We repacked our bags, checked out of our hotel, and were picked up by our trail angel by 9:00am. After a drive, and a chat we were on the trail at Floe Lake Trailhead by 10:15am. The parking lot was crowded with cars and we were unclear if they were all day hiking or if they were people camping and making their way back to their vehicles. There were not many parking spots available.
We gathered water at the bridge, but there was another accessible spot further down the trail. The climb started almost immediately, with no cover. The trail went through an old burn area, which would have been hot in higher temperatures. We were lucky to have an overcast day.
There were parts where the trail was rough and washed out, making some of the steps challenging. We also reached a point of the trail where we were on an old creek bed with no signs of where the trail went other than the odd ribbon tied to a branch to guide us.
We encountered a few groups coming down from the lake who told us that there was no one camping there yet, so all sites were open. It made me want to push harder as we had heard about the best camping spots at the lake that were to the left of the campground and we wanted to reach them before they were taken. We didn’t see anyone else coming up behind us and that meant only those going SOBO could get there before us.
One family we passed by were interested in our adventure and said we were the “first true backpackers” they had seen. As someone on her first section hike, I was pleased to be called a “true backpacker”. I guess I had earned the title by that point.
The final climb was tough. Brutal. So many switchbacks and not great places to step. I also didn’t give myself much recovery time as I really wanted to get to those campsites and knew time every minute took to catch my breath, someone was getting closer in the other direction. I felt discouraged and struggled to find my legs. We finally crested the hill and began the drop to the lake.
The prime camping site was already taken, only a few minutes before, but we got the second best spot. The women who were there before us said they sent their fastest partner ahead to secure that site. I stayed at the campsite while Oliver scouted for any other sites and also locate the eating area and washrooms.
While he was on his scouting mission, a teenage boy came running down the trail from the same direction we had hiked from. He was a trail runner and his family had sent him ahead to try to get one of the two sites that were now taken. That was how popular these two sites were and we had all arrived within minutes of each other.
After dinner, we played a quick game of chess. Somehow, I won. We then decided to take a quick nap because it was too early to go to bed, and then woke up at 9pm. Oops. We were more tired than we thought. So, it was time to get properly ready for bed and end the night, just in time for what we thought was rain beginning to fall.