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, September 26, 2008

ev•o•lu•tion and Our Next Letterboxing Trip

For the past week or so I have been communicating with another letterboxer about my ev•o•lu•tion box. He found it out in the open and wasn't quite sure where it actually needed to be hidden. He also noticed some holes chewed in the box. So he contacted me and I decided to go out and try to fix it. Well a few days ago I went to the hiding spot but no box, so I searched the area but came up empty handed. I went home and contacted the letterboxer and asked it he could give me clues to where he placed it. He did and this morning I went out and fixed up the box and rehid it - I actually like the spot where he hid the box (which incidentally is about 250+ feet away from the original hiding spot. I guess some squirrel really wanted to store his nuts in my box. Anyway the box in now hiding again and the clues have been updated, so make sure you check for the new clues before heading out to find it.

This evening Thomas and I are leaving on our next letterboxing adventure. It is really a trip to Louisiana for my Dad's wedding and we decided to add a few days onto the trip and make it a little vacation and letterboxing trip. We are going to travel I40 from New Mexico to Tennessee and in Memphis we will take I55 through Mississippi into Louisiana. It should be fun - it has been a while since I have visited these states and Thomas hasn't been to three of them. To follow along on this adventure click on the map and you can read all about it.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

All Aboard!

This afternoon I worked on carving a stamp and making a logbook to replace one of my boxes that went missing - Santa Fe Southern. This box is in Lamy, NM at the train depot. I was disappointed when I found out it was missing and really wanted to replant it then. But due to my retina problems I just got around to it today. I carved a slightly different image. It is also a much better carve - I have honed my carving skills since I planted that box back in 2006. So when Thomas returned home from work we set out to get this box back out there. It was difficult to find a good hiding spot - I really wanted it to be safe this time - and after about 30 minutes of searching I found a spot that I think will last. Once I hid the box and documented the clues we left Lamy and headed back to Santa Fe. But before heading home I wanted to stop and look for a letterbox placed by HighDesertGlider. The box is hidden on the Rail Trail which goes from Santa Fe off of Rabbit Road all the way to Lamy at Hwy 285. You'll have to read the clues to find the starting point in which to find the box. We had a pleasant walk along the trail and found the box without any problems. It was a peaceful late afternoon walk - we didn't see anyone else out there. I took my time stamping in and made sure the box was rehidden well. Then we headed back to the car so we could grab some dinner before heading home. It was a great afternoon/evening excursion - and it was all about trains - All Aboard!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A New View of Santa Fe and A Letterbox

Today was one of those days at work when mid-morning you question why you even got out of bed. We were extremely busy and had way too many patients to see. And on top of that it seemed that the doctors, nurses and patients were all cranky. Did I miss something - was there a full moon, did a couple of planets collide or what? Anyway, I made it through the day but I need a boost. So I decided to go and look for a letterbox. Astro D had placed a special letterbox for rubberpeace to commemorate her 70th birthday. After rubberpeace found the box Astro D decided to replant it in another spot. She picked a great place. A sparsely populated area off of Hyde Park Road. The box was placed in such a way that you had a spectacular view of Santa Fe and the surrounding mountains (the Sandias and the Jemez). Finding Animalia really helped erase all the stress that work caused. It was a beautifully carved stamp in a wonderful location with fantastic views. Thanks Astro D for helping me salvage the day.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

One GRAND Day of Letterboxing!

I first read about letterboxing in November 2005 when I was searching the internet for information about keeping a personal journal. One of the hits was a link to letterboxing. I read a little and it sounded sort of interesting, so I bookmarked the page. About two weeks later I returned to that page and started to read more about this intriguing hobby. I did my research and started to gather all the essential tools. It wasn't until January 2006 that I finally was brave enough to carve my first signature stamp. I was happy with it and I was ready to start searching for letterboxes. Due to snow and cold weather here in Santa Fe I didn't get out to find my first letterbox until February 16, 2006 - that box was Silver Eagle's Santa Fe Trail Microbox. From the moment I lifted that rock and found the box I was hooked - some may say obsessed - who am I to argue. Well, here it is two years, 5 months and 28 days later and I am still captivated by following clues to bits of art hidden in the most interesting and sometimes obscure places. Along the way I have learned a lot about myself, seen places I may never have visited and met a lot of wonderful people - I have even made some great friendships along the way.

