RAFTING in the Marte–Gigliola Gorge
Season: October – May
Locality: Timone – Marte
Esploration: Trovato – D’Arrigo April, 2015
Pins: spitfix, natural
Altitude at entry point: 1,123 metres above sea level
Altitude at exit point: 990 metres above sea level
Elevation difference: 130 metres
Length: 300 metres
Maximum drop: 33 metres
Number of drops: 6
Easy and compact, this itinerary is ideal because it takes only a few hours and access to the waterway is easy. The natural surroundings are intact, full of brambles but also of surprises.
Arrival by car
From the SS 106 take the turning for Bova and follow the signèposts. Pass the town by and continue uphill in the direction of the mountain. After about 9 kilometres you come to a fork where the left-hand signpost indicates Roghudi. Turn right down a track leading to buildings belonging to a local shepherd whom you will find on the spot. Leave the car here.
This pathway leads you directly to the water, in only five minutes. All you have to do is climb down a steep ridge to the waterway.
The Marte-Gigliola route was equipped and opened in 2015, a few days after an earthquake in Nepal killed four friends from the Alpine Rescue service. One of them was our close friend, Gigliola Mancinelli, who loved exploring the many gorges in this area. Although she died in a remote part of the world, her name, her smile and her memory will continue to ring out amid the tumultuous waters of the gorges and waterfalls of the Aspromonte area. To her, a simple, special woman, committed on a daily basis to various issues and highly professional in her dealings with others, we dedicate this gorge situated in “her” Aspromonte.
The Marte-Gigliola gorge is in the Campi di Bova locality, can be reached by means of an off-road vehicle but also on foot; it is only a few kilometres from the tarmacked road. It is best to raft the gorge between October and May, because in summer the water begins to grow scarcer and, therefore, the experience loses a lot of its charm.
In certain stretches the gorge is crevice, lost in the depth of the earth and hidden by the surrounding rocks, impossible to see unless you actually know where it is. Not only, but the shepherds and locals know very little about it, which makes it, if anything, even more evocative. It is no coincidence that it was “heard” thanks to the sound of the water when the snows thawed. When uncovering the gorge, besides the climbing equipment we employed, we were also “obliged” to use two enormous shears to clear the way to the top … into the wild.
Equipped in an explorative fashion with pins and multi-monti screws received from Aspromontewild, the gorge was examined in the months that followed by Giuseppe “Astigo” Antonini, one of the world’s greatest explorers of gorges and canyons. The exit is steep initially; in fact you have to climb up a friable, rocky ridge until you reach the saddle connecting you to the slope facing the entrance. The surrounding environment is typical of the Aspromonte, with brambles in and outside of the bed. Going up the ridge what is rather extraordinary are the panoramic views of the valleys upstream of Bova and Palizzi, and, of course, of the Ionian Sea, especially from the “athlete’s rest”near an oak tree at the itinerary’s highest waterfall, the Gigliola Falls.
Aspromontewild has also identified a hiking route along the ridge in the direction of the Mancinelli Peak, an interesting rocky outcrop “guarding” the valleys below.
Source: Guida Naturalistica della Calabria Greca– Alfonso Picone – Rubbettino Editore – Collana Parco Culturale della Calabria Greca.
Text and photos by Demy D’Arrigo.