This blog chronicles my letterboxing adventures. It includes posts that share my travels that are letterboxing related, the letterboxes I have found and planted as well as the people I have met along the way. There are also photos included to help give a complete picture of the fun I had.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Off to Another Event

Tonight we are in Parker, Colorado to attend the 5th Annual Kick Off the Holiday - Gingerbread House Event in the morning. This morning we woke to overcast skies that quickly turned into snow. We got the car packed for the drive to Colorado and left the house around 8:00am. I had a dentist appointment and after that we were heading out. Thankfully, the snow stopped by the time my appointment was done and from Santa Fe to the Colorado border we only encountered a few snow flurries. But once we were in Colorado the snow picked up a bit but was still not bad. When we reached Trinidad we exited the interstate and made our way to the Carpios Ridge area of Trinidad Lake State Park. Across the road from the entrance to Carpios Ridge we stopped and found Happy Campers 2016 at Trinidad Lake placed by TeaMomOwlGirl. This was a quick and easy find and we only had to deal with light snow flurries. I did bring the box to the car to stamp in since it was only 29° at the time. After stamping in and replacing the box we made our way back to I25 and continued north.
Between Trinidad and Colorado Springs we had snow off and on the entire way.
Monument Rock
And as we entered Colorado Springs the traffic became worse and we moved through the city at a snail's pace. Finally, at the north end of Colorado Springs the traffic abated but the snow was still there. I had a clue for a box in Monument but because of the traffic and the snow I told Thomas maybe we should wait until we were heading back home to find it. But then the snow stopped and we decided to give it a go. So we exited the interstate and followed the clues. It didn't take us long to find the spot to park for the box. A few minutes later we had found CO State Flag by HowD Girls and Lampwick. There were flurries again so I brought the box back to the car to stamp in. Once I was done and had replaced the box I took a few pictures of the area. This box is hidden in Monument, Colorado near a huge rock that gave the city its name. I am glad we stopped for this box since it gave us a chance to see some beautiful views.

After we finished here we continued on to Parker. We were lucky that the traffic had eased up and we didn't have any issues for the rest of the drive. We arrived at the hotel and checked in. And once settled we headed out again to meet some other letterboxers for dinner. The original place we met at was very busy and said it would be about an hour and a half so we ended up leaving there and headed over to Hickory House. This was a perfect place. Quiet enough to enable us to talk without screaming at each other and it had some really good barbecue. There was a good group that showed up... Agent 86 & ArnoldZiffel; The Woodshed & Mr. Woodshed; Porras Posse; Lampwick; HowD Girls; Seekers Two and Thomas & I.

It was a good time but after the drive Thomas and I were both tired. Now we are resting and looking forward to the event tomorrow.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Letterboxing - Maintaining and Finding

I have been wanting to get out and do some hiking all summer but for different reasons I never made it. But finally this morning I had the opportunity to get out into the mountains and hike, letterbox and maintain some boxes. I was out today with Agent 86. I met him at his house at 8:00am and we each drove our cars up into the mountains. I parked at the Chamisa Trail and Agent 86 picked me up and we drove up to the Borrego/Bear Wallow Trail. Our plan was to hike down the Borrego Trail to the Winsor Trail and then down to the Chamisa Trail. Then I would bring him back to his car when we were done.
It was a bit chilly when we started on the trail. I had layered my clothes so that as it warmed up I wouldn't be too hot. When we got near the creek we stopped so I could check on my Bad, Bad Black Sheep box. I also needed to do some maintenance here as well. Once I had checked on everything and changed the baggies I made sure the box was hidden well since it will be all alone for the winter buried under snow. From here we continued on the Borrego Trail to the Winsor Trail and headed downhill. In the area of the Winsor Trail and Bear Wallow Trail junction, we stopped so I could do some maintenance on my Ribbit! box. Here I changed out the logbook and baggies and again made sure that the box was hidden well for the winter. I am glad this particular box is doing well as it is one of my favorites.  While I was maintaining this box, Agent 86 went ahead to look for Hummer by PI Joe. When I was done I went and met up with Agent 86 and we stamped into this box. Once we had this box back in place we continued along the Winsor Trail headed for the Chamisa Trail. When we arrived at the meadow just before the Chamisa Trail  junction we stopped so I could check on my Western Blue Flag box. Unfortunately, we could do that since there were two men having lunch right where the box is hidden. So we just continued on. When we got to the saddle of the Chamisa Trail I went in search of Letter Boxer by PI Joe. Agent 86 had already found this box so he just waited near the trail sign. When I finished with this box I met Agent 86 at the trail sign and we continued on to the parking lot. From here I drove Agent 86 up to his car and then I headed home.
It was a beautiful Fall day to be up in the mountains and hiking the trails. I am happy to report that the boxes out here are doing well. Being out in nature today was great. I am glad Agent 86 had the time to hike with me.
Hiking Stats:
Steps . . . . . . . . . . 17,987
Miles . . . . . . . . . . 8.26
Calories . . . . . . . . 3084
Stairs . . . . . . . . . . 72

