Dwight Peck's personal website

Winter 2008-2009

The best snow we've had in the Jura in a decade, but now it's going back to wherever it came from.

Views of La Correntine

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.

How to get fine views of La Correntine in the springtime? It's not that easy (19 April 2009).

It all has to do with angles to the sun, albedo, and German automobiles with a low chassis. April in the Jura: the snow melts off the slanted hillsides before it leaves the flat little mountain roadways, so we'll need to stomp some mud and dead leaves for a while.

We really want to photograph La Correntine as who wouldn't, but it's going to take a few hours of bushwhacking through the thickets first. We'll leave Dieter the VW here at about 1230m and see where this little track leads us.

Patchy mossy wet forests at first, but with luck we'll find some walkable snow higher up.

Onto the snow at last. It's like coming home.

But with shrinking snow in springtime come the holes in the forest floor opening up in front of us. That's a snowplug still hanging out in the middle of a sizable hole. We'll be alert and leave off idly daydreaming for a while.

Nearly time for snowshoes now

Snowshoes on for a good flat stretch, and then we ascend again. This entire forest is called the Côte de Bière, the hillside overlooking the village of Bière.

We're up onto the first ridge, at about 1370m, and here is the famous Quatrotree -- four trees out of one tree-trunk. Humorless foresters have cut off three of them, but we can still plainly see what Monstrous Nature intended.

We saw this arboreal horror years ago and have been trying to find it ever since, to get a photo of it for Kristin, who loves nothing so much as a freak of nature -- so, Kristin, here it is: 19 April 2009.

Telephotoing down through the break in the trees at the farm at La Foirausaz

We're turning north to the Pré de St-Livres, at 1360m

Pré de St-Livres, the communal pastures of the lakeside village of St-Livres, and in the background (just over the roof of the main building), the Glacière de St-Livres, one of the major caverns in the region

We'll go up onto the ridge and look for the Correntine farm. That's the front part of Mont de Bière Devant on the horizon.

It's just a hop of 60 vertical meters up onto the ridge.

A kilometre or so along the ridge, we come to the ski-club hut not far off from the farm, 1460-something meters.

Hikers assembling for the final push

The ski-club hut

The farm of La Correntine at 1439m. The name, according to Henry Suter, comes from a feminization of a patronymic, eventually from a rare first name Correntin.

La Correntine farm on a kind of balcony above Lake Geneva

The ski hut on the ridge

Billowing clouds

We've found La Correntine and clicked off our photos, so now we'll find our way back by a different route. We didn't bring a map along today, and that never ends well.

At last, though, there's an old mossy stone wall we recognize from ages past, so from here it's all just downhill.

Finally, ploop! Just when we were obsessing about possibly having overshot the little road and Next Stop Bière about a vertical kilometre down the mountain, here's our roadway, and there's our Dieter. Faithful to the last. Just in time for the 6 o'clock BBC news.

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 24 April 2009, revised 6 January 2014.

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