Hodag Letterbox  LbNA # 39558

OwnerVerona Bird Patrol    
Placed DateMay 3 2008
CountyWinneshiek
LocationDecorah, IA
Boxes1
Found ByMartini Man
Last UpdateMay 3 2008

Clues

This box was returned to me after a muggle found it on the side of a road. His future is to be determined. He will either return to Decorah or find his way back to his homeland in Rhinelander, WI. Stay tuned. . . .

What's a Hodag?!!?

The Hodag made his first appearance in 1896. Gene Shepard, Rhinelander, WI pioneer and timber cruiser, snapped its picture just before the beast sprang at him from a white pine log.

The Hodag is over 7 feet long and 30 inches tall. It has bristly hair and spikes along its backbone and tail. The vise-like jaws will crush anything unlucky enough to get near the Hodag's menacing tusks and needle-sharp claws. Eventually the Hodag was discovered to be an elaborate hoax, its body, a carved stump covered with an ox hide; its horns and spikes derived from oxen and cattle; its movement controlled by wires; and its growl supplied by Shepard’s sons. This discovery, however, took nothing away from the Hodag’s popularity. People from across the state and region continued to travel up the Wisconsin to Rhinelander to view Shepard’s concoction.

So, how do I see one?

Just go to Wisconsin, and ask how to get to Rhinelander (everybody there somehow knows...). Follow any and all directions very carefully, and when you get there, look around. You should see the critters lurking everywhere . . .

Or, if you are in Decorah, Iowa, find this fierce fellow that is a bit far afield from home, but wanted to check out the Northeastern Iowa Letterboxing Event on May 3, 2008, and liked Decorah so much, he made it his new home.

Park at the pull-off in front of the Ice Cave on Ice Cave Road. Take the uphill trail to the left of the information kiosk. At the large three-trunked tree, fork left towards the road. Continue uphill, walking between outcrops on either side of the trail. When you are standing with an extremely tall rock outcropping on your left, look to the ground and notice remnants of a falled, dead conifer who's "naked" hand is pointing toward a vertical crevice in the left rock face. The box is in the crevice, covered by rock.