Dwight Peck's personal Web site

Winter 2001-2002


Grand Cunay: renewed search for the angels

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.

Having shared a New Year's Day epiphany on Grand Cunay, when the angel appeared to Dr Pirri but remained inexplicably mute, Pirri and Peck experienced a strange listlessness and vague sense of loss (not noticed by their friends and relations, since listlessness and, especially, vagueness are not uncommon in these parts).

Thus on 23 February 2002 Drs Pirri and Peck went back to Grand Cunay to try and find the angel again, and this time to ask some pointed questions about life and whatnot. In the weather, as it turned out, they could scarcely find themselves, but one could sense the angel hovering about still.

Reassuring words in a winter storm

In an exuberant mood, Mr Pirri, an hour out from the Col du Marchairuz trailhead, prepares to lead the party into serious angel country around Grand Cunay. But the weather is not cooperating so far.

Former President Pirri leads the party to the farm building atop the first Grand Cunay (1567m) in rather a brisk wind. It was not too far from here that the New Year's Day angel appeared, so stay alert.

Behind us, however, another party tags along in our track up the Grand Cunay, perhaps trying to overtake us and dissuade the angel from speaking frankly on key topics, before we even get an opportunity to ask.

Mr Peck easily outdistances the pursuing party up the ridge, casting a glance about in all directions for that distinctive green angel glow.

No angels yet. A dash over to the Grand Cunay farm to check in the stables and lofts. Nothing.

The pursuing party, getting fairly chilly by this time, give it up and bolt for home. Good riddance. But, finding no angels on top of the first Grand Cunay summit . . .

Dr Pirri darts off for the second Grand Cunay (1603m), before his more sensible companion can restrain him.

Angels, indeed B-52s or Enron football stadiums, could be lurking up there in the storm, just beyond the limit of vision, always drawing us onward, and upward.

Dr Peck says "This is not an angel. This is a tree. I'll know the angel when I see it."

Jura shrubbery

Almost to the top of it, very windy, no angels

The top is in sight. The angels aren't.

On top of the second part of Grand Cunay, both distraught seekers of the divine fight back their tears and prepare to give it up for another week, vowing to come back again for as long as it takes.

And thus we plunge downward again, in the wrong direction, however.

Dr Pirri prancing amongst the cornices

And in fairly mooshy show, Joe Pirri leads off the northeast side of Grand Cunay in the direction of Mont Tendre.

A warning sign!

Warnings be damned. Dr Pirri approaches too closely, peers in, predictably trips and falls down, and almost joins the angel way down there. [More here]

But, having survived that big karst hole, on the way back to the car Dr Pirri tries for another one. Let those angels not grow complacent. The expatriate hikers will be back again, armed with a whole print-out of questions about the afterlife, etc.

Be patient (or, as the French say, 'patient yourself'). If the green angel appears again, you will be informed.


Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 19 February 2002, revised 30 July 2008, 10 January 2014.


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