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Aspens and an Aspen Box

October seems to be passing by quickly. It has already been a week since we got back from France. We wanted to drive up Hyde Park Road (aka The Santa Fe National Forest Scenic Byway) to see the aspens last weekend, but with just getting back from our trip we didn't have the time. So this morning we decided to take the drive hoping that there would still be plenty of color with the aspens. Also, I wanted to get a letterbox that had been planted up there while we were on vacation.
So we left home and headed up the mountain. We took our time as there was an inordinate amount of traffic. We didn't make any stops until we got up to the top at the Santa Fe Ski Basin. Here we got out and walked around a bit and then returned to the car and headed back down the mountain. We made our next stop at the overlook at MM15. Here we took some pictures and enjoyed the views. Continuing on our way down we drove past Aspen Vista since there was nowhere to park - the area was packed and cars were parked all along the road. We next stopped at a pull out and took more pictures. Then we passed Big Tesuque and we started watching the odometer. About a half from Big Tesuque we stopped at another pullout. This is where Mosaic Butterfly planted Quaking Aspen, the box we were looking for. We followed the clues and easily found the box. I found a nice log to sit on to stamp in. When I was done I replaced the box and walked around a bit and took some more pictures. The stamp and box were perfect for this weekend. Thanks, Mosaic Butterfly.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

D-Day Letterboxing

We are still on our Viking River Cruise and the ship is docked in Rouen. Today we took a bus from the dock to visit the beaches of Normandy. This is the site of the June 6, 1944 D-Day Invasion. When planning the trip I found a clue for a letterbox planted at the American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, France. I was hoping we would have time to look for the box and I also hoped that it wouldn't be too far away since on most of our excursions we don't have a whole lot of free time.
After attending a ceremony and walking around the cemetery we had about 30 minutes to go in search of the box. {You can read about our entire day at D-Day: June 6, 1944 [A Visit to the Beaches of Normandy].} Thankfully the letterbox was hidden outside the cemetery between the parking area and the entrance to the cemetery. It was still a large area but definitely doable in the time we had. When we had entered the area from the parking lot I noticed a couple of four foot high, white, square posts. So when I read the clues I immediately thought that we needed to start there. But you know what they say about assuming. So after some searching around we found another set of posts exactly like the ones I saw when we entered except that the second set I found wasn't in plain site. You had to go past a building and around a slight curve. The good news was that I found the box and with time to spare - except that I also wanted to plant a box. A small detail that I had forgotten until Thomas reminded me. Time now was getting short so Thomas and Dave went and hid my box while Deanne and I stamped into Normandy by AFD 13. We were the first finders of this box as it had only been planted at the beginning of September. When we completed stamping in we got the box back into its hiding spot and then Thomas and Dave returned from hiding my box. It wasn't too far from where we were so I went and looked at where it was hidden and then jotted down some clues and took pictures. So if you are in Colleville-sur-Mer, France and are visiting the American Cemetery please take time to look for Battlefield Cross. Once all of this was done we headed back to the bus with only minutes to spare. I am glad I found the box today and now I can say I letterboxed and found a box in France.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Giverny Letterboxing

