Dwight Peck's personal website

Winter 2002-2003

Very eventful, but in a quiet way

As round the world some of them were trying in vain to convince the rest of us that it would be a fun idea to go bomb a lot of the folks down in Iraq, D. Peck and friends spent the fall and winter hiding out in the safest place they could think of.

More snowshoe magic in the Jura

What a very nice winter it's been, though way too short. (Have you noticed that they're getting shorter every year? Is that climate change? Age?)

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.

Pierre à Ecusson, 23 February 2003

Profs Durham and Peck set out from Lande Dessus farm above Le Brassus in the Vallée du Joux, bound for the Ecusson refuge in the limestone forests along the Jura ridgeline.

Lesson for snowshoers: When posing for photos near snowcovered trees and shrubs, don't stand too close -- they're likely hollow underneath.

Lunchtime in trackless forests of the Bois des Citernes, with Lisa's prepackaged prawn-and-pasta salads and lebanese bread, tomato and mozzarella sandwiches, and non-sparkling mineral water.

Whilst wandering in the trackless forests, an ominous shadow -- in fact, a great hole in the forest floor.

Don't look into it.

Thoroughly lost in the trackless forest for an hour or two, the hikers stumble upon the refuge at Pierre à Ecusson as if by snowshoe magic.

"A choice of life, to safeguard the Nature". That's the legend on that 30-year-old shirt.

How not to trip over your snowshoes -- 30 meters from the car at the end of a fine day.

Grand Cunay in the fog, 2 March 2003

The trailhead, the Hotel at the Col du Marchairuz (1449m), on the road from Nyon to the Vallée du Joux, only kept open in winter since the early 1990s.

(Mr Peck was a member of the 'Friends of Marchairuz', whose annual dues helped make the recent renovation of the ancient building possible.)

Which way now?

Dr Pirri plunges out through the trackless forest, avoiding bottomless limestone holes and chimneys where possible.

-- Up?

-- Up!

The second Grand Cunay on a stormy day

Dr Pirri exulting on the second Grand Cunay summit, 2 March 2003

Dr Pirri (left) is already seeking new summits to conquer, as the narrator comes along to the top in his own good time (right).


He decides to head on over to Mont de Bière, but gets stuck in a thicket and has to give it up.

Wandering through the forest, with a careful eye out for anomalies

A brief excursion to check out a big hole in the forest

A little disappointment that it was not all that we'd hoped

A disused military installation above St-George, 3 March 2003

St-George is an attractive Vaudoise village of about a thousand residents, first mentioned in the documents in 1153. Associated pastures and chalet called La St-George can be found about 2km up the Route du Marchairuz, where there are sledding and XC skiing facilities in winter, and atop the cliffs directly behind the Chalet de la St-George are disused Swiss military installations overlooking the key route over the mountains towards France.

Old buildings once watching out over the pastures

Fake cliffiness bolted in front of the real cliffs permitted soldiers to scramble up and down between the buildings without being seen by the bad guys.

A tough way to make a living. Luckily, no bad people came with their tanks down the road below.

That's presumably a gun emplacment of some kind, but scrambling down to check it out isn't recommended.

At this point, we'll continue our outing and plod up through the forests towards the Col du Marchairuz for a relaxing afternoon out in The Nature.

We're a ways up the hill now, on the Route du Marchairuz where it makes the big turn near the Sapin à Simeon, then across the pastures of Rolle and Aubonne to the Col.

This is the scenic overlook staring down at Lac Léman (Lake Geneva). We'll start bushwhacking down through the woods again, on this short excursion.

As always in these parts, we're mindful of the sneaky presence of small, medium, and sometimes big holes in the washed-out limestone terrain, and we collect photos of them when convenient, like now.

Mind the step.

A little ankle-snapper

Contentedly back down to the road, and recharged to rejoin the international bureaucracies tomorrow morning.

Winter 2002-3

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 26 May 2003, revised 12 October 2008, 8 September 2014, 12 January 2020.

Jura snowshoeing

Snow camping