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Mt. Tallac

At 6:00 a.m. on Saturday morning, Michael and I hopped in the car and headed for Lake Tahoe. Our destination - North Lake Tahoe to hike Mt. Tallac.  

We stopped at McDonalds in Carson City for coffee and English muffins and then set out on our journey.  The drive to Tahoe was incredible.  All around us were mountain and canyons. The drive took about an hour and a half total and the whole time we were blown away by the scenery. 

I took these pictures from inside the car. 

We arrived at the trail-head about 8:30. I did a little research before our trip and the advice was to start early.  First, because parking is limited, second, because the sun gets so hot, and third, because the trail can get pretty crowded.   When we arrived at the trail-head we were one of about 10 cars. There were a few people starting around the same time as us, but by the time we filled out our hiking permit and took our starting pictures, they had gone on up ahead. 

My starting picture. 

Michael's starting picture. 

This was the view for the first mile. It was so pretty. It was very open. I dry!  My feet stayed dry the whole time. 

  The trail started to go up pretty quickly.  There wasn't really any level parts at all.  The starting elevation is 6,480 feet.  To put this in context, Le Conte lodge is situated at 6,360 feet. I was pretty nervous about the elevation.  I have never climbed in higher altitudes, so I wasn't sure how it would affect my "wind."  Mt. Tallac is a part of the Sierra Nevada Range.  It is nowhere near the highest peak. Mt. Whitney is the highest in this range at 14,000ish. 

After the first mile, the trail opened up even more and we hiked along a ridge for about another half mile.  It was stunning!

This was the scene to our left, and below was the scene to our right.  It was THE best morning!

The start of desolation wilderness. Desolation Wilderness is 63,960 acres of sub-alpine and alpine forest, granite peaks, and glacially-formed valleys and lakes.

This was our first stop - "Floating Island Lake."  It is situated 1.7 miles from the trail-head. 

Next was Cathedral Lake.  It is situated 2.5 miles from the trail-head. 

After Cathedral Lake, it got REAL.  The grade increased significantly and we basically walked straight uphill for the remaining 2.5 mile.  The level of difficult for this hike is "difficult" and it sure was. Per the website, "[b]eyond Cathedral Lake, the trail becomes steep and strenuous as it continued up the front face of Mt. Tallac." 

I could literally hear nothing over the sound of my own gasping for air.  My legs were on fire and my breathing was very labored. 

This is the trail - it winds through the rocks. 

I kept using photo breaks for a chance to stop and catch my breath.  This way I wouldn't have to admit to Michael that I needed a short break. 

"Fallen Leaf Lake"

This was the worst part of the hike.  You can't really tell from the picture, but it goes straight up for at least a mile.  We did manage to pass all of these people in front of us.  I am a bit too competitive on the trail. 

The trail was very deceiving.  We thought that once we hit the top of the ridge (pictured above) that we would just follow the ridge to the summit and that the summit would be just a short little climb. We were wrong.  When we got to the top of the ridge, the view was gorgeous, but we weren't anywhere near the summit.  

This was the view from atop the ridge. 

Here we are at the base of the summit of Mt. Tallac.  It is tradition to put a rock on the summit post before you go up. 

This is picture of Michael knocking my rock off. 

The last push before the summit. 

View from the Summit. That is Lake Tahoe and Fallen Leaf lake. 

This is how Michael chose to spend his time at the summit. 

Greetings from Mt. Tallac!

Once on top we found a nice crevasse to sit in and we ate lunch.  I was exhausted.  Between the grade and the atmosphere, I was so tired. 

The summit is 9,735 feet.   We made it from the trail head to the summit in 2 hours and 45 minutes.  I was really proud.

I took a few more pictures up top, but for some reason, the camera on my phone kept turning itself off. So I didn't get the picture of Michael and I together.  I was pretty disappointed. 

After lunch we headed back down.  It took us 2 hour and 15 minutes to get back down the mountain.  

We had a great time. 

Next it was time to head to lunch.  We stopped a Seven 11 for water.  I washed my feet and legs in the sink. 

We had reservations at the Edgewood Gold Course.  We decided on this location because they had a deck that overlooked the lake. 

I did not take this picture, but this was the restaurant.  We had a relaxing lunch and then made our way back to Reno.  

This is the view from the parking lot. 

When we got back, we showered, lounged around for a while and went to Chipotle for dinner. 


  1. I am gasping for air but it isn't because of the altitude or exertion, it is because of the beauty of Mt. Tallac! Wow! That is just about all I can say. I would love to have the opportunity to hike out west. I'm glad you got to.


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