Dwight Peck's personal Web site

Lac de Tanay and thereabouts

The Lac de Tanay (or variously on the maps and trailsigns: "Taney") hides out at about a mile high over the Lake of Geneva (or variously on the maps and local languages: "Lac Léman" or "Genfersee"), and very likely you've never heard of it.

You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

We came here in November 2006 and had such a fine time that, now, we're back in December 2007.

We're leaving old Hansie the Volkswagen late in the day at the trailhead at Le Flon (1050m), above Miex (970m), way above Vouvry (387m) on the Rhône valley floor at the southeastern end of Lake Geneva (or Lac Léman, or Genfersee), and heading up to the right. Monsieur our host from the P'tite Auberge has come down in his strange tracked vehicle to haul his family and the groceries and our backpacks up the hill, so we're off on foot for the Col de Taney (1440m) and then down to the Lac de Taney.

As darkness descended upon us, Monsieur got out the marvelous tracked vehicle and came down to fetch Kristin as well, and as we straggle up to the front door of the P'tite Auberge (1415m) at about 17h35, it's got a wonderful, cheery, almost Christmasy look to it.

And Kristin's got our favorite table and all the newspapers laid out.

The evening of 7 December 2007 in the small but cheery P'tite Auberge at the Lac de Tanay. Grateful for that fire on the hearth.

And our favorite room is free for us as well.

Duelling marmottes.
Kristin loves nothing so much as a marmotte. Wikipedia says, "Marmots are members of the genus Marmota, in the rodent family Sciuridae (squirrels). Marmots are generally large ground squirrels. Those most often referred to as marmots tend to live in mountainous areas such as the Sierra Nevada in the United States, the European Alps, and Northern Canada. . . . Most marmots are highly social, and use loud whistles to communicate with one another, especially when alarmed. . . . The name marmot comes from French marmotte, from Old French marmotan, marmontaine, from Old Franco-Provençal, from Low Latin mures montani "mountain mouse", from Latin mures monti, from Classical Latin mures alpini "Alps mouse"."

The next morning, after a significant snowiness. The strange tracked vehicle that goes anywhere (in winter - in summer Monsieur puts wheels on it instead of the tracks and also goes anywhere).

Breakfast before our hike -- more than you, your best friend, and your entire graduating class could eat before noon. No steaming hot homemade bread today, as last year, but that showed up the next day, Sunday morning, so perhaps it's a weekend thing. Both last year and this year, it turned out to be the best bread ever made.

A peek out at today's destination, that col up in the middle, above the farm of Les Crosses (1738m). Aside from the fantastic dinners at the P'tite Auberge, we're here mainly to see the ibex (or bouquetins) -- it's all a nature reserve here -- and our host tells us that they've moved over from the mountains on the left, where we saw them last year, to the mountains on the right.

Here's the view from the auberge on the other side. We feel that we've picked the right side of the valley to walk up today.

The wooden marmot gives us a chilly sendoff.

We're off. Well, just waiting for Kristin, and then we're off.

Our whole hike for today in preview, from the village of Tanay.

But the way through town is guarded by a dog, which, luckily, yielded to the argument of skipoles.

Kristin negotiating the fallen tree across the path. Much better than I did. Suppleness counts.

Les Jumelles ("The Twins") dominate the horizon at this point.

Above us, on the Alamon (1900m), ibex rule. We're both ibex freaks, and the view with our host's 7x42 binoculars was a great deal more intimate than this.

The Jumelles before us. The Twins look like twins from this angle, but when seen from other directions, e.g., from Dent d'Oche to the west, they're nothing like. One is all pointy whilst the other runs off in a long ridgeline.

Our path as the fog rises and enshrouds us, then falls or dissipates and liberates us to the sun, then rises again, and enshrouds us. Like life.

Kristin on the mountain road to the Les Crosses farm

The views towards the Cornettes de Bise, not yet free of the fog. We'll come back to this.

Les Jumelles

Ooops, an accident. Clumsy old fellow was trying to show off his fancy footwork, and came a cropper (literally to fall over the front of your horse whilst hunting, but with no horses here, snowshoes will do.)

Chroist! Snow everywhere.

Fog's down for the moment, and our old favorite, the Cornettes de Bise (2433m), peaks out at the western end of the valley.

Les Jumelles, and the farm of Les Crosses

We're hoping for some exceptional views of the ibex. Monsieur our host has lent us his 7x42 jumelles, or binoculars, and we're ready.

Kristin as the fog comes up again

Kristin at the farm of Les Crosses (1738m)

A short break to check out the equipment

Kristin working on the snowshoe fixtures, for comfort's sake. There are pipes hanging out of the stable there, probably a methane fart-exhaust.

Narrator viewing Leysin in the distance

Ooooh, problems with the snowshoe fittings.

Kristin sprinting upwards in her search for the ibex.

The pass, at about 2000m. No ibex in sight, in this direction.

But lots of ibex back over this way

Put your 7x42 binoculars on and the little fellows leap out at you -- this old Fuji 3x zoom doesn't quite capture the true splendor of the wildlife lurking hereabouts.

Across the Rhône valley, the Dents de Morcles and the Muveran in the distance

The SATOM plant in the Rhône valley (Société anonyme pour le traitement des ordures ménagères du haut bassin lémanique et de la vallée inférieure du Rhône), turning household garbage into lovely electricity ("production annuelle d'électricité de plus de 100GWh").

We can faintly hear, in the distance, the dinner gong ringing out.

So we're downwarding in a hurry, with the Les Crosses farm reappearing below us.

There are concerns that, because we ate up so much of the magret de canard last night, there might not be enough left in the larders for tonight.

That's solved - Kristin has come to a decision. We'll have the fondue fromage with local herbs in it.

We're agreed on that much, at least -- cheese fondue with the local herbs in it. It turned out to be wonderful. Nothing goes wrong at the P'tite Auberge. But in this photo, Kristin's ears are getting cold.

Ibex observing our descent, and caring neither a jot nor a tittle.

Ibex jaunting nearby us. As if laughing at us, or ignoring us.

The Lac de Tanay below us as we head fondueward.

Squirming under fallen trees is not as easy as it once was . . . .

. . . but this guy understands us.

La P'tite Auberge is the only inn at the Lac de Tanay (of three in the summer months) that is open all year round. The Web site is http://www.lactanay.ch, and the telephone number +41 (0)24 481 10 40. The rooms are (charmingly) rustic and inexpensive, Madame and Monsieur are warmly welcoming, Madame the Chef is an artiste, and the whole town is peaceful and quiet, indeed deserted.


It's the next morning and we're off for a walk around the lake before plodding back down to the trailhead.

"Are you coming, or not?"

The snowy walk around the Lake of Tanay

My advice to amateur photographers: Don't breathe out before snapping the wintry photo.

Kristin, coy, at the top of the cliffs on the northern side of the lake.

A farmy sort of thing (1427m) at the far end of the Lac de Tanay.

The far end (the unvillagey end) of the lake

Waterworks along the lakeside

Kristin reviewing protected-area conservation information, committing it all to memory, such as it is, before leaving the Col de Tanay (1440m) and skidding uncertainly down the icy-ish roadway to the Le Flon trailhead.

Fritzy the Volkswagen has been waiting for us, and it's just been cold rain down here all weekend. Kristin's bound for Boston after this, alas.


Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 28 December 2007, revised 11 April 2013.


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