Jura(ssic) Parc

It has been a while since I last wrote. It’s quite difficult to manage the time between writing and my workload, but here you go. I wanted to write about my recent trip but I felt “guilty” not to tell you the story of this following trip. So this is a late post from my end of the year 2015 trip in Jura.

One day after the snowless christmas, I went to Les Rousses to spend the end of the year. Les Rousses is located in the department of Jura in the southern part of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region. If you read my previous post, Jura is one of the main mountain chains in France. More specifically, it is located in the regional national parc of Haut-Jura and is in the border with Switzerland – close to Lac Leman.

I planned this trip since about three months before christmas to avoid high season prices. I had never been to Jura and was really excited about it. During winter Les Rousses is a well-known (read: touristic) place for cross-country skiing and other winter activities.

France = strike?

I packed my skis, layers of warm clothes and hiking shoes. The struggle became real when I verified my train schedule and found out that the TER – France regional train – employees decided to strike. Well it’s christmas, let’s strike and make these people miserable! So I was forced to make some (read: lot lot lot) adjustments to the trip. I took an earlier train, assured the connecting bus, modified other bus reservation, and called the owner of the accomodation about these changes. It was ridiculous.

I arrived around 2pm after spending more than 8hours on transportation alone. The owner of the accomodation was kind enough to pick me at the tourism office – where the bus dropped everyone. No snow to be found. Who the hell was stupid enough to bring his skis when there was no snow to be found? Yep, this guy. But I’m an optimist, 7days to go and snow would eventually fall, right??

Les Rousses station is composed by four vilages: Les Rousses, Lamoura (the southest), Prémanon, and Bois d’Amont (A bit north). If you stayed for at least a week you will get a card that allows you to take the shuttle connecting the four villages for free. It also gives you discount to discover the villages. Just in front of the tourism office stand a statue of Louis Pasteur (vaccins, pasteurization, ring a bell?). Indeed he was born in this area, in Dole to be exact.

IMG_6108Ici commence le pays de Pasteur – Here starts the country of Pasteur

Le Noirmont – Bois d’Amont

After not doing much on the first day, I decided to hike around on the second day. Even without snow Les Rousses is very beautiful. The soil was quite frozen but the sky was clear and blue.

I took the shuttle bus in the morning to start my hiking from La Cure ~1100m a.s.l. My destination is Noirmont, one of the most beautiful spot around. From La Cure it is quite plane, the slope is really not very sharp (about 400m of altitude difference but with large distances). It is some sort of a plateau so the direction could be rather confusing at the beginning. To go to Noirmont from La Cure there are two options, one is a path that is about 100m higher than the other.

After walking about two hours I arrived at Noirmont ~1511m a.s.l. I got to experience a splendid view towards the Mont Blanc. Lac Leman was covered with cloud between where I stood and Mont Blanc. It looked like a fluffy cotton candy.

IMG_6167View from Noirmont towards Mont Blanc

I continued walking to Creux du Croue ~1370m a.s.l. Creux can be translated as hollow, which rather makes sense when we see the shape of it.

IMG_6186Creux du Croue

From here, I continued towards Mont Sala ~1511m a.s.l. and hiked down to Bois d’Amont. Here I visited the Boissellerie museum where the local people demonstrate how they process the wood taken from the forest, in particular the spruce.

Les Dappes – La Dole

Beside Noirmont, other nice spot around is La Dole (remember Mr. Pasteur?). I took the shuttle to the Dappes ~1266m a.s.l. and hike up to the Dole ~1866m a.s.l. The slope is sharper than Noirmont.

La Dole has a radar station that is used for aerial navigation and also for meteorology purpose. The electronic data that is processed by the radar antenna, protected by the white dome, is transmitted to Geneva airport to control flight traffics.

IMG_6231La Dole

I crossed some people who trail up here. When I arrived at the top, it was windy so I didn’t stay long despite the georgeous view. The view took me again towards Mont Blanc, but from here I could also see the other Alps mountain and even towards Grenoble direction.

IMG_6244View from La Dole towards Alps

I walked around and arrived at Point de Poele Chaud – hot pan point – before went down to Col de Porte. During this walk I was fortunate to encounter a chamois – a sort of mountain goat. I couldn’t get a nice picture of it. I used to encounter them in the Alps so it was nice to see it there.

IMG_6270Chamois around La Dole

Roche Blanche – Lac des Rousses.

Some day was better than the other. On day4 the weather forecast wasn’t very exciting. I decided to walk around where I stay. I started to walk from my lodge to the starting point the Grepillon direction La roche blanche – the white rock. The weather was alright in the morning but had gone grey by the time I arrived at the white rock.

IMG_6295At Rocher Blanche

I went to the Fort du Risoux but it wasn’t really worth it because it still was an active military fort, means no entry. I continued and stopped at Lavenna. The dark cloud had arrived and partially covered the Lac de Rousses – Lake of Rousses. I arrived at this huge lake – 2000m of length, 400m of average width, and 22m of depth. This is a natural lake and the water is used for daily activities of the population.

IMG_6317Lac des Rousses

Rain started to fall on me.

Lamoura – Prémanon

Lamoura and Prémanon are two of the four villages in the station. I walked pass through the sentier des amoureux and arrived at Lamoura lake. The lake was frozen. This guy at the back with blue jacket just slided on the ice and ignore the sign saying not to cross the lake.

IMG_6364Lac de Lamoura

From Prémanon village I went to Belvédère des Maquisards that is a strategic point used as a surveillance spot during the war.

IMG_6382Belvédère des Maquisards

New Year’s Eve

31st of December was a gloomy and rainy day. I did a small walk in the morning and decided to take part on the BaliseOr. This was like a treasure hunting where they give you a map and a magnetic chip. The objectif was to find the check-points that are spread in the surrounding of the fort of Rousses and beep your chip at every check-point.

IMG_6393BaliseOr – station des Rousses

After completing this activity I went to my lodge to prepare my new year’s dinner with some regional product. On the menu I had a rose of salmon with avocado and crab, toast with cancoillotte, morbiflette, crumbles with red fruits, and cheeses. Morbiflette is potatoes baked with bacon and morbier, a typical cheese from Jura. Cancoillotte is a rather thick creamy cheese from the region as well. On the chesse I had morbier, comté (the famous one from the region), douceur du Tarn and lou païssou. The douceur du Tarn surprised me with its flavor but I wasn’t fan of the latter.

IMG_6400New Year’s menu

Back home

It was new year and also my last day in Les Rousses. I accepted my fate that I brought –and travelled with– my skis for nothing. The next day I said goodbye to Les Rousses. I did almost every walking paths possible. The weather was sunny and the sky was blue. The strike… was still happening.

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