Grande Traversée du Jura français & Traversée du Jura Su

Europe

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ise
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Grande Traversée du Jura français & Traversée du Jura Su

Postby ise » Sat Jan 30, 2010 12:59 pm

goff suggested I repost this here, hope that's OK :-)

The Jura are a range of mountains separating the Rhine and Rhone rivers along the French-Swiss border. Despite our valley house being just below the Jura in the years we've been here I've never much explored the Jura instead going to the alps. But last summer I was climbing a lot in the Jura with a friend who lives in Annecy as the Jura is handy for both of us and I thought how great the area was for winter touring. It's an obvious idea to make a traverse of the whole length of the mountain chain so I set out this week to cross the Jura on skis. Given the rolling terrain it makes sense to use nordic touring gear, longer skinny skis ideal for covering larger distances on rolling terrain.

So I took a train, bus and taxi journey to Giron in the Ain department of France to start a route called the GTJ or the Grande Traversée du Jura français, my plan is to use this for a day or two before hopping over the border into Switzerland and picking up the Traversée du Jura Suisse (TJS) which is a bit wilder and technically harder. I dropped into the tourist office at Giron for a chat and they rather kindly offered me a ride up the mountain to avoid some poorer snow low down which saved me about an hours skiing I'd think, that was handy as the public transport had taken me to nearly lunch time to get to Giron so I was on a fairly tight schedule.

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It's not a great day really in terms of weather so I'm reduced to taking photo's of signs, although I did think the forestry sign was pretty funny.

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That's the refuge I used for the first night, extremely basic but it has running hot water and power which is more than we get in the winter in the high alps. The guardian produced some good food and it was comfortable enough, there were only two other people staying so it was pretty quiet.

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Leaving at dawn the next morning I got to enjoy a pleasant hour or so skiing in the early morning light, it was pretty cold but I was able to cover a lot of ground fairly quickly which was useful as I was heading for a long day to reach the Swiss border.

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Somewhere between these farms a dog appeared and started to follow me, I looped back a few times trying to lose it but each time I thought he'd gone he'd suddenly bound out of the forest wagging his tail and rolling around in the snow. After a couple of km it was pretty clear he was just going to keep following me and since we were in a remote area there wasn't a lot I could do really. After about 5km from where I first saw him I detoured to a small village and asked for some help at the local hotel. Fortunately they were happy to take my new friend and try and find the owner so here he is wondering where his new best friend is going without him :

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By now the cloud had rolled in and I was behind schedule so I had to put a sprint on to avoid finishing in the dark and skiing by head torch. But I managed to reach my overnight stop in La Cure on the border just after 1600 after skiing about 38 km.

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La Cure is an odd place sitting on the border and the hotel I used was split between France and Switzerland but mostly French I think and they were billing in euros so I think were more French than Swiss. It was actually pretty good, a high level of luxury if you're used to gites and mountain huts so I spent a pleasant night ready for the next morning and the first legs of the Traversée du Jura Suisse

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Ami in Berlin
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Postby Ami in Berlin » Mon Feb 01, 2010 10:54 am

Fantastic!

LewLasher
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Postby LewLasher » Mon Feb 01, 2010 11:06 am

I'll second that: a distinctive journey, an interesting story, and excellent use of photographs to illustrate the story.

ise
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Postby ise » Tue Feb 02, 2010 2:58 pm

I should update that to say the dog got home safely, I contacted the hotel who'd found the owner and he'd been picked up hopefully none the worse for his day out :-)

So a big thanks to the helpful people at the Hotel Le Trappeur in Les Molunes


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