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Crystal Clear Explorers: William and George

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Hey, Summertime Explorers!

We love discussing all the awesome activities that may have been available to you for your summer camp stay. If you’re passionate about Caving (also known as ‘spelunking’), maybe you were lucky enough to attend a camp that offers it as one of their activities!

But what’s even a little bit more interesting than discussing the activities themselves is diving into the stories of the people behind these fun pastimes which have become popular at summer camps. I’ve drawn from the local region from our Everything Summer Camp headquarters for subjects to focus in on with this Blog post.   

West of us at Everything Summer Camp, the Crystal Cave isn’t too far from the Stateline with Minnesota. If you live in Wisconsin or Minnesota, there’s a decent chance that you’ve at least heard of the Crystal Cave. I’ve had the pleasure of taking the guided tour of this fantastic and spectacular cave myself! Today, I’ll be disclosing the tale of the brothers who discovered this hollow, underground formation.

For this story, we’re jumping back nearly 140 years to one evening in 1881 when two young brothers from Spring Valley were running around in the woods near the farm where they lived. 13-year-old William Vanasse and his brother a couple years younger, George, were chasing after a small animal that vanished in the blink of an eye. The brothers investigated its sudden disappearance and found the animal slipped away down a large hole.

How deep was the hole? they wondered. The brothers used a stick to investigate and they were amazed to find they couldn’t reach the bottom. When the stick slipped from their grasp, it seemed to disappear into the ground. They never heard it hit a floor.

The sun was already setting and the boys had to head back home, but the next day they were right back out there to explore the intriguing hole they’d discovered. They went out prepared with rope and they descended straight down into a vast opening beneath the earth. They entered a domed area filled with clay and debris. Though they could have no way of knowing just how big, there was no question that they boys had discovered a cave.

A magical place, the Vanasse boys’ discovery has since been christened ‘Crystal Cave’ and is a great, educational attraction! Thanks to William and George, maybe you can check it out for yourself someday or maybe a cave that’s more local to you! Spelunking is an awe-inspiring experience! As always, thanks for reading, Camp Fans!


- John


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