|Stretch:||Above the D84 Bridge|
|Difficulty:||Class IV to IV+|
|Flows:||~200-500 cfs (no gauge)|
|Gradient:||157.5 fpm average|
|Put-in:||Turnoff with trail leading down 3 km up D84 from take-out|
|Take-out:||D84 bridge over the river (above the lake)|
|Shuttle:||3.0 km on D84|
|Season:||Spring from snowmelt/rain|
|Featured in Video A Wet State #73, Kayak Session's Guide and in A Wet State's contribution to World Kayak's Video Guide|
And a huge thanks to Prijon for the boats they lent us!
The Upper Golo was the last river I got to do, and was only made possible by some heavy rains the last day of our trip. We had driven by the section a few days earlier to find it very low. Even as we drove back out on the last day, I had my doubts about if it would be high enough to enjoy or if we would have a somewhat scrappy experience. As it turned out we had a healthy amount of water, what I am told folks would actually consider on the high side. I felt that it was fairly ideal, nothing felt overly pushy, and eddies were still plentiful between the rapids. Perhaps one or two seams were a little meaner than normal. But in all, it felt perfect.
In my mind though, despite the 6 or so super fun rapids that Upper Golo has to offer, the main draw for the river is scenery. The river felt reminiscent of California High Sierra, as if we were on Fordyce Creek or something. The granite surrounding you, both at the river/gorge level and the mountains rising around you. At times, that granite tightens down to mere feet across. In all, I would say this was one of my favorite runs from our trip, and I hope one day I get the chance to boat it again.
The night after the river, we headed back to Corte to eat dinner with the Italian Hammer Crew before Rok drove me over the mountains to Ajaccio and dropped me off around 1 am. After 3 hours (and only 30 minutes of sleep) in my sleeping back on the curb of the small locked airport, the doors opened and I was able to go inside and use the restroom. To my surprise, what I thought had been a pesky mosquito while I was sleeping must have been something meaner as my eye lid was swollen up as if I had been in a fight. I think it was partially due to this reason that the TSA agent was sure that my carabineers were actually brass knuckles and confiscated all of them. Damn…
The final story is from my connection in Paris. From Corsica the flight out (assuming you can fly out as you can’t fly in with boats and rent a big car… so you need friends to do that part of the logistics for you) is to Orly airport on the far side of Paris from Charles de Gaul. So with only 3 hours between flights, I had to wait for my bags to come out in Orly, wait for the bus to the other airport… which of course was 20 minutes late for a 45 minutes (without traffic) drive to Charles de Gaul. Luckily there was no traffic. But as I go to exit the bus at the first gate, the one I arrived in, the bus driver told me I wanted terminal 1 for my flight and that it was the last stop. Now 15 minutes later (and only 10 minutes before the 1 hour check in cut-off) I arrived at the gate and began to spring around the gate looking for my check in counter… only to find out that I wanted to be at the terminal I had attempted to exit at. So I hop on another bus and arrive at the hour cut off for check in. Only, the hall I needed to walk down to get to the counter was closed due to a bomb scare. So I start asking the 300 people all milling around if there was a way around it. Lucky for me a custodian was also stuck in the crowd and told me to go down a different hall, down some stairs, through a parking lot, over a small wall, through the rental car area, up another set of stairs, and down another hall to get around the blockage. So… as I arrive at the check-in counter 20 minutes after the hour cut off the lady at the counter looks at me pouring sweat and freshly limping due to my sprained ankle “popping” (1.5 months later it is still hobbling me). And tells me she will have to call it in. To my fortune she said I could still proceed. However my flight was boarding and my gate was separate from the terminal and I would have to catch a small tram out to it (in addition to having to pass through immigration). So, to cut through the suspense… after much more sprinting through the airport I got to my gate and boarded the plane second from last… and plopped my tired body in a seat… shirt soaked through, hair dripping, and smelling my finest for the 12 hour flight home.
Finally, I apologzie for all of the GoPro and other video captures that I am pawning off as photos here... we tended to go fast on the water (putting on after 4 pm every day) and focused on taking video when we did hop out. Thanks to Paul Gamache for his contributions of photos as well as Darin McQuoid for his contribution of video that I took shots from.
- Put-in (IV). To good size holes best run down the far right.
Blind Hole #1 (IV). Downstream a little ways is a good size hole on a blind right turn.
- First Scout (IV+). The first big rapid occurs on an S-turn. Scout on the right. You want to be a little left on the lead in as the bottom ledge moves you hard right. Finish center. Things mellow for bit.
- Swimmer’s Hole (IV). A blind twisty drop leads to a hole that packs a punch as one member of our team found out. Stay right down the whole rapid. This is the start of the crux section.
Right Wall (IV). Just downstream scout left. The easier line is down the right, boofing the right wall. There is a challenge line in the left slot, but it is less pretty. Exit anywhere at the bottom ledge.
- Boof into the S-turn (IV+). Boof far left on the first ledge, at our flow the hole was super mean. At lower flow it is much friendlier. Exit down the ramp into the hole and around the corner where a pool awaits. This start to mellow out again.
- Cool Ledges (III+ to IV). A series of cool ledges or slides, we ran down the right for just about all of them, except where obvious.
- Bridge Gorge (IV-). When you see the gorge with the foot bridge over it, head far far right for a mellow slide. It is really only class III… but if you mess it up the hole on the left was a bad one. Just downstream the Calasima comes in on river left and you have one last rapid.
Take-out Rapid (IV to IV+). We started right of center and were able to boof a cool flake in the middle before heading left for the final moves. You can scout this one from take-out.
Directions: Use the GPS locations to get yourself to put-in and take-out… I wasn’t driving most days and do not know enough of the directions to be useful.
Take-out: A few km above the lake on the Golo, at the bridge on D43 over the Golo.
Put-in: Continue up another 3.0 km to the large turn-out on the right with the trail leading down to the bridge over the river. The trail is only a few hundred meters long. There is also a higher put-in though I do not know those logistics
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