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.
came here in November 2006 and had such a fine time that, now, we're back in December 2007.
Kristin loves nothing so much as a marmotte. Wikipedia
says, "Marmots are members of the genus Marmota, in the rodent family
Sciuridae (squirrels). Marmots are generally large ground squirrels. Those most
often referred to as marmots tend to live in mountainous areas such as the Sierra
Nevada in the United States, the European Alps, and Northern Canada. . . . Most
marmots are highly social, and use loud whistles to communicate with one another,
especially when alarmed. . . . The name marmot comes from French marmotte,
from Old French marmotan, marmontaine, from Old Franco-Provençal,
from Low Latin mures montani "mountain mouse", from Latin mures
monti, from Classical Latin mures alpini "Alps mouse"."
next morning, after a significant snowiness. That's the strange tracked vehicle that
goes anywhere (in winter - in summer Monsieur puts wheels on it instead of the
tracks and also goes anywhere).
before our hike -- more than you, your best friend, and your entire graduating
class could eat before noon. No steaming hot homemade bread today, as last year,
but that showed up the next day, Sunday morning, so perhaps it's a weekend thing.
Both last year and this year, it turned out to be the best bread ever made.
peek out at today's destination, that col up in the middle, above the farm of
Les Crosses (1738m). Aside from the fantastic dinners at the P'tite Auberge, we're
here mainly to see the ibex (or bouquetins) -- it's all a nature reserve here
-- and our host tells us that they've moved over from the mountains on the left,
where we saw them last year, to the mountains on the right.
the view from the auberge on the other side. We feel that we've picked the right
side of the valley to walk up today.
wooden marmot gives us a chilly sendoff.
off. Well, just waiting for Kristin, and then we're off.
whole hike for today in preview, from the village of Tanay.
the way through town is guarded by a dog, which, luckily, yielded to the argument
negotiating the fallen tree across the path. Much better than I did. Suppleness
Jumelles ("The Twins") dominate the horizon at this point.
us, on the Alamon (1900m), ibex rule. We're both ibex freaks, and the view with
our host's 7x42 binoculars was a great deal more intimate than this.
Jumelles before us. The Twins look like twins from this angle, but when seen from
other directions, e.g., from Dent d'Oche to the west, they're nothing like. One
is all pointy whilst the other runs off in a long ridgeline.
path as the fog rises and enshrouds us, then falls or dissipates and liberates
us to the sun, then rises again, and enshrouds us. Like life.
on the mountain road to the Les Crosses farm
views towards the Cornettes de Bise, not yet free of the fog. We'll come back
an accident. Clumsy old fellow was trying to show off his fancy footwork, and came a cropper (literally to fall over the front of your horse whilst hunting, but with no horses
here, snowshoes will do.)
down for the moment, and our old favorite, the Cornettes de Bise (2433m), peaks
out at the western end of the valley.
Jumelles, and the farm of Les Crosses
hoping for some exceptional views of the ibex. Monsieur our host has lent us his
7x42 jumelles, or binoculars, and we're ready.
as the fog comes up again
at the farm of Les Crosses (1738m)
short break to check out the equipment
working on the snowshoe fixtures, for comfort's sake. There are pipes hanging
out of the stable there, probably a methane fart-exhaust.
viewing Leysin in the distance
problems with the snowshoe fittings.
sprinting upwards in her search for the ibex.
pass, at about 2000m. No ibex in sight, in this direction.
lots of ibex back over this way
your 7x42 binoculars on and the little fellows leap out at you -- this old Fuji
3x zoom doesn't quite capture the true splendor of the wildlife lurking hereabouts.
the Rhône valley, the Dents de Morcles and the Muveran in the distance
SATOM plant in the Rhône valley (Société
anonyme pour le traitement
des ordures ménagères
du haut bassin lémanique et de la vallée inférieure du Rhône),
turning household garbage into lovely electricity ("production annuelle d'électricité
de plus de 100GWh").
can faintly hear, in the distance, the dinner gong ringing out.
we're downwarding in a hurry, with the Les Crosses farm reappearing below us.
are concerns that, because we ate up so much of the magret de canard last night,
there might not be enough left in the larders for tonight.
solved - Kristin has come to a decision. We'll have the fondue fromage with local
herbs in it.
agreed on that much, at least -- cheese fondue with the local herbs in it. It
turned out to be wonderful. Nothing goes wrong at the P'tite Auberge. But in this
photo, Kristin's ears are getting cold.
observing our descent, and caring neither a jot nor a tittle.
jaunting nearby us. As if laughing at us, or ignoring us.
Lac de Tanay below us as we head fondueward.
under fallen trees is not as easy as it once was . . . .
. . but this guy understands us.
P'tite Auberge is the
only inn at the Lac de Tanay (of three in the summer months) that is open all
year round. The Web site is http://www.lactanay.ch,
and the telephone number +41 (0)24 481 10 40. The rooms are (charmingly) rustic
and inexpensive, Madame and Monsieur are warmly welcoming, Madame the Chef is
an artiste, and the whole town is peaceful and quiet, indeed deserted.
the next morning and we're off for a walk around the lake before plodding back
down to the trailhead.
you coming, or not?"
snowy walk around the Lake of Tanay
advice to amateur photographers: Don't breathe out before snapping the wintry
coy, at the top of the cliffs on the northern side of the lake.
farmy sort of thing (1427m) at the far end of the Lac de Tanay.
far end (the unvillagey end) of the lake
along the lakeside
reviewing protected-area conservation information, committing it all to memory,
such as it is, before leaving the Col de Tanay (1440m) and skidding uncertainly
down the icy-ish roadway to the Le Flon trailhead.
the Volkswagen has been waiting for us, and it's just been cold rain down here
all weekend. Kristin's bound for Boston after this, alas.