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Trebbia is fairly tame, consisting of only Class I and II rapids. A tributary of Northern Italy’s river Po, the cold water that cuts through the Trebbia’s limestone valley begins 70 miles away in the Ligurian Apennines. By May, the river’s water levels are pretty low but the rapids still churn enough to produce a thrill akin to a carnival ride.

and protruding boulders. Our biggest obstacle, however,

Floating down the Alta Val Trebbia shed a different light on the valley than the one I saw from the curled highway above. At water level, the Trebbia lives at its own pace. Trees color the steep tributary walls in deep greens, and birds sing backup to the rhythm of the river. We were engulfed in sound; yet, somehow, it was more quiet than an elementary school in summer. In between this tranquility, we faced the challenges that the river threw at us—finger numbing troughs, turbulent eddys

us before entering the cavernous tunnel to get down on

lurked just around the last bend. We were well prepared for the encounter with the tunnel. But that’s not saying much. Because until you go into a pitch-black cauldron of whitewater, you really don’t know how you are going to react. Our guide told the raft floor if things got too intense. Some got low from the start, while a few of us, myself included, battled the schizophrenic rapids head on. The long rock tube of whitewater turned the heavy raft into a raging bull that bucked harder the darker it got. The tunnel, which had been created years ago to circumvent a now shuttered dam, had all the makings of an amusement

Our blogville group getting ready to take on some Trebbia rapids.


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