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.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Returning Home From Louisiana

We left Lafayette this morning to begin our trip back to Santa Fe. We were up at 5:30am and we got everything packed and loaded into the car. We had gassed up the car the night before so when we got the car loaded we were ready to go. We told my sister and her family bye and headed out. We stopped in Carencro to pick up my friend Eddie - we were giving him a ride back to Dallas. Eddie doesn't enjoy letterboxing so we didn't plan any stops to look for boxes between Lafayette and Dallas. We stopped once for gas and once to get a bite to eat. It was a pretty uneventful trip and we dropped Eddie at his house at about 1:00pm. We decided to stop in McKinney to do a little letterboxing - as many times as we have made the drive from Santa Fe to Lafayette we have never stopped in McKinney. I had clues for about 13 boxes and we decided to look for boxes until it got dark and then it would be time to continue our driving. We hoped to make it to Wichita Falls for the night.

Our first stop in McKinney was at the Pecan Grove Memorial Cemetery. It was a nice cemetery and we enjoyed walking around. We looked for and found two boxes in the cemetery - Old Leathercoat, Texas Governors Series and Worst Driver in the World. Two great boxes by Boots Tex and Puddle Splasher - thanks guys. From here we drove just down the road to McKinney Community Center. After parking we headed down the Nature Trail. We had clues for three boxes. We easily found Dolphin in the Creek and Folk Art Series - Quilting. There was one more box but we were unable to find Signpost #3. We did try and follow the directions looking everywhere between Signpost #2 and Signpost #4 but we came up empty handed. We retraced our steps back to the beginning of the trail and looked for another box. We found the area but it looked like it had been cleaned up and we didn't find that box either. Time to head to another area. We drove to Erwin Park and found the starting point to look for four boxes. We headed down the trail and easily found Horn 1867. Once that was replaced we continued on the trail to look for the Let's Do Lunch! Series. We found Box #1 sitting out in the open, stamped in and then rehid it. We followed the clues for Box #2 but we got confused and things didn't seem to make sense and we never found the box. It was starting to get dark so we continued on the trail for Box #3. Again, we found this box out in the open. So we stamped in and rehid the box better than we found it. We then headed back the way we came and made our way back to the car. By the time we exited the park it was dark.

We took Hwy 380 west and stopped in Denton for some food and to gas up the car. We made it to Wichita Falls and found a hotel for the night. There was quite a bit of snow and ice along the road during our drive and the parking lot at the hotel was covered as well. We heard that they were expecting more bad weather the next day. So we decided to go to bed early and get an early start in the morning.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Acadiana Letterboxing

We are in Lafayette for the Christmas holidays and have been having a good time visiting with family and friends. I have found all of the available letterboxes in the area except for a couple. So today I took my niece and nephew (Hali and Ryan) with us to find a couple of boxes at Acadiana Park Nature Center. The name of the boxes was I Don't Know Their Names. Reading the clues I found that the placer had made notes but then misplaced them for a while. When they found them they logged the clues on AQ and they couldn't remember the names of each box. So anyway we started looking for the boxes and we had a little trouble with the first one. We followed the clues but there were some inconsistencies but we counted the steps and searched the tree we were at. We didn't find the box. We backtracked and tried again but to still no avail. We finally decided to look for the second box. As we were walking we decided to just check each tree that seemed to match the clues for the first box. Unbelievably we found the box. From this point we counted back the number of steps and found a trail, we then followed that trail and it lead back to the boardwalk. But it was at a different numbered marker - so I wondered if the placer just made a mistake with the number - anyway we found the box, stamped in and then rehid it. Time to continue on to the second box. The clues to this box made much more sense until the end. We found the trail and counted our steps but we didn't end up at a big tree, instead we ended up at a very small tree. So we searched the area where we were and then went back a little and then up a little but we never found the box. Not sure what we did wrong. I wrote to the placer and let them know what we did and I am waiting for them to write me back to see where I messed up. We all had a good time today and I enjoyed hanging out with my niece and nephew. After we left the park we stopped and had po-boys at Julien's. I had the best fried shrimp po-boy. We then returned home to just hang out - it was a good day!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

