Sunday, May 29, 2011

Green Mountain Hike - Gold Creek Trail

Although the forecast called for showers, scattered showers, and more showers yesterday, all I saw was sun, partly sunny, and more sun.  It was a refreshing change!  I decided to take advantage of it and try a local hike that didn't involve a 3 hour drive.  Two separate people have recommended Green Mountain to me, so I headed down there to check it out yesterday afternoon.

Green Mountain is the second highest point on the Kitsap peninsula.  (Aside:  Don't ask me what the highest point is.  I haven't learned that one yet.)  In searching for information about it, all that came up in my Google search was a website that rhymes with rails and ends in dot com (I don't want to advertise for them).  It annoys me and sets off alarm bells in the back of my head when a website insists on having my credit card information before they will activate my "free trial."  Nope.  Not.  All stop.  Do not pass go, do not collect $200. 

I found in Google Maps that there was a Green Mountain State Forest.  There wasn't anything else on my schedule for the day, so I decided to just wander around down there and see what I found.  I happened upon the Gold Creek Trail Head, and there I found a small kiosk which identified it as part of the Washington State Department of Natural Resources and had a large trail map posted.  Upon returning home, I found that you can access the DNR trail maps in pdf format at this website (the trail map of Green Mountain is here).  I talked to someone in the parking lot who had just finished the hike, and he said it was 2.5 miles to the top, so I decided to give it a try.

There is actually quite a network of trails criss-crossing the mountain (see the trail map).  The trails are well marked and mostly hard-pack dirt or gravel.  It's a well-used recreation area, too.  I passed 18 other hikers, 2 horses, 3 mountain bikes, and one noisy, smelly dirt bike (or rather, they passed me). 

Along the way up, there were some very nice cascading waterfalls like this.  The foliage is so different from Northern Virginia.  I felt like I was on another planet because I didn't recognize any of the plants or flowers.  I even bought a pocket guide to Washington State Trees & Flowers, but I still couldn't identify most of what I saw on the hike.

I think these might be a type of geranium.  They were only about the size of the tip of my finger.

This could be serviceberry or trailing raspberry.  I think it is trailing raspberry based on the shape of the green leaves underneath.  Did you notice who's guarding it?  I didn't even notice until I got home later and was looking at the pictures close up.

Here he is zoomed in.  Looks ferocious, doesn't he?
Does anyone know what he is?  I tried, but haven't been
able to put a positive ID on him yet.

Here he is from a different angle (again, I didn't notice this until I was looking at the pictures at home).

These look a little like buttercups, but I'm used to buttercups pointing up like a cup, not sideways and not with space between the petals like these.

I think this is salmonberry.

Not sure what this one is, but it sure is pretty.  

Aside from the flowers, the view along the way up the trail was peaceful and awe-inspiring.

 The view from the top was extraordinary and well worth the hike up. That's Seattle off in the distance.

I used my sons' technique at distance photography, and this was the result.  (Taken by holding my camera up to the binoculars. :-) ).

Stats from the Gold Creek Trail parking lot up to the vista.

For some odd reason, on the way back down, I got the song, "C is for cookie, that's good enough for me," stuck in my head.

That's Gold Creek by the way.

End of hike statistics back in the parking lot.

What a great way to spend an afternoon!  It was good to get out, enjoy the fresh air and the beauty of nature.  It sure reminded me of hikes with my family like the Sugarloaf hike, and it made me miss my family.  This hike was totally doable with small children.  In fact, I passed two families on the trail - each a mom and a dad with two young kids.  I look forward to bringing my family to see Green Mountain when they arrive here in a couple of weeks.

Gold Creek Trail Hike Overview:
Distance:  5 miles
Elevation gain:  1,054 feet
Start Time: 1433
Moving Time:  2 hours 7 minutes
Stopped Time:  52 minutes
Finish Time:  1733
Weather:  Approx. 55F, light breeze
Facilities:  Outhouse in the parking lot at the trail head.  Outhouse in the parking lot near the vista.  No water or other facilities.  No trash cans either, so unfortunately there were bits of litter here and there.  I regret I didn't bring my Camelbak this time, because I carry spare trash bags to pick up litter along the way.
Pests:  Aside from the one noisy and smelly dirtbike that passed me on the trail going up?  There were a few bugs flying around my head at the top of the mountain, but they weren't overly annoying.  I didn't notice in situ, but when I got home I discovered I had about 5 bug bites on the backs of my hands.  I probably have some on my neck that I can't see or haven't otherwise noticed.  Next time, use bug spray.
Geocaching:  There are a few around this area.  I looked for the geocache at the top of the mountain, but had to log a DNF.  Maybe my boys will help me find it next time.


Ret ANAV said...

Nice shots that bring back memories! Highest point on the Kitsap Peninsula is Gold Mountain, though, back when I lived there, it was inaccessible without permission from DNR...lots of communications equipment up there for the state, Kitsap and Mason counties.

The spider? Don't know the species, but I WILL say check your sock-drawer before reaching your hand in it! Oh, and be careful around the wood pile, too! Those suckers can RUN like nobody's business!

Happy Memorial Day!

Sam S. said...

What a beautiful place to spend the's great that you not only want to enjoy it but learn more too. My favorite shots are you looking up at the trees (they're magnificent!) and the mossy covered stump. Easy to see what you felt peaceful.

Nice to see you exploring your new home...or rather, have TIME to explore your new home. ;)

Anonymous said...

Funny, I was there the same day you were --- I was just looking for info about the trail. That first flower is called "Herb Robert" and it is related to Geranium. The scraggly white flower is a trailing blackberry. Dunno about the yellow one, but the large pink/purple buds you photographed are budding rhododendron. Nice pictures!

Anonymous said...

I was up there the same day you were! Pretty photos --- the first picture is Herb Robert (indeed a geranium relative). The 2nd is trailing blackberry. I don't know the yellow one. The large buds are rhododendron --- there were a ton of rhodies on that trail, but most had bloomed already.