Sunrise at the Piramide del Sol

A Morning Hike up the Pyramid of the Sun


The idea of watching a sunrise from the top of one of the world’s largest pyramids had grabbed me, and I wasn’t going to let it go.

I planned to climb the Piramide del Sol, Pyramid of the Sun, in the ancient city of Teotihuacán north of Mexico City. This site was established a hundred years before the birth of Jesus.

I had read the placement of the Pyramid of the Sun was over a lava tube thought to be sort of an umbilical cord connected to the gods of the underworld—perhaps the place of human origin.

Just who built the pyramids and surrounding city is a matter of continued debate. Yet, it is clear a cultural mix, Otomi, Zapotec, Mixtec, Maya and Nahua people inhabited this multi-ethnic city over an extended period—maybe seven hundred years. Perhaps what held this once vibrant city together for so long was its multi-ethnic nature.


We arrived from Mexico City in the late afternoon, and I planned to be the first person on the site when it opened before dawn. I wanted to be at the top of the tallest pyramid as the sun rose. Perhaps in doing so—alone, with no distractions—I might feel the spirit of this monument of early civilization, the place where Gods were born.


In the darkness, scrambling up the pyramid’s narrow steps, not made for my size-thirteen shoes, I overtook a young woman ascending with a large backpack.

Guten Morgen,” she said between deep gasps for breath.

“Good morning to you, Buenos Dias,” I replied, surging past.


I had counted two hundred steps as I approached my goal. Just as I was feeling sure I would be the first to arrive, I spotted movement above me. I stopped and looked again. Over the edge of the summit—through first light—peered a friendly face.


A handsome, yellow-brown dog, wagging his tail, greeted me as I stepped onto the top of the pyramid. He rubbed against my legs and then nuzzled my hand, looking for a treat. I opened my shoulder bag, pulled out a Snickers Bar and watched it vanish.

Now he’s my buddy.

While waiting for the sun to rise above the mountains to the east, I walked across the one-hundred foot wide flat top. Then in a flash, the dull, yellow-gray light disappeared, replaced by blinding gold—the sun, full glare.

I looked back toward the steps. The German girl arrived and plopped down on the stone surface. She opened her huge backpack, searched a bit, and began feeding the dog.

Later, as I descended, passing groups of visitors on their way up, I stopped and looked up as the first large group arrived. They all paused, started going through their bags, and fed the dog.


My spiritual takeaway?

It seems dogs, like people, may or may not have a fortunate birth. Yet, they too may adapt and discover how to position themselves for a rewarding life.