Dwight Peck's personal Web site

Winter 2008-2009

The best snow we've had in the Jura in a decade, but it's gone now, and we can't admit it to ourselves.


Les Rochettes on Mont Tendre

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.

It's late May, we're preoccupied with weighty matters of no consequence, and we're hoping to relax by wandering amongst the topsy-turvy forests on the Swiss-facing side of Mont Tendre.

On what turned out, we're told, to be a record-breaking hot day in Switzerland for the month of May, we're looking for a gentle, straightforward walk in the cool of the forest glades, and our guide today is Dr Pirri, who exudes confidence and doesn't charge anything, except a ride to the trailhead at Pré de St Livres.

The hot sun is still with us, but some of the cool forest is not looking straightforward at the moment, nor cool. We're down off the front, the southeastern side of Mont Tendre, called Les Rochettes.

It's all in layers and balconies and a bit jumbly, but we're striding along under Dr Pirri's leadership and avoiding the direct sunlight, which is brutal today, wherever we can.

We've noticed that even Dr Pirri seems to be wondering if this is a suitable path for today's walk, but if we go up a ways we'll probably find a gentle meadow to amble on.

Mont Tendre per se is up there, but we're staying level in order to conserve energy.

We did have to expend a little energy here, and overheat somewhat, but from time to time a hint of a breeze came along.

Whenever something impassable looms ahead, we need to go over it, or under it. Our guide assures us that going under it is less tiring than going over it.

But sometimes you can't decide whether 'over it' or 'under it' is better.

This isn't the gentle, straightforward walk in the forest glades that we had in mind, but the views are interesting.

I'm convinced that we're on an island now, and Dr Pirri is going out to the end of it to see if we're surrounded on all sides. Wouldn't that be a fitting metaphor!

We are surrounded on all sides.

Our guide is conceding that we are in fact on an island, but he's found a way off it.

But forget it! No way! I have to put my foot down here. Or, rather, not!

The classic Jura conundrum on a very hot day -- go up on the meadows, in the breeze and the direct sun, or stay down in the forest, with some shade and stifling humidity.

Once again, our guide, Dr Pirri, recommends that, rather than going over it, we go under it.

It's been a nice outing so far, and we've suggested turning back now. Our guide is considering that, and looking all round tentatively.

Dr Pirri agrees on turning back now, but how?

And this way seems even less best. In fact, we'd gone along much farther than we'd thought possible -- we'd already passed the "Roche Perrause", and just turning down now would have ended us up in Germany.

We pointed this out to our guide, reminding him about the 'straightforward walk' understanding that we thought we had. He only looked to the side and muttered something.

We're thoroughly lost now, and our confidence in our guide is wavering -- well, more than wavering -- but the sun's still in the southwest and if we just keep marching along resentfully . . . well, something's bound to come of it.

Unfortunately, it's Teny's birthday, and our guide was determined to take her to the cinema or something, so he had to hurry off and leave us here in the forestry débris. That may be his last guiding gig with us for a while.


Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 25 May 2009, revised 20 October 2014.


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