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.

A round-up of still more farm pix, 11-12 March 2006

Mondion (not)

Mondion is a farm at 1270m near the top of Bassins' Route des Montagnes of which, in our Farms of the Jura series, we have only the most blurry and unsatisfactory photos.

So, in still another load of new snow over the past week, royal-we are setting out to get some better pix of Mondion.

Leaving from Les Platets (881m) at the top of Bassins village, 11 March 2006, we are passing the little pond along Bassins' lovely Sentier Botanique, Botanical Path, that winds up through the forest and, in the right season, labels all the flowers, etc.

Wandering about in the forest of Le Jubillet we came across this fine commemorative plaque at about 955m. 'This larch tree, at 66cm diameter, was dedicated in 1997 to the forest warden Fredy Genevay, 1952-1990'.

Over the top of Le Jubillet (1015m), having missed a brilliant photo of a chamois sentinel who ducked just as we clicked, we're now plodding up through the ravine of the headwaters of the Serine, near the area called Le Rebattiau. The daylight, such as it has been, is declining, and we begin to fear that we may not see Mondion today.

Here we are at the farm of La Dunanche (1117m) as the snowfall settles in for a spell at just short of 5 p.m., and we can finally reach consensus that Mondion is no longer on the agenda for today.

In fact, we've made it less than halfway to Mondion, and the great trick now will just be to get out of here before we ice over like Frosty the Snowman and stay on till spring.

Refusing to learn from experience, we try again the next day, 12 March 2006. With still more new snow overnight, and yesterday's track invisible now. This is the presently-inaccessible trailhead at Bugnonet-Chaumette meadows (971m), about a half hour of labored breathing above Les Platets (881m) where we've left our trusty Volkswagen, Dieter.

This is all part of the Noirmont protected area, and similar signs and maps can be found at all the trails leading into the park. The poster on the right shows wildlife to look for, and how not to disturb them.

The view from the trailhead across the Bugnonet pasture, the farm of Bugnonet on the right. The barrier stops the automobiles but alas not the snowmobiles, which earlier this winter were a dismal curse but haven't shown up here recently.

Le Bugnonet farm on an extremely weird day, with hot sunshine alternating with a brisk snowfall and brutal north wind at about four minute intervals.

Passing La Chaumette

And Le Bugnonet

At the top of the Bois au Ministre, the La Dunanche sign, also advertising the new tourist amenity, the small memorial and picnic park at the extreme northern end of the World War Two-era defensive fortifications that run down the hillsides all the way to Lake Geneva, thus meant to impede invaders from moving up the La Côte region from Geneva towards Lausanne and the Swiss heartland.

There's La Dunanche itself, out on its little promontory at 1117m. It's only 14:30 but, as we're progressing about 60 meters every quarter hour through this snow, doubts about Mondion are beginning again to intrude. Just like yesterday.

A charming country lane leading towards Les Frasses. Charming, but unfortunately knee-deep even with snowshoes. An extremely beautiful and rewarding and laborious journey.

The farm gate on the road out towards Les Frasses (the gate's hiding under the snow at the moment)

That's our destination, zoomlens-wise, a skiclub hut that sits on a bluff at 1275m, a few hundred meters in front of the farm of Mondion. But our resolution is seeping away as the day progresses faster than we are.

Signposts near Les Frasses -- the Chemin des Crêtes (yellow with red blazon), from Germany to France, passes right through here.

Lurching towards Mondion, now with no hope left whatsoever, but still lurching (always, still lurching), we pursue this country lane into the unnamed combe at 1154m that lies below the forest Les Gilles. Mondion, alas, resides ATOP the forest Les Gilles, and we've lost another hour wading through the smoosh. Depression sets in, and ibuprofen doesn't help.

All right, that's it. Mondion's out! We double back and cross over a steep little ridge and sneak up for a few new photos of Les Frasses IF we can catch it in a sunny interval.

Les Frasses, 12 March 2006.

Les Frasses, with the Jura ridgeline near Le Planet behind.

This is the sort of pleasant afternoon when we're very relieved to find our own track to follow home again.

Only half an hour from the car, we're passing Le Bugnonet again as the sun finally gives it up for the day.

And back at nightfall to our faithful Dieter. But not so faithful, as it turned out. The door locks had frozen up, and the only way in was by scrambling into the driver's seat from the back -- thank god there was no one around to see that!! -- and then, of course, there remained the question of how to close down the back door.

One of the protected area signs can be seen in the background.

But . . . still, again . . . no photos of Mondion. It was an arbitrary objective anyway. Like all objectives. So who cares? Mondion's not going anywhere

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 14 March 2006, revised 10 October 2008, 28 August 2014.

Jura snowshoeing

Snow camping