Today marked a big milestone for me when I found my 1000th letterbox. It was special because it was my 1000th box but it was even more special because it was placed especially for me by my good friend Astro D. Yesterday I recieved a call from Astro D letting me know that the box was planted and she needed to bring me information that I would need to find the box. Unfortunately I was on my way to Albuquerque to visit the State Fair. She was kind enough to offer to drop it off at my house and leave it on my porch. So as soon as I arrived home last night I opened the packages and started to put the clues together (literally - they were written on the back of a puzzle). Along with the puzzle was also an envelope with papers that helped me to find the location. I gathered all the info along with a state map and figured out where I needed to be in order to locate the box. Thomas and I planned to make the trip this morning.

After finishing our responsibilities with Thomas' Dad we got in the car and headed north out of Santa Fe. After a pleasant drive of a little more than an hour we arrived in the Orilla Verde Recreation Area. Another place Thomas and I have never visited. It was a beautiful area and we savored the views as we drove to the box location. We parked in the area designated on the back of the puzzle and headed off on foot to complete the rest of the clues. A great map with simple directions lead us to that 1000th box. I found the box (Road Trip!) and was so excited - but I soon found out that I could even get more excited. Once I opened the box I found not one, not two, not three . . . but thirteen stamps in the box. It eventually became clear that Astro D had enlisted other letterboxing friends to contribute to this very special box. My first thought was that Thomas knew about this and kept it a secret. He denied knowing anything and suggested that maybe I should take the box home to enjoy all the stamps and that way I could stamp each image as many times as I wanted and maybe make a scrapbook page or something with all the images together. Since Astro D hadn't posted the clues yet I thought that was a great idea. We decided we would make the trip back here tomorrow to return the box to its hiding spot. I did spend a little time going through the box and took notice of who all had contributed stamps - Astro D & The Great Wuga Wuga, rubberpeace & rbrhorno, Twinville Trekkers, dewberry, Travelin' T's, Cold Front, Warm Front and Bell Motel. Thanks to all for making this box really special.

I walked a little further up the trail to take pictures and see a landslide that Astro D mentioned on the back of the puzzle. This landslide had completely blocked the road exccpt for a narrow trail to the other side. We then headed back to the car, making frequent stops along the way to take pictures. We began our trip out of the recreation area but made a quick detour to find a bonus box. The clues had been left in the Road Trip! box and we decided to pick that box up as well and take it home too. We arrived at the area to find the bonus box (Side Trip!) and began our search - it didn't take us too long to find the box but we did hang out a little while because the views from this area were spectacular. It was now a little after one in the afternoon and we were hungry.

Once out of the recreation area and back on the main road we headed back to Santa Fe. We found a place to grab a bite to eat and then drove the rest of the way home. I couldn't wait to open the box again and examine the contents. Each stamp is a treasure and I took my time stamping each one into my journal and onto an extra sheet of paper (not sure what I will do with it but I just wanted to have that extra stamped image). I finished stamping, logged into the box's journal and repacked the box. This box is an add on box so I found an appropriate image and carved my own stamp to include in the box. I then stamped into the Side Trip! box - it has two very nice images (as usual since Astro D always carves nice stamps) and repacked that box. Tomorrow Thomas and I will rehide the boxes so that Astro D can post the clues and everyone else can enjoy these incredible boxes. Also inside the Road Trip! box for me was an LTC and a note from Astro D and a first finder prize from rubberpeace.

I thoroughly enjoyed finding my 1000th letterbox and really appreciated all the work that went into the box - thanks Astro D for making this milestone very special. And thanks to everyone else that took the time to contribute a stamp to make a special box even more special. I am now looking forward to the many places and people that my next 1000 boxes will lead me to.

