The Jura Mountains, a sub-alpine mountain range which stretches through France, Switzerland and Germany, are located just behind Garrin’s place in Saint-Genis-Pouilly. They are easily accessible through a trail network that steadily climbs up to the summit at 1,720m. The weather was beautiful Thursday morning as I set out to climb the second highest peak in the Juras; Le Reculet (1,719m).
After reaching the village of Thoiry on foot from Saint-Genis-Pouilly (419 vertical meters and about an hour’s walk), I started the climb towards Le Reculet. I met Bernard, a Swiss man hiking in his ski boots and carrying his alpine ski gear, shortly after passing the official trail head at Le Toican (870m).
Bernard accompanied me all the way to the Narderans lookout (1,330m) and pointed out the snow-covered route I was to follow to the summit. As he strapped on his skis to continue his accent, I stopped to enjoy my lunch amidst alpine flowers under the gaze of near-by Chamois (a goat-antelope species). Although a haze hung in the air, I could distinguish the outline of the Alps and Month Blanc across the Swiss Plateau and could even make out the famous Jet d’Eau in Geneva.
When I started back up the mountain, I was pleasantly surprised to see fresh tracks in the snow. Surely enough, someone had overtaken me while I was eating and made an easy trail to follow to the summit. Views of the forested Valserine Valley and numerous smaller mountain chains unfolded to the west as I reached the large metal cross that marks the summit of Le Reculet.
A friendly Swiss woman struck up a conversation with me as I was taking in the views. She was eager to answer my questions about the local trail system and gave me tips for further exploring. I followed her snow-shoe tracks back down, this time passing through Thoiry Devant (1,510m) before reconnecting with the main trail and finishing the decent. The whole trip was a lovely day-hike and a great way to start off my Europe trip!