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.
Still even more scenic views of god-knows-what-we'll-find in the forest near the Col du Marchairuz, 7 April 2013
We've been having such fun educating ourselves about the old forest trails in this complicated patch of ground that we'll just carry on with it until the snow's gone.
This is our now habitual parking space on the Marchairuz road near the driveway to the Pré de Rolle.
We're walking southwest down the side of the Pré de Rolle, with today's destination on the horizon to the left of the cliffs.
We've been compulsively engaged this winter in figuring out this confusing hillside, but there's one more unsignposted trail to be seen on the official map, and today's the day for "ground-truthing" it.
The spring melt has begun. We're off along the old forestry road on the right.
We've been preceded -- in fact, our predecessor came by here last Sunday whilst we were one level up the hill.
Not all the snow's melted off yet (the coldest month of March in Swiss records).
The long approach road
Sometimes walking in someone else's track is easier -- sometimes it's harder. Our cliffs are coming into sight.
There were two predecessors, in fact, but the one on the right was we.
Cliffs at the top of the slope . . .
. . . which for ordinary hiking purposes, we'll consider off limits. Some months ago, at nightfall, we stood in that clearing at the top and stared down in dismay, and went back up.
We dare not tarry. The known track continues around the bend . . .
. . . to this clearing, where, as we learnt from last weekend's walk, an obvious track continues down from the centre of the photo but is absent from the maps. But that's not what we're here for today . . .
. . . because the map shows a small track leading straight up from here, and there it is.
And too right! Straight up it is.
Three hikers have preceded us here as well, some weeks ago, and we take their track as informed opinion.
It's clear that they believed this was the correct trail; that's sometimes very helpful.
A glance back down
Here we begin to wonder whether our predecessors might have been improvising.
No tracks to follow anymore, but this looks like fun anyway -- the direttissima.
There's a faint track in front of us again, great minds think alike.
But again we must part ways.
We forsake our guides and take the road less travelled by.
Charming and scenic, but not advancing our purposes at all.
We're over the ridge and wandering amongst some undecided features of the terrain. Sort of lost, actually.
But our predecessors have come this way, and so shall we.
Now we're successfully down onto the former Chemin des Crêtes, with easy tracks to follow northeastward towards Marchairuz.
The old path's not signposted but many parts of it are obvious, even without a snowshoe track on it. The modern Chemin des Crêtes is a couple of levels down to the left.
This is a disgrace, a fallen tree blocking an old disused path, the Tourist Board will be informed.
Now we're back over the ridge, looking for an unmarked path that leads down past the Fontaine Valier -- those strange snow configurations look like running water's been here recently.
Bingo. The sign panel at the Fontaine Valier looms below us.
This is the highest, and nearly the only, water source along the porous limestone Jura mountains, and since 1720 it's been drawn off to water the pastures of the Pré de Rolle below.
Farther downhill, this is a "known known", and there are our tracks from two weekends ago (leading ahead) and last weekend (coming up from the right) -- both closely associated with the track down from the left. "Complicated" indeed.
And now our new track comes down from above, creating a perfect star-shape of ephemeral hiking history for early 2013.
The long plod out again, on tracks we've been meticulously laying down for weeks now.
And the sun's come out.
It's starting to feel like home here. We'll bring Kristin along next time.
from SwitzerlandMobility (http://map.schweizmobil.ch/?lang=en)