Dwight Peck's personal website

Winter 2017-2018

In the dreadful, and hopefully only, Year of Trump

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.

More winter scenes from the Swiss Jura

After the profound confusion surrounding last week's walk, we're out today to figure out what went wrong, 8 April 2018.

This is the same little semi-secret combe leading out from the Col du Marchairuz that we so enjoyed last time, and our track is still faintly visible here a week later.

It's time to make the sort-of-obligatory right turn.

We've been up this next combe, too, but our guide seems not to recognize it. 'Turn right again.'

-- Well done. Now proceed.

There's the long combe that we followed last week, but, longing for novelty . . .

. . . our guide strikes out for new scenic venues.

What enthusiasm! Wait up!

Our first casualty; a snowshoe caught under the tree roots, but only a short delay this time.

Some years ago, right here, we came upon a group of 7 or 8 chamois and followed them along; they detected us, trotted down off the ridge and up onto the next one over, walked back uphill on that ridge, back down into the combe and up behind us on this ridge again, and followed us the rest of the way.


Some guide!

It's all a big mess; perhaps we're already lost again.

We've just fetched out onto a marked path crossing in front of us, packed down by ambitious sightseers since we were last here.

Crossing that path and plunging down into the forest again, our guide exhibits the enthusiasm we look for in a guide.

Another bad idea. (But it worked out okay.)

More downhill

What a surprise -- Dr Joe has come upon our track from last week. So now we know where we are -- we're right here where we were last week when we were completely lost.

Dr Joe follows last week's track for a little ways and predictably leaps off down the hill again.

Here go the knees again. But needs must.

Our Chief Route Finder has outdone himself this time.

All right, we'll give it a go.

Step around that.

Back to ground level again

Acknowledging the obvious, that we really are completely lost again . . .

. . . but perhaps we'll come to some kind of landmark in a while.

But not here.

That may be -- perhaps -- a stone wall up between the trees. If so, things are looking up. We invite our guide to tend rightishly up the hill.

Winter art

In due course, bingo. We're popping out onto the high pasture on Mont de Bière exactly where we were hoping to find it.

Across the way, that's the farm of Petites Chaumilles, 3km across the flat La Plateforme.

Irrepressible, and indefatigable

The three-sided shed near the top of the ridge

A passerby

We continue, northeastward off the ridge, for no good reason.

Skiers have preceded us during the past week -- there aren't too many sizable downhill slopes for skiers out here.

Our guide has decided to search out an unmarked path known to lead down through the limestone hole country, and couldn't be dissuaded.

Faint tracks of snowshoe predecessors more knowledgeable than we are can still be observed from time to time, and there's no sign of the evil limestone holes under all the snow.

Quel surprise! Where we'd least expect to meet a fellow snowshoer in a place like this, this gentleman, not much younger than we are, came rocketing by us headed up the hill.

We're out onto the dirt road leading to the farm of Mont de Bière Derrière. Whence we can elect, if we wish, the easy way home.

We're reflecting on our options -- back into the trackless wilds, or the easy way home.

This is the long-distance hiking path called the Chemin des Crêtes du Jura, a popular winter stroll on a fine day 2km out from the Col du Marchairuz, especially for people who trudge out to Derrière and go back for an excellent fondue in the restaurant. We used to call it the 'moonboot path' (though moonboots are no longer seen), but here we are. It's like walking on pavement.

We're pounding the pavement on the way back, but punctuating that from to time with little known alternative routes.

Like this one

But in the end, we're back to pounding the pavement.

The last downhill of the day

Back to the Col du Marchairuz

And its Hotel-Restaurant

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 11 April 2018.

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