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Announcing the moving of the 49th Annual WSS Hodag Hunt

posted Aug 21, 2013, 1:51 PM by Al Schema   [ updated Aug 21, 2013, 5:45 PM ]

Announcing the moving of the 49th Annual WSS Hodag Hunt

September 6-8, 2013

 

   We are happy to announce the 49th annual Wisconsin Speleological Society (WSS) Hodag Hunt Festival is still alive and well. With the unfortunate closing of caves on the Crystal Cave property to wild caving opportunities, the Hodag Hunt Festival has been moved to Ledge View Nature Center

(http://www.ledgeviewnaturecenter.org/) near Chilton WI. Ledge View is a great backup selection for the Hodag. Not only will the new location offer lots of wild caving opportunities and all the activities that were available at Crystal Cave, but it addition, the 49th Hodag Hunt Festival will be combined with annual Fall Fest at Ledge View on Saturday. The Fall Fest is a family oriented celebration of fall activities that draws in an impressive 400 to 500 people annually.
The Fall Fest offers great food, micro-brewery beer, hands-on demonstrations and participation in such fall activities in honey processing, apple cider pressing, and much, much, more. As a bonus, Hodag Festival participants will get into the Fall Fest activities for free and will be waived the $5 parking fee.

   The Hodag Hunt Festival is a yearly weekend caving jubilee for cavers from Wisconsin and the surrounding states. It is a great time to get together for exploring caves during the day, later reconnecting and relaxing with fellow cavers, and above all, having lots of social fun and camaraderie. You do not have to be a WSS member or be affiliated with any other caving grotto to attend. Everyone is welcome! We do encourage new attendees to join the WSS if they are interested.

   Please note, we do have two very important requirements for everyone who is going into the caves during the Hodag Hunt: 1) Everyone needs to have the clean caving equipment to protect against the spread of the devastating White-Nose Syndrome (WNS). See http://caves.org/WNS/index.htm for the latest updates on WNS. The link also provides the latest decontamination protocols from the US Fish and Wildlife Service for your caving gear; and 2) No one may use caving equipment and clothing in Wisconsin caves that has been in caves outside of Wisconsin per Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources regulations. A protective hard helmet of some sort, hiking boots,  hands-free caving lights, protective clothing, and knee pads  are highly recommended for the Hodag caving trips (bring your own clean equipment if you have them). A limited supply of gear dedicated only to Ledge View Nature Center caves is on site and available for Hodag attendees’ use.

   Hodag Fun: The WSS uses the Hodag Hunt Festival weekend as a caving social gathering and uses the funds raised at the Hodag auction to support its various caving activities throughout the year. Please do bring items for the auction and some extra money for the great buys and interesting finds you will see at the auction. The weekend will be full of great caving trips, and the best part, you do not have to go any farther than a short walking distance from where you will be camped for the Hodag to see the onsite caves.

Camping is free this year. There will be plenty of alternative activities as well as the Fall Fest activities. An offsite visit option to Oak Field Crevices will offer vertical caving, a zip line, site seeing, and caving. Also, don’t forget our fun pancake breakfast offerings on both Saturday and Sunday mornings right in the Nature Center. You just never know what multiple unique flavors of pancakes the WSS will be able to come up with this year. A brat and burgers picnic-type meal on Saturday night will be served in the Nature Center at Ledge View. Our guest speaker after supper this year, Eric Sutterlin, will be giving an interesting PowerPoint presentation on his creation and work at Sandland Mine, which is still under construction. It is an underground crawl tunnel maze that was designed on paper and then carved out of solid sandstone following a distinct pattern. It has sandstone tunnels that wind up, down, and all around. It will feature six intersections and four segments that are figure-8 patterns. It is designed for people who are interested in exploring and trying to navigate underground. It is similar in some aspects to the above ground popular corn mazes, but this one is being constructed underground. The Hodag will also feature a social gathering each night to unwind from the day’s activities. Please bring any musical instruments to join in on the nightly fun activities.

