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Elvis
Shuffl'n



Joined: 09 Jun 2004
Posts: 1801 | TRs
Location: del Boca Vista
Elvis
Shuffl'n
PostThu Nov 01, 2007 12:11 am 
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The Northern State Recreation Area (NSRA) occupies part of what used to be the Northern State Hospital for the Insane, located just east of Sedro-Woolley off of Hwy 20.  This is about 15 minutes from Mount Vernon, or about an hour from Everett.  To locate this place, take I-5 north to Burlington (Skagit County, NW Washington) then follow Hwy 20 through Sedro-Woolley and take a left on Hemlick road.  Look for the parking area and kiosk on the left (west) side of the road.

I finished up my civic duties a little early today, but not early enough to cross Pilchuck off my to-do list and still be back in town for Trick-or-treating.  So, decided to pay a visit to the NSRA.

Mistakenly drove right past the parking area at first - but that was a good thing because otherwise I would have completely missed the Northern State Hospital Cemetery, with only one upright headstone (located just to the right of the cedar trees).


Nearby was an interesting old barn and farm structures that appeared to be gated off.  It looked like a cool place to explore, but the road was gated so I returned to the car, proceeded to the Park parking area and quickly realized the trail takes you right up to these mysterious, abandoned structures.  While these aren't structures you would expect to associate with a hospital (even a hospital for the mentally ill), they were used to support (feed) the hospital patients.

Distance1
Distance1
Distance 2
Distance 2
Approach
Approach
Vertical Line
Vertical Line
Topline
Topline
Sideline
Sideline
Crooked Door 1
Crooked Door 1
Crooked Door 2
Crooked Door 2
Silo
Silo
Inside Silo looking up
Inside Silo looking up
Silo Floor
Silo Floor

Checked out the Park Kiosk near the parking lot, and spoke with Igor to inquire about the extent of the trails, since the kiosk didn't include a map of the area.  Just kidding about Igor... a very nice fellow who indicated this is a great park with lots of room to let the dogs run and very few visitors.
Kiosk Info
Kiosk Info
Igor and pet
Igor and pet

After the first series of abandoned farm structures, the trail (actually an old road now grassed-over) proceeds to a new picnic area and a couple of loops that take you by some other gravity-challenged structures.
Road
Road
Territory
Territory
Territory 2
Territory 2
Red Bldg 3
Red Bldg 3
Lean on me
Lean on me
Winter AC
Winter AC
Red Barn
Red Barn
Bldg by River
Bldg by River
Inside Red 2
Inside Red 2
Territory 1
Territory 1
Red Bldg 2
Red Bldg 2
Red Bldg 1
Red Bldg 1
Darn Renters
Darn Renters
Prickly Door
Prickly Door
Inside Red 1
Inside Red 1
Not intended to be a greenhouse
Not intended to be a greenhouse
Blocked Entrance
Blocked Entrance

Finally, the trail looped behind the old Northern State Campus (now home to a variety of other functions including the local alternative high school, Job Corps and other organizations) and along the Hansen Creek restoration area.

It was a perfect trip for today and I'm glad I took the time to poke around and explore.  The only thing that is really lacking is that there isn't a kiosk map to give you an idea of where the trails go to and it would be very interesting to have info about each of the abandoned buildings.  Hopefully those are all included somewhere in the 'Master Plan'.
NSRA Master Plan (from 2002)

Oh, and I should have brought a frisbee.
Frolf Course

Since it's Halloween, I feel obligated to provide this link to WSPIR since they spent some time there in April 2007, although I haven't seen a report.

Just fyi... per Google, NSRA is also the abbreviation for these organizations:
National Hot Rod Association
National Shoe Retailers Association
National Snowmobile Racing Association
National Smallbore Rifle Association
Nebraska State Rodeo Association
Non-Smokers' Rights Association

Thanks for reading (or at least looking at the pictures).

~E

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"Ill habits gather unseen degrees, as brooks make rivers, rivers run to seas."  ~John Dryden
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Bryan K
Shameless Peakbagger



Joined: 29 Sep 2005
Posts: 5058 | TRs
Location: Headed west soon
Bryan K
Shameless Peakbagger
PostThu Nov 01, 2007 12:24 am 
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That is really cool!!! Imagine the spirits haunting that place!!!!! eek.gif
Looks like a fun place to check out sometime  biggrin.gif

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www.youtube.com/bkraai | www.flickr.com/photos/bkraai/sets/
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Andy D.
Member
Member


Joined: 19 Apr 2004
Posts: 197 | TRs
Location: Marysville, WA
Andy D.
Member
PostThu Nov 01, 2007 1:47 am 
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Cool, I didn't know they had trails there, I'll have to go check that out! My brother worked on a movie that filmed there a couple years ago. I'll share some of his pictures. It looks kind of spooky on the inside! That show on Sci-Fi "Ghost Hunters" filmed an episode there as well.
Ghost Hunters clip 1
Ghost Hunters clip 2
Ghost Hunters clip 3

(the blood was added by the film crew  wink.gif )
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ActionBetty
Im a dirty hippie!



