You’d be forgiven for thinking early mornings were a passion of ours as we stood outside a small tour agency at 3:45am on a clear skied Tuesday morning (in fact the last full day to be spent in San Pedro la Laguna on Lake Atitlan).
We’d expected our guide before the clock struck four, but as usual we were on Latin American time and that was purely wishful thinking on our part.
At some time a few tired and haggard faces began to appear from the nearby hostel, and another couple appeared out of the dark, only to be whisked away by a lone guide that had arrived.
Eventually, out of the darkness, a figure emerged, this time looking for us and we were on our way! Well, at least to the edge of town where we sat down to wait on the side of the road.
The couple we’d seen earlier also sat here, we assumed waiting for the same ride as us. It seems assumptions were the order of the morning, one was correct (they were indeed waiting for the same vehicle), and one was not.
We thought we were waiting for some sort of a mini-van, turns out it was just a Chicken Bus!
We bounced our way along in the dark for some time, before alighting in a small village (it was still very dark) and being lead down several narrow laneways, paths and eventually what seemed like goat tracks (minus the goats).
Neglecting to bring a torch, we were fortunate that our guide hadn’t, and it wasn’t long before Sarah became its custodian as she brought the rear of our small little group.
Initially there had been the sounds of other groups nearby and an occasional torch beam would appear through the darkness, but eventually they all turned in a different direction causing a few thoughts of “where are we going?” to pass through my mind.
At some point in time a farmer and his friendly dog joined our party (we assumed he was a farmer, however he also had the key to open the gate at the top of our climb), his spare torch gratefully accepted by our guide who continued to lead, whilst the path now had a very definite incline to it.
We clambered higher and higher until eventually, as the sky began to lighten, we came to a gate (which our possible farmer friend quickly unlocked), seemingly the first group to reach this point, the Indians Nose itself!
At the crest of this no longer dark hill (or is it a mountain) was a small, as yet, not open shop, so there was little chance of a hot breakfast… in fact I’m not sure if it is ever going to be open, or perhaps it is a seasonal thing?
There were several wooden benches that had been constructed for our comfort, as well as an elevated wooden tower for a little extra elevation, although it hardly seemed all that necessary.
In any case the wind just that little bit higher was cold enough that it warranted a hasty departure back down to the ground in fairly quick time.
Then all there was to do really, other than munch on a few biscuits we’d brought along, was wait.
There was a slightly smaller hill maybe 20-30 metres below us (complete with a similar setup to ours with the addition of a cooking fire), upon which we could spy what looked to be the majority of the mornings other trekkers.
Possibly 3 or 4 other people joined us on our elevated perch, but we really were away from the crowds (we assume that down there we would have also found the hungover backpackers from earlier in the morning).
Eventually, after teasing us for many, many minutes, we finally got what we came for as the Sun finally crested the skyline that was essentially volcanoes in the distance.
It was lovely, but to be brutally honest, didn’t deliver something as special as either of us had expected!
We’d actually found the views that bit more stunning before the Sun had made its cameo appearance, and given that at this hour it wasn’t really offering us much warmth, we took a few silhouetted pictures, then asked our guide if we could be on our way.
The descent, well with the aid of daylight, it actually seemed more dangerous than the ascent!
Still, it wasn’t long before we were back on flat terrain, our path taking us through fields of corn and beans, a couple of which we snacked upon (beans that is, not the corn) as a warm-up to breakfast.
An opportunistic ride in a mini-van followed by a bumpy ride in a Tuk-Tuk got us back to San Pedro la Laguna where after being up for many hours, a hot breakfast was well overdue!
* We found a small tour operator (opposite Mr Mullets hostel in San Pedro) that agreed for us to do this tour for $80.00 Quetzales per person.