Washington Trip: Flight to Seattle and Bogachiel State Park

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a couple of days now, but life, as usual, has been a whirlwind.

Alex and I flew out of Raleigh on September 9th, headed to Seattle to start our vacation. Flying during COVID was an experience, but all in all, our air travel was uneventful. There were obviously many masks, a lot of disinfecting, and (predictably) testy passengers, but we felt adequately socially distanced from others, for the most part.

The airports were noticeably empty, which means we made it through security in record time. Ever since I missed my flight coming home from Denver a few years ago, I’ve sworn I will get to the airport hours early every time from now on. RDU and SEA were both a little eerie, though, due to how desolate some parts of the airports were. There were also several stores and restaurants closed indefinitely due to COVID cuts.

Both the RDU to ORD flight and the ORD to SEA flight were lowkey. I actually love the flying experience, and I am completely content with my tiny seat space among people from literally all over the world. We flew American Airlines, and due to COVID, the flight attendants gave us little goody bags of sanitizing wipes that resembled condom wrappers (SANI-X even sounds like a condom brand), the standard bag of brandless pretzels, and bottles of water.

I kept myself entertained on the flights with a notebook I’d brought to scribble notes in. I also used the opportunity to try on my Darn Tough hiking socks (super comfy and warm) and to finish up some freelance projects offline.

I originally intended to update my blog on the plane, but the in-flight WiFi prices were exorbitant (over $20 for each flight, and we had to take two planes each way). My cheap self couldn’t justify paying $40 for a few hours of internet, so I pestered Alex most of the way through his countless albums.

When we landed in Seattle, we picked up a rental car and drove to Bogachiel State Park, a small state park a bit west of Olympic National Park. Along the way, we stopped in Montesano at El Rancho for some Mexican food.

Los Charros, our favorite place to eat in our hometown, serves as our North Star for Mexican food. We compared the two restaurants, and pitted against one another, the rice, beans, and chicken flautas at Los Charros won hands down, but the steak flautas at El Rancho came out on top. (Sorry Los Charros, we still love you!)

The drive to our campsite took about four hours from the airport, and by the time we arrived in Bogachiel, we had been traveling for 17 hours that day. Needless to say, we set up the tent as quickly as possible and fell right asleep.

Our tiredness turned out to be a good thing since we slept relatively deeply. When I did wake up, it was to the sounds of semi-trucks seemingly driving into our site. It turns out a main road borders an edge of the park and couldn’t have been more than 50 yards from our tent.

Despite the noise, we slept through most of the night, but I’m not sure that would have been the case if we weren’t so tired.

We also used our inflatable sleeping pads because the ground was extremely hard and covered in gravel. I tried out my new REI Joule 30 sleeping bag for the first time, and it worked wonderfully. We even slept with the rainfly off, and I didn’t get cold, despite the temperature getting down to 49 degrees. I am extremely cold-natured (73 is chilly for me), but I was incredibly comfortable.

While I’m not sure I would choose to stay at Bogachiel State Park again due to the road noise and lack of privacy with the campsites, we were grateful to have found a site to sleep in for two nights. There are dozens of campgrounds in the area, but the ones that visitors can reserve were completely booked throughout our stay. The Bogachiel sites were about $40 each night, which were possibly the most we’ve ever paid for a campground, but there were clean restrooms, token-operated showers, and water spigots everywhere.

On the morning of the 10th, we went to the Hoh Rain Forest, which I will write about in my next post, so stay tuned for lots of pictures of . . . moss and ferns!

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