Day 2 Floe Lake Campground to Floe Lake Parking Lot, 10.5 km 720 m elevation loss, 3 hrs.
Got out of the tent before 7 am to slightly cloudy skies and a brilliant sunrise reflecting off of the mountains above the lake. The weather forecast called for a 30% chance of rain in the afternoon. So we took our time to enjoy the sunrise.
At some point during the breakfast routine we heard the distant rumbling of thunder. Volcano does not like loud noises so I made the decision that we should try and leave as fast as possible and “beat” the storm. Since it was so early and we had all day to complete a relatively short hike, we should have stayed in the tent and waited for the storm to pass. We did our best to eat quickly and pack up the tent. But by the time we were putting our packs on just after 8:30 am the thunder had closed in and it had started raining lightly. Siobhan had a rain jacket and rain skirt on. The skirt was a first for Siobhan and she really liked how well it worked keeping her both dry and cool. I opted to just use an umbrella. As the thunder past overhead I wondered about my choice as it was a metal umbrella.
We hit the trail and the rain seemed to intensify. After a couple of minutes we were in the trees on the headwall so we decided to take shelter for a few minutes to wait for the rain to abate and the thunder to pass.
We made our way slowly down the headwall stopping several times to take shelter from the rain and the thunder. The rain slowed to a little drizzle and the thunder moved off down the valley. I was hopefully we had “weathered” the worst of the storm. Even with multiple stops an starts as we descended trying to hide from the rain we arrived at the creek at the bottom of the headwall in under an hour.
As we finished hiking down the headwall we had to go down the small creek that yesterday was a mere trickle but now had a very healthy flow. It was not dangerous but we had the dogs to consider and had to accept that our feet were going to be wet.
The rain had almost let off. Volcano perked up somewhat a moved to front so I took her leash from Siobhan. While very cloudy the sky had brightened up somewhat so we made pretty good time for a while. We passed by a guy and his dog coming the other way. He said it had been one of the worst storms he had been in. We met a few more early hikers, all in good spirits and all very wet.
We made good progress for the next little while. I even stopped to take some scenic photos. I thought we were in the clear after the thunder storm had passed but then we started to hear the sound of thunder behind us. Another storm was going to come through the valley. Now that we were in the valley among the old burn, there was no where we could take shelter. We had no choice but to hurry along as fast as possible.
The weather caught up with us very quickly. The rain intensified and the thunder rumbled overhead. We tried to keep hustling forward towards the sanctuary that would be provided by the car. Volcano decided that she was having nothing to do with moving forward. She basically refused to walk. I use a body harness on both dogs and attempted to pull Volcano along the trail. It was not going to happen. Volcano was actually refusing to move. We could think of no other option other than carrying Volcano. I tried to carry her in my arms. But I was not able to carry her very far. So we hoisted her up onto my shoulders and I carried her on top of my backpack.
Volcano was great on my shoulders. She did not squirm or wriggle. We walked as fast as we could. I was only able to carry Volcano for about 10 minutes on my shoulders before the weight was just too much for me. We put Volcano back on the ground and Siobhan asked if she should carry Volcano. We decided to try hiking first and if Volcano refused to walk Siobhan would pick her up. Begrudgingly Volcano did hike down the trail but she did hike behind me for a while.
We descend the switchbacks down to the bridge over Floe Creek. Volcano sensing where we are upped her pace and took the lead. The car must be near. Volcano lead us back to the bridge over Vermillion River and up to the parking lot at a good pace. We arrived at the parking lot at 11:39am, just over three hours after leaving the campground. We were wet but safe.
We arrived back at the car. I put Volcano into the back seat and put Links into the back of the car. I have a Ford Flex, so both dogs had lots of space to themselves. I felt that Volcano needed some peace and quiet now that we were at the car and would better off not sharing space with Links who does not travel well.