From Wichita Falls to Richardson

We slept in this morning and by the time were dressed and ready to go it was 9:00am. So we got into the car and headed to Riverside Cemetery. The first box we looked for was a Boots Tex Gorvernors Series (I love these boxes). This one was called V and was placed for Governor James Burr V Allred. We found the box easily enough and I really enjoyed this stamp. After it was rehidden we began looking for a second box here in the same cemetery. We found Where's North just a little ways away from where we were. Another nice stamp and once it was in place we headed for our next destination. We ended up at Lucy Park. We started our walk and followed the clues to Hotter 'N Hell. It was a nice park and we didn't see another person during the enitre time we were there. Anyway we walked for a short while and then crossed the river on a suspension bridge. That is where we found the box - hidden under a boulder just at the end of the bridge. After stamping in and rehiding the box we headed back the way we came and then went a little further. This time we were looking for Thing 2 hidden by Silver Eagle. While I was stamping in Thomas noticed that the tree we were sitting under was covered in mistletoe. After the box was rehidden we kissed under the mistletoe and then we both got a little nervous. We realized we were in Texas and that we could probably get arrested - two men in a park kissing - I don't think people in these parts are open minded enough for that. So we walked back to the car and headed just down the road from Lucy Park to the Elizabeth Prothro Pavillion to look for another box. The pavillion was closed and we were unable to look for the box. For the next box we drove across town to Rosemount Cemetery to look for Go, Mustangs by Batty Girl. We found the box easily enough and then headed out. The cemetery was nice but didn't have any old graves or nice statues so we moved on. Just down the road from the cemetery we arrived at Lake Wichita Park. We found Harry Potter #1, stamped in and then rehid the box. The park was okay but nothing really to keep us there. It was time to leave Wichita Falls and head south. We needed to be in Richardson by dinner.

Heading south on Hwy 287 we planned to stop in Bowie for a box by Batty Girl. We took the exit and eventually arrived at the cemetery. I found the tree in the clue and looked in the hole and found a box. I took it back to the car and got everything ready to stamp in. Then I opened the box and realized that it was a geocache. I checked to make sure there was no stamp and then went to put it back and check for the letterbox. I didn't find the letterbox so we drove into Bowie and had a little lunch. We have passed this way many times and always see the sign for Bowie and we wondered what the town was like. We stopped at a little cafe and had a light lunch and the place was filled with people who you could tell had just come from church. It was a nice little town but we didn't have time to linger. There were a few more boxes to find and then we had to get to my friend's house. Our next stop was in Decatur. We visited three small cemeteries and found three boxes by Batty Girl - Hanging Around, Texas Tea and Roamin'. They were all neat places but the last one was the most interesting. First the clue said to go to a tree behind a certian gravestone. But there wasn't a tree there, just a stump cut right at ground level. The box was supposed to be in a hole at the base of a tree behind this grave. Just for kicks I walked to the stump to check it out. I actually found the box. There was an indentation in the stump that looked like it might have been a hole. So I moved some bark and twigs and leaves and found the box. I am amazed that when they cut the tree down the box survived. The other interesting thing about this place is that it had outdoor bathrooms or so I thought. I went in one and was creeped out. It was full of bird's nest and spider webs and I didn't stay in long enough to find out what else. And I didn't go in the second one. Time to go now. From here we had no more stops so we just drove and talked and listened to CD's. We checked into our hotel and then made our way to my friend's place. After a short visit we all went out to dinner at Twisted Root Burgers. It was a nice dinner and good conversation. But Thomas and I were tired so we returned to the hotel to rest. Tomorrow we head to Louisiana.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Texas Panhandle

