Peck's personal Web site
Dispatches from way, way behind the lines in Switzerland
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.
Mont de Bière (not for the first time)
We're at the Col du Marchairuz, 4 February 2014, still another sunless day, just about at freezing but plenty of fog anyway. Oh well, we're here for fun.
We pick up an old track of one of those 40-member snowshoe groups that can pave a snow-highway whilst chatting as they pass through the region.
They were going the same way as we are, more or less, so we'll take advantage of their trail for a ways.
None of this is trail-marked so perhaps they'd booked an able Accompagnateur en Moyenne Montagne to assist.
We save time by following a pre-made track, but it's time to diverge.
We'd like to see what's down in the untracked hollows on the way to Mont de Bière, so . . .
Down into the hollow
There's a previous track down in here after all.
We persevere, but we're getting turned all round.
There's not much sun to enlighten us today -- the compass is buried down at the bottom of the backpack, under the band-aids, headlamps, and old cheese; not worth the trouble.
We'll just pick our way and keep an eye open for landmarks, or . . .
. . . just go up.
We should have got through to the far end of this by now.
Bingo. A stone wall means a pasture; we're in business.
When in doubt, just go up. (About halfway up that innocent slope we stuck a snowshoe in under a tough shrub and nearly had to call for help.)
If it doesn't want to come out, what are you going to do, cut your foot off? There's no cellphone signal here anyway.
Au sommet, such as it is. Mont de Bière itsownself -- that's not accounting for Mont-de-Bière-Devant (in front of it), or Mont-de-Bière-Derrière (behind it).
The summit cowshed and cistern
Some cowshed views
We'll just step out of the wind for five minutes. And compose ourself.
On the move again
We're all sorted, let's go.
Just down. Anywhere. Just down.
On this side of Mont de Bière, 'just down' has got to hit the long-distance hiking path, the Chemin des Crêtes, and that's been well-traveled, even earlier today by the look of it.
Dozens of school groups, out for an afternoon in The Nature. It's great.
Leading us out to the Hotel at the Col du Marchairuz
Not much Happy Hour business today. And no tour groups.
It's nearly dinnertime, and Dieter VW's ready to go home.
and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, .
All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 2 April 2014.