Dwight Peck's personal website

More hikes in the porous forest of Grande Rolat

Winter 2006-2007 spent waiting around for winter

Scraggly old forests, with holes in the bottom, present challenges both physical and, to some extent, intellectual

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.

The forest of Grande Rolat squats just west of the Col du Marchairuz between Nyon and the Vallée de Joux in Switzerland, just south of the road between Marchairuz and Le Brassus in the Vallée de Joux. The relief is extraordinarily varied but it all lies between 1300m and 1390m in a jumble of dead and dying trees, a few live ones, tiny limestone cliffs and ridges and holes both small and sometimes fairly big.

10 February 2007: We (the Royal We) have come back to have another look at that strange round cistern-like hole in the forest of Grande Rolat.

And, miraculously, in this unchartable jumble of limestone irregularities and forestry detritus, we've found it.

Since we were here last (see above), someone has thoughtfully thrown another stick of wood across the hole, to help those who might fall into it and also help the snow to cover it up properly, so that eventually someone will fall into it.

An ominous, deep shadow at the moment -- we'll come back later (see below) to have a better look.

An afternoon's march through the dark forest of Grande Rolat, with its limestone jumble

Step carefully

Many lovely passages through the forest of Grande Rolat make you want to poke the ground in front of you with your ski pole before stepping onto it. That makes for slow going.

We've passed Joratte by this time and we're curving around southward, or perhaps northward, in hopes of finding the réfuge intercommunal . . .

. . . and bingo! here it is. So that's done, and now we'll head on back by an out-of-the-way route towards the car.

So that's done, and now we'll head on back by an out-of-the-way route towards the car.

As the daylight dims, the route seems to be getting more and more out-of-the-way the farther we go.


But here we are, at the end of the day, with faithful, icy old Dieter the Volkswagen waiting for us with a sixpack down behind the driver's seat.

Sèche des Amburnex

4 March 2007: We're out to get some photos of the farm at Sèche des Amburnex, but the lighting is awful today.

The farm of Sèche des Amburnex

Note the "P5"

We made it to the venue, but the lighting was not cooperating, and this is about the best we could do, photo-wise. More.

It's a very grim day in Switzerland today; no working on our tan this afternoon. But more limestone fun awaits us in the forest of Grande Rolat on the way back to the car.

Ballet shoes might be more useful than snowshoes for tippy-toeing across this limestone minefield.

Try the left, but if not, try the right, or leap across, then try the left again.

This is probably one of the most varied hiking forests in the world, but off the few trails you can't expect to get much more than a kilometre in a half hour.

Quel surprise! After searching for it for half an hour and having given it up, we emerged out of the forest into this clearing and HERE IT IS.

It looks like a well, now with TWO bits of wood thrown across it for you to grab on to, if worse comes to worst.

If you should need to fall into a hole, this looks like one of the ones not to choose.

And that's a lovely automobile to come home to, with a bin in the back for wet, icy snowshoes.

from SwitzerlandMobility (http://map.schweizmobil.ch/?lang=en)

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 5 April 2007, revised 19 July 2008, 4 September 2014.

Jura snowshoeing

Snow camping