The Great Olympic Adventure, Part II: Bogachiel State Park and Hoh Rainforest

When we last left you, we had just visited Griffiths-Priday State Park, frolicked on the beach, and met our Bald Eagle spirit guide.

Two hours up the coast, with neat peekaboo glimpses of the ocean, the majestic hills of the Olympic peninsula, a whole lot of clear cuts, and the simple pleasure of driving highway 101, we made it to our destination, Bogachiel State Park, just off the highway next to the Bogachiel River.

The park is tiny and somewhat cramped feeling. There’s a campsite that’s literally a parking space and a fire ring. But we were lucky to have a secluded spot at the far end with easy river access amid an enclosure of trees and ferns.

At about midnight on our first day, it began to rain. “How nice,” I thought, snuggled in my tent. The gentle patter of rain to lull me to sleep. Cut to 3 a.m. when the rain had seeped through my tent and began splashing me in the face.

The principle terror of this kind of intrusion is never knowing when or where the next cold droplet will hit. Will it be the exposed plane of my cheek? Will it wriggle inside my ear? Will it stab me in the eye?

A pertinent feature of this rain was that compared to the light, misting rains that we constantly complain down in the Puget sound area, this rain was hard. Filtering through the rain hit like bullets, and by the time I ventured out from my tent the next morning, the campsite had transformed into a soupy mud puddle. As I struggled to erect a tarp so that we could have some breakfast, I too turned into a soupy mud puddle.

Cue every joke ever about what happens in a rainforest.

While I was crouching under a poor excuse for a rainfly, cooking bacon and brewing coffee, I would on occasion peek into the larger tent where most of the family huddled and waited for food. It is with great relief that I can assure you that my DOGS were dry and comfortable, lounging amid a pile of blankets and pillows on an air mattress like little furry sultans.

It’s difficult to convey the sheer bodily misery of being soaked to the bone, where even your hands are constantly wet and dirty, where you can’t set anything down because everywhere it literally a puddle, so here’s Aggie to communicate that specific, hard to capture emotion:

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“My life is cold and dark and dreary/ It rains and the wind is never weary”

All this rain though, it doesn’t mean we had a bad time.

Now let me tell you about the day’s next tragedy. Due to National Park regulations, I had to go hiking without the dogs.

The Hoh Rainforest is magic. Old growth, enormous trees, curtains of moss, the gurgling Hoh River. Even if it was so inundated by tourists that I felt like we were standing in line at a grocery store, it was a beautiful stroll. Amazing how all our artificial beauty pales in the face of nature’s invisible hand.

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The good news is that the dogs survived without us.

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We survived, but we still mad

True to the weather app, the rain finally stopped at 8 p.m., and we dawdled by the river on a rocky shore, where people had built cairns presumably because it’s just a fun thing to do and not because anyone needed to know how to get to the river.

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Next on: In which we visit the rainiest place in the US and find the best place to get stuck in road construction.

One thought on “The Great Olympic Adventure, Part II: Bogachiel State Park and Hoh Rainforest

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