Creatures of Hoth  LbNA # 39615

OwnerWisconsin Hiker      
Placed DateMay 3 2008
LocationDecorah, IA
Found By Merlin and Ardea
Last Found Jul 19 2008
Hike Distance2-3 mi
Last EditedMay 14 2016

Last found/checked: 3-MAY-08

Location: 2560 Ice Cave Road (approximate address)

Time: 60-90 minutes roundtrip

Terrain: Winding, hilly dirt trail through woodlands

These boxes were planted for the Northeastern Iowa Gathering held on 3-MAY-08. They are a joint effort of Wisconsin Hiker & Martini Man.

In the fictional universe of Star Wars, Hoth is the sixth planet of a remote system of the same name. It is a world covered in snow and ice, with numerous moons, and pelted by meteorites from a nearby asteroid belt. Native creatures include the wampa and the tauntaun.

To find these creatures, begin at the small parking area near the Ice Cave. Wampas live in caves carved from the Hoth ice. It is here that the ice creature drags its prey. Wampas prefer fresh meat, and they often suspend live prey from the ceiling of their lair using their own saliva to act as a sort of glue (by freezing) until they are ready to eat. In Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Luke Skywalker is captured by a Wampa and trapped in a cave, suspended upside down by his feet, which are frozen to the ceiling. Take a short walk up the steps to see who might be in the cave now. A Wampa? Luke? A Tauntaun? Well, if you find nothing but ice, that must mean the Wampa is out in search of more food. As you leave, take note of the year on the sign at the bottom of the stairs.

To find the Wampa hunting grounds, drive east on Ice Cave Road for .3 miles to Quarry Hill Road. Turn left on Quarry Hill Road and follow it for .8 miles, then park near the orange gates near some rocky cliffs. Start on the trail across the street near the Van P. Park sign.

The bone-chilling cold is not the only danger that awaits a traveler on the Hoth plains. Despite standing 6.6 ft in height, the Wampa ice creature is nonetheless a stealthy predator. Its white fur is the perfect camouflage, and the howling Hoth winds mask its approach until it is too late. With a crushing blow from its clawed hand, a Wampa is strong enough to snap the neck of even a hardy Tauntaun. Be careful on your hunt!

Do you spot the Tauntaun running in fear from the Wampa? At the #13 they headed down the trail at a bearing of 215 degrees. They crossed a gully several times and wound their way up a hill. At a small fork they stayed to the left on the main trail, heading further up the hill. Tauntauns are a species of snow lizard found roaming the windswept snow plains of Hoth. The Rebel Alliance domesticated the swift creature during their stay on the ice planet, and used the animals for patrol duties outside Echo Base. Both Luke Skywalker and Han Solo rode Tauntauns on Rebel patrol missions. This particular Tauntaun wandered off from the group and now is running for his life from the hungry Wampa. He passed through some old fencing on both sides of the trail and then ran along the trail with the fence on his right. When he reached the point where the trail passed through the fence again, with trees supporting the fence, he stopped. The Wampa had fallen behind, so he thought this was his chance to hide. He spotted a tree, half dead, half alive at a bearing of 266 degrees. He took 40 steps to the tree and crouched beneath a fallen limb in front of the tree. When you find him you’ll see he is an 8.2 ft tall biped with white fur, downturned horns, four nostrils, and has a foul body odor. He subsists off lichen found in hoarfrost as well as eating mushrooms and other fungi found in ice caves, so perhaps he will be able to survive here.

Shortly afterward, the Wampa came sniffing around the tree. He was unable to find the Tauntaun, so he headed along the deer trail at x degrees (x=the sum of each digit in the year you noted earlier) for 28 steps. Here he joined a different path and headed right, eventually reaching a #10 at the top of a short hill. Still in search of food, he headed right on a bearing of 330 degrees. At #18 he was getting tired, so headed downhill on the path at 50 degrees. When he saw a pile of mossy logs on his left, he crawled behind the upright living tree being hugged by a fork. Be careful if you find him since he is the planet's top predator. Wampa’s hands have five fingers, each with one large claw. They also have a horn protruding from either side of their heads that curves and points forward. The Wampa's feet resemble an elephant's, in that they don't protrude from the legs and are rather massive. They have a mouth of sharp teeth and attack with a vicious slash using their massive claws. Although the Wampa's main prey is the Tauntaun, he may be hungry for YOU! To escape, continue on to #16, and then continue running forward at 40 degrees. At #14 turn right and hurry to hide in your car!

Status reports about how the creatures are faring would be greatly appreciated, since we live a long way from the area and won’t be able to check on them ourselves. Thanks!