An institution for those classified as the “harmless insane” from 1909 to 1976, the portion of the old Northern State Hospital that remains open to the public to this day is now called the Northern State Recreation Area. Managed by the Skagit County Parks Department, it is located a half mile east of Sedro Woolley, adjacent to the North Cascades Highway between the Fruitdale and the Helmick Roads. This hike found me walking up and down the fairways of what is now a disc golf course, and along the roads and trails running around huge mounds of blackberry brambles and old, tumbling down buildings that once housed the hospital’s food production and farming areas.
The walk around these buildings is always entertaining . . .