Dwight Peck's personal Web site

Winter 2008-2009

The best snow we've had in the Jura in a decade, and we're in danger of missing 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.

Grand Cunay, almost but not quite. Well, not quite almost.

It's already the 28th of March, we're going onto Daylight Savings Time tonight, the crocuses will be popping up here soon, so if we want to enjoy this winter at all we need to get cracking.

Today we're testing our physiotherapy results with a headlong plunge up the Grand Cunay, and there, out of the gloom, is our first landmark, the farm of Pré de Denens looming. We'll start upwards from there.

Oxbow mud!

We're peeking out from under our Boston Red Sox baseball hat to make sure that the Pré de Denens is still where it's meant to be.

The sleety snowy sort of mush is blowing up the cuffs and down the collars, so we'll pause here for a moment and wrap up a bit warmer, and then hit the trail again.

It's a windy day, and it's coming from all directions at once.

Enormous snow build-up everywhere -- no mountain biking up this trail for a while yet.

A beautiful silent or whispering sort of snowfall, but with a roary wind along with it

Lots of snow everywhere -- and nearly no tracks of skis or snowshoes. All the sportifs must be down warming up for the football season along the lakeside.

We're buttoned up nicely now, so we desert the shelter of the farm and start up the hill.

This, we're aware from sober experience, is not the correct hill. We'll need to go down the other side of it and up the next one to get into the Grand Cunay neighborhood.

Wistful glance backward

Another wistful glance backward. This is a great snow base to walk on.

The way forward, up the next hill. Our pace today is truly very slow.
Is that discouragement setting in? Yes, it seems to be discouragement.

In a weak moment, we've turned down out of the combe and crossed westward to make a big circle, leaving Grand Cunay summit to its silent thoughts, but only until tomorrow.

The farm of Pré de Denens again, telephotoically, from a parallel combe on the western side.

Ahead of us, it seems, the farm of Joux de Bière. It's visible, then it isn't, then it is again.

Joux de Bière in late March 2009, and lots of snow

When, when (I ask) have we had so much snow here before? It's Daylight Savings Summer Time tonight! Alpine flora straining to poke their heads out again!

Of course, it's been raining down in the villages all day today. People sitting indoors playing computer games and cursing their luck -- another rainy Saturday!!! -- but in fact it's a wonderful Saturday just a bit higher up the hill.

That appears to be an 8-foot wind drift there.

The front of the Joux de Bière farm, with piles of firewood out front. Seconds later, the photographer stepped into a hole of some kind, probably a hidden manure pile, and spent five minutes trying to wriggle out of it again.

Grand Cunay's up there -- still unconquered (for today) -- with the farm of Pré de Denens at the far side of this meadow. We'll come back tomorrow and bring reinforcements.

Successfully back to the road between the Col du Marchairuz and the Vallée du Joux down the far side. Now just to find the car where we left it. Where DID we leave it?

Just near here, we saw our first human of the day, a congenial suburban gentleman in a huge SUV who asked if there were cross-country ski tracks up here somewhere; his SUV was on it.

Dieter, our favorite Volkswagen, has been waiting for us, and Thank Goodness!

We've failed to make Grand Cunay today. But we're coming back for another try tomorrow, so there's no good in feeling like an abject failure in life. Yet.

The BBC 6-o'clock news is on in two and a half minutes, so we've got to get back over the Col du Marchairiz fast to pick up the signal.


Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 31 March 2009, revised 12 October 2014.


Recent Events