Hiking at Northern State Hospital

Northern State Hospital was one of several mental health hospitals set up in Washington state.  Northern was the largest.  It opened in 1912 and was closed due to federal budget cuts.   Northern was set up to be self sustaining.  It had living quarters, farm land, a dairy, and the hospital.  The property is huge.

I love going to abandon areas and seeing how things end up returning to nature.  Northern is such a tourist draw (all mental institutions are “haunted,” right?) that the process has slowed by basic landscaping.  All the grass is mowed for easy access and the usually unruly blackberry brambles have been cut back into some semblance of order.  This did not diminish the experience for me though.

First up was the dairy and cannery.  They are the largest buildings.

There is a cool water tower that you can climb up (if you are brave.) One of our group did, but he missed out on several of the buildings.

The building groupings are far apart, standard for a farm.  The next building was about 3/4 of a mile away.  The road is winding.  There are Frisbee golf holes along the path, so we had to keep an out for UFO’s (hahaha, I am so funny.)

WalkingOnTheTrail

At the far end of the trail is a falling down barn.  The brambles have totally over grown it.  We entered, fully at our own risk, as the sun was scorching and the shade looked inviting. This was one of my favorite spots.  The light made neat patterns and the brambles were hanging like jungle vines.

 

This area reminded me of a manga I read several years ago called Uzumaki.  A town that has existed for a long time has all kinds of abandon long buildings.  Weird things start to happen and the only person that really notices is someone that moved away.  Things get weird and spiral out of control.  Very much a psychological story line.

It was a long hike back to the Dairy and the Food Prep area that is to the left of it.  This is where my camera battery died. I did get a few pictures of the area.  The rest are on my cell phone and not really worth looking at.

I hope to go again in the future, maybe on a day that is less sunny though.  We all were hot, gross and getting cranky by the time we were done.  We all drank tons of water.  I would wager we all took long naps when we got home.

I took over 200 photos. These are not even all of the ones that I processed as good.  Just the ones that I liked the most and wanted to share.

I look forward to going again.

 

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