Thomas and I are on our way to Louisiana to celebrate Christmas with my family in Lafayette. This past week I was sick with the flu and we got a later start than we had hoped for. We also decided to take our time - I am still not feeling all that great. Our goal today was to get started around 7:00am and take our time, do a little letterboxing and make our way to Wichita Falls for the night. We actually got started a little before 7:00am and it was still a little dark. It didn't take long before the sun was up and we had a nice relaxing drive. Once we reached Tucumcari we started looking for an exit just east of there. Azroadie placed a box called New Mexico 66 off of old Route 66 just outside of Tucumcari. We followed his clues and found our first box of the day. I had a feeling I may be the first finder but no such luck. A couple from either TX or OK made a trip to Santa Fe to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary and they had found it first. Oh well, so I stamped in and rehid the box and we headed for the next one. Another Azroadie box and this one was just over the Texas border near Glenrio. Again off of old Route 66. An easy find and this time I was the first finder - Woohoo! and with a certificate and all - Thanks Azroadie! After getting everything back in its place we were off again. There was nothing between here and Amarillo so Thomas and I just drove and talked. When we reached the western edge of Amarillo we stopped off at Cadillac Ranch. Back in March 2009 jbkokopelli and WagTime made a circle trip of the panhandle area to populate it with letterboxes. This stop was for one of those boxes. Thomas had never been here so it was new to him. We walked to the cars and I took some pictures. Thomas took the clues and went to find the box. I joined him once I was done with the pictures and we were unable to find the box. I hope it was just us and that the box isn't missing but this is the fourth box that I know of that was placed here and they all seem to disappear at some point. So we headed into Amarillo for some lunch. I wanted to go to Joe's Crab Shack and Thomas humored me. He got a chicken sandwich and I got crab cake sliders (yummy) - seems I have started my seafood feast for the trip. After a nice relaxing lunch and talk it was back on the road. Just a little ways down from Joe's we stopped at a hotel and found a letterbox hidden in the parking lot. A quick stamp in and then on to a gas station to fill up the car. From here we went to find another jbkokopelli box at Ozymandias. Thomas had not seen this statue either so it was a good stop. I took a few pictures from the fence and then quickly found the box. I took it back to the car to stamp in and then replaced it. Thomas and I then walked out to the legs and each took a picture standing next to them. We decided we were done in Amarillo and we headed to Hwy 287 to start heading south. Our normal route when we head back home. Fortunately for us jbkokopelli had placed a few boxes along this route so we had some breaks and found a few letterboxes. The first on this road was in Goodnight. This box was in the Goodnight Cemetery near the grave of Charles Goodnight. After stamping in and replacing the box we returned back to the highway and stopped at the Community Center for another box. I didn't find the box but I did see a paper towel scrap that matched one in the Goodnight Cemetery box so I think someone found it and messed it up. Time to continue. Our next stop was in Memphis. We went to the Old Fairview Cemetery. There is a grave plot with markers for five people - one man and two couples - all with different last names. There is another marker in this plot with no name. It is a statue of a woman in a fetal position just laying on the ground. It seems to be a mystery how this statue came to be in this plot and who put it there. It was very interesting. We found the box, stamped in, rehid the box and then took some pictures. Now moving on we drove until we reached Childress. We stopped at a small park near the courthouse and found Gene Autry in Texas. It was getting dark and we decided we were done for the day but we still had a little over an hour drive to reach Wichita Falls. So back on the road we just talked and drove. As soon as we reached Wichita Falls we found a hotel and checked in. There wasn't much in the way of food choices in the area so we opted for El Chico's and we each had a couple of tacos. Now back in the hotel we are relaxing and are going to call it an early evening. We will continue our trip tomorrow to Dallas to visit my friend Eddie.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

The Wedding Box

Today Thomas and I were invited to a 50th Wedding Anniversary party for Peggy and John (aka rubberpeace and rbrhorno). They had a party today to celebrate but there actual anniversary is not until December 27th. It was a nice party and we got to meet some of their friends and their two daughters. For the special occasion rbrhorno carved a stamp and rubberpeace hid it. She handed out the clues to each of the letterboxers present and the hunt was on. Astro D and I headed to the starting point and there were already people stamping in. So we left for a while until the box had been rehidden. We returned to rubberpeace's craft room and followed the directions. They included store bought stamps (rubberpeace owned a stamp store and she has a bunch of stamps) that lead the way to the letterbox. I thought the clues were clever and the letterbox was great. The stamp for the box was a cake with the year they were married to this year (1959 - 2009). The party was wonderful and the letterbox was a great little surprise. Congratulations Peggy and John!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Letterboxing and Book Binding

