Dwight Peck's personal Web site

The sources of the Toleure bis

The river Toleure reduced to an embarrassing trickle


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.

There are no watercourses in the Swiss Jura mountains -- rain and snowmelt filter down through the porous limestone and burst out at the bottom. Two weeks ago, they were bursting out all over the place, but now . . .

On New Year's Day 2012, visiting daughter Alison led us up towards the sources of the Toleure, and we were suitably impressed by the grandeur of the torrent -- and now we've brought Dr Pirri back here two weeks later to witness the same spectacle.

Dr Pirri is, alas, unimpressed -- the view from the little bridge is nothing like what was advertised.

In fact, it's bone dry.

Here's the little waterfall on another branch of the Toleure sources, two weeks ago.

And today
All changed, changed utterly:
Another dried-up source is born.

But now we can get back into the rocky cirque that's sometimes another of the Toleure's sources.

What's left is frozen.

Two weeks ago this gravel yard was impassable. It makes you think!

. . . and the ford was uncrossable. But the "passage interdit" sign, with its admonitions against touching any bombs and mortar shells you might find along the way, is still there.

[Actually, the Toleure spring is a temporary overflow of the Aubonne, usually during periods of snowmelt and during flood events like heavy rainstorms; when it kicks in, however, its flow is faster and heavier than the Aubonne, and its total annual discharge, despite dry periods, is greater than that of the Aubonne itself. Thanks to M. Luetscher & J. Perrin, 'The Aubonne karst aquifer (Swiss Jura)', Eclogae geol. Helv. 98 (2005), 237-48.]

Another of the sources, with a grating and some big rocks thoughtfully thrown over some of the worst of it.

Here's a peek down into what was recently a babbling vertical brook and will be again.

Here's why we're warned not to play about with any mortar shells we might stumble upon along the way.

Our guide is leading us farther and farther up the mountain.

A hidden little combe

Inexplicably, Dr Pirri's iPhone, which normally cannot find a network up in the Jura, began ringing with a call from Canada, but luckily lost the network again before he could dig the thing out of his various coats.

The path is winding us back into a little pocket in the mountain. And I'm really beginning to miss my snowshoes.

Dr Pirri is not breaking through the crust on every fourth step. But I am.

Dr Pirri completely neglected to remind us to bring our snowshoes along, and we're not pleased.

Out into the messy forest above Bière and Gimel and below La St George

Dr Pirri escapes from the military zone first and laughs at us for our vulnerability to stray mortar rounds.

A rough military plowing job shows us an easy way back into the military zone and round to the front of the mountain.

Looking down at Bière, then turning away towards Gimel

A chamois, faster than a speeding Panasonic Lumix


Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 18 January 2012.


Recent Events