  Why Ledge View:  If the WSS was to call any place home, it would be Ledge View Nature Center. Almost all of our monthly WSS meetings, other than the summer months, are held at Ledge View. The cave system there has been under excavation development by the WSS since the 1980’s. There are three caves on site as listed in most literature. They are Montgomery Cave, Carolyn’s Cavern’s System, and

Mothers Cave, although technically there are only two, as Carolyn’s Caverns System and Mother’s Cave are now connected through our excavation activities. The Nature Center itself provides a full kitchen, library, restroom facilities, live animal and hands-on exhibits for kids, large meeting room areas, and plenty of space to stretch out and relax. All the meals, the guest speaker presentation, auction activities, and a lot of socializing will be taking place right in the Nature Center. There is no need for separate travel plans to go anywhere else. Camping and a pit fire are provided on site as well. Everything is conveniently centrally located for all caving activities for the entire weekend.

   Cost: See separate registration form for more specific cost breakdowns. Pre-Registration is $5 per person. On-site registration is $6 per person. There is no registration charge for children 15 and under. There will be no fee for camping. Breakfast is $5 and the brats and burgers supper with all the fixin’s is $6 for adults, $3 for children 2-12, no charge for children under 2.

   Camping: Field sites with no hookups are available for tents, tent campers and trailers right on the Ledge View Nature Center property. There is plenty of room for everyone. No need to worry about space

availability. Calumet County Park on the East shore of Lake Winnebago, will be the camper’s choice if you want electrical and full hookups. They do take reservations so it is wise to get a site locked in as soon as you can. The campground is about 20 minutes from Ledge View. For reservations or information about the alternate camping site, call 920/439-1008 or visit their website: www.co.calumet.wi.us.

   Campfires: Please do NOT bring your own firewood, as on-site firewood will be provided. Fires are restricted to the fire pit only.

   Hodag Activity Caving Trips: Saturday trips will be offered from 10AM to 4PM and Sunday from 10 AM to 3 PM. Sign-up sheets will be available after Saturday breakfast. A 9:30 welcome and trip briefing on Saturday is required for everyone to attend, if you are participating in any planned WSS trip activities. For caving trips, everyone needs to be aware of White Nose Syndrome decontamination protocol in order to participate. Decontamination info will be provided at Registration and in the Hodag Festival Guidebook.

Hodag Schedule at a glance:  

Ø  Thursday night (September 5th): Early Hodag arrival for those participants who want to help with the Hodag Festival and Fall Fest set-up.

Ø  Friday set up: Help with Hodag Festival and Fall Fest set-up. Not an all-day event. There will be plenty of time for relaxation and socializing.

Ø  Friday Main Arrival/Setup: Feel free to arrive anytime on Friday to set up your campsite for the weekend and take in the great amenities at the Nature Center.

Ø  Friday Registration: Registration starts at 5:00 in the late afternoon. Registration will be set up in the Nature Center.

Ø  Friday Lunch & Dinner: Cavers are on their own for Friday meals.

Ø  Saturday Breakfast: Pancake and sausage breakfast will be provided for a nominal $5 fee in the Nature Center from 7:30-9:00.

Ø  Saturday Caving: Hodag trip activities start after a 9:30 welcome and mandatory trip briefing for all trip participants. Trips leave at 10:00. Everyone should be back at the Nature Center by 5:00 to get ready for the Saturday dinner.

Ø  Saturday Lunch: Cavers are on their own for lunch on Saturday. The Fall Fest will offer lots of food and micro beers for sale. Chilton is only a few miles from the Nature Center with fast food and family sit down restaurants available. On Hodag road trips there will be plenty of opportunity to stop in different communities for lunch.

Ø  Saturday Dinner: The Saturday dinner will be all you can eat brats and hamburgers with all the fixin’s, potato salad, coleslaw, chips, and beverages. Serving time is from 5:30–6:30 in the Nature Center.

Ø  Saturday Speaker: Eric Sutterlin -Sandland Mine Presentation. 6:30-7:30.

Ø  Saturday WSS Auction: The WSS auction fund raiser will start around 7:30 after the guest

speaker presentation. Door prizes will also be given out during the auction.

Ø  Sunday Breakfast: 7:30 – 8:30 breakfast will be offered by the WSS for $5.

Ø  Sunday WSS Board/General Meeting:  A combined WSS General and Board Meeting will be held from 9:00 – 10:00 Sunday morning. All are welcome to attend.

Ø  Sunday Caving: There will be limited trips offered on Sunday. Caving activities start at 10:00 and should have everyone back at the Nature Center by 3:00. The Nature Center will be closing at 4:30, ending the WSS 49th annual Hodag activities.