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Michele Angileri

Torrente └laco

The eastern side of the Serre range is covered with dense lush woods fed by abundant water of the area. Some streams that descend steeply towards the nearby Ionian Sea (only twenty kilometers from the watershed) have high flow rates, almost like rivers.

So those who call "river" the └laco torrent are not wrong. On the plateau, at 1000 m above sea level, the └laco is dammed to form Lake Lacina. All the water from the basin is used to feed the aqueducts of 88 municipalities in the provinces of Vibo Valentia and Catanzaro, and no water is given out to river bed, but a little downstream the └laco comes back to life thanks to numerous springs.
At a certain point the stream enters a gorge which is more difficult and demanding than what the numbers say. Waterfalls are not deep but water flow is too great to let you rappel into the flow. The gorge is less than 2 km long but the bed is made of very slippery rock and boulders so progression is slow and tiring. A little distraction, a wrong movement, a stone or a trunk that shifts slightly under your feet... and you fall, risking to get very hurt.

The gorge itself is open and sunny, a splendid piece of Calabria covered by lush woods that reoccupied a land that was cultivated until a few decades ago, erasing the network of paths that connected farm grounds and making unuseful any attempt to reduce the effort of progression by passing on the banks.
The beauty of the └laco must be enjoyed on the boulders of riverbed.

Name Torrente └laco
Area Calabria
Nearest village San S˛stene
Elevation loss 270 m
Length 1600 m
Highest cascade 18 m
Rock Granite
Rating4
Shuttle Advisable
Explored by Natale Amato, Enrico Reale, Francesco Mangiola, Vincenzo Coluccio, Enzo Cristina, Luca Mancuso; June 20th 2021

 

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Downstream of the gorge, the └laco is frequented by bathers from the nearby San S˛stene village. The more enterprising inhabitants of the area reach the └laco waterfalls from below, going up the valley, or from above, via routes now forgotten but once frequented by farmers and woodcutters. Some locals claim to have traveled the entire gorge, uphill or downhill, obviously bypassing the waterfalls by exposed, hidden passages and dangerous climbs.
In summer of 2011 I did a reconnaissance on the Ionian side of the Serre, locating some canyoning routes to explore. Among these was the └laco but then I didn't return in the area, preferring to explore canyons closer to home. The first descent of the └laco canyoning-style was made 10 years later by local canyoneers.

Photos by Michele Angileri and Domenico Riga

Copyright © 2002- Michele Angileri. All rights reserved.