Hike: Green Mountain (WA)
Today we had the opportunity to re-visit a hike we did twenty years ago. We have put off doing this very accessible winter hike because I did not have great memories of the hike. We went on a Fourth of July holiday, and it was crowded and noisy (motorcycle roar at the summit); much of the trail was overgrown; Arneta remembers being unable to see over the walls of salal (a leathery-leaved shrub in the heather family) on both sides of the trail. Sections of the hike went right through clear cuts, and we got lost and turned around at one point to make sure we could get back to our car.
Twenty years later much had changed for the positive. We are wiser; we got an early start and chose a non-holiday weekend, so we had much more solitude. The signage was greatly improved, and the trail was nice and wide (although we spent a lot of time dodging mud puddles). We also chose a much longer loop route so got to enjoy more forest and even a beaver pond. Our guide book said the loop was 7.7 miles but according to some other guide books (and that it took us 4 hours to complete the loop), we think it may have been more than 9 miles of total hiking.
The trail still crossed some clear cuts, and we even walked close to some active logging shows with the steel tower and yarder ready for work on Monday. Even though it was much quieter, we did see ATVs, mountain bikes, horses, and trail runners. Most of my memory, however, will be of the variety of foliage (including lots of native rhododendrons) as we went around the mountain on the Gold Creek Trail, Beaver Pond Trail, Wildcat Trail, and Vista Trail.
The other memory will be the views from the second highest peak in Kitsap County on this sunny day. We had great views of the Olympics to the west and off to Seattle and the Cascades to the east. All that logging has opened up a lot of sky.