Today Astro D, rubberpeace and I spent some time in Albuquerque. The main reason for the trip was to attend a class at Papers. The class was to learn how to make a wire bound book. But we decided to do some letterboxing first. I had found most of the boxes on recent trips to Albuquerque, so I was pretty much along just for the ride and that was okay with me. So we stopped at Sandia Casino and the Albuquerque Balloon Museum so that they could find a couple of drive by boxes. Both stops were pretty quick. The next stop was at Tingley Beach to find a recently planted box. This was a box that I hadn't found yet. So we parked and followed the directions. It turned out to be a pretty easy find and a nice box. The box was related to porcupines in trees. We looked for a little while but never saw a porcupine. There were a couple of other boxes in the area that rubberpeace hadn't gotten yet so we went with her to find these. While she stamped in I walked around and took a few pictures and enjoyed the wonderful Fall colors in the bosque. It was beautiful with all the golden trees.

We left the bosque and headed to the Fair Grounds for a box. Unfortunately we didn't find it. Well I found it back in September but Astro D and rubberpeace hadn't. It was no where to be found so we moved on. We made our last stop at UNM. rubberpeace was looking for two boxes on the campus. I let her and Astro D go for the first box while I checked on a box that I have hidden on the campus. My Koi Fish box is hidden near the duck pond and I recently received a note that the logbook was full. I had forgotten about that note until Astro D said we should make a stop there. Well the logbook is pretty full but there are still the backs of some of the pages that can be stamped on. So I decided that I would make another logbook and change it later. I then went to meet the gals - they were done with the first box so we all headed to the next one. rubberpeace found the box and stamped in. Now that we were done here we decided it was time to get some dinner. We ate at Flying Star and had a nice relaxing dinner.

Then it was time to go to the class. I really enjoyed learning how to make this wire bound book. We made a five page book. The quick version of how we did this is as follows. We took five pieces of mat board and glued strips of paper folded in half and with three holes punched in each strip to each side of the mat board with a piece of wire inserted in the paper. We sewed the pages together through the holes and around the wires. I love this type of book and I felt that it was pretty easy to make. I had a terrific time today and the best part is we are going to do it all again next Sunday when we take another class at Papers.

An Update on One of My Boxes

When I got home from my trip to Albuquerque with Astro D and rubberpeace I logged into AQ to log my find from today. I had a couple of messages in my inbox. This one really caught my attention.
Letterbox: Smokey Bear
Date Found:
November 8, 2009
Type:
Traditional
Status:
Attempted
Message from Finder:
VERY frustrating. First off this is more than 10 miles from __________. It should be listed as ____________. It is 5 miles from _______ and the directions are so vague that mileage would sure help. We ended up on the ____________ Trail ___. ____________________. If you could at least add that we wouldn't have hiked over an hour in the wrong place. Please note this is _____________________ so from the gate it adds another mile to the walk. It is a fee area. Couldn't tell if hikers have to pay a fee or not. Finally we did find the homestead but after over half an hour and just my compass we got too cold to continue searching. How far is "within 100 meters"? Looked inside and out of the homestead. Is it north or south of the trail? Inside or out of the ruins? Very frustrating to search and search and know it had to be within walking distance but with snow on the ground in places it got cold after 4 pm. We had to give up. Now it will be spring before we can try again. Because we went to _______ first we wasted a lot of time backtracking. Directions could say how to get to ______________ from ________. The _______ box was awesome and at least we had that but we had planned a lot more for the day. PLEASE write to me and give me some feedback. I hate giving up....

This really upset me. I remember when I first started out in letterboxing and had some trouble finding boxes. I would write to the placers and most often I would get back an email stating that they didn't give hints or help out with the clues. It was pretty discouraging. I made a decision that I would help people when they asked for it. We all have to learn and need a little help along the way. There were times I thought about not participating in this hobby because I felt that the 'old timers' felt threatened by 'newbies' - like it was going to ruin their hobby. But instead of quitting I decided to just teach myself how to letterbox better and to avoid certain types of clues since it wasn't something I was interested in. 1500 boxes later I know what I like and I know what boxes I want to look for - so those are the ones I go for and I leave the others for the people who can solve those types of mysteries or interpret someone's vision as they placed the box. This has made letterboxing really enjoyable for me.

