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I was not expecting to see this that day. I was not even expecting to make it out alive .
It was barely an hour earlier when I left the safety of the rifugio in the French alps under moody skies. The wind was picking up, but nothing to deter from hiking. A couple of far-away lightning strikes signaled an approaching storm. A light drizzle started, that turned to a torrential downpour in a matter of minutes. And the strikes came nearer and more frequent, the accompanying thunder reverberating across the entire valley .
I passed a couple of hikers coming the other way, and they urged me to turn around. I wish I had heeded their advice. For what lay ahead of me was a vast open stretch of trail in rocky terrain with nary a protective zone. And I was in the heart of the storm .
The gale-force winds gripped my tangled poncho, eager to yank away my only barrier to the rain. I held on, fighting the wind and the rain, slowly trudging forward. I had given up all hope of seeing the light after a storm; my only focus was on taking the next step .
And without warning, the clouds parted, the sun shone, and I was treated to dramatic view of the glacier-capped slopes of Mont Blanc.