“Do we go for the easy track?” - “No way, let’s try the medium-level” – “With or without a guide?” – “With!” – “Or better not?” – “I heard that someone got lost along the way” – “My mother told me it’s pretty difficult” – “My cousin said the opposite” – “How is that possible?” – “Which kind of shoes?” – “Someone is wrong”. Not surprisingly, 11 people do not easily find a deal. However, on Friday we all gather at the meeting point with a big smile and the cars overwhelmed by bags, towels, lights, air matrass and tents claiming “2 seconds” to get fixed (and the same amount of hours to disassemble). Anyway, after an ice cream break, four vehicles are lining up along the road 125, happy to drive for 183 kilometers to get to the Ghenna Silana trail, the way to reach the biggest canyon in Europe, the fascinating Gola di Gorropu.
Experiencing summer storms from a camping tent
It is 7 a.m. when the alarm clock rings and we gather in front of the tents. We all share the same feeling of sleeplessly, due to a heavy storm that hit the campsite at night. Rain was falling so heavy to cover any other sound, including our voices discussing the logistics of an eventual getaway. Although the rain was as intermittent as our sleep, we are still motivated to go ahead with the exploration. Accordingly, quick showers, professional cloth, well-conceived bags, sandwiches and significant supply of fruits and water: now we are ready to experience the Ghenna Silana trail, with its 4 kilometers of downhill adventure.
Along the Ghenna Silana track
There is an ANAS station (looking more like a house) telling you that you are arrived. This is the place where you park, and get ruffled if the wind blows like today. At first glance you already notice the landscape’s magnificence: the eyes follow the green, slouchy profile of Supramonte, as it is called the mountainous complex lying northeast of the Gennargentu massif until the Gulf of Orosei, along the eastern coast of Sardinia, encompassing the land of small villages such as Orgosolo, Urzulei, Oliena, Dorgali e Baunei. Genna Silana is one of the various trails leading to the Gorropu gorge: people say this is the most beautiful in terms of landscape, and quite easy for all those with small experience.
The Genna Silana path covers 4 kilometers – about one hour and a half – along a track easy to detect although not well-defined, and the altitude is around 650 meters. The way, where trekkers experience the shadow of holm oaks and junipers as well as millennial forest trees and breathtaking views, relevels a continuously changing landscape, made up by dense forest, stony ground, rocky stairs, and suggestive evidences of the human presence such as the barracos, the traditional huts, then cortes, cumbulas and bachiles to safeguard animals, and historical monuments of the Sardinian tradition such as nuraghe and tombe dei giganti harmonically integrated into the nature.
In the Gorropu gorge
After one hour and a half walking, we finally reach the bottom, where the wind reduces and you can refresh in the small puddles spread around the valley. Few meters ahead, it stands the entrance of the Gorropu golge: a spectacular monument craved by the nature, located at the border between Urzulei and Orgosolo. A tongue of land of 1.5 km length and nearly 1000 m above the sea level, shaped by the slow, endless erosion made by the Rio Flumineddu river. Gorropu consists of a natural corridor engraved between two limestone cliffs whose distance, at the bottom, reduces to appear just 4-5 meters. A magical picture that make you think about the immensity of nature. This is the time to split and get lost. Each of us with its personal, slightly intimate, way of experience the unique view from this new window overlooking the world.
Supramonte seen from the Jeep
In the afternoon we start planning the climb back up, and the group splits up: there are those who want to repeat the same trail backward, and those who go for the Jeep ( 10€ ). The driver is Roberto, a slender and tanned guy who has been exploring Supramonte’s tracks since he was a child: no direction, nor distance, animal, rock or plant is a secret for him. After his studies in economics between Cagliari and Florence, he moved back to his hometown, Tortolì, where today combines his main job with the seasonal role of tourist guide. His gazeebo is located just in front of the gorge’s entrance, and there visitors find information and optional excursion services. After nearly 30 minutes of sharp bends bordering the mountain, interrupted by spectacular views, Supramonte is behind us. It appears as a rarefied image, slightly wispy, unsubstantial. Like a sort of a vision, ephemeral and extraordinary.
[Photocredit: "The group of the Eleven"]
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