Monday, September 08, 2008


After a great day of driving and letterboxing on Friday Thomas and I got a good rest in Ruidoso. Early the next morning we were up and got things ready for a hike. I won't tell you where we hiked because there are two letterboxes out there that are a little bit of a mystery (Smokey Bear and Great Western Mine) - so you will have to figure it out on your own. I can tell you about the hike though. We had a little bit of a drive to arrive at the trailhead, but it was a pleasant drive - the landscape is amazing. We passed a lake, lots of big trees and beautiful green mountains - oh and I can't forget the wildflowers everywhere.

At the trailhead the temperature was a cool 48º which we knew probably wouldn't last the entire day - by the time we finished the hike and returned to the car the temperature had risen to 82º - and it was still quite comfortable. So we started our hike and headed for our first destination which was only about a half mile up the trail (it may have been a little longer) - it was some ruins of an old homestead. In one spot there is a foundation with about two feet of wall and an obvious opening of a door. This is the area where the Smokey Bear letterbox is hidden. The box was originally placed by Dennis Williams. Last year I had emailed him about these boxes and he agreed to let me adopt them. So, I made complete new boxes (I carved new stamps, made logbooks and put them in Lock-n-Locks) and brought them with me to replace the old boxes. So I found the Smokey box and I cleaned off the original stamp and added it to the new box - so there is a stamp from Dennis and a stamp from me in the box. Once I had the box back in its hiding spot I took a few pictures and we continued on our way. Now I had found the Smokey box last year so it was easy this time around. But the next box was all new. We hiked a little further on the same trail and then hit a junction with another trail. We took the new trail. Dennis had emailed me the clues for his Great Western Mine box - but the clues were really just notes he had put in his journal. He had never posted the clues. So taking the second trail was part of the note I had received. So we continued - his note stated that he had hiked for about an hour and from the description he was either going really fast or it was a hard hike because he said he sweat like he had just run three miles. So I was a little leary of the intensity of this hike. After this hour he arrived at a 'murky pond'. So we timed ourselves and a little more than an hour passed and we came to something that may have resembled a pond but not really - we decided it would be the pond so that we could continue with the clues. At this point we decided to sit and have a snack and relax for a while. It was beautiful out there. We only saw two people on the trail at the beginning - but they stopped at the first of the stream crossings and we never saw them again (We had three stream crossings during the hike). During our rest we saw a couple of birds and a butterfly and tons of wildflowers. After a fifteen minute rest we continued on up and up and up. This trail was a constant uphill climb - in some places it was pretty steep and in others it was gradual. The total elevation gain for this trail from start to finish is 3300 feet. We didn't actually get to the very top of the trail so we didn't climb that high.

From the 'pond' area we continued - our next clue was another junction with what Dennis called a Jeep Trail. Eventually we came to a junction, and the trail we were on continued up and to the left and there was an unmarked trail going up straight from the trail we were on. We assumed this was what the clue was talking about. The clue then told us to site a large lichen encrusted boulder at so many degrees and the box was hidden there. So we did that - no box. We tried again - no box. Then we decided to scour the area and look around all the large boulders we saw - no box. We thought maybe this wasn't the spot since we never really encountered a pond and this area wasn't marked with a jeep trail. We decided to climb a little higher. After another 1/2 mile we decided that we had found the area just not the box. So we made our way back to the junction. At the junction, Thomas continued to search for the box and I hiked about a 1/2 mile up the jeep trail to see if we were at the right spot. The jeep trail was suppose to be associated with the mines. It did look like that was the case with this unmarked trail. So I decided we had found the right spot and I headed back down to meet Thomas. He still hadn't found the box so we talked about it, reread the clues and searched a little more. We still came up empty handed. But we had a box to plant - I had made a new one - so we found a good hiding spot and wrote out the clues. It was time to head back down. We both found the hike up to be pretty hard and we were glad that it was all downhill from here. We didn't think we could have climbed any more - we were pretty tired. So we made it back to the trailhead pretty fast. I looked at my watch and realized it had been five hours since we had started. Thomas had his pedometer on and we hiked a little over seven miles. We thought that it sure took us a long time but then realized we took quite a few breaks, spent a bit of time changing out the Smokey box and searching for the Great Western Mine box and I can't forget all the pictures I took (115 in all). Neither of us could think of a better way to spend five hours - the setting was amazing and we had the place to ourselves - we only saw two people from the time we started at the trailhead until our return.

