Peck's personal Web site
2008 -- Chamois hunting on La Dôle
Early May, the baby chamois are meant still to be finding their legs, and we're here to seek them out and marvel at them from a suitable distance.
may not find this tangibly 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.
We've had good chamois luck in this area in the past, so we're setting off from the Chalet de la Dôle, 12 May 2008, with a view to surprising a big family of chamois merrily cavorting in some little combe in the forest.
Kristin, in sandals, merrily cavorting.
No chamois -- none at all round here. Since the road has already been opened to the Chalet de la Dôle this year, they've probably sauntered off elsewhere to avoid the crowds of human chamois-watchers, like us. Extra effort is going to be required today.
Still no signs of the little beasts so far, as we're circling round above the Chalet de la Dôle, with La Dôle on the far side of the bowl.
La Dôle with a few ominous clouds above it
Our plan is to trot on up to the Pointe de Poêle Chaud and see if they're hiding out up that way.
La Dôle in all its slopey glory, as we wend upwards
There is a brief pause here, as we're trying collectively to remember the cast of the original version of "Little Women" and list the films that Susannah York appeared in. There are some disagreements and misunderstandings.
A glance back down into the hanging valley of Le Vuarne
Susannah York is forgotten -- we're pacing uphill and keeping a watchful eye out for chamois.
La Dôle seen through the trees
The top of Poêle Chaud and not a chamois anywhere
La Dôle and awkward weather
Alert hikers sense chamois nearby.
Lo, chamois, three biggish guys, just below the ridge.
A couple of indolent excess males. The alpha-male families with the kids are elsewhere.
The weather's thundering, lowering, and threatening now.
A race against thundery, lightningy, haily time.
From the Col de Porte, downwards towards the car in a rush
First raindrops. Big heavy raindrops.
Regular pitter-patters of rain now, lots more to come.
Headlong bolt to the car
Almost made it, but not. Hail the size of American footballs whacking us on our heads.
Heavily bruised on the noggins, we're off for a shower (four showers) and dinner at the ham restaurant in La Cezille.
A last glance up at the Pointe de Poêle Chaud in the hailstorm, with only three chamois on the scorecard for the day.
A week later, Kristin's in Rome, Teny's in Athens, but the rest of us are back again to find the bloody chamois on La Dôle, 18 May. Here's Joe on a neat little picnic spot suspended out over the void on the La Rippe road at 1080m altitude, raining rather hard, with Lake Geneva and little Lake Divonne below.
Wending relentlessly upward, we pass the cabin called Au Privé d'Amour (translation: "don't ask!") at 1231m.
Au Privé d'Amour. Who knows what goes on in there at odd hours?
Joe, dripping with rain, seeks chamois views somewhere above us.
No chamois yet, just lots of water and dead leaves.
Upward in a Tolkieny forest.
Topping wetly out onto the meadows, the narrator with his poncho unfortunately on backwards.
A high point at 1596m, and a few chamois espied down in the combe to the right.
La Dôle on a bad photo day
A lee hillside on La Dôle, with 21 chamois nestled amongst the rocks out of the storm. They look like rocks.
A little closer and Fuji-zoomed. We got quietly closer but at about this point the camera lens sustained a direct raindrop hit and we got only waterlogged blurs after this.
Until we hauled out a sodden handkerchief and gave the thing a wipe-off, and shot Joe in a pensive mood.
A last look up at this fellow through the chilly rain.
and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, Dwight Peck at
All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 21 May 2008.