Dwight Peck's personal Web site

Winter waning -- April 2010 walks

If there's any snow left at all, we'll find 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.

Mondion and the Combe de la Valouse

The perennial Jura-in-the-springtime problem is that the snow clears out of the forests before it's off the mountain roads, so you take what you can get. We've left Dieter the VW at the Tree Shrine on the Route de Montagne above Bassins, near the Fontaine des Roches at 1210m, 10 April 2010 . . .

. . . and now we're walking out the level road southwestwards towards Mondion. Carrying our snowshoes.

We could possibly have pushed Dieter farther up the road -- he's got 4-wheel gearing and snow tires that will go up the side of a building if asked nicely -- but a year or two ago, right here, we yanked off his exhaust system trying our luck a little past prudence, so we've learnt that lesson well.

All in all it's cheaper to carry the snowshoes for a while and hope for the best. This road winds out through a steep 100m hillside, heavily forested but nonetheless beautiful.

Signs of snow. Nothing too encouraging so far.

Emerging onto the meadows of Mondion -- Mont Sâla on the horizon -- and even less snow out here.

The farm of Mondion and spring flowers just getting started

Mondion

A vacation chalet nearby

The Combe de la Valouse looking towards La Bassine farm -- that thing drops 70m down into the hole and back up again on the other side, and I'm not sure I'm up for that today, what with worries about the world situation, Israel/Palestine, Global Warming, and the recall of the Lexus, so I'm going back now.

Mondion in a fleeting ray of sunlight

The same beautiful road back to the Tree Shrine

Springtime is wonderful, but it's always hard to let the winter go. Harder every year, in fact.

Pré de St-Livres and environs

Up another Route des Montagnes, towards the Alpine Club hut near Grand Cunay, 11 April 2010. Same problem with snow on the road -- Dieter's going to have to wait for us here.

The Cisterne-Formerly-Known-As-Eparçillon (on the maps before 1980) on the meadows of La Foirausaz. There's an intersection here -- one road leads up behind the hut to the Cabane de Cunay, the other off northward to the right to the Pré de St-Livres pastures.

Snowshoes on finally: this is the farm of La Foirausaz, April 2010.

La Foirausaz

La Foirausaz aussi

Combes between La Foirausaz and Pré de St-Livres

Pré de St-Livres. St-Livres is a commune down near Aubonne by the lake -- I presume that they own or once owned these pastures.

Pré de St-Livres. As far as I can tell, after a 40-second search of the Internet, there never was a Saint Livres as such. Henry Suter, always enlightening, says that the alpage, and the village near Aubonne, are named after saint Libère, Latin Liberius, who was Pope from 352 to 366, to whom the first village church was dedicated. Who knows why.

The Gates of Hell. An enormous entrance to the Underworld, blocked up by large rocks

Seeking panoramic views and much needed exercise, we're following some recent ski tracks up a long ramp from the Pré de St-Livres at about 1360m up through the cliffline to the Pré aux Biches at 1440m

Nearing the top of the steep forest soon

Soon, I hope

There's the stone wall that runs along the ridge line, almost there

Circling down the other side, we're back on the Route des Montagnes now, with its grand concourse of snowshoe tracks.

The top of the cliffs at about 1392m on a sunny day

The Route des Montagnes, the only paved road up through the cliffs in this region. The only way the enemy's tanks could cross the ridge would be up this road, and it's sprinkled with (so far) unused tank traps along the way.

And discreet little hints along the way that the enemy's tanks would not have been welcome

Kamikaze machine gun nests looking down on the anti-tank roadblocks, with no plausible escape route out the back of them

At least the enemy's armored vehicles, if any, weren't going to stray far off the side of this road.

We're just bushwhacking now (literally), and wandering down the heavily-forested forest to see how Dieter's getting on.

A very neat line of little bluffs runs along the ridge at about 1370m at the top of the steep Côte de Bière forest.

Heavily forested, as in HEAVILY FORESTED. Challenging débris for snowshoes.

Back to the automobile-snowline. That's an eerily cleaned-and-polished Subaru SUV awaiting someone else -- Old Dieter the VW is just down in the shadows behind it.



Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 16 April 2010, revised 25 October 2014.


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