Out and About: Bivouacking in the Jura Mountains

Craving to be outdoors, I needed some time out and about.


Hiking trails in Switzerland
Hiking trails in Switzerland

Out and About in the Jura Mountains

Despite the lockdown in Switzerland, recreational activities that are done by yourself are still allowed. Therefore, I seized the opportunity to venture out and about into the Jura mountains. On a weekday, I packed my Atlas backpack for a two days trip. In order to not meet anyone, I opted to go by car rather than public transport. In the course of two days, only four other people crossed my path in a safe distance.

The primary goal of this trip was to search for wildlife, such as chamois and deer. The journey began by ascending to an outlook, where I enjoyed the magnificent view. The air clarity was amazing.

Swiss alps panorama views
Swiss alps panorama views

Perhaps this Corona virus might teach us a lesson to be more vigilant in terms of pollution. Moreover, nature seems not to mind our absence. Quite the opposite is the case. All over Switzerland wildlife reclaims habitats where they have not been seen for years. My favourite example still, is the Shanghai Zoo. The self-explanatory title reads: With zoo closed to visitors, pandas finally bang after 10 years.

Roe deer grazing on a meadow in the Jura mountains
Roe deer grazing on a meadow in the Jura mountains

Wildlife

Continuing the hike through the rolling hills that is the Jura mountains, I scanned the meadows and patches of forest.

Rolling hills
The rolling hills in the Jura mountains during golden hour
The rolling hills in the Jura mountains
The rolling hills in the Jura mountains

At one instance, I saw a creature of the size of a cat and assumed it to be one. Nonetheless, I aimed the zoom lens in its direction. The long fury tail clearly indicated that it is not a cat but a fox. Despite my presence, it remained surprisingly calm. Yet, as soon as it recognized me, it took two hesitant steps before vanishing towards its burrow.

The mighty fox which was surprised about my appearance
The mighty fox which was surprised about my appearance

Night Out

Arriving at the intended bivouacking spot of my out and about adventure, the wind picked up quite a bit. The wind chill became an issue for my hands and I quickly set up everything.

In order to save weight, I opted for a bivy, which can be set up in a blink of an eye. I used the Outdoor Research Aurora bivouac sac with my trusted Thermarest Neoair X-Lite with my new winter sleeping bag. Additionally, I wore the Exped Down booties. For a further layer of ground insulation, I put the entire setup on a Thermarest foam mattress. The temperatures dropped well below freezing, which caused the coke bottle to freeze in the morning. However, the winter sleeping bag kept me warm and cosy.

Dead End

The following day, I planned to explore an area that I have not visited before. Furthermore, I wanted to find a way to connect two hiking trails through the woods. I did not see any wildlife but found a dropping by of a carnivorous animal. This was indicated by the fur, which was still visible. My off-path intention did not prove feasible due to steepness and forced me to turn around.

Dropping of a carnivorous animal
Dropping of a carnivorous animal
Swiss alps black&white
Swiss alps black&white

Out and About Video

It was great to be back outdoors again on this little out and about adventure. Through out this entire journey, I documented my proceedings by video without any commentary but just nature sounds. I have not published it yet, but might do so in the near future. Would you be interested to watch it?

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