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.

A bushwhacking direttissima to the 'painted chalet', with anthills

The Bassins Route des Montagnes near the Combe des Amburnex is nearly clear of snow now, 6 May 2018, but it doesn't take much to stop our low-draft little Volvo, Sven, so with that last patch of snow in front of us, we'll disembark here and assess our opportunities.

In hubristic disdain for hiking trails and trailsigns, we set off straight up, and immediately come upon a stone wall.

Not all that long ago, we took these stone walls at a full run with a timely leap, but nowadays we spend long minutes trying to figure out some plan that might work.

Lots of forestry débris everywhere, awkward walking sometimes.

We've ventured into a paradise of wood ant anthills -- by which we've long been fascinated. Like here.

The boys are up and lively, and setting about their nest repairs with a will.

Swarming over the tree trunks

An unmarked little forestry track; we'll take a short break from tramping through all the underbrush and débris.

Big anthills

And lots of cute little ants hard at work


We're plodding through more or less level forest; the uphill part's coming up in a little while.

More forestry débris, and Joe

Far ahead: Dr Joe and his legendary competitive spirit

Ants amongst the débris -- they probably love it, even if we don't.

We're out onto the pastures between the Pré aux Veaux (1340m) and the farm of Dessus Rionde (1326m), and soon we'll stop telling Trump jokes and get down to business.

Joe Ascending

We trust that he knows what he's doing.

An anthill eating a tree

'Nature, red in tooth and claw'

It's a good place to be on a fine day; 'far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife', for sure, for the afternoon anyway.

Good snow for walking, when you can find it

Mind the step!!

A big natural phenomenon out in the middle of nowhere

It looks like it has hidden profundities.

The entrance to the underworld.
(Here are some more big holes in the region.)

South facing and snowfree . . .

. . . to the top of a little ridge, and then . . .

. . . down the other side.

An avenue of good snow

The competitive spirit again

We admit at last what we've suspected for a while now -- we're completely lost.

Completely lost, except that 'uphill' is still the only good answer to every question

Which way is the 'uphill' now?

The present scene is beginning to tickle a few ancient memories.

And the merest glint of a stone wall ahead brings a new excitement.

And a stone wall it is, and perhaps a junction of stone walls.

A meeting of two stone walls, and now we know exactly where we are. And there'll be a gate on the far side of one of them -- on the far side, unfortunately, but with a dash and timely leap we'll be there in no time.

The little gate is on an unmarked track that threads through the forest at about 1440m northeast from the Combe des Begnines, and goes nowhere. We're continuing up the hill a ways.

Topping out, more or less, just east of the scenic lookout point called the Vue de Genève (1491m)

Now down the pastures a few hundred metres towards the Chalet à Roch Dessus, the painted chalet.

The Chalet à Roch Dessus (1460m)
The Chalet à Roch Dessous, the Lower Chalet, is about 1.2 km down the hill at c. 1380m altitude.

From a few signatures on the pictures, it appears that they were first made in the late 1970s and freshened up again in about 2000. They're a bit faded now, coming up to the end the next 20 year cycle.

The two flags above the turkey represent the Canton of Vaud and the Swiss Confederation.

The shield in the centre is the device of the municipality of Le Chenit, down the mountain on the northwest or France-facing side, which owns these communal pastures. The other two are unknown to me, but the one on the right, the star of david within what looks like an ankh or crux ansata, is ominous.

Les Trois Suisses -- the Iconic Three from the small central Swiss cantons of Uri, Schwyz, and Unterwald who in 1291 took an oath to resist the Hapsburg empire and win independence. (This photo was taken in 2001, evidently soon after a restoration.)

'Restore the old buildings rather than build new ones.'

Dated 1979, restored 4 August 2000

A passerby

Another direttissima back down the hill

Mind the step.

Back down to the pastures of the Pré aux Veaux farm

Oh, thanks. A fine time to tell us about the bull.

The farm of Pré aux Veaux, open as a restaurant in the summer

A view back up the hill as we head for home

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 29 May 2018.

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