The morning setup
I woke up to my alarm, ready for the day ahead. The room was warm but I knew how cold it would be and grabbed my foul weather jacket in preparation for a downpour. I packed my backpack light just my hydro flask filled with fresh Washington mountain spring water and a small bag of granola with a side of Ritz crackers and peanut butter for the peak. As I made my way out the door I was prepared for this, I put on my long boot socks and 5.11 hiking boots and hit the road.
Five minutes chilling in the drive way the heater had warm air and I could see out my windshield. Now I was ready as I drove off down the hilly roads of Washington I was excited to see what the trails were like.
After driving through the stunning secluded two lane back country roads of Washington I was behind a utility truck and they stopped at a gate. I gave the female a perplexed look and she walked up to the vehicle with a grin. She asked me if I was trying to get to Gold mountain and I replied “yes”. She laughed “well your not going to like this but you have to go back the way you came.”
So close, yet so far! She said it happens all the time and the gate remains closed for utilities only. I got back in the truck and re-routed to the new route which took me all the way around to the other side of the mountain.
Less than half an hour not bad right? Well as I made my way there I was in for more treats and surprises. The drive was nice between the lake views and trees makes for a very calming pleasant drive. I wasn’t on a time crunch and had several hours of freedom to enjoy in good old America! Then making my way to the trail head I discovered another problem.
The Address to the trail head parking lot is: 1398 Gold Creek Rd W, Bremerton, WA 98312 by the way in case anyone wants to hike this trail! Just remember not to come from the south cause the roads are permanently closed!
If I had googled the trail I would have found out my “America the beautiful pass” does not work here and I had no phone signal to buy a “Discover pass”.
Just when you think you’re prepared for everything there always something new to try and put you down. I contemplated my options and decided to drive back to where I had a phone signal twenty minutes down the road. I proceed to use my two bars to google ranger stations. After about ten minutes I got one on the line. Turns out you can only buy them at automated pay stations. State parks and certain gas stations which they allow to distribute them. There are also mail boxes with registration forms which you put in an envelope at some of the trails but I could not locate one at the trail head. Determined not to give in I googled each address to find the one nearest me which turned out to be a Safeway twenty-two minutes away. I nibbled on my Ritz crackers and drank some water to keep my nerves. After purchasing an annual pass for thirty smackaroos I proceeded back to the trail head. Hid any valuables from site from my truck windows and locked it up then made my way to the map snapped a picture just so yall could see whats left of this thing.
I have to assume the shot up area is the shooting range? Maybe there is a local joke why they only shot up that side. As I headed up the trail I notice a lack of hikers and I only enjoyed the hike more. While the parking lot had cars and trailers the trail itself had very little traffic. However, I am not used to this kind of traffic because on these trails there are dirt bikes and horses! There are also the occasional mountain bikers but they tend to take up less space.
The Trail Conditions
Unlike Florida and California here in Washington I can ride my horse on the hiking trails which are clearly marked which trails allow and do not allow each.
With my backpack in tow I trudged up the mountain the rocks, gravel and roots make it easy to roll an ankle. Along the trail I saw a wide range of hikers from Elderly to young as well as small children (with their parents of course). The trail was not extremely easy but not treacherous to the point where I would recommend any expert hiking tools. There are just several steep up hill areas with lots of rocks, boulders and roots.
There is also the mud situation, due to the streams coming from them mountain and rain. Which can make it a little harder to hike if you don’t have the right foot wear.
As I continued up the trail I found out some surprising facts about the mountain on the trail head bulletin. The Gold mountain is 1,761 feet high, the mountain is the highest point of the Kitsap Peninsula and the county. Green mountain which is my next conquest mission is second.
Did I mention dogs are allowed on the trail?!? If not, I was to stoked to remember because I asked and gave plenty of pets to each doggo along the way! Unlike California every dog owner seemed to be giving them plenty of water! Even in the cold weather which is on point cause both we as humans and dogs both need water even in the cold as we still need to consume just as much.
The trees are endless with plenty of wildlife roaming around. You will see a wide range of birds and rodents moving through the brush. The moss really makes the trees look older and can be slippery when on the rocks. There are also signs to watch out for falling trees but its very rare for them to be dropping directly on trail on the very spot you are hiking. I would still keep my eyes peeled for a tree trying to take you out! Many of the local hikers are very friendly telling me whats ahead and how much further I had to go to the next checkpoint. The wildlife made plenty of noise from the birds chirping to the squirrels talking to each other over where they found some acorns. With the wind blowing through the forest it makes for quite the background ambiance. Did I mentioned the entire six miles there wasn’t a single person playing music while hiking? I was extremely impressed by the hiking courtesies afforded to me as I squeezed pass groups of people at the check point. With a total of about sixteen to twenty people in total on the entire trail.
Once you get about one mile in you will come to a clearing where the logging trails are as well as the service road. I feel pretty sad to see this after enjoying so much of the forest which makes me wonder how old the trees are around me. While they do replant the trees this really bothers me to be hiking in Green mountain which is a state park unless this is private land which doesn’t make sense since its a designated state trail. Gold mountain watershed which is also part of the mountain is protected and is the whole reason I had to drive around to get to the trail head which they seem to care more about enough to close the roads then the forest itself from my view point. Feel free to reach out to me at Vance@freevancewriting.com if you know more about this and can educate me.
Checkpoint and picnic
As I continued back into the dense forest I found out they actually do have restroom facilities and another trail map as well as a picnic area for resting. This was about half a mile into the hike
The Trail crossroads
After the clearing the trail becomes “Vista trail” which leads you to the summit of the mountain which while bewildering at first is pretty simple since there are only two main trails.
The mud and puddles gets a little worse but manageable with plenty of room to maneuver around if you don’t want to get your boots wet.
The trail got even steeper for the next mile but with only two miles to go its manageable. No heavy obstacles or boulders to climb. The trail seems to be well maintained throughout the hike making it easy to hike the entire hike with the proper footwear and some stamina.
With a two miles from the trail head to Summit (from my limited gps) then two miles back for a total of 4.4 miles.
It will take you about 38 to 50 minutes to get back to the trail head I did set a timer as I went down for your viewing pleasure!
If you enjoyed the post and information feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you think. Until my next adventure, Vance out!