Peck's personal Web site
2008 snowshoeing wrap-up
winter that began with good snow and then lost its concentration -- and then found
it -- but then, as all good things, ended.
countryside views as the whole world deliquesces around us and runs out to the
promising beginning to the winter, but very bad snow from New Year's on, and we
gave up hope! but at the end of March, "oh joy oh bliss" for a few weeks
-- and then it melted.
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.
La Cézille, 24 March 2008
lovely Bassins (750m) on a grim day, 24 March, just
after the super-snow. Dieter the VW is feeling poorly -- we destroyed his windscreen
wipers through sheer negligence during the big storm -- so today instead of driving
up the hill from home, we're walking down.
(My little flat is in the big building just to the right of the church.)
hiking trail down from Bassins descends along the eastern side of the Combe de
Begnins, and we're passing the Espace Gasser botanical garden and picnic spot
below the village, at about 720m.
Bassins hiking path leads down off the farm fields into the forests along the
glance down into the Combe de Begnins, with Genolier in the distance. We'll be
circling around at La Cézille and walking back up the centre of that ravine
we're passing down through the little neighborhood called Le Châtelard.
Cézille (570m), a farm building or two, but mainly a boucherie/charcuterie
or meat-chopping place, with a restaurant alongside, which we call "the ham
boucherie/charcuterie Cornaz of La Cézille.
Superb inexpensive menu for meat-eaters and highly recommended. Now we'll start
back up the bottom of the Combe de Begnins along the creekside.
cabane forestière of Begnins, suitable for large clan picnics and cook-outs
and family games in summer
walking up the forestry track in the Combe de Begnins, alongside the Rivière
de la Combe of all imaginative names, and on the far side of the creek there's
a small clearing with a few buildings, presumably farm buildings though there's
not much to farm down in here.
a home-made footbridge across the creek with a sign on it that says (translated)
"Private passage. Caution: Ferocious Kitties".
in the Combe de Begnins, this is where the hiking path from Bassins to the Bassins
train station hits the bottom (660m) and starts up again to the station on the
right. Bassins and its train station are separated by the Combe de Begnins, which
makes coming home on the train after a late party chancey or just lethal. Just recently, a Publicar minibus service has been laid on to help older
folks get from the station to the village indoor therapeutic swimming pool, and
mighty Rivière de la Combe, rushing to join the Mediterranean eventually
works along the creekside suspended for the time being
metres higher up the side of the ravine again, and we're walking into Bassins
from the direction of the village tip, or garbage dump, or recycling centre, or
landfill -- the déchetterie.
now, back up the Rue de l'Eglise to number 9 for a long hot shower and a brewski.
citerne, 30 March 2008
more snow in Bassins, 30 March (though a week or so later it was entirely gone
halfway up the mountain)
rue de l'Eglise as we set out for our hike
cistern on the Route des Montagnes -- we've bushwhacked up from the Grand Fuey
intersection (1181m) and traversed across through the forest to this place (1337m),
which on older maps was called "Eparçillon" but on the newest
map has no name. The farm at La Foirausaz is farther along but we're not going
again, as we plod up over the ridge to the southeast and plummet back towards
Plummeting back towards the car
the VW is still waiting faithfully for us, as we knew he would be. How often can
you say that these days?
Fuey -- Lausanne and Bière down to the left, but the road is not cleared
in winter; Geneva (and Bassins) down on the far side; and the Col du Marchairuz
and the Vallée de Joux up to the right.
Planet, 12 April 2008
is the road up from Le Vaud at about 1290m, just above El Rancho on the Les Chenevières
meadows -- it's about as far as I want to goad Dieter the VW today.
road to Perroude du Vaud
"toblerones" or anti-tank fortifications
views of these toblerones]
is a short walk (a sleep-in Saturday) and we're just circling back at a higher
level by way of Le Planet.
smooshy snow, soon to pass into history. ("Where are the Snowdens of yesteryear?")
Planet farm, 12 April 2008
Chemin des Crêtes trans-European hiking path passes down there just in front
of the farm.
Planet and hiking sign
hillside, with snowshoe tracks down the little gulley
Dôle in the distance, over the farm at Le Crot
then . . . a couple of kilometres back to the car, and no more snow.
de Bière, 13 April 2008
is a wandering about sort of scenic hike, at this point between Mont-de-Bière
and Mont-de-Bière Devant
still more aimless wandering all about -- that's becoming the rule these days.
(If they had asked George Mallory "why do you wander all about aimlessly",
he might have replied "Because it's there".)
little landmark aimlessly spied: the shed on Mont-de-Bière
citerne and shed on Mont-de-Bière. As we wander aimlessly away.
wandered aimlessly into another nasty hollow in the limestone forest . . .
. . and a very big hole in the ground.
to the highway near the Col du Marchairuz. Dieter is waiting for us. So he gets
Blanc in cloud on the far side of Lake Geneva
are some more views of the same anti-tank fortifications, not far from the Perroude
shots were taken a week later, 19 April 2008. There are some 3,000 of these tank
blocks, built in the 1930s and called "toblerones" after the Swiss chocolate
blocks they resemble, stretching down from the upper part of the Jura mountains
here to the Lake of Geneva. (I believe we call these fortifications "dragon's
teeth" in English.)
"Sentier des Toblerones" hiking path descends past the village of Bassins
a few kilometres to the south of here, a hiking trail about 15 kilometres long
from the forested heights down to Lake Geneva near Prangins.
concrete blocks were meant to impede enemy tank traffic through key passes and
meadows, and in the hills above Gland there are still many gun emplacements burrowed
into the forest where mortars or whatever could be targeted in advance to exactly
where tank drivers would stop to figure out how to get past the toblerones.
this little line of mossy concrete impediments would have slowed up, at least,
any tanks coming over the Jura from France in this notch in the 1200-1300 metre
cliffs that run down the length of the Swiss Jura in this region.
and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, .
All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 14 April 2008, revised 9 October 2014.