In my experiences, the best plans are non-existing plans. OK, I can’t afford not to have any plan at work, but for the weekend… Who is there to blame me if I just go with the flow?! And last weekend was something like it. I didn’t expect much of it. On Thursday I discovered that passionate canyoneer and photographer Alex Arnold is coming from Switzerland to our beautiful country. To do some canyons, of course! And since I was in search for canyoning partners, I invited myself into his gang.
Alarm on Saturday was so early it felt like it is still Friday. 🙂 But getting up wasn’t much of a hassle. Canyons were calling, I had to go (oh, what a cheesy quote :P). The plan was to do the forbidden holy trinity – Možnica, Mala Koritnica, and Velika Koritnica. At 8, I already parked on the parking next to Koritnica – which was literary my second home this summer. The gang gathered and we were ready to kick off at 9. Quite decent international expedition – 1 Swiss, 3 Austrians, and 2 Slovenes. All experienced canyoneers with hundreds of canyons on their “done” list.
So first, we did Možnica. Water in the canyon was quite high but low for this canyon. Sandi already did it in higher flow and I had about the same last time I did it, so there were no second thoughts. And boy, it was an awesome experience to do it in the morning when the sun is shining directly into the pool after the first big waterfall. I was even lucky enough that Alex was above the canyon, producing leaf-fall. Recepy for an amazing shot. Autumn makes produces such awesome colors… That’s why all photographers love it, I guess.
Next one on the list was Mala Koritnica. Marvelous canyon but not so photogenic without a tripod, since it is quite dark and enclosed. But the canyon walls are just breathtaking. 40m of amazing white rock on both sides that keeps in place the crystal blue water. I won’t lie to you, this water is freezing even during the summer. I think the color and the temperature of the water are somehow related but don’t keep my word since I am not an expert.
Final canyon of the day was Velika Koritnica. It is basically a lower section of the Koritnica river. So the color of the water was already known to us. It was the first time I did this canyon completely. The first time that we tried it was a couple of years ago in the winter time, but the water level was too high so we had to retreat. This time the water god Zeus was on our side. The flow was less than 2 cubic meters per second, so there was no reason to be afraid. And I am so happy that I didn’t give up on it. It turned out that the canyon is even nicer than the upper part and more water makes it even more interesting. I have to return there, is no doubt.
In the afternoon we relaxed around our beautiful Soča river and drank brewskie. We get to know each other better and we felt that we live for the same thing. A pack of delinquents, passionate about exploring the canyons, that nothing (except nature) can stop. We exchanged a couple of tales and laughed so hard that probably all Soča trouts in the radius of one kilometer had disappeared. That’s our idea how to protect them from fishermen. (And we wonder why they don’t like us?! :))
And since I had no plans for Sunday as well, I decided to stay with the gang for another day. We moved to Italy to Arzino Valley. It is pretty stunning looking valley about 20km south of Tolmezzo with no cell phone reception. Resulting in a bit of a difficulty to find each other there since we arrived at different times. But there is no stopping of canyoneer if he has a will, he will find a way… And we found each other, so it was time to do Arzino 0. Another considerably aquatic canyon. But Sunday was not my day. After the first big jump, the Pelibox with my precious camera opened and the camera decided she will have her own swimming lesson without any supervision from trained whitewater rescuer. 😉 Thankfully I had spotted it fast enough and catch it. No material damage. But it made me think that I must be a bit more careful about the camera.
The second thing was the rope. I had 55m of rope and the highest abseil should be about 25 m. So going down double rope should be doable. But it turned out that my rope shrank about 8 meters so I was in a bit of a delicate situation when the rope was not long enough for retrieval and I run out of it, just above 3 meters from the pool. When I run out of it, I was blocked (going down on double rope). And at the same moment, Alex yelled at me: “Stop, I want to make a photo”. I stopped anyway and waited for his sign to continue. But the rope had other plans. The knot in the backpack (that kept me in place) slipped and I plunged into the pool in no time. And Alex was yelling at me: “Thanks man, I will never wait for you when you want me to stop!”. I laughed and he was serious. But when I explained to him what happened, we both burst into laughter.
And the last canyon of the weekend was Rio Carlo Gasparini. To be honest, it is not much of a canyon. Ok, it has nice shapes, but it is really slippery and the water level was quite low. What makes it special, is the name of the canyon and the story behind it. Usually, the canyons have names used for generations and we just adopt them. But with this one, it is a different story. It was named after the person who did the first descent – Carlo Gasparini. Unfortunately, he died in 2011 while equipping the climbing routes next to Rilke Path next to Duino. So this descent was also my personal homage to the legendary mountain guide from Gorizia, who had the same enthusiasm for the outdoors as we do. Dear Carlo, I hope you discovered some new canyons up there for us! But live some of them for us, we also want to do some first descends :).
And the weekend flew by like it lasted just a couple of moments. You know how it is with the weekends – like salary – it never lasts long enough. But this one reminded me again about the consequences of our passion. Although on the other hand, if it puts scars on my body and wings on my soul… It is worth it. Plus another side effect – after this weekend I am richer for new friends, so new stories are about to be written.