Dwight Peck's personal website

Winter 2005-2006

Short breaks from poring over the newspapers as the Bushies implode

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.

The Hike of Four Huts

It's as if we'd plucked an objectives card right off the top of the pack, instructing us to visit four refuge huts in the forest of Grande Rolat, but without setting raquette à neige on any signposted trails. An exercise in folly, on 29 January 2006.

Wisely, we bag an easy one straightaway -- the hut of La Pierre Tournante is just off the Marchairuz road towards Le Brassus at about 1354m (map below).

Dr Pirri struggling to get his big Yukon Charlies up the steps for a peek inside

A bit of a mess, but cosy

With no delay, Dr Pirri strides generally southwestward in search of Hut #2, in uncharted terrain full of holes.

Big karst holes, in some cases

In fact, in some places, more holes in the forest floor than not-holes

We're proceeding gingerly along in hopes of stumbling across the Refuge de la Joratte, the second hut on our list.

-- Watch where you're going.

Things keep getting in the way, and slowing us up.

At last we stragglers catch on to the joke -- Dr Pirri is leading us, for a lark, through all the worst places he can find.

So once again the laugh's on us.

This is very slow going. And time is passing.

We're inching our way along, thoroughly lost but always with a strong instinct about which way to go next. Each wrong instinct leads to another one, and a renewed sense of certainty.

But in the end, it was Luck that brought us here, to the Refuge de la Joratte at 1330m.

That's two huts down.

Dr Pirri looks for still worse ground to the southwest, more or less in the direction of the refuge of Pierre à Ecusson.

The stone wall up on the right is helpful for map-reading, unless you just miss it entirely under the snow.

The wall (if you believe maps at all) will lead us a good way along in the right direction, and so we follow it for a while.

And behold, as we were on the point of giving up, there's the refuge of Pierre à Ecusson.

Pierre à Ecusson (1346m), 29 January 2006

Another cosy one, but no time to linger

If we want to get a fourth hut before sundown, we need to bolt for the Sèche de Gimel.

Sublimity in the Jura 2006

The Couvert de la Sèche de Gimel as the shadow races towards it (this isn't a proper refuge and doesn't help our hut count).

Leaving the meadow of the Sèche de Gimel and seeking out the path at the northeast end of it

The fourth hut of the day, the refuge "Intercommunale" at 1346m on the main trail through Grande Rolat forest

Next time, maybe five huts in an afternoon. Or whatever the objectives card may tell us to do.

From the Carte National de la Suisse, 25,000 scale: 1241,  Marchairuz
Car's at the red dot, four refuges at the blue ones.

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 22 February 2006, revised 19 July 2008, 18 August 2014.

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