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Hunting for ghost towns

With map and moxie, explore relics of the past

It was a trip to Sherman Pass outside Republic, Wash., that got Shannon Ashworth hooked on ghost towns. Using the book “Ghost Towns of the Northwest” by Norman D. Weis as her guide, Ashworth headed north from her home in Rosalia for a day of ghost-town hunting.

“The maps in there are pretty dang accurate,” said Ashworth, who’s an office manager for a company in Colfax.

“I brought my kids – they were 2 and 7 at the time – and we did it all in a day.”

Ashworth and her family went to Bodie, Old Toroda, Sheridan Mine Camp and Sheridan.

There wasn’t much left in Sheridan and Toroda, but Bodie was a great spot, she said.

“Most of the town is still there, with an old schoolhouse and some cabins,” Ashworth said.

“I read somewhere that the Wrigley family, you know, the chewing gum people, owned the town at some point.”

Her best advice for novice ghost-town hunters is to do the homework.

“Read books, look at maps, make sure you know where you are going,” she said.

“If you worry about what’s left in a town, call a town nearby and ask. And use common sense; don’t trespass on private property, don’t go into old buildings that look like they are ready to come down.”

Reach Pia Hallenberg Christensen at (509) 459-5427 or