Trying down on the cities round Lake Atitlan earlier than dawn from atop Indian’s Nostril.
Is it 3:30am already?
Whereas I had willed myself to withstand the temptation of San Pedro’s nightlife, the women within the room subsequent to me clearly hadn’t, as their shriek-like guffawing and all-night techno celebration made it troublesome to catch the mandatory six hours of shut-eye I wanted.
Fortunately, the considered seeing a lovely Guatemalan dawn over Lake Atitlan is sufficient to propel me away from bed to placed on my mountaineering garments and boots.
The start of the Indian’s Nostril dawn
Indian’s Nostril, or La Nariz de Indio, sits at At 2,863 meters (9,393 ft) wanting over the pueblos of San Pedro, Santa Clara and San Marcos.
It’s title comes from the very fact the profile of the mountain seems to be like a sleeping Indian. Curiously, the height was thought-about sacred by the Mayans, who would pray and conduct non secular companies on the high.
My information, Jose of Atitlan Excursions, is ready on the steps of the tourism workplace. He smirks, “Cansado?”
I nod in reply to his questioning if I’m drained.
He laughs, “Mucho fiesta a Zolla’s Hostel?”
Whereas I’d actually wished to attend one in every of Zolla’s legendary Tuesday night time events, I’d skipped out with the intention to be rested for Indian’s Nostril. I sincerely hoped this was value it.
Somewhat bit extra colour peaking via through the Indian’s Nostril dawn
Technically the trek begins in Santa Clara, and we board a neighborhood rooster bus — an journey in itself — to succeed in the vacation spot.
The journey feels much like nighttime rally racing in an old-fashioned bus, with the car threatening to lose its entrance axle and physique (I really noticed this close to Antigua) with every lightning quick hairpin flip.
Water spills throughout my shirt because it jumps out of the bottle throughout one notably daunting flip, and my bistec (steak) wrap goes flying throughout the bus.
Oh nicely. At the least I’d gotten a couple of bites in.
After about 45 minutes we attain the trailhead, which I’d have by no means discovered alone and not using a information as we appear to snake via somebody’s yard crops to the woods.
We stroll via tall cornfields illuminated by solely the ample stars within the clear sky, the dry earth beneath me pluming up filth with every step.
It will get even darker after we emerge into the forest, the flat path shortly turning into extraordinarily steep steps, lots of which give a peak problem for my 5’2” physique.
An older gentleman in entrance of me slips and falls on one notably steep patch, and we assist him brush off earlier than persevering with on.
Lake Atitlan from Indian’s Nostril
Jose walks at speedy pace, clearly unphased by the unrelenting uphill terrain. It’s not till I handle to huff the part “Holy f*ck” that he realizes the remainder of us aren’t Guatemalan mountain males, and we take a brief water break.
“Cinco minutos mas,” he says, as we proceed on.
I’ve gone on a whole lot of hikes via my travels, and when a trek is especially difficult guides will usually deceive you about how a lot time is left earlier than reaching the highest to encourage hikers to assume they’re virtually there.
This is the reason I’m shocked when actually 5 minutes later we attain a flat high with benches and a raised viewing platform.
My watch readers 5:58 am, and the sky has barely modified from black to midnight blue. You too can make out a line of sizzling pink alongside the horizon, in addition to the define of monumental volcanoes.
Indian’s Nostril dawn viewing platform
“Vamanos! Let’s go,” says Jose after about quarter-hour.
I’m confused. Did Guatemalans simply get pleasure from seeing the pre-sunrise relatively than the precise arising of the solar? And why are we strolling uphill once more if we’re going again down?
It isn’t till 10 minutes later after we attain one other viewing platform I understand we’re not leaving however relocating.
We wait, though it doesn’t take lengthy for the shapes and shadows of peaks and clouds to turn into seen, the celebs and darkness remodeling right into a grey-blue backdrop dotted with dragon-shaped black clouds and San Pedro Volcano peaking via an unlimited pillow of floating white cotton.
I really feel similar to Katie Perry in “California Ladies,” besides as an alternative of cupcake bras and glitter I’m carrying a pink rain jacket and alpaca hat (However hey! I’m nonetheless within the clouds!).
Full Indian’s Nostril dawn
I run round Indian’s Nostril like a starved pet, the brilliant oranges and pinks from the solar appearing as my nourishment.
My purpose is to get a photograph of the dawn over Lake Atitlan from each angle each couple of minutes as to not miss a factor:
The altering of the black clouds from dragons to pirate ships, the orange streaks within the child blue sky, the effervescent cauldron of cloud blanket, the jagged shoreline peaking from underneath the fog, the close by peaks drenched in neon, the primary glimpse of the solar waking up and, the spotlight of the expertise, the emerald inexperienced Lake Atitlan coming into view underneath a Bob Ross-inspired sky.
For those who’re going to skip an evening out dancing and doing pictures of Quetzelteca for any motive, make it a dawn hike up Indian’s Nostril.
Panoramic shot taken from Indian’s Nostril. Click on right here for a full measurement model. NYC Winter Pictures: 17 Finest Locations To Take Photos When It Snows Acadia Nationwide Park Dawn Hike: Otter Cliff To Ocean Path (Epic!)