After Salzkammergut and East Tirol in Austria, and the Soca Valley in Slovenia, our group ventured over into North Eastern Italy to the South Tirol region. South Tirol is best known for the Dolomites, and wasting no time, we camped at their base the first night in the region.
The following day we drove through Cortina, the site of the 1956 winter Olympics, to put on the Boite. After two great laps on the Boite, we headed to Reinbach Falls to meet up with Harry again. Instead of finding Harry, we ran into several Italian friends who I had met last year in Norway. They were just finishing a lap on the falls and were heading to the Aurino, and invited us along for what ended up being a fantastic short section of water at high flow.
The next morning, we woke up at Reinbach Falls after sleeping in the parking lot nearby. Hoping that the sun would peek out for the first time in several days, we delayed our start until morning was nearly passed. Taking turns, we each ran the falls, taking pictures and video of each other.
Thomas and I had some pretty bad lines, Thomas landing upside down, and myself landing vertical but open. As I got out below, my back began to spasm from the weird landing angle. As we hiked up to the trail to our car, something snapped and I crumpled to the ground in pain. A severe back spasm would change the rest of my trip. That afternoon, riding some painkillers into a nap, the group headed off for another run on the Aurino. The next morning, as the group shoved off for the Gader, I again was stuck on shuttle duty. That evening, with the pain killers working and my back loosened from a day of moving around, I joined the group for a run down a class III gorge on the Rienz.
The following day we found ourselves back in Austria in the Oetz Valley, best known for its Wellerbruck section where the Sickline Extreme Race is held. At this time of the year that section is way too high, but we found ourselves great flows on the Venter Ache, Middle and Lower Otz, as well as the Sanna.
After 2 days spent enjoying the area, our trip was coming to a close with only one more day. We started the day in Germany, camping at the Loisach take-out. In the morning we put on and got a lap in before heading over to hopefully end our trip on either the Rißbach or the Walchen or both.
After an hour or two of driving, we found the Rißbach to be way too high; the Lower Walchen was also too high. Luckily, there is the upper Walchen which needs a lot of water… Driving further up the river we are surprised to find the upper section bone dry. It turns out all of the water was coming in at a tributary between the two. So, the trip ended. One last coffee with the group before our good byes were shared and Reiner drove us to Munich where we stayed with our friend Jonas Grunewald before our flight the following morning. An abrupt end… but so be it. The trip ended up being a complete blast. 29 sections of river in 14 days on the water. Boated in four countries. Got to share my 4th European season with the Glanz brothers. And got to show a friend from the US what boating in Europe is about. Can’t complain! Now… to plan the next trip.
We paddled 29 sections of river in 14 days on the water.