Week one was epic enough, with my first runs on the lower Sermenza (up to the gorge), a return to the Egua, a wonderful evening at the Sorba Slides and a fairly high-volume run on the raft-run. It’s a pity though that I didn’t get an opportunity to get the Home Run in. I planned on building up my confidence after a few years out of paddling at this level, and it was really good to push the personal boundaries again. Alberto’s campsite in Campertogno has been upgraded with a decent toiletblock, and much improved facilities for campers. The site was crowded and busy but we got a space where we could all pitch up and cook under tarp

Week two was in the Soča region, picking up the rest of our less-experienced paddlers in Bergamo (miles from Milan) and the 4th vehicle in the ULKC trip fleet. The Black Panther was a 9-seater auto 135bhp automatic Vito and my responsibility for the rest of the trip. Getting closer to the Slovenian border the theme for the Slovenian portion of the trip was set by our driving into the darkest stormcloud I’ve seen in years with decent proper fork lightning and rain hard enough to obliterate road markings. The campsite in Camp Lazar was beautiful and very well appointed. We were directed to the field near the entrance with a large wooden farm building and a pair of portaloos – all perfect for what we needed. Apart from the rain. It was just like home, except with colder greener water! Great paddling poor morale with a lot of cold damp people. and the beginnings of the sickness. We elected to cut short our stay and we left Slovenia late on the Friday night instead of travelling all day Sunday – gaining an extra day’s paddling as a result.

The return to Italy meant sunshine, warmer weather, and slightly lower levels. I got the Landwasser waterfall ticked off my list, but I took an interesting swim in the channel above the top drop on the Egua. There were a few lovely runs on the raft run at varying levels – it’s really a good run for the intermediate paddler, and it can be worked fairly hard by the advanced paddler to gain a little more sharpness before moving on to the steeper stuff.

This trip has been one of the best trips I’ve been on with the Kayak club, and it’s been fantastic to meet a few new people, to get to know others a lot better, and to move my personal paddling up a notch from the rustiness that I had over the past few years!

Photos from the trip are here – look at the Alps 2013 sets.

Youtube vid here:

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