Today we were in Giveny visiting Monet's House and Gardens. Before we left for our trip (Viking Cruise - Paris & the Heart of Normandy) I looked for some clues for boxes in the areas we are visiting. While looking for clues I came across two boxes in Giverny, both hidden at the local church and cemetery (Eglise Sainte-Radegonde). One of the boxes had two attempts but I felt since we were there I could look for it anyway. First, we looked for the box that was still marked as active. The clues started with us finding Monet's grave and then walking up a small hill, turning right and then searching in some box hedges. Well, Dave and I spent quite a few minutes searching every inch of the hedges and came up empty handed. As the picture shows we really did a good search. So we decided to head to the next box. We weren't hopeful about finding it but the cemetery is small so we gave it a try. We didn't find that box either. We still had a great time walking the cemetery and hopefully at one of our other stops we can find a box. I would love to find at least one box in France so I will keep my fingers crossed that this will happen. You can read about the rest of the day at Giverny, Claude Monet and Vernon.
I think we did a thorough search!!!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Lake Valley and Chloride Letterboxing

Today is the last day of our trip and we are headed home. But there are things to be done first. I want to find a letterbox and plant two letterboxes. So this morning we packed up the car and headed out. This post is about the letterboxing part of the trip and you can read about the rest of the trip at Scenic Byways and Ghost Towns.

The first place I wanted to go was the Lake Valley Backcountry Scenic Byway and the ghost town of Lake Valley. So we drove from Silver City to Hillsboro and then took NM 27 south. This is part of the Lake Valley Backcountry Scenic Byway and I wanted to plant my first box in Lake Valley. this box is NM Scenic Byways: Lake Valley Backcountry. When we first arrived in Lake Valley we encountered a locked gate. There was a sign saying the town opened at 9:00am and my watch said 9:10am. So we assumed they were closed even though the sign said they were open Thursday through Monday. Just when we had decided to turn around and leave a man showed up to unlock the gate. So we drove in and went to the school house which serves as a museum and a visitor center. We spent a little time talking with the man who unlocked the gate. When we got ready to leave to do the walking tour I decided to ask the guy if I could plant a letterbox outside of the school house. But before I could even explain what I wanted to do he blurted out "NO!". Then he said "They wouldn't want that here because it would bring too many people to the town and they would damage the structures.". I again tried to explain that I just wanted to hide the box under a bush just off to the side of the school house and there weren't any buildings around that area. It quickly became obvious that he didn't want to talk about it anymore, so I just dropped and decided I would look for a place along the highway. So we went out to do the walking tour but we decided it was too hot to walk the town so we drove to a couple of the buildings and took some pictures. While we were looking around Thomas noticed something along the highway that had potential as a hiding spot. So we got in the car and headed in that direction. It turned out to be an information sign for the Lake Valley Backcountry Scenic Byway. So we parked at the sign and looked around. Thankfully, I was able to find a good spot for the box. So I got it hidden, took some pictures and made some notes for the clues. Now that this box was in place we could head out to plant the next box.

