Roundtrip=7.7mi/Trailhead=250/Elevation gain=1401ft/Highest Point 1651ft/DNR Recreational Map http://www.dnr.wa.gov/Publications/eng_rms_green_08_full.pdf
Directions: From Bremerton follow Kitsap Way (State Route 310) for 3 miles to Kitsap Lake. Turn left on Northlake Way, proceeding for 1 mile. Turn left onto the Seabeck Highway and follow it for 3 miles. Then turn left on Holly Road, proceeding for 3 miles. Turn left (south) onto Tahuya Lake Road and in 1.25 miles bear left onto Gold Creek Road. The trailhead is in 2 miles on your left. Privy available.
This is a fun and easy hike. It was our second attempt to summit Gold Mountain. If you remember from a previous blog posting, we took a wrong turn and found ourselves on top of Green Mountain (for a second time). Fortunately, this did not happen again although we did not quite make it to the top of Gold Mountain. Let me explain.
As Nick puts it, Gold Mountain is shaped more like a loaf of bread than your typical peaked mountain. This makes it difficult to "see" the top. The second problem is that Green Trails doesn't have maps for this area so reliable maps are a bit hard to come by. Third, the only map we could find, had the Gold Mountain region blocked out because it passes through the Bremerton Watershed (a restricted area.) So, while you could get close via map, you were on your own for the last mile or two.
The trail starts out pleasant enough. Wide, cool, and overshadowed by the tall firs. Bring waterproof boots and trekking poles this time of year, though. We had to forge a creek at one point just before the tin mine and at this time of year many of the smaller creeks actually run straight down the trail. We had to walk "up stream" for about a quarter mile before hitting dry land again. Walking in the creek bed can be tricky.
Besides summiting, what I most enjoyed was getting to see the old tin mine about half way up. Nick had told me about the "cave spiders" that lurked in the overhanging rocks just out of sight. I had to see these "monsters" for myself. As it turned out, the cave was pretty flooded so I didn't get to go too far in...but far enough. I found the spiders and YIKES...they are big, probably 4-5" in diameter. Like Nick, I didn't really notice them until I had gone in a bit found them tucked up in the cracks overhead. As my headlamp passed over several, they would back their odd-looking bodies into the shadows; almost like they were waiting for the chance to pounce. Quite creepy really.
We also did a little geo-caching since the "Bats in the Belfry" cache was right outside the tin mine. Nick had already found it years before so I got to try out my new Garmin GPS while Nick watched. It didn't take long and I won't tell you where (just in case you want to search). The fun part was signing the log book and seeing Nick's name signed in there from several years before.
Once we left the tin mine, the trail quickly climbed and spiraled its way around Gold Mountain through a logged out area. The snow was falling just a little and we kept our eye on the RF antenna array to our left as dumped on to a service road and made our way to the top. We did hit one of several Gold Mountain summits (1651ft) in the end, but as I stated earlier, we didn't quite make THE summit which is at about 1751ft. Once at the top, we enjoyed a hot cup of coffee, courtesy of another one of my Christmas presents, the MSR Whisperlite stove.
One potential mistake coming back was leaving a bit late from the summit. While it only takes a few hours to hike, the time had gotten away from me a bit. We only had an hour of daylight left and Nick, with his excellent nose for direction, lead us straight down the mountain to the parking lot in 45 minutes flat. Way to go Nick. I knew I had him for some reason. All in all, a great time!
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