It took a day’s exploring to find Kitsap Forest not long after moving to the west side of the Sound. The location is not publicized, because it’s a sensitive area and hasn’t been developed with visitors in mind, but it is public land and visitors are allowed.
The past winter I while studying my public lands quadrangle map of the area, I realized it probably would be possible to get there from the opposite direction that I found. So last February, I set out to do just that.
The results were less successful than my attempt from the other direction. I spent most of a day wandering around old logging roads, turning back after one dead end after another. Eventually I found the most promising old logging road of the day, but couldn’t fully investigate it because doing so would have meant completing my hike in darkness (and I had no light with me). So I made a note to return someday.
Well “someday” ended up being yesterday. This time I brought my knobby-tired bike, so I didn’t have to walk so much. Unfortunately, the promising old road gets very overgrown quite quickly, and it peters out before it reaches any interesting areas. Technically, it does reach the preserve, but at that point it’s not the old-growth forest yet; it’s just a buffer area of regrowing clear cuts.
After a lot of pretty intense bushwhacking, I realized that a) it was going to be very hard for me to follow my exact trail back, and b) if my GPS batteries died, I’d be pretty screwed (i.e. lost). And I still was in old clear cut territory. I had been chasing large trees, but they were all the occasional older tree the loggers had left behind to provide seeds to revegetate the area.
So I turned around; better safe than sorry. I did indeed promptly lose my trail, but it was of little matter because it was easy to home in on the waypoint I had entered at the end of the old road.
After downloading my GPS track and putting it in both a GIS database I have of Kitsap County and in Google Maps, it became clear that I had actually been only about 150 feet from the start of the old growth where I turned around. So if I had persevered for ten minutes or so more, I would have found what I sought.
But it is of little matter. Even with that knowledge, it’s so much more difficult coming from that direction. The first way I found has old roads going straight to the old growth. It’s a bit of a confusing maze, and I only found the correct way after eliminating virtually all other possibilities, but now that I know it, it’s a snap to get there. No bushwhacking involved.
So I don’t think I’ll be revisiting the more challenging approach any time soon.