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This was a trip I will never forget. I visited Italy once in high school and have wanted to return ever since I left. To be able to return, and this time visit the mountainous regions and the whitewater, was truly amazing. This trip started out as an idea of Daniel Brasuell’s, as most of our trips do. I’m so fortunate that he plans these awesome trips and then lets me tag along!

The trip started off with a fantastic reception. As soon as we arrived, we drove to Carcare where Daniel’s parents and about 50 relatives were waiting with a feast. It was great to feel so welcome right away. The next morning, with our bellies full of pasta, we drove to the Val Sesia, which would be our first river canyon.
Overall, we paddled 15 different sections of river over a 12-day trip. Highly recommended! Every new canyon was like a miniature Yosemite Valley. We quickly decided that the Europeans are humoring us by visiting California.
My most memorable day was when we headed to the Ribo river in Switzerland. This river is well known for the 50-ft waterfall that is halfway down and we were all both nervous and excited, trying to decide if we wanted to run it. We got out to scout the falls from a bridge above the river and Daniel got down on one knee and pulled a diamond ring from his pfd. I was so surprised! Of course I said yes, though I then gave the ring back so he could clip it back into his pfd while we both paddled the falls. I couldn’t have imagined a better proposal!

Now we are home. Back to our normal lives with just the memories of the exciting rivers, refreshing gelato, and great friendships. However, the diamond ring stays with me as a souvenir and is an excellent reminder of what a fantastic trip we had. I can’t wait for our next one! ~Diane Gaydos