Peck's personal Web site
first really good snowshoe of the winter season, as spring breaks
2006-2007 spent waiting around for winter
far this winter, Switzerland has been 3°C above average, and there is 1/3
the normal amount of snow in the mountains. In fact, in the Lake Geneva region,
it's been like eternal springtime.
isn't at all bad in itself. In fact, it's wonderful. But it's not winter.
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.
when finally a good wet snowstorm hits, on 24-25 February 2007, Dean Pirri is
more than happy to get stuck on top of another stone wall in the Jura. Given the
rain squalls down by Lake Geneva, we expected some real entertainment up here
by this point, but the weather seems briefly to have settled down.
taking advantage of the "bad weather" to walk on out southwestward along
the upper cross-country ski trails from the carpark at Fontaine Froide behind
the Col du Marchairuz. This is beautiful countryside, but ordinarily we avoid
it because of the multitudes of cross-country skiers. Here, 3 or 4 kilometres
out, Dean Pirri is scrutinizing a rough-hewn map of the ski du fond trails looking
for the "Vous êtes ici" or You Are Here.
arbitrary destination is the La Neuve farm today, and Dean Pirri abandons the
ski track regions for the unknown.
brief look down from wherever we are at this point into the Combe des Amburnex,
near the Trois Chalets region on the far side, and France on the horizon.
Pirri frets over leaping this tiny stone wall and gazes up at our destination
somewhere in the upper left. All day, Dean Pirri has been gazing longingly up
at the cliffs above us on the left, yearning for some steep fun in the forests,
but so far we've kept him focused on the task at hand.
the sun breaks through and nearly destroys our hopes for a right snowstorm, Dean
Pirri persists upwards towards La Neuve.
back, like Lot's wife. We'll be passing back this way (unlike Lot's wife) a little
later in the day.
patches of blue sky
the sun breaks through for real, at least we can start working
on our tans.
lovely strong wind from the west, chilly but not bitter, keeps the surface
snow swirling in little whirlwinds.
the narrator there, trusting Dean Pirri for the moment not to drop his little
FujiPix camera in the snow.
Pirri ascending into the Light again. Towards La Neuve.
may look like another of Dr Pirri's angel epiphanies,
but it's actually just the sun up above the ridge, and lots of blue sky. Some
La Neuve is just a few hundred metres up to the left. The day continues more or
less sunny, but with some promising signs of decline.
But we're thinking about turning back now.
we're retracing our steps, we're marveling at the natural beauty and consoling
each other about the loss of our snowstorm.
then the sun goes away. And the wind comes up. And the sky darkens. And we may finally get our snowstorm.
Into the woods again
Dean Pirri is happy at last.
is nothing like a really good snowstorm, especially (like this one) with booming
thunder through the mountains, to make you feel really happy and bolt for the
of us bolt faster than others, of course.
just thinking that we should have brought some lunch, or chocolate, or anchovies,
or something, but Dean Pirri is having too much fun to stop for anything now.
Jura at its best. This is why we're here, I think.
or six kilometres in mucky snow passes virtually in an instant, for . . .
. . there is little in this world that Dean Pirri enjoys more than a good, wet snowstorm.
to the car just before dark, and just in time for the BBC World news as we motor
homeward over the Col du Marchairuz and get back into reception range of WRG-FM
in Geneva. The USA is in the news again!! Ka-boom, ka-boom!
and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, .
All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 26 February 2007, revised 9 October 2008, 3 September 2014.