Trying down on the cities round Lake Atitlan earlier than dawn from atop Indian’s Nostril.
“Beep. Beep. Beep.”
Is it 3:30am already?
Whereas I had willed myself to withstand the temptation of San Pedro’s nightlife, the ladies within the room subsequent to me clearly hadn’t, as their shriek-like guffawing and all-night techno celebration made it tough 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 off the 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 toes) 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 like a sleeping Indian. Curiously, the height was thought-about sacred by the Mayans, who would pray and conduct spiritual 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 needed to attend one among Zolla’s legendary Tuesday evening events, I’d skipped out in an effort to be rested for Indian’s Nostril. I sincerely hoped this was price it.
A bit bit extra shade peaking by means of throughout the Indian’s Nostril dawn
Technically the trek begins in Santa Clara, and we board an area hen bus — an journey in itself — to succeed in the vacation spot.
The journey feels much like nighttime rally racing in an old style bus, with the automobile threatening to lose its entrance axle and physique (I truly 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 properly. No less than I’d gotten a couple of bites in.
After about 45 minutes we attain the trailhead, which I’d have by no means discovered by myself with no information as we appear to snake by means of somebody’s yard crops to the woods.
We stroll by means of tall cornfields illuminated by solely the considerable stars within the clear sky, the dry earth beneath me pluming up dust with every step.
It will get even darker after we emerge into the forest, the flat path rapidly turning into extraordinarily steep steps, a lot 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 fast velocity, 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 bunch of hikes by means of my travels, and when a trek is especially difficult guides will typically mislead you about how a lot time is left earlier than reaching the highest to encourage hikers to suppose they’re virtually there.
That is why 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. It’s also possible to make out a line of scorching pink alongside the horizon, in addition to the define of huge 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 reasonably 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 notice 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 by means of an unlimited pillow of floating white cotton.
I really feel similar to Katie Perry in “California Women,” besides as a substitute of cupcake bras and glitter I’m sporting 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 intense oranges and pinks from the solar appearing as my nourishment.
My aim is to get a photograph of the dawn over Lake Atitlan from each angle each jiffy 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 beneath 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 beneath a Bob Ross-inspired sky.
If you happen to’re going to skip an evening out dancing and doing photographs of Quetzelteca for any cause, 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.