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snap october 2009: waking up in the Alps

October 11, 2009
Alpen sunrise by Pierre Obendrauf

The sun on the Pierre Avoi in the Pennine Alps in Switzerland. Picture shot by Pierre Obendrauf at 06 58AM on July 23 2009, with the following coordinates -- altitude: 1525.01m, latitude: N46°03'29.3", longitude: E7°00'04.5".

I think France and the first things that come to mind are: Paris, drinking wine, Louvre. I’m a fancy girl, what can I say. When my Gazette colleague Pierre Obendrauf thought of France it was Paris second, hiking in the Alps first. And not the kind of hiking in which hipsters break out the Gore-tex they’ve bought special for the occasion. He’s the real deal. Maps on the GPS? Check. Ditto hiking poles. Oh yeah, and a complete unwillingness to admit defeat, even in the face of Mother Nature. Halfway up the climb around Pierre Avoi (atop which this morning moment was captured), green slopes had unexpectedly turned snow- and storm-obscured. The buff French army lads he and his hiking partner encountered were turning back and advising them likewise. No dice, despite growing concern that, if the GPS maps were out of date, they could be in deep trouble. And the shorts were probably not a good call in the end. But there followed about 45 minutes of forging ahead and then “Is it biere or bier in this part of Switzerland?”

Denise Duguay

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