Rib Mountain Letterbox

Terrain: Rocky Path
Difficulty: Easy
Placed: November 1, 2003
By: The Dragon
Marathon County, WI
Nearest town:
Wausau, WI

Dragon's Home Page


Rib Mountain is the second highest spot in Wisconsin.  Located in the state park to the southwest of Wausau, Rib Mountain is a favorite skiing destination, although I would not want to ski down a mountain so loaded with sharp and pointy rocks, which just happen to stick out like broken ribs (or a killer rabbit's teeth!). There is a tower on the mountain that offers a spectacular view of the surrounding area.


Although to some, Rib Mountain looks like a bunch of rib bones (maybe broken ones from skiing down the hill), while walking around on the trails all I saw were various rock faces looking at me.  Maybe not so much like the Easter Island faces in the above picture, but rather like the talking rocks in the movie Labyrinth.  (Watch for Labyrinth quotes/references* in the clues - no need to see the movie.)  As you walk around you can decide for yourself. . .

The rocky terrain does not allow for clear paths to be firmly established, so it is sometimes difficult to follow a specific path.  To assist you, please print off a trail map from here, and follow the new trail posts as best as you can.  Take the park drive all the way to the top parking lots.  It doesn't matter which lot you park in.  The box is actually near the Sunrise Lookout on the gray trail.  You can either follow the suggested hike below, or head down the yellow path to the 1820' bench at the intersection of the red, yellow, and gray trails, and then pick up the clues in bold face.

Start by going to the tower and climbing it to get a great view.  Once you are done, take the green or blue trail that begins at the base of the broom closet*, um, tower. ("Don't go on!"*) Take either path to the "trail post/viewpoint" at 1860'.  (Go back while you still can!"*) It is on these trails that I see most of the faces in the rocks. ("This is not the way!"*)  Pick up the red trail at the 1860' trail post.  ("Take heed and go no further!"*)  The red trail will meander around the top of the mountain; first west, then south, then east, going past various viewpoints and trail posts.  "Beware!  Beware!"*  Stay on the correct path and watch your footing! Pass the south observation deck, the viewpoint at 1740', and the 1670' low point.  ("Soon it will be too late!"*)  Ignore all the warnings from the rocks - you get a lot of that especially when you're on the right track.* ("Oh no you're not!"*)  Don't blame them, they're just doing their job.*  Stop for a rest at the 1820' bench at the intersection of the red, yellow, and gray trails.

Continue east on the gray trail ("Beware, for the path you will take will lead to certain destruction!"*) until you come upon a large outcropping of rock near the turn in the path indicated on the trail map.   Just before then bend in the path you'll come to a tree (well, now (10/28/07) it is a stump...) on your left which is in front of a large cube-like rock.  To your right is a large boulder.  Search behind leaves in the crevasse formed between the ground and the east side of the boulder right where the ground and boulder meet. ("What do we have here?  Nothing? NOTHING? Nothing-tra-la-la?"*)  Hopefully you'll find what you seek there.  Act like there is nothing if people are around.  Re-hide in the crevasse well with leaves on top, otherwise you might find yourself placed in an oubliette by some helping hands*.  Thanks!

Before you set out read the waiver of responsibility and disclaimer.

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