The 47th, Annual WSS Hodag Hunt Festival September 9-11, 2011

47th Annual WSS Hodag Hunt

September 9-11, 2011

 

  Welcome to the 47th annual Wisconsin Speleological Society (WSS) Hodag Hunt. The Hodag Hunt is a yearly weekend caving jubilee for cavers from Wisconsin and the surrounding states. You do not have to be a WSS member or be affiliated with any other caving grotto to attend. Everyone is welcome! However, we do have two very important requirements for everyone who is going into the caves during the Hodag Hunt. The first requirement is that everyone needs to have the clean caving equipment to protect against the spread of the devastating White-Nose Syndrome (WNS).   See http://www.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.  The other caving equipment requirement is you cannot 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). 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 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 four caves. There will be plenty of alternative caving activities as well such as acoustic bat monitoring surveys, a trip to the Weis Earth Science Museum (where Science Rocks) - in Menasha, vertical on site as we as off site vertical rope trips, star gazing at night with star and planet tracking telescopes, and much more. A brats and burgers picnic-type meal on Saturday night will be served in the Nature Center at Ledge View. 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 will be offered this year by our renowned resident chef, Buzz Davis. Our guest speaker at the supper this year will be giving an interesting presentation on Wisconsin glaciations, cave deposits, and age dating of glacial deposits. There will be 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 four caves on site as listed in most literature.  They are Montgomery Cave, Over the Hill Cave, Carolyn’s Cavern’s System, and Mothers Cave although technically there is only three 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, bathrooms facilities, live animal and hands-on exhibits for kids, large meeting room areas, and plenty of space to stretch out and relax.  All the dinners, lectures, auction activities, and a lot of socializing will 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. Camping is $3 per night per person (pre-registration), or $4 on-site. There is no fee for Thursday night camping for early arrivals. 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 for tents, tent campers and trailers are available 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 to go 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, on-site firewood will be provided. Fires are restricted to the fire pit only.

   Hodag Activity 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 and any planned WSS trip activities.  For caving trips, everyone needs to be aware of White Nose Syndrome decontamination protocol to go on any caving trips. Handouts on decontamination protocol will be provided at Registration. Clean clothes and decontaminated caving gear are a must for all cave trips. Decontamination sprays and baths will be provided by the WSS for everyone’s use, if it is needed. Multiple caving trips will be offered. Four on-site caves are available: Mother’s Cave, Carolyn’s Caverns System, Montgomery Cave, and Over the Hill Cave.

 

Hodag Schedule at a glance:  

   Thursday night (September 8th): Early Hodag arrival for those cavers participating in the all-day Friday excavation.  Camping is free on Thursday night.

   Friday excavation: Excavation work is in Carolyn's Caverns System near Temptation Alley.  The dig starts at 8:00 in the morning and will conclude around 3:30 PM.  Excavation n participants are on their own for lunch.

   Friday Arrival/Setup: Feel free to arrive after 12:00 noon on Friday to set up your campsite for the weekend and take in the great amenities at the Nature Center.

   Friday Registration: Registration starts at 4:00 in the late afternoon. Signs will be posted in the park for the registration location.

   Friday Dinner: Cavers are on their own for Friday dinner.

   Saturday Breakfast: Pancake and sausage breakfast will be provided for a minimal $5 fee in the Nature Center from 8:00-9:00.

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

   Saturday Lunch: Cavers are on their own for lunch on Saturday.  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.

   Saturday Dinner: The Saturday dinner will be all you can eat brats and hamburgers with all the fixins.  Serving time is from 6:00–7:00 in the Nature Center.

   Saturday Dinner Speaker: Laura Bellomo , a graduate Student at the University of Wisconsin, is our informative guest speaker at 7:00 who will discuss the last glaciations in Wisconsin, sediment deposition in caves, how it gets there, what it looks like, how to tell where it came from, and the technique used to get accurate geological dating of sediment deposition (of course, with a summary of how the technique works and in layman terms). The presentation will be 45 minutes to an hour long with lots of photos and illustrations and time for questions. 

   Saturday WSS Auction: The WSS auction fund raiser will start around 8:00 after the guest speaker presentation.  Door prizes will also be given out during the auction.

   Sunday Breakfast: Breakfast may be offered by the WSS depending on breakfast supplies and demand for $5, otherwise cavers are on their own for Sunday breakfast.

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

   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 47th Hodag activities.