So when I get notes that someone had trouble finding my box I usually try to find out where they went wrong and offer hints so that they can try again. But this just felt wrong when I read it. The box is meant to be a mystery and you need to do a little work to find it. I realize this isn't the easiest box to find and I would be willing to provide some help but not when I receive notes like this. It made me feel like I should have giant blinking arrows directing people to this box with a large red flashing light sitting on the box. Well I just wanted to vent a little - thanks for listening.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Day in Albuquerque

A friend of mine from Dallas was driving in to Albuquerque with a friend of his. His friend was coming to participate in a rodeo at Tingley Coliseum and my friend came along for the ride to come and visit me. So after a few errands this morning I headed down to Albuquerque for the day. I decided to do a little letterboxing and visit some places that I have been meaning to get to. I arranged the boxes in the order of how I arrived at the places so I wouldn't have to backtrack and I would be done for when my friend arrived. So my first stop was at Sandia Casino which is on the north end of town. There was a box hidden in one of the parking lots. I found the lot quickly and parked and while sitting in the car I read the clue and figured out the hiding spot. I looked around and didn't see any security or maintenance people. But there were a couple of cars heading into the lot. So I waited until they passed and got out of my car with camera in hand - I walked around a bit and slowly made my way to the rock. I sat on the rock and pretended to take pictures while reaching in the spot to retrieve the box. I then took it back to the car to stamp in so I wouldn't draw attention to the area. When done I looked around again and the coast was clear so I went out and rehid the box. I then left the casino and headed over to The Anderson - Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum. There was a box hidden in this parking lot as well. It was easy to find and was at the far end of the lot. I didn't have to worry about anyone seeing me because it was away from any buildings and there was absolutely no one around. I also took this one back to the car to stamp in. Once it was back in place I decided to go into the museum and have a look around. I had been wanting to visit ever since it was built but never made the time. I spent about an hour enjoying learning about the history of ballooning and of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. I thought the museum was put together very well and I had a great time.

From here I drove to Corrales to look for The Climbing Tree. This is a box hidden by a huge old cottonwood tree. When I arrived at the tree there were two cars there and my first thought was are these people letterboxers. But I didn't see any sign that they were - they were just taking pictures of this grand tree in its glorious fall foliage.
I read the clues and looked around and wasn't quite sure where the box was. So I studied the clues and then set the paper down on the car seat, grabbed my camera and went out to take pictures and see if I could spot where the box was. So I took a couple of pictures and then the other two people left. That gave the chance to look for the box. I spotted the landmark and walked over and retrieved the box. I stamped into the box in the car again and then rehid the box. I took a few more pictures and then decided to climb the tree a little. It has been quite a long time since I have climbed a tree and I really had a great time. I needed to get a move on to find one last box and I wanted to walk around the area where this last box was hidden. So I headed over to The Albuquerque Museum. I had to find a specific sculpture and then find a plaque and then the box. The statue was La Jornada and is a very large sculpture with lots of pieces so it was easy to spot. I quickly found the plaque and the box and again headed back to the car to stamp in. After I was done I went right over to the hiding spot and replaced the box because there wasn't a person in site and I knew I could get it in place without being seen. I then took some time to walk around the sculpture garden and take some pictures. I was sitting on a bench taking some pictures of one of the statues and I looked at my watch and decided that I should head over to Tingley Coliseum because if I had timed things right I knew my friend would be arriving soon. And as soon as I got back in the car to drive away I got a text message that they were going through Tijeras Canyon. I arrived at the Fairgrounds but wasn't sure exactly where they would be so I just parked and waited for their call. It was a bit confusing where they had to enter and park but eventually we worked it out and I met my friend. So we got his luggage into my car and returned to Santa Fe. I had a great day in Albuquerque and found four great letterboxes - thanks to the boxers in Albuquerque for planting them.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Neither Snow nor Rain nor Heat nor Gloom of Night . . .

