Among all the places we love, a very special one for us is Gorropu. It’s the first hike I did with Massimo, more or less thirty years ago! I remember I had been impressed by this canyon, with its big white boulders and by my guide, too. At that time it was quite unusual to go hiking or trekking in Sardinia and a lot of places now quite popular were almost deserted. And this was a part of their appeal, I think. I hadn’t hiked much before and I remember thinking it was really hard, but it was like discovering a new world and I was too interested in it to give up. So, after that first time, I have walked among those rocks a lot more times. And I never get bored. The canyon can be reached by different places and I’m not able to decide the path I like most. One of the classic choices is a beautiful one running along the river Flumineddu. You can arrive at the starting point from Dorgali, going through the Oddoene valley with its vineyards. At the end of the dirt road there is a parking area where you can leave the car to go to Gorropu or to go to Tiscali too.
The path that brings you to the canyon is a quiet one with not much rising and beautiful views over the river. It has changed a little over the years due to some flooding events. Here it’s the water that shapes the landscape! High Common Alders provide shade during the hot summer days. The closer you get to the canyon the more visible the entrance becomes with two high limestone walls facing each other.
The entrance marks the point where the river flows underground, appearing here and there in little ponds or bigger pools. Nowadays you should pay a ticket and wear an helmet, where as thirty years ago no one was there. If you decide to go ahead here begins the tricky part of the hike. You have to find your way among the big boulders, some of them smoothed like marble by the hundreds of people passing before you. But it’s really fun to go up and down. Between the two walls you feel like a little ant and the whole canyon seems to tell a story of natural forces at work, with its rocky chaos.
Some fixed ropes help you to reach the heart of the canyon, with a little blue pool inside the mountain. The place is called “laghi in grotta”, lakes in a cave. Sometimes it’s possible to get in, but the conditions can change widely depending on seasons and rainfall. If you’re lucky the lake will have clean water and if you are courageous, you can have a refreshing cold dip. The first time I went there, we had lunch on the lake shore, sitting on little pebbles. Massimo brought a camp stove and he cooked pasta. And so it was here that we first shared lunch!
I always say I’m happy to go back to Gorropu. It always offers me something I like, whether it’s new or not, doesn’t truly matter. There is always something to discover, a new view, a little thing, some details that catch my eye. Or maybe it’s the atmosphere, so primordial, like if everything was just rock, water and natural elements at work, shaping the canyon day by day. Oh, I really think this is place not to be missed!