Joined: 06 Jul 2003
Posts: 4808 | TRs
Location: kennewick, wa
ActionBetty
Im a dirty hippie!
PostThu Nov 01, 2007 7:41 am 
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Way Cool!.. I seen the Ghost Hunters show that featured this place.

I think the staff were as insane as the patients when I hear about the horror stories of old insane asylums agree.gif

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"If you're not living good, you gotta travel wide"...Bob Marley
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Elvis
Shuffl'n



Joined: 09 Jun 2004
Posts: 1801 | TRs
Location: del Boca Vista
Elvis
Shuffl'n
PostThu Nov 01, 2007 8:23 am 
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Let me add that the 'trails' weren't 'trails' that we as hikers think of.  Mostly it's an old road that you follow, but it's very nice for walking and there are lots of things to explore there.

By my estimate, I walked a little over 5 miles, but that included some backtracking and I spent quite a bit of time following a grassy road past the old well, where it turned into a trail, crossed a creek (likely a tributary of Hansen creek) and it just kept going.

I followed it in hopes of finding something more to look at, but finally turned around since I had no idea where it would end.  Looking at my Topo software once I got home I believe I was almost at the end of the trail/road where it just meets up with a paved road.

Originally I was expecting to park at the Northern State Campus, but signs at the entrance clearly indicate it is a closed campus.  With the specialized programs they have I was glad I found the NSRA parking lot instead.

They do have some cool buildings on the campus, as clearly shown by cdrbond007.  Thanks for sharing those.

~E

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"Ill habits gather unseen degrees, as brooks make rivers, rivers run to seas."  ~John Dryden
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giantelf23
Member
Member


Joined: 14 Apr 2007
Posts: 16 | TRs
Location: Tacoma, WA
giantelf23
Member
PostThu Nov 01, 2007 8:30 am 
Great posting!
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I will have to visit this place, it looks like a great photo-op!!!

Thanks for the directions.
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More Cowbell
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Joined: 01 Jul 2006
Posts: 5639 | TRs

More Cowbell
Member
PostThu Nov 01, 2007 9:31 am 
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You win the best Halloween T.R. for sure.  This place looks very intreguing.  Thanks.

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“If you want to forget all your other troubles, wear too tight shoes.” - Unknown
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Andy Schmidt
Formerly Fuu



Joined: 02 Jul 2007
Posts: 211 | TRs
Location: 98133
Andy Schmidt
Formerly Fuu
PostThu Nov 01, 2007 10:40 am 
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Looks like a great place to explore.  Fun for Dad and daughter.
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jenjen
Moderatrix



Joined: 30 Jun 2003
Posts: 7621 | TRs
Location: Sierra stylin
jenjen
Moderatrix
PostThu Nov 01, 2007 5:41 pm 
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Ok, I had absolutely no idea this place existed.  And I've driven that stretch of 20 countless times.

What a perfect Halloween wander!

Thanks for the tr.  It sounds like it beats walking old logging roads with neighbors wearing camo popping out of the woods on either side to say "high".  paranoid.gif

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If life gives you melons - you might be dyslexic
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seawallrunner
dilettante



Joined: 27 Apr 2005
Posts: 3206 | TRs
Location: Lotusland
seawallrunner
dilettante
PostThu Nov 01, 2007 5:46 pm 
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Interesting ! The area has many intriguing buildings.

I was wondering whether anyone knows about the property that is just at the exit of Cook Road near the I-5. The property has a mini-mountain on it, complete with steepish road to the top (not very long).  It looks like some sort of farm, or retreat. I've always wondered what kind of business runs there, and when that little mountain was built (certainly doesn't look natural)
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Hiker Mama
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Joined: 25 Jun 2006
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Location: Lynnwood
Hiker Mama
Member
PostThu Nov 01, 2007 9:00 pm 
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That's an interesting change of pace, Elvis.  I'll have to keep it tucked away in the back of my brain for future use.
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