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Michele Angileri

Vallone del Rago

15,000 years ago on the Pollino range there were glaciers, and lots and lots of snow that in summer gave rise to rivers that went down the steep slopes and rocky walls carving gorges. Once the ice age ended, the rivers became seasonal torrents, thus losing much of their erosive power, and the gorges began to fill with boulders fallen from the walls, and vegetation began to grow in the bottom of canyons.

In the Rago Valley we can see the effects of the different phases of this geological history: the erosion that initially sculpted the canyon, the boulders that arrived later, rounded by the floods, the forest that took over the riverbed and the slopes. In recent decades, man has also contributed to the processes of filling the canyon by pouring into it part of the excavation material from tunnels and service roads of the Autostrada del Sole (today "Mediterranean Motorway"), which crosses the Vallone del Rago with one of its highest viaducts.

Name Vallone del Rago
Area Calabria
Nearest village Morano Calabro
Elevation loss 180 m
Length 1 km
Highest cascade 10 m
Rock Limestone
Shuttle Needed
Explored by Michele Angileri, Giuseppe Viggiani; August 12th 2023


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I remember ...

I passed over that viaduct 30 times a year, for 40 years, often taking a quick look beyond the protective barriers, and always that valley had looked too wide and vegetated to be interesting as a canyoning route. Maybe the upper part, upstream the service road built during the construction of the viaduct ... But no: even driving along the service road (while the Rago Viaduct was being renovated) the valley looked the same, wide and wooded.
And when in early 2000s Stefano Rossi and friends told of their canyoning trip to Rago valley the impression become certainty ...

In August 2023, however, while I was passing for the umpteenth time on the Rago Viaduct, the sun illuminated for a moment a jet of water downstream the service road: a waterfall! I never noticed that before, I even thought the valley was completely dry in summer ... For the first time I thought it might be worth descending the Rago canyoning style, also because I had never done a hike through that area.

I hadn't heard from Stefano for many years and the Rago was a good excuse to call an old friend ... so I did. We talked about our lives in the past years and I also asked him about the descent of the Rago he had done 20 years earlier. That wasn't a descent, he told: we went up the valley for a while from Morano plain, and it looked uninteresting. Do you think we were wrong?.
No, Stefano, I don't think so ... but my purpose is to spend a day toiling in the wilderness, preferably in a place I've never been. Of course, if the place turns out to be an interesting gorge... it's better, but it's not necessary!

And in the end it went as I had imagined: the valley turned out to be of little canyoning interest but the places were beautiful and the effort was sportingly relaxing and satisfying.

Copyright © 2002- Michele Angileri. All rights reserved.