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.
More senseless wandering in the Jura
Fine weather in the Jura, 22 February 2019, at the Col du Marchairuz, between Lake Geneva and the Vallée du Joux and France. We're waiting for our guide to arrive, with remarkable patience.
Dr Joe is here, we're commencing our walk from a little down the hill up into the trackless wilderness. Trackless it mostly is -- 'wilderness' in the sense that, though we're already lost, we can hear the cars going over the col by the hotel.
Our guide is famously short-tempered when it comes to trudging along what looks like a former forestry road, and he yearns once again to lead us straight up.
This sort of thing is seldom good for aging knees, but we'll see how he manages before deciding.
-- Oh no, that will never work. There'll be a rockband under there.
Okay, okay. We'll give it a go.
Our guide was correct. All in good fun.
We've been here before, more or less, but were lost at the time, and we'd like to locate a little door in the cliff at the bottom of some kind of dell -- probably hopeless, everything looks much the same, but our guide is humoring us for the moment.
Up onto the little ridge, we don't know why, and now along it . . .
. . . and down off it again. And still don't know why. 'Because it's there.'
Our guide is awaiting our input.
Oh look, there's our little door under the cliff. A small triumph. Very welcome.
Our guide is seeking a convenient way up to the next level. But we still don't know why.
Ah, now, a little more uphill, it seems.
Dr Joe really does love his uphills.
We've been trudging up this beautiful little combe, and some of us are reluctant to leave it, for aesthetic reasons.
A beautiful long combe on a beautiful sunny day; our guide can catch up with us later.
He's up there somewhere, perhaps searching for us; we're feeling a little irresponsible.
-- Oh good, there he is, awaiting us with a stern expression on him. And he wants to go up again, of course.
-- Not that way; oh no, not me.
-- Well, all right, that way. You first.
-- Great, we're up on another ridge, now what? (It was about here that we both realized that Dr Joe had left his backpack back at the car. Not for the first time, to be honest.)
Back down into another beautiful, peaceful combe -- it's running along parallel and between the Chemin des Crêtes long-distance hiking trail up on the right and above the marked hiking path SW from the col over on the left.
Snowshoers have been through here before, but not for quite a while.
Dr Joe fairly leaps forward on the best snowshoeing snow we've seen all year.
That's the marked hiking path down there.
It feels as if we've been caught out -- a regular mass hiking trail, with trail markings, we've got to get away from here asap.
Perhaps not the best way, but we'll circle along to the left.
More wonderful countryside to marvel at, and trudge through.
Dr Joe loves the uphills.
Another vestigial snowshoe track; we'll check it out.
We've lost the track but that's okay. It's seldom more beautiful than this.
Very beautiful; we're completely lost, of course, in the micro-lost sense, but we still have a general sense of the situation.
We could probably place ourselves on the map to within a kilometre. Or two.
Here's a fairly recent snowshoe track; we'll pause in our senseless wandering to see where it goes.
The Chinese Army seems to have marched through here, recently -- it must be a favorite trail for many fans of the Jura.
At this point, it is possible to develop a reasonable theory about where we are, roughly, and where we should be going next. But in the meantime, -- Jump!!
-- It's just memory. Memory! It's not my fault.
Dr Joe has still another theory -- let's let him give it a try.
-- Please don't take us through there, we'll end up four metres down.
Presently our guide has given it up and is indulging us in a decade-old quasi-memory of an unmarked trail that comes up somewhere near here and descends down right to the car.
One of us is almost convinced that this is it, our long-lost unmarked trail, unfortunately ascending rather than descending at the moment, but that is almost the very definition of faith.
Our guide may remain skeptical, but for the rest of us, the car will definitely be right down there.
And so it is. Our cute little Volvo (Sven), on his last little excursion with us into the mountains. (The poor old thing, he's about to be sold off for unsalted peanuts as we reluctantly vacate the territory next week.) We'll surely miss him. And we'll miss our guide, too.