Sunrise Above the Clouds in the Sierra Norte

We woke up in darkness, a cold darkness inside our cabins and started to prepare for our first hike.  We just arrived late the prior night to Llano Grande one of the communities in the Pueblos Mancomunados, after a long travel day. Our first real views of the Sierra Norte awaited us still and we prepared to catch them at first light from a close by overlook.

sunris ar mirador de calaveras

the sun begins to rise above the clouds

And that is why we were up so early, we boarded a small bus and headed out for a small hike to watch the sunrise at Mirador de Calaveras.

The altitude was already over 10,000 feet and our ascent would only be a few hundred feet in altitude after a short path. This was not our big hike of the day between pueblos, but just a way to start our time as part of our adventure in the Sierra Norte of Oaxaca.

hiking up for sunirse at mrador de calaveras

the only way to watch the sunrise is start to hike in the dark

Our guides carried the powerful flashlights as our smartphone lacked the power to aide our navigation through the darkness. We eventually found our way and started our final ascent up to the top of the second highest peak in the area.  We were set to view the sunrise from Mirador de Calaveras where my altimeter read 10,845 feet.

Upon catching our breath near the top, we quickly noticed we were not the first to make this trek this day, a crew (members of the community) were already atop preparing provisions.

breakfast thanks to the community and expediciones de sierra norte on our hike

needed the cafe de olla … it was chilly

We found our footing and even a seat on the cold rock laden earth avoiding anything prickly and received a hot café de olla (an Oaxacan delicacy and derivative of a coffee drink) and some bread with jam. This would be our first breakfast of the day. We sat and waited. Waiting for the sun to show and warm us all up.

When the sun eventually crossed the cloud line and started to light our world, day began.  We listened to local prayers words of wisdom and chants of appreciation while we all greeted the morning with a fine gusto when our guide blew into a conch shell. We arrived and the Sierra Norte lay before us.

the guia exlplains the land, culture, and starts our day with a conch shell at sunrise in the Sierra norte

Blow the Conch Shell

The sun warmed our bodies and toast of mezcal warmed our souls.  It was special up here. The valley looked beautiful and we were just beginning our journey through it. Those sun beams opened up views that made us smile wide. We arrived too the Sierra Norte and its adventure lay ahead.  Vamos!

hiking in the sierra norte

time to hike back down and start our adventures in the Sierra Norte

Stay adventurous, Craig

Disclaimer: My trip to the Sierra Norte was part of the FAM through ATMEX and the conference and work with Sierra Norte Expediciones. All the images, inspiration, and words are my own.

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