Peak 11: Green Mountain (Kitsap Peninsula)
Total Mileage: 15.5
Total Elevation Gain: 3228’
Date: May 18, 2019
I have lost track of how many times I’ve summited Green Mountain this year; definitely 4, possibly 5, and using at least 3 distinct routes. On this particular occasion, it was part of the Dirty Turtle 25k course. Oh how it pains me to write the words 25k course! I had run, and won, the inaugural Dirty Turtle 50k (setting the course record, which still stands today by one hour), and I lost the second year by about one minute (thanks to me running a dumb race and blowing up after leading for 26 miles.) The race has a soft spot in my heart, and I love the old school vibe and fun crowd it attracts; RD Gretchen Ta is just a cool lady who knows how to put on a great event. This year, on coach’s orders, I was only running the 25k, and I wouldn’t be racing. I was on the road to recovery and agreed to take it easy and treat this as a training run. Try telling that to my ego.
The race had a downhill start, and I couldn’t help myself. I bolted from the start, dragging my friend Jen along at an insane pace. Reason prevailed as the decline leveled out, and I positioned Jen in front of me, telling her not to let me pass and to keep the pace casual. Eventually, I settled down and eased into a good training pace as we chatted about this and that. Instead of a race, I accepted it as a fun day in the woods with a friend. And it was!
The race takes you up to the summit of Green Mountain, by way of Turtle Rock, which is a fun Class 2 scramble. Each year, you can count on a young cowboy wearing a hat and Daisy Dukes, plus a flannel top with the sleeves cut out, to be waiting to greet you at the top of Turtle Rock, offering Fireball or pickles. I chose pickles.
As you make your way on a narrow trail that feels more boot track than single track, you wind over toward the summit of Green Mountain. We had to veer slightly off course to tag the true summit, but, hey, I wasn’t racing, so why not! On a clear day, you can see the Salish Sea and even Seattle in the distance. I’m always surprised by how far north we’ve come up the Kitsap Peninsula to get here. We took photographic evidence of our summit, then carried on.
As we neared the finish line, I slowed my pace to let Jen clearly finish ahead of me. It was my way of letting go of competitiveness and acknowledging that she helped keep me from going too hard. She took fourth place, and I was fifth. (Incidentally, I registered for the 2020 Dirty Turtle 50k this very morning, and I am going to train to win it this next go round.) All in all, while this might not be the most glamorous peak on the list, the Dirty Turtle race, and the people associated with it, makes it something I look forward to each year. I enjoy the trails and atmosphere, and it’s someplace I think of fondly.