Sunday, February 28, 2010

Jura et Vaud en Raquettes! // Snowsoe Trails & Tips

It's time I wrote this post. But we had the most amazing trip yesterday so I'll include that as well and do a pic review of three trails on the whole:

Alpes Vaudoises -- Les Diablerets (Les Rosaries)
Jura -- Ste-Croix (Chasseron -- almost =D)
Jura -- La Givrine (La Cure -- almost =D)

OK, our snowshoes look really nice and sturdy but the laces are plain awful. I'd either have to check them every 10 minutes or walk (as I do) carefully. A bit more hold would be awesome.

So here are some pix from the Diablerets trip. First from Geneva we took the train to Aigle and then from there a small train runs like hourly to the village of Les Diablerets. We took the ski lift to Isenau then mostly followed the trail 2 or 3 (they go along for a wile) or just the scent :) But it's real easy to find your way there. (The pix are bit jumbled, sorry... I'll put them in order as soon as I find the time...)

As the Alpes Vaudoises were a bit too far from Geneva, next time we opted for the Jura mountains. They can be seen from Geneva on a clear day and they look really tempting with their gentle snowy slopes. So we went to Yverdon-les-Bains by train and took the little train to Ste-Croix (runs hourly). Then we followed the trail to Chasseron but turned back like halfway there. We left home a bit late (didn't want to wake up early =D) and took our time walking through the forest so we wouldn't have had time to make it back to the railway if we hadn't. So to "give you the envy" as the French say (in English =D; it comes from the French phrase avoir envie de... which means to feel like doing sg):

Yestreday we went ... no not further but closer. We chose the part of the Jura which is closest to Geneva. From Nyon we took the little train (NStCM, a weird name, but this is how you'll find it) to La Givrine and then let our feet (and the plastic "plates") take us wherever. We wanted to get off at St-Cergue but as we couldn't see much snow from the train, we stayed on. Took like an hour by public transport to get there but it was like the most beautiful of our trips so far. And due to the plastic thingies we bought (for CHF19 at the station), the most fun too! Check out the pix:

(Regardless of age, there's fun to be had for everyone!)
(So let the fun begin! XD)
(This is just plain awesome!)(I heart Jura!)(At the end of a slope...)
(A snowstorm started to form as we were waiting at the station...)

So which one was better? Well, if you're going for more fun and less exhaustion, I'd recommend the Jura. There are many reasons to choose it over the Alpes (Vaud or Valais). For one: I love the Alpes. They look so beautiful! But when I'm there, I can hardly see them from the peaks immediately surrounding me. From the Jura you can see them perfectly, all the snowcapped giants sparkling in the sun. I love that view.

Second, the Jura has nice gentle slopes, which means you're not climbing up & down all the time, which is inevitable in the Alpes (Vaud or Valais still, I'm not talking about the area around Bern, which is slightly different). And with our snowshoes it was really painful. Besides, you have to watch your steps and can't really be gazing around -- which I like to do when hiking.

Also, there are much less skiers in the Jura. Not that it's a problem if they are but this also means that the environment is just more peaceful and you're more at your leisure. I prefer rough trails to cleaned-up ones so I don't like walking from one ski spot to the other. Well, you can't really get lost in the Jura either or if you do you can find your way back any time. We were actually walking in the wrong direction once (no wonder we didn't get to La Cure...) but found our way back using a GPS. But just plain logic can also get you back to the railway/motorway.

So, I hope this helps. I've been looking for more information on snowshoe trips that are

not between ski slopes
not only reachable by car
not to far from Geneva

but so far I haven't found much. I'm having a hard time deciding where to go each time we're planning a trip. Well, these hikes have been really nice, so check them out if you haven't! ;)

And have fun snowshoeing! ;)

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