Pursuing harmless post-retirement obsessions with inappropriate zeal, "malgré tout"
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.
Scenic views of god-knows-what-we'll-find in the forest near Marchairuz, 28 March 2013
A few nights ago, reclining in the comfort of our own study, with a roaring fire on the screensaver, we glanced at the Swiss 1:25000 topographical map 1241, "Marchairuz", and chanced to notice an unmarked path in the forests in front of the Col du Marchairuz with which we were unfamiliar.
So today we'll have a look at it.
As we prepare to search for our new unmarked path, this forestry road is what the disgraced Rumsfeld might call a "known known" -- it's a fast way to go up into the heart of the forest, and to lend us a helpful foot with the wet new snow, we've got the day-old track of an energetic couple to march on.
We're gaining a little altitude and thanking our predecessors for such a firm, non-squishy track.
But we'll be a little jealous if our predecessors walk us through our entire exploration. Like being hurried through the Vatican Museum by an American graduate student waving a yellow umbrella.
It's a fine snowy day and not too cold, all's good.
This is only our approach and it's starting to seem awfully long. Everything does nowadays.
Bingo! This is an intersection of paths -- with signposted paths down to the left, up to the right towards Marchairuz, and behind us down whence we came, and two unmarked paths straight ahead.
And the benevolent State has provided signposts to confirm much of what we've just typed.
Our predecessors have turned up to the right towards the restaurant at the Col du Marchairuz, possibly for a mid-afternoon fondue, and we're squishing our own trail from here on.
Off we go. We had the notion from careful scrutiny of the map that we would be going downwards from here, but, empirically speaking, we're not.
But now we're leveling off, and that certainly looks like it could be a path.
Later, it still looks like a path, or in fact like a tree-lined boulevard at Versailles.
This, if you squint and use your imagination, might also look like a path. One of the key things about unmarked paths is that all of the clues are more subtle than trail signs are.
This, for example, does not look like a path. We'll change our plan.
We may or may not be on a path, but this looks like a catch-all solution.
Here's a hollow that offers many indistinguishable possibilities.
More careful scrutiny of the little piece of map we've got with us shows only undifferentiated green with some 10m contour lines writhing around in it. This is a self-photo to celebrate doubt.
We expected to start down, and since everything's a jumble here, we'll try going up instead.
There's an unreliable rule that says: when in doubt, go up -- you can always come back down.
But we'll try to remember what down looks like, just in case.
In fact, if we don't find some reassurance soon, we may be coming back this way before the track fills up.
That looks downish, great! "Awesome"!
This isn't downish, but it does look pathish.
And now we've finally started down. We're putting all of our chips on this one, otherwise . . . it's back up again.
Bingo! That looks a lot like the path up over the Jura ridge by the Fontaine Valier. Another "known known", if true.
And, if that were true, when we turn round, we should see our way out of here. Yes! Probably!
If memory serves, we just walk down this way and treat ourselves to a long plod out a forestry road to a cheery welcome from Dieter, our VW mascot.
The long plod gets underway.
Passing through this was a little like the welcome feeling of relief at getting through another of the TSA's theatrical checkpoints. Bzzz-bzzz, invigorating radiation coming at you from all sides, and what-ho! you haven't got an Israeli submachine gun on you after all.
We're passing the time by replaying famous chess openings in our head, but so far can't remember any.
Another glance back, just in case we've got this wrong
As the Long Plod plods, we're briefly considering pitching over the side with a little out-of-the-box thinking.
But as usual and as the day wanes, old still-in-the-box thinking wins out again.
But the plod is still nearly interminable.
Or really interminable
Desperately really interminable
And at the last, a bad moment of failing nerve, and then . . .
Bingo! The Pré de Rolle is just down the road.
The farm of Pré de Rolle
The farm of Pré de Rolle zoomed
We're on an Official Marked Trail now, in fact; this should be even more fun.
Not only a marked trail, but one with further instructions for your mountain bike
Aha, we thought we'd heard automobiles -- we're here.
Thank you, Dieter, for waiting, and we'll put your heater on in a moment.
(The farm of Pre d'Aubonne can be seen over the way.)
Okay, we're all defrosted and we can see out the front again, so now we're off.
We're wending downwards towards St-George, then Gimel, then through Montherod, and home.
Aww, it's turning to rain.
from SwitzerlandMobility (http://map.schweizmobil.ch/?lang=en)