With the last few days of summer dwindling down, now is a good time to take one more hike before the warm weather goes away.
Since the last two hiking features were about short and intermediate trails in Kitsap County, it is time to cap it off with an advanced hike. What better place than Wildcat Trail on Green Mountain in Seabeck.
Before heading off on a monster 9.5-mile roundtrip hike up a mountain, carefully prepare yourself. First of all, you want to make sure you dress appropriately for the weather. Often during this time a year, the temperature can be a little cooler than at the beginning of summer, so be sure to bring some warm clothes that will keep you dry.
If rain is in the forecast, bring a rain jacket to keep from getting soaked on your long journey. Regardless of the temperature, you likely will get a little hot from the exercise, so don’t overdress to the point where you’re uncomfortable. Also, you will need to wear hiking boots or shoes that are sturdy and durable enough to handle different terrains — and even a little mud.
Once you gather your wardrobe, be sure to pack a bag or backpack of things you’ll need during the duration of your hike. First, make sure you bring some energy snacks like granola bars or jerky, as well as a big bottle of water that will last you throughout the trek. You will need more than you think. As you reach the steep part of the mountain, you’re bound to get mighty thirsty.
You may also want to bring a physical map of the area (If you have one). Otherwise, you can rely on your phone’s GPS, although service may be spotty at times while up on the mountain. The trails tend to be marked so you can also track where you are that way. Binoculars can make the journey much more fun and help you see the Seattle skyline clearly at the summit. Bring a camera, too, so you can capture the sights you enjoyed while on your hike.
Lastly, a first-aid kit and a whistle are good to bring with you for an emergency. You never want to be stuck in the middle of nowhere with no one around to help you.
Ready, set, go!
Once your hiking checklist is completed, you are ready to head off on your scenic adventure. In this case, Green Mountain – Wildcat Trail in Seabeck is the preferred destination. The parking entrance is on Holly Road, just off Seabeck Highway. A Discover Pass is required to park, which you can purchase online beforehand.
Before heading up the trail, find a nice open space to do some leg stretches. This will help immensely to limber up your legs and keep them becoming sore over the duration of the hike as well as afterward.
The starting point is narrow, with many twists and turns before reaching a logging road crossing. Green Mountain is considered a working forest, so occasional logging activity may be taking place. There are six road crossings in total and each one is clearly signed about where you’re at on the trail.
The dirt paths can often be muddy and puddles can surface at certain points of the trail, so be wary of where you step. The path to the summit is quite popular with dirt bikers, who are often seen blazing through the steep trails over all sorts of rocky terrain.
Once you pass the first road crossing, the trail becomes much steeper and rockier. Along the way, the dense forest begins to open up to offer views of Puget Sound. If you find an opening through the tree branches, the skyscrapers of Seattle can be faintly seen in the distance across the Sound. At this point on the trek, your steps will become a little more difficult and you’ll begin to feel the burn of a workout.
The trail then descends to the last road crossing, which is the final mile before reaching the summit of Green Mountain. Picnic tables are available at the top, where hikers can stop to rest and eat for a bit before descending down the large mountain. Thankfully, a fence surrounds the area to protect hikers from the steep dropoff below.
Once you’ve taken in the views, you begin the descent back down the mountain. Use caution when walking down the path to prevent falling and hurting yourself. The hike should take you around three to four hours to complete, depending on your pace. When you get back home, make sure to stretch and rest your legs for the remainder of the day. That precaution will reduce soreness the following morning.
Although the season is about to change, it doesn’t mean you should stop hiking. On a clear, windy day, an autumn hike in our beautiful part of the world can be a vibrant and colorful experience.