A little altitude does the body good.

A trip to Mount Whitney, the single highest peak in the lower Unites States, comes up at the end of July. 6,000 feet of climbing in just over 20 miles to the 14,000 foot summit means I’ve got to get my lungs in shape. Running and hiking just won’t cut it, which is where a little altitude training shows it’s somewhat ugly face.

Today’s jaunt was up the hill at Mount Tallac, just West of Lake Tahoe. A popular destination, (what Lake Tahoe area isn’t?!) Tallac rests at 9,700 feet and provides five miles of steep climb. The views are great, but perhaps a bit over-hyped in my opinion. Almost anytime you climb to nearly 10K feet you’re going to see quite a bit, with dramatic views, but I’m not sure I liked this one better that others I’ve been to. All the same, it was a great hike.

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Summit of Mt. Tallac, facing West, away from Lake Tahoe

I even thought this hike was pretty accessible to those with an attitude and willing to persevere. Plenty of hikers were among us, in varying shapes and sizes. The one thing to keep in mind is a large portion of the trail is exposed to high altitude sun, which has a tendency to burn exposed skin. Keep covered or wear sunscreen, and bring LOTS of water. I brought 64 oz and that was almost not enough.

Much more altitude training is in store as I prefer myself for Whitney, which means if you have suggestions for fun, but challenging hikes, do tell!

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