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An oasis of beauty and history, the island of Corsica thrusts upward into the sky its jagged ridges and soaring peaks that resemble the Sierra Nevada of California. But Corsica also enchants its visitors with quaint old villages precariously perched on mountain sides, fine wines and cheeses aged in caves, and a culture of wonderful unique people. The sights of stone bridges, Medieval ruins, and the smell of traditional smoked meats, like coppa, await you around every corner on the narrow winding roads of Corsica! Perhaps the most alluring aspect of Corsica, are its views of the Mediterranean Sea. The coastline varies from sandy beaches to rocky escarpments but mountain peaks are always within sight of the ocean.

For paddlers, Corsica is paradise. The center of Corsica is a masterpiece of sculpted granite whose veins become stream beds that cradle falling snow, then later melt and propel water toward the Sea into committing and deep canyons below. Corsica is geographically diverse; the lush forests of the high ground await the nourishment of melting snow and rain, while a rocky desert landscape rests below. Up high, the rivers have little patience as they fling water over cascades, between walls, and into smooth bedrock slides, but they quickly wind into rapids choked with huge smooth boulders and sieves. The boulders continually become smaller and smaller as they tumble toward the sea.

My trip to Corsica started in Italy, where we flew in and rented a car. We spent 2 amazing days in Tuscany, visiting Medieval cities and castles. We caught a ferry from Livorno to Bastia on Corsica’s Eastern coast, catching a view of Elba on the way over. A week in Corsica is enough, but barely. It is also possible to fly into France and take the ferries from there. American paddlers should consider flying straight into the island if you have limited time. The Ferry schedules are not flexible and the total travel time is lengthy from mainland Europe. If there is time to visit Italy or France, I highly recommend the experience! Italy’s famous region of Tuscany is very close and the Leaning Tower of Pisa is a short drive or train ride from the Port of Livorno!

Our trip was back in March…. I almost didn’t write this article at all. There are a couple reasons… Part of me wants to keep Corsica a secret! But to anyone who creeks, Corsica is far from that! The most famous and well known drops in Corsica we quickly ran without photos and our only memory is in our hearts and minds (our camera battery died on the Travo and tragically, also on Rizzanese). In a way, it seems appropriate. My husband and I were there in March before the European creeking crowds arrived. We were fortunate enough to catch the last of the water on an early Spring melt, paddle 5 rivers, and most importantly, get one of the last runs on the Rizzanese River, a Corsican gem. That was our goal, and it turned out to be our favorite river in Corsica. Unfortunately, it will be de-watered the next time we get back to the island. There were 3 classic waterfalls over 20 feet, and numerous class IV+ drops on this river, never to be paddled again, after this summer. It was our sad goodbye to the Rizzanese!



This trip to Corsica will not be my last, as I feel allured by the sampling of what I experienced. We must go back and paddle more streams there. I think, as a destination for couples who paddle, Corsica ranks high on the list. It is beautiful, romantic, and has adventure around every corner!