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The Lost Port of Ulao
This, the inception of the legend tripper’s journal could start many ways. But how to start something so full of potential, and wrought with reality bending experiences? Should I introduce the resumes of those normally along on these wild adventures? No, that would use up all the words of the journal without giving due credence to those travelers. Perhaps the research that goes into the legend trip before we even leave? No, too academic and dry for this column. The scientific equipment and metaphysical tools taken along to help quantify data, or just increase the mystery factor? No, I’ve got GetGhostGear.com for that. So hell, let’s just jump in with the adventure!
Ulao, Wisconsin, 2006. It was the hottest weekend on record for the last decade with heat indexes reaching 115°. There are seven legend trippers that make up our normal posse, in any combination of numbers. Introducing the heat stroke victims for this particular three day expedition into the Wisconsin wilds starts with Todd Roll. He was co-founder of Wausau Paranormal Research Society who has been quoted in all forms of the media on his work in the paranormal fields over the last three decades and friend to the friendless Romanian Gypsy. Sean Bindley an intrepid paranormal investigator along with intermittent MC for the traveling “Unexplained Conferences,” and simply to much of a man for even the worst vampire in Wisconsin. Richard Hendricks, co-author of “Weird Wisconsin,” co-director of the Wisconsin Paranormal Research Center and the only sole I've ever witnessed berate a man with badge as said man wrongly, rudely, and ridiculously accused his innocent friends of a crime. Myself driving and lastly but not least Mr. Kevin Nelson who you may have seen during his appearances on the Discovery Channel’s Mystery Hunters, and Travelers shows, ABC’s Scariest Places on Earth and literally the most feared wand maker west of the Mississippi. Over the last few tangibly sun dripped days we had already searched through haunted woods watching for reported Satan worshipers, toured a sanctified Catholic castle covering a super secret serpent, refilling our diminished holy water surplus after Sean’s vampire run-in, investigated an abandoned and haunted school and now Ulao.
We had done our research and as we neared our best guess as to where we were wanting to go Kevin shared some background on our quarry: “it was primarily a logging town that had huge piers set in Lake Michigan connected to its own lumber mill.” Rick added a grisly account he found, “yeah the owner’s daughter had ridden the sleuth between the mill and water…with deathly consequences at the bottom that were reportedly gruesome as they were tragic.”
Of course an adventure wouldn’t be nearly as fun without some misadventures first. We had a generalized idea from general people of where this once booming port town, turned ghost town actually lied. Driving in and out of new neighborhoods, deciding who should risk the next round of trespassing tickets we happened upon a state park. On our newly found public land we set out with excited expectations, under a high and hot sun, down a rocky trail, and into a thick and thistled forest. I immediately fall behind attempting to be both adventurer and videographer, devout in documenting what could always be our last prying step. In true horror movie form our group of five quickly splits up and spreads out. Thankfully we have radios and even two of us remembered to grab them from the vehicle before we eagerly piled out into the middle of nowhere.
Todd’s voice quickly muffled by the thick woods and the all to occasional breeze, “dead men don’t need radios.” Already hours into the hunt for the Ghost Town of Ulao we had no signs other than the one of a nearby namesake road. Miles from the vehicle we eventually regrouped, then paused inches from a 200 foot cliff. Todd, Rick, Sean and I scope out the best path down the rocky face. I hesitate calculating the odds of me making it down without breaking either of my two cameras I’m lugging. In my hesitation, Kevin leaps off to the first minuscule ledge and scrambles to the next. A perilous hour later and minus one man Todd, Kevin, Rick and I all get a boost of adrenaline when we spy several objects in a row protruding the waters' surface. They start at the shore and disappear into Lake Michigan.
Our step quickens along with our hearts. Kevin and I cut our way up several tiered rocky faces covered in thick undergrowth. Rick dives into the water exploring what remains of the once bustling piers. Kevin and I are the first to yell “Foundation!...we’ve got stone foundation” The stone foundation is a classic first sign a seasoned explorer watches for when on just such an expedition. We find the saw mill still littered with relics from a time past covered in rust and fighting against the woods that want to reclaim what was taken from them over a hundred years earlier. Todd films the find from the shore as Kevin and I make our way back down from the structures. I take the video camera from Todd just as we are buzzed by two small air craft no more than a stones throw above us. There is an annual air show further down the shore and an annual UFO festival further up the shore. Where they might be going too or coming from is anyone’s guess.
One mystery solved and the map to the Lost Port of Ulao filed nicely in our mental archives we head back. The shadow of the climb up, now ahead of us and the air is only getting thicker. With five hours of sleep split between the five of us for the weekend, that number is only lessened by the amount of spirits shared. Despite our less-than-stellar athlete sleeping-habits we conquer another huge obstacle.
Once back to the vehicle the five-way heat stroke starts receding. It’s a good thing too as we’ve got a surprise appearance at that annual UFO festival that turns up another unusual sighting, along with a planned assembly the following day where we participate in a wizard’s rite performed over sacred native effigy mounds.
It truly is all in a day’s work for the adventurer. The end of this legend trip only brings anticipation of what and where we will find on the next one.
Until next time, remember, adventures come to the adventuresome!
Noah Voss (Bio)
But wait there's more!
More than a dozen Legend Trippers Journal entries! Follow the Legend Trippers on such adventures as:
Unexplained Gravity Hills in Pennsylvania
The Mystery of the Michigan Paulding Lights Solved
Lake Monsters of the Mississippi River
Satanic Murderous Murmurs Investigated in the Bridgewater Triangle of Massachusetts
Werewolves in Wisconsin
The Lost Port of Ulao discovered on Lake Michigan
Looking for the Lost in the Bennington Black Hole of Vermont
Phantom Baby's Screams in the night at Cry Baby Bridge of Illinois
West Virginia's Mothman Sightings
and many, many more!
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