Sunrise tour

Maria Hilber
Nature , Hiking

Sunrise tour

Through the white night – towards the sun

A sunrise hike from the Passo di Carezza to the Poppekanzel, the “dolls’ pulpit”

The signs of the zodiac travel across the sky above us. On the evening before our great adventure we go to bed with the Big Dipper and Orion’s belt. It’s going to be a short night: at six o’clock in the morning we gather outside the Hotel Moseralm to set out for the last sunrise hike of this year’s summer season.


The peaks of the mountains are already covered in sugary white and the tips of our noses are getting cold and a little more pointy. But we’re well equipped.

There are eight of us boarding the minibus that takes us from the Hotel Moseralm, situated in the middle of the Carezza forest, to the Passo di Carezza. Up we go, to 1,745 metres above sea level, past the historic Grandhotel and other fairy-tale buildings! We leave the bus, wrapped up warmly in thick clothes and equipped with headlights. Among a few clouds, the moon rests in the sky like a white sage, looking down on us benevolently. 

Our first steps take us up a gentle slope. The headlights flicker over rocks and roots. Some of us chat quietly. 

Dark tree shadows border our path. They seem truly gigantic, yet friendly in the moon-white light. Halfway up, where the meadows merge into the mountain, a thin snow cover crunches under our shoes. Those with hiking poles have an easy game, the others carefully place one foot in front of the other. Past snow-covered alpine roses, over the white paths of the Dolomites. A radio station that looks like a huge advertising board makes us chuckle. No advertising here, this system transmits data. From the very centre of the Dolomites out into the cosmos. 

A magic hour

It’s quiet now, there is merely the sound of our breathing. I hearken into the beginning morning. After all, we are walking into the heart of THE mythological world. And the higher up we get, the stronger the wind blows, getting entangled in the forest beneath us, in the bushes, branches and trunks. Soft whistling sounds escort us. We pause, wonder, walk on. In the distance we see little glowing lights coming from the Sciliar mountain huts. We’re not the only early birds, it seems. But the Catinaccio is still sleeping, covered in night blue. 

As our zigzag curves tighten, the Dolomite rocks take shapes with every step. A timid aurora begins to lighten up the ridges of the Bellunese Dolomites far away. I indulge in the feeling of grandeur and majesty – and magic – that has come over me. We can sense it now: dawn is close, the daylight intensifies, accentuating the contours of the white Dolomite rocks. 

At the very end of our hike, the path turns into a little climbing tour on the last metres up to the Poppekanzel. Those who want to get to the top will have to leave their fear of heights behind. Our hiking guides Monika and Ivan extend their hands to us. I feel a tinge of relief. 

Latemar in the early morning
Sunrise in Carezza Dolomites
Red dawm

Like a yellow, fiery ball

Once we have reached the top we have to wait a few moments, but not for long. The red streak on the horizon becomes increasingly paler and as soon as everyone of us has found their perfect position on this rocky pulpit, the yellow sun blazes up in the distance. Little by little, the peaks and ridges plunge into the light. Monika starts singing a song and the grandeur of the moment strikes us again. “All on earth Thy scepter claim, all in Heaven above adore Thee.”

The sun rays do their best to warm us, but the wind has the better hand. We lean against it. We don’t care. It’s quiet again. And we feel very small. 

Monika, the heart and soul and owner of the Hotel Moseralm, is of course prepared for this moment. She distributes a magic potion that tastes very much like cherry brandy. And chocolate tarts with coffee. And then some tea that most presumably also has some liquor in it. NOW we’re warm again. 

Red dawn direction Catinaccio
Morning panorama
Catinaccio with the first sun beams

Almost as far as Venice

What a view: the Catinaccio in front of us. The sun over the Marmolata with its impressive peak at 3,343 metres above sea level. In the distance the Zillertal Alps and behind us the tors of the Latemar – the dolls, called “Poppen” in the local dialect. Legend has it that these white rock towers are petrified dolls that once belonged to a rich Venetian. We are looking straight into their faces, so to speak. And then our gaze wanders into the distance again – we look almost as far as Venice, before we slowly begin our descent.  

Maria Hilber

is a blogger and content scout for the Content- und Social-Media-Marketing Agency clicktext in Southtyrol.
She loves the path from the atoms to the Dolomites, from the people to the stories and from the
experienced to the reports.

The Italian version of this text is the work of our translation wizard Serena Schiavolin, responsible for Italian content at clicktext, who brings a typical Italian touch to our stories!