It was an awful year for many people, for most people actually, but at least the snow's been good recently.
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.
A late start for a little loop -- we've left the Old VW near La Pessette on Bassins' Route des Montagnes. The automobile tracks are from a curse of very large SUVs we've had this year blasting all round the little forest tracks throughout the mountains here.
Dieter VW, always patient
That's one of our sporty vroom-vrooms coming down the path now.
The farm, or barn rather, of La Pessette at about 1150m
Now we're on up the hill a ways to Le Crot.
Le Crot farm, 1225m, on a wind-blasted open meadow
Very nice. Now into the chilly forest for a while
On the other side of the forest, we're out onto the road above Le Vaud, and that's "Le Rancho", 1260m.
The farm on the alpage of Les Chenevières, 1215m. We're going back downhill now.
A zoom view of the village of Burtigny below, and Lac Léman (Lake Geneva)
The Réfuge of La Joratte, 27 December 2010
A chilly day -- Dieter will wait for us on the main road over the far side of the Col du Marchairuz.
We've got a convenient track to follow for a ways. Today's objective is to figure out where we got so horribly lost a few weeks ago.
So that's done, and here's the Réfuge de la Joratte, 1330m, so we know where we are now.
Smoke from the chimney, and giggling from within. We'll pass on.
La Joratte from below
A little off-trail exploring where we ought not to. In fact, the environmental NGOs wisely urge us to stay on the roadways and marked trails so that we don't disturb the wildlife at a bad time of the year for them.
That's a very sensible message, and we're extremely sympathetic. But on the other hand, how could we explore anything on the roadways and marked trails? So we try to snowshoe quietly on our tiptoes.
And we try to stay out of the holes in the forest where perhaps they're hiding out.
And we watch carefully to avoid stepping into anything that's waiting to trip us up.
The back way up to Mondion, 31 December 2010
We're leaving from La Pessette again today, but off in the other direction. This is a re-walk of a pleasant promenade we made in the first snows of the year, in late November, in which we were totally befuddled by the absence of visibility.
We're on the Chemin des Crêtes now, preceded by our sporty SUV chaps rampaging all through the forests. Think how the wildlife enjoy THAT in their winter hibernations.
The Intrepid SUVistas have thought better of it and turned around, so we'll put our snowshows on now and continue.
This forest is called Les Ormes and there are lines of cliffs all round, but the Chemin des Crêtes leads straight through towards St Cergue. We're turning off it uphill pretty soon.
Now we've reached the site of our Grand Confusion a few weeks ago. Without the whiteout.
At the time we couldn't guess where we were. But there's the farm of Pré Nouveau above Arzier about a kilometre off, plain as the nose on your etc.
Pré Nouveau on the Lumix-zoom, with the little ridge behind it leading over to Prés d'en Haut
La Dôle from farther up the hill, with the zoom still on; Pointe de Poêle Chaud to the right of it.
We've bushwhacked the forest called Lorette for a while and hit a wall, as it were, but hope springs if not eternal at least for another ten minutes or so.
Just as we were giving up, that's a zoom of the vacation chalet at La Bâme on the Bassins side of the ridge, and if we can find a way down to it, Bob's your uncle.
Across the way, the farm of Mondion at 1270m, with the zoom on
The same, with a little less zoom. Down through our well-known forests now, before Dieter gets anxious.
We're passing the Bassins farm of Les Frasses (built in 1746, by the way).
Pierre à Ecusson, 1 January 2011
The neighbors had a horrible great New Years party in our carpark last night, with fireworks and circle bellowing contests until 1:30 a.m., so we're still asleep as we set off on the road most taken from the carpark on the far side of the Col du Marchairuz.
The well-worn track leads out of the forest of Grande Rolat onto the broad alpage of the Sèche de Gimel.
A carrefour of ski and snowshoe tracks
The couvert de la Sèche de Gimel, a little barn at the top of the meadows. After the Chinese Army has marched past it.
The Sèche de Gimel, with a nature reserve down in the middle of it
Passing the couvert and its cistern
We're about to enter the deep dark forest, no more progress on our Boehner-tan today.
Still a fine track to follow. We had generous snow before the holiday season and none at all during it, when everyone who is anyone has been out leaving tracks all across the map.
All of these uncountable snowshoers have been traipsing along off the roadways and marked trails, despite the well-meant warnings from the NGOs. Hopefully, they've all been tip-toeing, as we are.
The Réfuge of Pierre à Ecusson, 1346m, in the forest called the Bois des Citernes
Reorientation with helpful signs. Now we'll bushwhack for a while back to the north.
That worked out as hoped, and there's the Réfuge de la Joratte again, so we know where we are.
No smoke from the chimney today. No giggling from within.
More holes in the forest
Some of them too close to this usable old former trail
A winding sort of obstacle course
The réfuge of La Pierre Tournante, just near the highway. Almost done for today.
Dieter the blue VW, blackballed by the Swiss Association of Grey Automobiles.
The Serine Ravine, 2 January 2011
No snowshoes today. This is a nice loop down from Bassins and back up through the muddy little ravine of La Serine creek. That's Bassins as we get started.
And that's what we call home. These 13 years.
Under a moody sky
The computers are defragging now, so there's no need to hurry back. But as always, we've got the stopwatch on just out of habit.
Below the Bassins and Begnins suburb of La Cézille (great restaurant attached to the butcher's shop), we've started back up the ravine, and that's the mighty Serine on its way to join the Promenthouse and plunge into Lake Geneva.
The babbling Serine in late afternoon sunlight
At the top of the ravine at dusk, Bassins reappears across the fields. (1:38:44)