Even if I never managed to get on the creeks of the famous Ticino area with much water, I was very surprised by the quality of the low volume rivers we paddled this spring. With the guidance of Ron Fischer and Lucas Wielatt among others, I found myself deep in the canyons of the upper Rovana, worknig our way through the mysterious Cannobio, sliding down the famous Ribo and peering into the depths of the Isorno, to mention a few.
It has been a strange spring where I have been sick quite a bit, or had small injuries, so I have found myself on the shore a couple of times, running shuttle for the boys, as the swissies like to get on at least two runs a day. Often feeling a bit faint, I would only do one river a day. Though, the highlights have without doubt been the Isorno and the Upper Rovana.
The Isorno runs deep in a canyon, and requires a bit of legwork to get into, and to get out of. Even with a low waterlevel the rivers was beautiful and intriguing. Continuing past the normal take-out, we ran into a section with a bit more portaging required, the crux (for me) being the jump from a ten meter high cliff into a pool/eddy with a pulse of about 180.. I am not kidding, I hate jumping from cliffs…. The upper Rovana provided me with another challenge, namely an absail into the top canyon, and again, I hate absailing. Give me a 20 meter waterfall instead! In the end, Lucas Wielatt was kind enough to simply lower me down the wall like another useless package, and I was more than thankful for putting my feet in the water after a few seconds bouncing down the cliff. Thank you!
The upper Rovana is tight, techincal and immensely beautiful. You are locked into a deep heaven of brilliant, fun whitewater, and when you emerge at the end of the canyon it is as if you come out of a hidden underground world.. The tight canyonwalls do not allow for much room to move around, but just enough to scout the crux and to be in constant awe of such a beautiful place.
Then there is of course the culture.. It is Switzerland, but italian swiss which is an exotic mix of culture for a northener. Risotto, home-made cheese, dark-haired swissies speaking italian… How can you not love it?
I can not wait to go back next spring and enjoy even more of this beautiful piece of the Alps, and hopefully with a little bit more water than the past months.