Alison has come from Chile to visit Kristin and the Old Dad, eat every traditional cheese dish on the Swiss menu, and hike everywhere.
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.
Sources of the Toleure
The village of Bière, overlooking Lake Geneva, is the largest "place d'armes", military training ground, in Switzerland, and it sits on a big flat with the Aubonne and Toleure rivers on either side of it. 1 January 2012.
We're allowed to walk up the track to find the sources of the Toleure, but we need to leave the unexploded mortar shells alone (and call 117). It's New Year's Day, so they won't be out there lobbing things on us.
A lot of late-December snow and a lot of melt, and the Toleure is nearly out of its banks.
There is no surface water in the Swiss Jura mountains -- rain and snowmelt cascade down through the limestone and sploosh out at the base. We're on our way to the sources of this one.
A perfect day for walking
Kristin and Alison celebrating the New Year
The Toleure is normally a fairly sedate little tributary that joins the Aubonne river about four kilometres to the southeast.
Closer to the sources
A bridge over the main stream
Kristin and one of the sources, splooshing out of the mountainside
The falls near the source of one of the main feeders into the Toleure
The falls with Alison's fancy camera
The ford is awash -- we were headed up that track on the far side. (The sign says "passage interdit"; don't tell anyone.)
Kristin despairing of getting back into the hollow of the main sources
Kristin's intending to get up over the cliffs, in the mud and wet leaves.
It was a really bad idea.
The falls again
Back out the way we came in
The Sentier des Toblerones
The Sentier des Toblerones is a walking path that follows the WWII fortifications down from Bassins to the Lake of Geneva. We're stopped here at the railway bridge; the path under the bridge is two feet under the Promenthouse.
Upstream, the Serine near Begnins
Twilight coming on, an hour back to the car
The Réfuge de la Joratte
A sunny day, 3 January 2012, and we're up in the forest of Grande Rolat bound for the Réfuge of Joratte.
Wandering, mostly, in the forest, but more or less in the right direction
Down the heavy snow
Finally, something we recognize
The Joratte refuge -- already occupied
Alison and the Old Dad
Looking for a way back out again
The meadows of Sèche Gimel, with the protected area in the centre
Back to the car at sundown
The source of the Aubonne
Another bright day in Féchy-Dessus, 4 January 2012
We're going to look for the source of the Aubonne river, like the Toleure not too far above Féchy.
We're starting at the Arboretum of Aubonne, with its fanciful wood carvings.
The little dam over the Aubonne, near the Arboretum
The meadow of La Vaux, and a pond alongside the dam's small lake
The pond of La Vaux in winter sunlight, at 558m altitude
A bridge over the Aubonne
Kristin and Alison on the bridge
The Toleure, on the far side, joining the Aubonne below us and flowing off to the left
We're following the Aubonne up towards the town of Bière, looking for the source somewhere in the middle of the village.
Late afternoon sunlight
The path is part of the Arborteum's educational features, the Sentier de Sylviculture
High water in the Aubonne
Traffic-calmers -- the Aubonne is a steep river and needs some discreet constructions to slow it down.
Kristin waiting for the stragglers
The river Aubonne out of its banks
The military rail and road bridge across the ravine into the Place d'Armes of Bière
Beware of the tanks
On the way home, it all ends badly.