Once we were settled in the car we left the area and headed for Las Cruces. We stopped to fill the car with gas and get something to eat for us. Forty-five minutes later we were back on the road. We arrived in Las Cruces, checked in to a hotel and decided to go for a letterbox that wasn't quite as far as the Great Western Mine. It was a one mile roundtrip walk on a level trail - we thought we could handle that. We found the Motel 6 Las Cruces - Hitchhiker Hostel easy enough. There really wasn't a good place to sit and stamp in and since we were staying in a hotel just down the hill from the box we decided to take the box there and I could stamp in easier and get to check out all the hitchhikers in it. So back in the room I opened the box and spread all the hitchhikers out. I first stamped into the box's logbook and stamped the box's stamp into my logbook. I had two hitchhikers with me that I wanted to leave in this box - so I made sure I had stamped into them and then added the Hostel's stamp into them and then put them into the box. There were four hitchhikers in the Hostel when I found it. The owners of the Hitchhiker Hostel asked that three hitchhikers remained in the box at all times. So I decided I would take three and leave the newest one in the Hostel. I decided to check that all the hitchhikers had been logged into the Hostel's logbook - I'm glad I did because two of them hadn't been logged. So I got everything in order, took three hitchhikers and left three in the box. With that done I walked back up the hill and replanted the box.

Now it was time for a shower and to straighten out my letterboxing stuff and log in the two boxes I planted. With everything done and clues ready for the next day we drifted off to sleep. We didn't set an alarm and decided we could sleep in. Even without the alarm we were up at 7:30am. By 9:00am we were having breakfast and by 10:00am we were planting our first letterbox of the day - Alphabetical New Mexico: G (Pat Garrett). We then tried to find one letterbox in Las Cruces before heading out but we were unsuccessful. It was already 86º so we decided to continue on with our plans. Since most of the boxes in Las Cruces were on hikes in open areas we didn't want to do them since it was already so hot. So we headed to Deming. A quick stop at Voiers Park awarded us a great Azroadie stamp (his stamps are always wonderful). It was in and out of Deming pretty fast as we headed up toward Hatch. Here we stopped at Frontera Mexican Imports and found an indoor box. You ask for it at the counter and I won't give away anything - but it was a clever hide and I enjoyed finding this box. At this point I have found 996 letterboxes. The goal of this trip was to get to 999 boxes and then my letterboxing buddy - Astro D - is planting a box for my 1000th find. (I really wanted this milestone to be one of her boxes - they are always excellent!) Three more boxes would do the trick. I looked at the clues I had and there was a box in Truth or Consequences and two boxes at the Bosque. A quick detour into TorC and I got an Astro D box - Spaceport: Fly Me to the Moon (997). Arriving at Bosque del Apache NWR, Thomas paid the entrance fee while I got a map and decided our plan of action. Two boxes to find - Dabbling Duck and Marsh Mellow - and one box to hide - Alphabetical New Mexico: S (Sandhill Crane). First we found Marsh Mellow on the Marsh Overlook Trail. We saw some beautiful sunflowers growing all over and had to deal with a few mosquitos. We took a quick detour after finding the box and walked out on the boardwalk. I am glad we did - we saw some turtles and a few ducks and I got my picture of the day (Bosque del Apache). We then drove the loop to find Dabbling Duck at one of the decks - it was funny because the clue states that there is a rock on top to discourage nesters and what do I find - a bird's nest on top of the rock. I stamped in and rehid the box. We needed to find a place to hide my Sandhill Crane box. We decided to drive around the loop again and scope out hiding spots. During this drive we saw a roadrunner and 9 wild turkeys. And then we found the perfect spot to hide the box. With all that done, this trip turned out to be very productive. We found 12 letterboxes & 5 hitchhikers and planted 8 letterboxes. And most importantly - I reached my 999 goal.
This had been a great trip. So we headed from the Bosque to Socorro to fill the car with gas and to get a bite to eat before heading back to Santa Fe. The drive home from Socorro was uneventful and we are both glad to be home. I must say that I have not seen New Mexico so green and so full of wildflowers in a long time - all the rain we have been having has made a noticeable difference.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Headed South in New Mexico

Thomas and I have decided to take a long weekend and get away. We are headed south in New Mexico and plan to do a lot of letterboxing. Today was a great day. The weather was beautiful, clear blue skies and warm temperatures. We had a nice relaxing drive off of the interstates and through wonderful little towns. I ended up planting four letterboxes and finding six. Who could ask for more.

