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.
This is the Chemin
des Crêtes from Marchairuz, fairly well-traveled as far as the farm at Mont
de Bière Derrière, chiefly by Geneva's Diplomatic Corps in moonboots
and fur coats. After that, the hiking population thins down markedly.
for today, Dr Pirri, approaches the farm at Mont de Bière Derrière,
steadfastly refusing to walk on the Chemin des Crêtes per se (left)
and breaking his own trail, as he has always done.
farm at Mont de Bière Derrière, 5 March 2006
winters, folks walk on out here and have a little "pique-nique" lunch
at the picnic table under the eaves (right of center) . . .
this (late December 2003), but not this year.
picnic table is about eight feet down and pretty inaccessible for the moment.
the hiking-trail sign, which normally we gaze up at with our pencils and notepads
at the ready, could almost go unnoticed as we pass by it towards Cunay.
look back, as other hikers approach the farm. The elderly gentleman at the back
of the group is wearing an expensive trench coat, and probably has a tie on.
part of Grand Cunay (1574m), the farm building at left center, under the cloud,
and the second part (1603m), right center, nice and sunny, and inviting.
guide, Dr Pirri, sets a superb example for energy and enthusiasm and might
as well be hiking with an especially light pack on today.
back amid labored breathing, we find a short-term history of human activity in
the area laid out before us. The nice clean track leading down and up again to
us was made by snowshoers headed for Grand Cunay. The wayward track crossing over
and wandering off to the left was made by people with crosscountry skis headed
for the Cabane du Grand Cunay, owned by the Ski Club of Le Brassus, probably to
pass a convivial Saturday night with a lot of white wine and god knows what else.
The building below is a three-sided cow shed which only cows care about very much.
at Grand Cunay
Dr Pirri pauses for a moment with the Mont de Bière behind on the
right, and Mont de Bière Devant about in the center, depending upon what
you think counts as the top of it. Lake Geneva is off to the left.
farm at Grand Cunay, 5 March 2006. [More on
We're waiting for the clouds passing in and out to drop a little sunlight
on us from time to time for a photo.
Chemin des Crêtes passes right by here, at the trail signs at the corner
of the building.
top of the Grand Cunay is "wind-scoured" and easy to walk around
Our guide is
heading back for the car now -- he's just discovered that he forgot his backpack on the top of the car. It's got the headlamp
with dead batteries, the extra sweatshirt, the granola bars from 1999, and the
guacamole dip for tonight's party. We'll join up again later probably.
the moment, royal-we're headed for the second part of Grand Cunay (1603m), about
ten minutes away.
glance back at the farm at Grand Cunay as we pull the hood up and look forward
to some semi-serious wind for the next twenty minutes or so.
shrubbery. Grand Cunay
is exposed on top and nearly always windy.
hardy tree on a rock, overlooking the Swiss Lac du Joux and France in the distance
to the north.
des Combes flits by us about 120m below. The main Mollendruz-Marchairuz crosscountry
(ski du fond) ski trail goes by just at the far side of the building, 18km in
at Grand Cunay seen from near the summit of the second part of Grand
Cunay. La Dôle is barely perceptible in the far distance.
Geneva (Lac Léman) from Grand Cunay, with France to the south on the other
side of it.
near end of Mont Tendre on the horizon to the northeast. The building on the first hill has to do with the Geneva airport guidance signals poking up all round it.
tromping back down quickly, the wind is brutal.
by the farm at Grand Cunay again
three-sided hut at the bottom of Grand Cunay, with directions for the Club Alpin
Suisse (CAS) hut to the right. We're going left.
Snow-Squid of the Jura
with Dr Pirri, who's rejoined with his backpack, we're coming back to the Col du Marchairuz,
where the snowplow drivers have perfected their art.
A happy snowshoer