Dwight Peck's personal website

Winter 2008-2009

The best snow we've had in the Jura in a decade, and now it's going back to wherever it came from.

Crêt de la Neuve

Pilgrims "following the Cross" on snowshoes

A scant two months ago, a brisk young woman about five feet tall with a nose ring was supporting us on laps up and down the corridors of the Nyon hospital, terribly concerned that we'd suddenly get dizzy and topple over on her. We've been convalescing admirably since. Now it's time to find out where we really are.

On the road to the Col du Marchairuz, we'll leave Dieter VW right here, 11 April 2009, and set off in a kind of Easter resurrection warm-up to see how things turn out.

Down to the southwest, that's the farm of Pré de Rolle, 1346m (the communal pasture of the village of Rolle on Lake Geneva). We're bound today for the Crêt de la Neuve, an old favorite, above those cliffs in the background and farther downrange a ways.

We need to trot all round the building snapping away with our little Fujifilm J10, because our Farms of the Jura series can always use better pictures than what we've got so far.

Photographywise, however, sunny days usually work out better.

A peek under the eaves, and then we'll be on our way.

With any luck, we'll be back this way later in the day.

A kilometre on, the three-sided cow shed at 1280m, and then . . .

through the stone wall and an enormous cave or hole in the ground, a protected area as many of the big caverns are here.

Okay, that's that. Let's continue along our way.

The narrow southwestern far end of the Pré de Rolle, at about 1300m, with various old snowshoe and ski tracks preceding us.

The end of the Pré de Rolle and now up we go into the forest.

Those beastly cliffs up there are the ones that stole my shoulder tendons last summer and never really gave them back.

Avoiding beastly cliffs today, we're plodding up a track well-trod from earlier in the year, but there hasn't been a soul out here for weeks.

It's a higgledy-piggledy sort of forest, but soon we'll come out into the open again.

Up to the farm of Petit Pré de Rolle, at 1382m.

Once again, we have to walk all round the building, Fujifilming like paparazzi for our Farms of the Jura series. It's like hiking in epicycles.

We're snapping off hundreds of great farm shots, but we'll resist the temptation to post them all here, like on Flickr.

From the Petit Pré de Rolle, the route starts . . . UP.

Luckily a ramp-like path spares us the worst of the bushwhacking for the moment.

We're following the track of a couple wearing boots without snowshoes, admiring their stamina, smiling when from time to time they've broken through knee-deep or worse.

The last part before the Crêt de la Neuve gets a bit steeper.

Crêt de la Neuve (1494m) with all its Christian pretenses.

The observation deck, with Swiss flag, looking out over Lake Geneva

Time to head for home -- probably better to hurry along a bit.

We're making a circle, or big oval, by returning along the top of the Jura ridge. This is the old Chemin des Crêtes, left behind without trail signs when the international hiking path was rerouted down along the pastures on the northwestern side of the Jura ridge.

We vastly prefer the old C-des-C along the top of the ridge, not least because few people go there now. But here are the old tracks of a few of the cognoscenti.

In some places, we have to figure out what's next, and in some places . . .

. . . there are obstacles in the path.

We're looking for a stone wall that signals our way off the Jura ridgeline down towards Kaiser Wilhelm on the roadway. It's not trail-marked, so we're being unusually alert.

Ouch. We found our turn-off but then lost our way. So now we're totally lost -- except that the sun is in the southwest and we're trying to go east, and down.

We persist as an act of faith and look for landmarks. There aren't too many landmarks here, just more complications.

And then we find a known path, sigh deeply, and carry on, humming Boccherini's guitar quintet no. 4 in D ("Fandango") contentedly.

Camera tricks. This photo looks upward to me, but it's actually a steep path downward, and that's exactly where we want to go now.

Hello again -- the Pré de Rolle farm Fujizoomed from the far side of its pastures.

Back to the highway just at 6 p.m., ready for a long shower and an evening of Boccherini's greatest guitar quintet hits.

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 16 April 2009, revised 18 October 2014.

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