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Gimme shelter!

The rain on Thursday got heavier and heavier and by the time I reached the pass to Austria a squall was blowing.

Lightning cracked, thunder followed, and my plan to bivouac outside without a tent didn't feel quite as enticing as it had in the morning's sunshine.

Just then, right at the Grueben Pass border, a miracle happened: a tiny hut, so small it wasn't even on the map, appeared through the driving rain.

I'd hoped to hike two more hours until 9 pm, but instead I dived inside.

Bare wooden floors with a narrow bench never looked so good. Just 8 feet by 8 feet, the building likely used to house a border guard waiting to catch poachers and undocumented travelers.

Also astounding, inside was a 2009 edition of an Austrian climbing magazine with a story about Hanno Loewy's museum exposition about the persecution of Jews in Alpine cultures.

Last October I interviewed Mr. Loewy at the edge of the Rhine. At the time he told me about the centuries of smuggling that took place across these passes.

In the 1930's this smuggling included Jews escaping Austria.

Which reminds me that since I'm crossing on or near all the passes, this would include the one used by the Von Trapp family, immortalized in The Sound of Music.

Does anyone reading this know which pass they used? I'd love to know.

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