The day started early and we left the house at about 7:00am. We made our way to Moriarty and had breakfast at El Comedor de Anayas. This is one of our favorite restaurants when we travel in New Mexico. After breakfast we made our way to Quarai. We both love this mission. It is absolutely beautiful. We walked the short loop trail and wandered among the ruins. I took lots of pictures and managed to get one of my Alphabetical New Mexico letterboxes planted - Alphabetical New Mexico: Q (Quarra). An hour later and we were back on the road. I had two boxes to plant in White Oaks, NM. This town is actually classified as a ghost town but does have a few inhabitants. We drove through town and took in the sights. I got pictures of the Hoyle House, White Oaks School Building, Gumm House, Watson-Lund Law Office (now the White Oaks Saloon and Social Club) and the Cedarvale Cemetery. We had a great time exploring this place and I got my Alphabetical New Mexico letterboxes planted. Look for 'W' - White Oaks and 'M' - William C. McDonald when you get the chance to visit White Oaks. We both enjoyed exploring the cemetery - not only is McDonald buried here but so is J.W. Bell (Deputy-Sheriff of Lincoln County who was killed by Billy the Kid). There were also some unique head stones in the cemetery. It is definitely worth the stop.

From White Oaks we made our way just a few miles south on NM54 to Carrizozo. We filled the car with gas and stopped for a quick lunch at a mexican restaurant. Once full we headed out again, our destination was Tularosa. A very small place - it calls itself a village. We found the public library and went inside to get the Inside letterbox - Bookworm. It was a great little presentation. Unfortunately we did not find the Tularosa box. This one was located outside and we are not sure if we were in the right area or not. Our steps did not even come close to the clues. Oh well - we must move on. A few miles down the road we arrived in Alamogordo and headed to the New Mexico Museum of Space History. We found Astro D's Let Me Play Among the Stars letterbox. Another great Astro D creation - I just loved the stamp. Once we had stamped in and put the box back into its hiding spot we walked around the grounds and looked at all the rockets and missles they had on display. It was all very interesting but our favorite thing was the Whisper Dish. There are two dishes set up opposite each other (at about 50 feet or so) and there is a metal pole with a ring on top in front of each dish. Each person faces their dish and you speak softly to the ring. It is amazing - you can hear the other person as if they were standing next to you - this could have entertained Thomas and I for hours. I don't think that we have grown up yet - who cares - we had fun! We left the museum and headed for the Toy Train Depot. Here there are three boxes hidden in the park - Alameda: Take a Walk in the Park series. We had a nice little walk through the park and found all three of the boxes. Each cleverly hidden and nice little boxes. We didn't get to see the trains since we got there after hours. Maybe next time.

Our day still wasn't over. We wanted to get to Lincoln and hide one more box - another Alphabetical New Mexico box. This one is 'B' - Billy the Kid. The box is hidden at the old Lincoln County Courthouse. Since it was late in the day there was no one around - but when searching for this box please be discreet as this place seems to be a busy tourist attraction. Once our mission was complete we decided to head to Ruidoso for the night - we grabbed a quick dinner, checked into a hotel. My first order of business was a shower - after hunting for letterboxes and trying to find hiding spots for my boxes I needed to wash off dust and a few weeds.

It was a great day and we have more planned for the next two days. Our drive today took us along some very scenic routes and we saw tons of wildflowers, a couple of hawks, antelope, a roadrunner and a rattlesnake. Tomorrow we are going on a six mile hike - it should be fun and I am hoping to see more wildflowers.
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