Tallac’s imposing 9,735-foot summit beckons to be climbed, but be forewarned—you’re in for a challenging 9.4-mile hike with a 3,400-foot elevation gain and hordes of other hikers on weekends. The trail is deceivingly easy in the beginning as it climbs the glacial moraine that hems in beautiful Fallen Leaf Lake. After 1.5 miles, you’ll reach grassy Floating Island Lake and, one mile later, tiny Cathedral Lake. Rest and fuel up here because, in the next 2.2 miles, you face a punishing 2,100-foot gain. Your thighs will burn as you traverse Tallac’s southwest ridge, then climb the jagged metamorphic rocks that mark the very top. The summit vistas don’t disappoint, though: To the east is Emerald Bay and Fallen Leaf Lake, to the west the lake-filled lands of Desolation Wilderness.

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Rock Star at 9,000 feet

Do you see me just below the center and down to the right? I am doing one of my favorite poses, Rock Star. After taking the morning to climb up to the the top of Mt. Tallac, overlooking a piece of earth that is absolute nirvana to me, I struck my fav pose.

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