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.
Scenes of a walk to the Chalet de la Croix
That cute little Volvo will await us here, hopefully, as we celebrate fine weather on the very last day of 2017 by walking out to the Chalet de la Croix on the French-facing side of the Col du Marchairuz, Switzerland.
We've started off from here many times over the years, in a plowed-out layby (1313m altitude) near the farm of Meylande Dessus on the Marchairuz road to the Vallée du Joux, but not since we moved away from the Jura four years ago, so our little bushwhacking expedition will also be a test of memory, seldom a good idea.
Up a long stretch of pasture to get two aging hearts pumping with a little more vigor than is usual.
Our first landmark, at the top of the long pasture, a citerne at 1314m
The cistern is an elaborate affair inside -- here's a photo from a visit on 9 February 2014:
A hiking trail sign in yellow, and the other marker below that seems to be for some new kind running trail or running race directions:
Now for another long corridor of pastures running southwest one level above the farm of Lande Dessus down to the right
No more open pastures -- into the sometimes awkward forest we go. The limestone forest floor can be quite rough in places, and very time consuming to get through without falling into a hole. We're looking for another landmark, an intersection of stone walls.
Like this -- memory reminds us that this is a landmark, but not why.
Dr Joe leaps the stone wall in a single bound into the tree branches.
A pause to let the memory sift through the detritus of decades, and the answer it turns up is simple:
"Follow the wall."
One wall goes straight off to the northwest and southeast, and the other leads perpendicularly to the southwest. That's the one for us.
It's very good snow for walking today.
Just follow the wall.
Until it crosses the dirt road leading to the Refuge de la Joratte, and then . . .
. . . look about for a little driveway continuing southwest; and this one's got a few helpful snowshoe tracks on it already.
The Chalet de la Croix (1333m), just where it's supposed to be, in its own clearing on a little knoll
The Chalet de la Croix
Snow off the roof
We're just passing through, and continuing briefly southwestward.
Over another stone wall down to the northwest. Actually it's the same stone wall.
Down off the ridge -- we've decided to circle around back towards the car and call it a short day.
Out onto the broad pastures between the farms of Le Cerney and La Cerniat
Le Cerney farm -- in front of the farm lies the summer road to the farms farther up the mountain towards Mont Sâla.
And it's not only a summer road -- more than once in this place we've been passed by a few friendly women running dogsleds along the route, this from 16 February 2014.
Charging back to the northeast, we're passing an outbuilding of the farm of Lande Dessus.
The farm of Lande Dessus (1269m)
The forest on the horizon is all Switzerland up to the horizon, then France down the other side.
Back up a level from Lande Dessus . . .
. . . and back onto our earlier track for easier walking.
The citerne . . .
. . . in beautiful afternoon sunlight.
Back to that cute little Volvo and over the Col du Marchairuz to Lake Geneva.