The next box - NM Scenic Byways: Geronimo Trail - had been planned to be hidden along the northern section of the Geronimo Trail National Scenic Byway. So we left Lake Valley and took NM 27 north back to NM 152. Then we took NM 152 to I 25 and then I 25 to Exit 83 for NM 52 and Cuchillo. From the exit the road is NM 181/52. But soon they split and we continued on NM 52 towards Cuchillo and Winston. As we drove I looked for a Geronimo Trail sign and hoped I could hide my box there. But we drove all the way to Winston and did not see one sign. So we decided to go to Chloride to find a box and maybe find a spot for my box. So we took Republic Rd. which turns into County Road CO06. Then we turned onto Wall St. and headed into Chloride. We passed the Hanging Tree as we entered the town and soon came upon a Geronimo Trail National Scenic Byway sign. I was overjoyed  - now my box could be near a sign on the Geronimo Trail. But first I went to find flyfishercacher's Silver Chloride box. This box is hidden in the Monte Cristo Saloon and Dance Hall Gift Shop and Gallery. I entered the shop and found the woman working there busy with a customer. So I looked around and waited. Thomas eventually came in and we talked with the woman who had no idea what we were talking about. She said her daughter probably knew and that she was next door at the museum. Thomas walked over and talked to her and they both returned to the Gift Shop. She did know about the box and pulled it out from under the counter. While I stamped we talked about letterboxing and I told her I had plans to plant one somewhere in town. Sometime during our talk she offered to host the box in the Pioneer Store Museum. I was happy about this because I knew the box would be safe and available year round since it would be inside and out of any winter weather. I went back to the car and grabbed my box. I opened the box to show her my stamp and logbook. I explained to her that I had carved the stamp by hand and she was quite impressed with my work. The stamp I found here is a custom made stamp (like they have in Dartmoor) and I explained to her that most letterboxers carve their own stamps. She loved my image and asked if I minded if she used the stamp for promoting the museum.
View as We Left Chloride
I didn't see any reason why not, so I told her she could use it for whatever she wanted. So I gave her the box and she said she would keep it safe and available in the museum. So please take some time and make the trip to Chloride to find my box (and the other one) and visit the Pioneeer Store Museum and the Monte Cristo Gift Shop and Gallery. It is well worth the trip - the drive is beautiful and the town is full of history. The two women, Mrs. Edmund and her daughter Linda Turner were quite knowledgeable about Chloride and extremely friendly. There is no charge for the museum but they would greatly appreciate any donation you feel like making.

So with all that done we were ready to head home. Once we left Chloride we didn't make any stops until we reached our house. It was a good letterboxing trip even though I didn't get everything done. I couldn't hide my boxes at the Catwalk since it was closed for the weekend and I wasn't able to update one of my boxes because we ran out of time. But that is okay - I will take care of these on another trip.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Boxing NM 15, Trial of the Mountain Spirits and Big Tree Trail

We have a couple of things planned for today and you can read about that at Ruins and an Alligator. Along with these plans we also wanted to find a few letterboxes. Thankfully the letterboxes were around and in the areas we had planned to visit.
Our day started driving along NM 15 (part of the Trail of the Mountain Spirits).
View from Copperas Vista
The first letterbox we found was at the Senator Clinton P. Anderson Scenic Overlook (Copperas Vista). After taking in the scenery I went in search of Azroadie's Gila letterbox. This was a quick find. I took the box back to a place where I could sit and stamp in - this place also happened to be at a spot with a grest view. After stamping in I returned the box to its hiding spot.

We then continued along NM 15 and stopped at a pullout with an interpretive sign for Alum Mountain. From the sign I had to walk uphill on this two track road to a two trunked tree. It was only a short walk and I had no problem finding the box. I sat on the road to stamp in and again I had a great view. An added bonus was that the area under and around the tree was covered in morning glories. Once the box was back in place we continued to the Gila Cliff Dwellings.

I know the rule that letterboxes aren't allowed in National Parks but I didn't plant this one, I was only looking for it.
Gila Cliff Dwellings from the Trail
The clues were a little off and I had to back track a little bit to find the box. There was just one part of the clue that was backwards. Anyway I found the box and took it to a bench to sit and stamp in. Thankfully it wasn't that busy at the park and the trail was deserted when I found the box and again when I put it back. Azroadie also has webboxes at different National Parks and there was one here at Gila. For these boxes there isn't an actual box. What you do is find signs and collect words and then plug those words into a url to get an image. I was able to find both signs and get both words while walking along the trail. So that was all the letterboxes for this area.

The last box that I wanted to look for today was Big Tree by ArnoldZiffel.
Trail to the Big Alligator Juniper
This box is hidden near the second largest Alligator Juniper in the country. So to get this box we had to hike about two and a half miles to the tree. It was an incredible hike - oaks, maples and tons of wildflowers. And the fact that it was a beautiful afternoon made it all that much better. I found the box and took it to a picnic table near the tree. We sat in the shade of the tree and other trees and stamped in. I returned the box to its hiding spot and then Thomas and I sat at the picnic table and just enjoyed the peace and quiet.
Forty-five minutes later we headed back to the car.

We are now relaxing in the hotel room and talking about what we are going to do tomorrow. This trip has been incredible and we have had such an enjoyable weekend.
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