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 welcome snowy day near the Grandes Chaumilles
We're in one of our favorite carparks on the far side of the Col du Marchairuz, always promptly plowed out, on the road leading down to Le Brassus, 11 February 2018.
It's a lovely snowy day, not terribly cold, and we've got an interesting little itinerary planned in advance.
Across the road, to begin with
Clumping carefully in snowshoes, lest we blunt the little pointy spikes on the bottom
Now we've got our bearings, sort of. That's where we're headed for starters, across "Le Plateforme", and then we'll see.
Off to our right, that's the farm of Pré de Bière (1344m).
And up on the grassy knoll, that's the farm of La Perrause, about a kilometre away.
There's some new snow, but it's good walking today anyway.
We're passing by La Perrause now.
A shed in the middle of the Plateforme
A welcome gate -- no awkward leaping over the wall will be required.
Through the trees at the far (northern) end of the Plateforme, now we're following a convenient track left by some earlier snowshoers.
The Grandes Chaumilles is out there somewhere; it would be good if the wind would quiet down.
Passing by one of four little cabins near the track, and . . .
. . . passing by another one, 'Le Bouvreuil' (the bullfinch)
The farm of Grandes Chaumilles pops into view (if that's the right word).
Not today, thanks.
The Grandes Chaumilles, with some crosscountry skiers taking a break -- it appears that there is a prepared ski du fond track from Marchairuz out past this farm.
Our crosscountry friends have departed; we can hear them loudly giggling as they negotiate the track back through the forest.
Grandes Chaumilles (1344m)
[1414 on the doors of isolated farms is the telephone number for the emergency helicopter rescue service]
Now we've resolved to try to find the Refuge du Bois Carré, which we've stumbled across a time or two before.
A hiking trail sign points vaguely up into the forest of Bois Carré, but . . .
No sign so far of any trail or road through the forest
Stacked logs must indicate a road, surely.
The refuge appears, as well as some old ski tracks leading right past it.
The Refuge du Bois Carré (1380m), a shelter for the forestry workers and, in their absence, for passersby who follow the posted rules.
The refuge is owned by the Commune of Chenit, and as in all the refuges in the area, the rules are posted on the wall.
Now we have some tracks to follow farther up the hill.
We're approaching the Grand Cunay on the Mont Tendre massif, but we won't go that far up.
We've arrived onto the long Combe au Cerf, at about 1420m, one level below the long ski du fond piste from Marchairuz past Mont Tendre to the Col du Mollendruz. Occasional voices from above have convinced us that more peace and quiet will be found on this level; so we turn southwest down the Combe au Cerf (with an eye out for the deer, if any).
A little running water . . .
. . . from a trough over a spring.
The long Combe au Cerf
We've come across a prepared ski du fond track, classics on the outsides, skaters in the middle. We'll follow it for 150m or so.
Where we discover a marked trail for snowshoers -- so we'll follow that for a while as well.
New sporty amenities since we moved away from the area a few years ago.
The farm of La Perrause ahead
La Perrause (1353m)
With its solar panel
Passersby on the marked showshoe trail. But we'll forsake the trail and make our own way home.
Luck has brought us to the heap of snow plowed out for our carpark.
Our cute little Volvo has acquired company over the past four hours.
Now for a pleasant drive back to the other end of Lake Geneva.