Dwight Peck's personal Web site

Spring 2008 snowshoeing wrap-up

The winter that began with good snow and then lost its concentration -- and then found it -- but then, as all good things, ended.


Miscellaneous countryside views as the whole world deliquesces around us and runs out to the Med

A 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.

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.

Bassins, La Cézille, 24 March 2008

That's 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.)

The 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.

The Bassins hiking path leads down off the farm fields into the forests along the ravine.

A 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 pretty soon.

Now we're passing down through the little neighborhood called Le Châtelard.

La 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 restaurant".

The 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.

The cabane forestière of Begnins, suitable for large clan picnics and cook-outs and family games in summer

We're 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.

There's a home-made footbridge across the creek with a sign on it that says (translated)
"Private passage. Caution: Ferocious Kitties".

Down 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 back.

The mighty Rivière de la Combe, rushing to join the Mediterranean eventually

Forestry works along the creekside suspended for the time being

100 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.

And now, back up the Rue de l'Eglise to number 9 for a long hot shower and a brewski.


Eparçillon citerne, 30 March 2008

Still more snow in Bassins, 30 March (though a week or so later it was entirely gone halfway up the mountain)

The rue de l'Eglise as we set out for our hike

The 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 there today.

Eparçillon cisterne

Same again, as we plod up over the ridge to the southeast and plummet back towards the car.

Plummeting back towards the car

Dieter the VW is still waiting faithfully for us, as we knew he would be. How often can you say that these days?

Grand 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.


Le Planet, 12 April 2008

This 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.

The road to Perroude du Vaud

The "toblerones" or anti-tank fortifications
[Additional views of these toblerones]

This is a short walk (a sleep-in Saturday) and we're just circling back at a higher level by way of Le Planet.

Very smooshy snow, soon to pass into history. ("Where are the Snowdens of yesteryear?")

Le Planet farm, 12 April 2008

With Fujizoom on

The Chemin des Crêtes trans-European hiking path passes down there just in front of the farm.

Le Planet and hiking sign

South-facing hillside, with snowshoe tracks down the little gulley

La Dôle in the distance, over the farm at Le Crot

And then . . . a couple of kilometres back to the car, and no more snow.


Mont de Bière, 13 April 2008

This is a wandering about sort of scenic hike, at this point between Mont-de-Bière and Mont-de-Bière Devant

And 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".)

A little landmark aimlessly spied: the shed on Mont-de-Bière

The cistern

The citerne and shed on Mont-de-Bière. As we wander aimlessly away.

We've wandered aimlessly into another nasty hollow in the limestone forest . . .

. . . and a very big hole in the ground.

Back to the highway near the Col du Marchairuz. Dieter is waiting for us. So he gets a bisquit.

Mont Blanc in cloud on the far side of Lake Geneva


Footnote on toblerones

Here are some more views of the same anti-tank fortifications, not far from the Perroude du Vaud.

These 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.)

The "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.

The 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.

And 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.


Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 14 April 2008, revised 9 October 2014.


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