The full quote goes as follows and there is an explanation as well . . .
"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."
This is commonly misidentified as the creed of our mail carriers, but actually it is just the inscription found on the General Post Office in New York City at 8th Avenue and 33rd Street. Here's how the official Web site of the U.S. Postal Service describes the origin of the inscription. This inscription was supplied by William Mitchell Kendall of the firm of McKim, Mead & White, the architects who designed the New York General Post Office. Kendall said the sentence appears in the works of Herodotus and describes the expedition of the Greeks against the Persians under Cyrus, about 500 B.C. The Persians operated a system of mounted postal couriers, and the sentence describes the fidelity with which their work was done. Professor George H. Palmer of Harvard University supplied the translation, which he considered the most poetical of about seven translations from the Greek.
I thought of this saying this morning as I was planning to go out letterboxing. The morning started out cold and rainy with just a touch of snow flurries thrown in. But it wasn't too bad - so I got all my letterboxing gear and some clues together. I had two errands to run first then I was off to find some boxes. Now some may say that the weather wasn't really that great for letterboxing, but let's be honest - I think all of us have letterboxed in at least one of the conditions listed above (maybe even more than one). So I took care of my errands and then headed for Cerrillos, NM. There were two boxes planted in the area - one at Garden of the Gods and one at Cerrillos Hills Historic Park. As I drove down the Turquoise Trail I wondered if this was a mistake - the sky looked as though it was about to let loose quite a bit of rain. But I decided to press on and made a stop and the Garden of the Gods pullout. Most of this is on private property but you can still appreciate the rock formations. I parked and walked the short distance to a gate that was the landmark for the clues. Once there I read the rest of the clue and easily found the box. I sat up on some of the rocks to stamp in and had a great view of Hwy14 and the surrounding mountains and it didn't even drizzle on me. Once I finished stamping in and got the box back in place I headed back to the car and that's when the rain started. Very light but still rain. So I continued my drive to Cerrillos and made my way to the park. I parked near the entrance to the Escalante Trail and gathered my stuff. It was still drizzling so I zipped up my jacket and pulled the hood over my head. I headed up the trail and the rain eased until it had stopped altogether. I made it to the intersection mentioned in the clues and followed the rest of the directions until I had the box in my hands. I found a bench and stamped in - while stamping in it started to drizzle again so I used my jacket to cover the logbooks so they wouldn't get wet. I rehid the box and got all my things back together, zipped up my jacket and put the hood back over my head. It rained a little harder as I made my way down the muddy trail. I took my time because I didn't want to take another slide on my butt like I did in Oregon. By the time I reached the car I was pretty wet and cold. First things first I put the heater and then headed out. No sooner had I started to drive the rain stopped. So I went to the petting zoo area in Cerrillos and watched the animals for a minute and looked at the views of the changing leaves. It was really pretty and even though it rained I still enjoyed my trip but it was time to head home and take care of some things there. I am hoping to get a little letterboxing in tomorrow - I am going to Albuquerque to pick up a friend who is coming to visit.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

We've Returned from the Oregon Coast

Well we made it home safe and sound and with loads of great memories. I posted everyday that we were on the trip so I have a great journal of everything we did. It was a fantastic trip and I think I have found a place that I would love to visit again. I took so many pictures that it took me hours to go through them so that I could pick out some for a slide show. You can read about the trip and look at the slide show by clicking on the picture. There was so much to see and do as well as beaches that just called to you to take long leisurely walks. And I think we lucked out with the weather. We mostly had sunshine, with one day of a light rain (that didn't stop us) and a couple of days of clouds and fog. It was all good and we really enjoyed ourselves. But now it is back to our routine until our next letterboxing adventure.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Oregon Coast Letterboxing Trip

Tomorrow Thomas and I leave for an eleven day trip to the Oregon Coast. We will be doing a lot of letterboxing and sightseeing. This is our first trip to the Oregon Coast but we have heard great things about the area from rubberpeace and rbrhorno and we are very excited. We will fly into Portland and then drive to Astoria where we will start our coastal adventure. Our trip will take us down Hwy 101 from Astoria to Florence. We will have to plan another trip to get to the South Coast. We will also take a day to travel up into Washington to the Long Beach Peninsula, specifically Cape Disappointment. If you'd like to read about the trip you can click on the picture to be taken to that blog. I feel like this is going to be a great trip and Thomas and I could use a little break from the day to day stuff - so here we go!

