Canyoning – For Fun This Time
It’s been a year and a half since the time I traveled to Carrara, Italy to film the episode, “The Climb.” I’m really lucky to be able to take my brother and his new bride to experience a truly unique part of Tuscany – scaling cliffs of marble and water through one of the largest rock faces located in this region of Italy!
Last time I was here we had two (very tight) days to film in weather that was two months (plus) past-season. Since it was well into the fall/winter seasons, we contended with high, fast and freezing water most of those days. Because of the conditions, we weren’t able to slide down the last “gem” of the run: a naturally-forming 40-foot, completely vertical rock slide that emptied out into a crystal – clear blue pool at the bottom (note to self: careful to not get sucked back under the waterfall, it’s pretty powerful) – and for this I have to admit, I was most grateful! The “chute” looked too daunting and certainly out of what I thought I could ever be mentally prepared for!
Fast-forward to NOW: my brother and his wife ask if I would call my (now) friends and see if we could spend one day canyoning in Tuscany. Almost too easily, Simone (my Italian guide friend) obliged and before I knew it, I was back in his truck on the same winding roads leading up to the white-marbled Carrara rock faces that I had traveled less than two years before. When I agreed to call Simone, it never occurred to me that the last “leg” of this experience — THE “chute” — would actually be traversable.
Returning to the canyon, I remembered that very specific bend in the river – the kind of bend that almost says, “Careful, you’ve completed all that you are comfortable with – when you round the corner, a new challenge awaits…”. Sure enough, the chute was ready to take on four new canyoners – and certainly ONE who was very afraid!
Well, there’s no way but DOWN from here, so away we went! My brother’s wife and I insisted that he – being the man – needed to go first! So, arms crossed and legs straight, he disappeared down the rock face in a swirling wash of white water and was thrilled when he got to the bottom: “That was AWESOME!” came a shout from below the all-vertical 40-foot drop!
I was next.
I’m pretty sure something along the lines of, “Simone, I didn’t sign a release,” was about all I could push out of my mouth. Before I knew it, I was plunged into the water at the end of the slide, coming up for air in the freezing water below. The ride was over before I knew it started! Was I glad I did it? YES. Would I do it again? DEBATABLE…but I had a great day!