My fingers feel like Popsicle sticks. I’m wearing every layer of clothing in my pack, but I have a chill in my bones I can’t seem to shake. I’m on a winding mountain path in the Alps, somewhere in Italy, approaching the high pass that will take me into Switzerland. But I can’t see more than a few metres in front of me, thanks to a thick layer of cloud cover that’s settled on the mountains like a wet blanket. There’s a constant drizzle of rain and the wind is fierce; I’m above the tree line here. It’s hard to believe just a few days ago I was sweltering in 32-degree Celsius temps — when I had peeled my socks from my heat-swollen feet to gratefully wade into a glacial river.

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