- September 6, 2021
- Posted by: Phil Block
- Category: Photography
A recent Northwoods adventure with a friend continued as we traveled from Wausau to Rhinelander. As we entered town from the west on Highway 8, we spotted our first Hodag. At this point, little did we know about how fruitful our hunt for the mysterious Hodag would actually be!
Rhinelander, Wisconsin has built a thriving tourism business around a mythical creature called the Hodag. Since I’m sure you’re wondering about Hodags, let’s start by familiarizing you with this creature said to inhabit the Northwoods around Rhinelander.
What Is a Hodag?
Some say the Hodag is the FIERCEST, STRANGEST, MOST TERRIFYING MONSTER ever to set razor-sharp claws on this earth. Others describe the Hodag as a RECLUSIVE FOREST CREATURE, misunderstood by many and only wanting to be left alone in the forest paradise that is the Rhinelander Area. No one really knows for certain, but for the people of Hodag country, he’s as real as the towering pines and the crystal-clear lakes that encompass the area.
— According to Local Lore, or at least what’s printed on the back of the above post card.
An important part of our visit to the Rhinelander Area was a serious attempt to track down as many of the elusive Hodags as possible. We mounted a determined Hodag Patrol. As luck would have it, many Hodags seem to lurk silently on city streets, near buildings, or in the edge of nearby woodlands. Our Hodag hunt was greatly assisted after the shopkeeper at the Hodag Store gave us a Chamber of Commerce map detailing where the hard-to-find beasts usually hang out. Our goal was to locate and photograph as many of these creatures as we could find. We’re not sure if we found them all, but we surely didn’t miss many. Intent on not threatening or hurting any Hodags, only photographs were taken. Thus, no Hodags were harmed while taking the pictures, which are gathered below for your enjoyment.
There is more to see in the busy Northwoods metropolis of Rhinelander. All of the major retail emporiums are there, plus the full gamut of vendors and suppliers providing everything anyone might need in this four-season outdoor wonderland. We found murals on buildings, an old theater well past its prime, and more. We discovered that Hodags lurk even on murals!
Our final Rhinelander destination was the home of my friend’s sister and her husband. Their home is at the top of a hill overlooking Clear Lake outside Rhinelander. A guest cottage sits near the bottom of the hill near the lakeshore. Our gracious hosts made this cottage available to us during our stay.