Acquatrek/River walking

This year summer kicked in with very high temperatures so unless you want to get your brain fried under the scorching sun there’s a better option for all of you who can’t stay away from the Sardinian mountains even in the hottest season and it’s called (here at least) ACQUATREK.

So first of all we should talk about what acquatrek is. Well, the name itself explains it as we are talking about a single or multi day trek that follows a creek or a river but instead of avoiding getting wet (as you would probably do in winter) you just simply walk, jump, swim and slide in the river stream.

No ropes, no harness, no carabiners and no abseiling – only peaceful a joyful walking in the heart of the mountain!

You can definitely forget about route finding problems as you will be following the river wherever it goes

You might think that Sardinia is not the land of rivers but approximately in the last 10 years a lot of “new” water outdoor activities have been explored such as canyoning and coasteering together with the more widespread rappeling and climbing which makes this land a paradise for everyone who prefers finding a sort of syntony with nature and its various breathtaking forms.

There’s still a lot to explore about these possible routes (and don’t forget that it is very likely that their flow undergoes a serious reduction during the hottest months) so this time I’ll show you two rivers (actually one is the tributary of the other) from the same area.

The first one I vistited is called Su Fruscu in the mountain range of Gennargentu and it flows into one of the longest rivers in Sardinia called Flumendosa. As a matter of fact one could opt for a joined acquatrek which would last four days following up both streams.

This is where Riu Su Fruscu (in the bottom) and Flumendosa join forces

One of my favourite aspect of acquatrek is how essential it is. By essential I mean that you can’t bring your usual 60l rucksack with all the tiny bags and pockets. Whatever you need for a couple of days must fit in 2 waterproof bins (also known as canyon kegs) placed in a canyoning pack (with good drainage so you don’t have to lift tons of water every time you come out of the creek).

But let me show you what I mean by essential:

Obviously you’ll want to add some clothes and food but basically this is everything you manage to carry in your kegs.
By the way if you prefer using dry bags instead of the kegs they did work for some of us so it’s really up to you.
The profound intimacy of the elements where the trees seem to have the same consistency of the rocks and the rocks look like being hugged by the roots of ageless trees
But as a matter of fact some things won’t last forever. Mouflons are not easy to spot being extremely cautious but it is truly a breathtaking view when you manage to bump into a herd somewhere in the mountains.

Anyways between these deep thoughts about life and death and eternity you might as well JUMP!!! 🙂
Domus de janas (pre – nuragic chamber tomb from about 3000 BC) just by the riverbed. Finding this tomb was a particularly uplifting feeling for me as it somehow makes you feel following the footsteps of some far gone ancestors. (Not that I want to follow them to the tomb yet… )
At the camp – time to take off all the wet suits, boots and backpacks (the one with holes so water can flow out once you get out of the water) – and put on the dry ones!

And now here we are with the second acquatrek of this summer following the second longest river in Sardinia called Flumendosa. This route has been described as a 3-day trek but not having enough time we decided to set off for the last 2 stages (approx 25 km).

Getting used to having options while moving forward
And you never know what’s expecting you right after the corner
River riding (I guess…)
While we were walking along the river we found some huge bridges with gigantic pillars and some parts which were left there cause nobody gives a shit… And we found a ball floating in the river.
This seemed the most logical thing to do given the circumstances!
Walking in the river all day long is so relaxing that you realize how tired you are only when you stop for the night and set up camp – which in my case risulted in a straight 10 hour long sleep!

I wish I could tell you what the real essence of walking in a river is. I mean it’s not about endurance or having an aim in front of you, something to reach. I guess when they say it’s not the destination but the journey this is what they meant. Imagine being surrounded by mountains with their harsh walls while you are constantly lifted by water, the smell of the mediterranean scrubland stimulating your olfaction and a playground making you smile like you were a kid again.

Sometimes the riverbed gets narrower and rockier and small waterfalls cross your path (sorry for the waterdrops but it’s quite difficult to avoid them in a river)
Guess acquatrek is not the only outdoor activity we discovered this time. Ladies and gentlemen let me introduce you to deep water river climbing
Sa Stiddiosa – one of the most famous Sardinian waterfalls. We found this stunning place on the second day only a couple of hours before the end of the trek.

Acquatrek – which I suppose we may also call “river walking” – is an emerging outdoor activity which is particularly fun and relaxing and considering the temperature of the river in summer, staying in the water for a long time will ease your walk.

Not much has been written or published about river walking in Sardinia so far except for this guidebook (available only in Italian) I got the info from with 10 detailed descriptions of various rivers and creeks.

I’ll be around though so visit my fb page and I’ll be happy to answer your questions as soon as I can!

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