Dwight Peck's personal website

Winter 2009-2010

Our first full year of Obama disappointments

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.

We had a grand time in Cornwall in October, as who wouldn't have, and now we're back at work alas. And Kristin's back in the Land of We're Number One storing up energy to come back for Christmas, so (whilst we're waiting) we'll carry on getting drenched with rain in Switzerland. The canton of Vaud had quite a drought in the summer of 2009, but now we're paying our dues.

More wet walks in the Jura

First, Mont Tendre

This afternoon we're out for a promenade in the forest, direction> Mont Tendre, on another drippy day in the Jura, 15 November 2009. This is a rewarding little unsignposted path between Petit Cunay and Mont Tendre, where thoughtfully someone has piled some old logs over an enormous hole that leads down into Hell.

A bit farther on, the same thoughtful person or another one has thrown a corral gate onto another enormous cavern to help out the hikers who don't stick to the safely signposted paths.


Here in its dripping majesty is Mont Tendre in a chilly rain

Near the top

The summit pylon, at 1679.3 metres altitude, in a semi-buffeting wind

From Mont Tendre, a look northeastward past the Chalet du Mont Tendre

After seven photos of the turf as the wind blew the Fuji Finepix J10 off the rocks, at last we got one for the scrapbook.

Time to go home in squelching Merrill boots

Mont Tendre from the Chalet de Yens side

Northeastward to Lac de Neuchâtel, befogged. There was a jaunty solo chamois loitering just down to the left, but the photo was somewhat rain-smeared.

Squooshing towards the Chalet de Yens; France in the farther background

Sumac, unless I've been badly informed

The cabin of Servan

A very civilized wilderness to hike about in. The "5" is the Chemin des Crêtes international path.

A bulbously disgusting tree

Swiss military defenses, atop the pastures of Petit Cunay

The back end of the same, looking extremely not-defensible, to my way of thinking.

Dieter VW is waiting for us, stolidly, and reliably.

Les Pralets

The farm of Les Pralets in late afternoon light, with Mont Sâla peaking over it, 21 November 2009. (That was meant to be a lame pun.)

Grand Cunay

Mellow light on the farm of Mont de Bière Derrière, 22 November, as we're bustling along to Grand Cunay, windy little showers coming from behind us

The three-sided cowshed at the foot of the final slope

The return trip

Late afternoon sunlight

Here's the farm of Mont de Bière Derrière again an hour or so later.

And here's the cow shed on top of Mont de Bière itself, late in the same day

Mont Pelé

On 29 November, we persuaded Professor Pirri to leave off his class preparations for an afternoon and splash his way up to Mont Pelè with us.

Atop Mont Pelé (1532m asl)

There's a new summit cross on Mont Pelé, but it's a feeble specimen for a mountaintop. Compared to impressive cruciform monuments as on Mont Sâla, this looks like someone's dog has been hit by a car nearby.

We're trying to bushwhack our way over to the next mountain, the unnamed 1515m bulge between Pelé and Mont Sâla -- we've got lost and wandered about alone here until dark many times in the past, so this time we've entrusted the route-finding to Dr Pirri. Who's becoming more hesitant.

By bushwhacking the paths of least resistance, we've wandered down into the cliffs along the front of the range, and missed our next mountain completely, so perhaps toiling reluctantly back up will help.

And more up, perhaps. Actually, we've lost the next mountain completely.

Dumb luck has prevailed for us again. Here's Dr Pirri, summiting on the next one over, and then a few hours going round by Vermeilley back to the faithful VW at the Pralets farm.

Farms on the Amburnex road

It's early December and this is all we've got for snow! It's pitiful. Still, we probably shouldn't have dragged Dieter the VW up this far on the icy road -- he's a wizard at going uphill, especially with his 2-day-old full new set of snow tires, but going back down the Route des Montagnes will be awkward.

This is the farm of La Bassine, Bassins' own, at the top of the Route des Montagnes at 1261m altitude, and at the moment there's ever such a little bit of sunlight around, so we're snapping off photographs exultantly.

The Swiss flag is flying.

La Bassine farm, 6 December 2009

"Bare ruin'd choirs" (where late the sweet kids swung)

La Bassine. Vente de produits d'alpage (in the summer). Dieter's ready to move on up the road a ways.

Rionde Dessus, as the rain puts paid to our hopes of improving our farmers' tan.

We're always on the lookout for better photos for our Farms of the Jura in Winter series, but with the recent onset of extreme Old Age, some of these farms are out of our snowshoeing range once the serious snows start piling up.

That's why we've dragged Dieter the VW into dragging us up here, against his better judgment, before the road closes for the next five months. This, too, is Rionde Dessus (1325m).

And this, across the road, is Rionde Dessous. Catch the nuance there?

Rionde Dessous at 1314m is lower than Rionde Dessus, at 1325m, and farther from the main ridgeline -- Lower Rionde and Upper Rionde.

Rionde, according to Henry Suter, is a patois version of an Old French borrowing from Latin that seems to mean something like "sort of round, but kind of irregular". La Riondaz, the Leysin mountain on the slopes of which I lived for many years, has the same derivation.

It's starting to rain really hard now. Back down the Route des Montagnes at 5km per hour with the brakes permanently on and knuckles losing their circulation.

La Bassine

A week later, 12 December 2009, and the snow's gone now, except for last night's sprinkling. Senator Inhofe would have an answer to this.

La Bassine looking a little spooky in the wet dusk.

Good luck getting back down the mountain.

Kristin's arriving on Wednesday and we're going to Corsica for the Xmas holidays. Where we expect to find sunny beaches and colorful drinks with umbrellas in them under the beach cabanas.

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 12 December 2009, revised 23 October 2014, 19 January 2020.

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