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 along the old stone wall in the forest of Petit Cunay
We're leaving the cute little Volvo (Sven) at the tank barrier near the top of the Route des Montagnes leading to the Swiss Alpine Club (CAS) Cabane du Cunay just 300m farther along, 18 November 2018.
This looks out across the pastures of Petit Cunay, with the tabletop fog over the Lake of Geneva and the French Alps in the background. The forbidding Creux d'Enfer du Petit Cunay is just down in the hollows off to the left.
The mer de brouillard over the lake, with Mont Blanc poking up in the centre. It's a fine day for a walk in The Nature.
Our guide today will be Dr Joe, and our project is to bushwhack up to the ancient stone wall that runs SW straight as a die along the top of a ridge a few kilometres to the farm of Mont-de-Bière Derrière (as well as 3km NE, in the other direction, over the top of Mont Tendre itself). There's a lot of fun scenery along the way.
Up we go onto the ridge.
A little gentle scrambling to reach the old stone wall
We're at the wall, at about 1560m, looking down the far side into 'Les Combes', a proper creux d'enfer itself with all its limestone holes and caves.
Now we set off along the wall, southwestward.
"Something there is that doesn't love a wall"
Especially a very, very old wall.
The forestry fellows have been here, probably frequently, but at least there are no signs yet of their enormous tracked machines that destroy everything before them.
Mossy limestone scenes in the forest
A member of our party
A roadblock. It's impassable -- we'll have to turn back.
Dr Joe persisting in looking for a way past all the débris
And then darting off again along the wall
We've reached our halfway point along the wall -- a little track that crosses a low point on the ridge, up from the Pré aux Biches ('meadow of the does') and down to the slopes leading up to the top of Grand Cunay (1602m).
A glance back . . .
. . . and forward (mossy limestone)
Leaping over a fallen tree
Very beautiful on a sunny day. The countryside down on either side of this ridge is very rough ground, including a creux d'enfer ('hell hollow') down the right side.
We're reaching the end of the straight-line wall; from here it jiggles off in a couple of different directions, but we'll take advantage of a break in the wall and follow an unmarked path around the Creux d'Enfer on the NW side of it.
We're being unerringly led by our guide up around the western end of the creux d'enfer. (Here are a few views of this particular creux d'enfer a few years ago.)
Back to the southwest on a whim
And over the next ridge
Anthill vandals have done their worst.
Looking down at the farm of Monts de Bière Derrière, with some folks walking along the Chemin des Crêtes du Jura long-distance hiking trail towards the Grand Cunay and, for the hardier ones, Mont Tendre and eventually the Col du Mollendruz.
A gracefully dead tree
We've gone back along the farm road around the edge of our ridge and are starting back NE somewhat lower down from our stone wall.
A strange layer-cake of limestone slabs, evidently with trees growing out of it
How would you make something like that?
Now we're on an unmarked track, even sporting a piece of ribbon tied to the tree to indicate something or other.
A strange tree that seems to have got off to a bad start in life
A solitary monument to arboreal mortality
Remains of a wild boar banquet under the turf
The farm of Petit Cunay (1521m), and that's our road, the Route des Montagnes.
Disdaining to walk along a paved road, our guide strikes off into the countryside again.
There is a special attraction to this kind of mixed meadow with rock outcrops and shelves all through it; it's our favorite kind of terrain, for sure.
We're progressing more or less in the correct direction for the cute little Volvo (Sven).
Back to the road, near the car and a disused tank guard, here's a discreet machine-gun nest, long abandoned.
Like many of the small gun emplacements covering key passes in the mountains, there's no safe way out of there if anything were to go wrong.
-- No, sir, forgive me but that's not the way.
-- Come around this way, please, it's much better.
This kind of water-weathered limestone, whether flat or on a slope, is called lapiés or lapiez in these parts, evidently a dialect word, sometimes translated as 'limestone pavement'.
Our tiny carpark, with one barrier for errant cows and another for potentially hostile vehicles.