Saturday, October 03, 2009

This Letterbox brought to you by the Letter 'K'

Two years ago I decided to embark on a letterboxing challenge. I wanted to do a series of New Mexico boxes related to the alphabet. I started researching and picking things related to New Mexico for each letter. So far I have eleven boxes planted in the series: B, E, G, M, Q, R, S, U, V, W and the newest box - K. This newest box in the series is about Thomas Edward "Black Jack" Ketchum. A train robbing outlaw who spent quite a bit of time in New Mexico. He was eventually caught and hanged in Clayton, NM. A very colorful character in New Mexico history and I thought he would be a great addition to this series. I haven't had the time to get out to Clayton to hide the box so the stamp has been sitting on my work table for quite a while. Recently Astro D told me that she and The Great Wuga Wuga were taking a road trip to Kansas and they would be going through Clayton. She offered to plant the box for me on their way. So I put together a logbook and box and gave it to Astro D. This morning I got a note that the box was planted and she had included the clues. I have logged the box into Atlas Quest and Letterboxing North America and it is waiting to be found. So make your way to the northeast part of New Mexico to add this letter to your logbook.

I still have quite a few letters to do and I am working on it - slowly but surely. So stay posted as each of these comes to fruition. Most of the letters have been decided but I have four that I can't seem to make up my mind about. I am adding another level to this challenge - I want to be done with the remaining boxes by next October.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Looking for Art

This morning after exercising, showering and eating breakfast I sat at the computer drinking my coffee and reading emails. Once I was done with that I logged on to Atlas Quest. And on the list of Newest Traditional Letterboxes I noticed a new box placed in Santa Fe. I clicked on Art is Everywhere and found out that Front Range Hiker left a little gift on her recent visit to Santa Fe for the El Rancho de los Letterboxes event.

So I gathered my things and headed out. This morning was a bit cold (probably in the high 30s or low 40s), so I ended upgoing back in the house for a jacket. Then I made my way to Cerro Gordo Park (aka Adam Gabriel Armijo Park). This is the first time I have ever been in this park and was very surprised to find that there were trails from this park. So I parked, read the clues then grabbed my letterbox stuff and headed out. It was a pretty short walk to the box but it was a very nice walk. I followed the clues but ended up missing one of the landmarks and ended up getting in a nice walk. I eventually realized that I had probably gone too far and made my way back to the landmark that I missed and easily found the box. I took the box to a side trail to stamp in. I found a spot in the sun so I could stay warm and enjoyed the beautiful stamp that Front Range Hiker carved for us. I really enjoyed the box and the morning walk and finding some art. The area was so quiet and peaceful and it was a great way to start the day. Thanks Front Range Hiker!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Event Comes to an End

Today was the El Rancho de los Letterboxes event in Santa Fe, NM. We held the event at El Rancho de las Golondrinas. We had twenty-three people attend the event. And it turned out great. The weather was perfect - sunny and warm. And a added bonus - entrance to Las Golondrinas was free today. We hadn't expected that but the Smithsonian Museum sponsors free entrance to different places for their members on occasion. The staff at Las Golondrinas decided not only to make it free to Smithsonian members but to anyone coming to the museum today. I thought it was apropos for us to have the event today and get free admission due to the Smithsonian since it was the Smithsonian magazine article ("They Live and Breathe Letterboxing") that pretty much set off the letterboxing craze in America.

The event started with everyone gathering at the picnic shelter and getting the event stamp, making exchanges and answering questions for personal travelers. We talked and stamped and took pictures for a while and then people started to disperse. We hid twelve boxes for the event: Battlefield New Mexico, Descansos, El Camino, El Rancho de las Golondrinas, For Leonora, Hiding in Plain Sight, Inky Fingers, Ms. Forktail, Not Wonder Bread, O'K Jimson, Ox Cart and Water-powered Grist Mill. In addition we had two event stamps - the main event stamp, El Rancho de los Letterboxes and the stamp that we use when we have mini meets with people visiting Santa Fe, ¡Bienvenidos! 2009. The boxes from the event will be pulled from Las Golondrinas since the museum isn't open year round. One will stay at the museum but it will be hidden outside of the entrance so that it can be obtained year round. Most or all of the other boxes will be relocated to new hiding spots - so in two or three weeks check the clues again for updates.

I took a few pictures at the picnic shelter and then walked the trail to try and get some shots of people on the trail hunting and finding letterboxes. Everyone seemed to be having a great time. I know for me it was fun and relaxing and I really enjoyed the day. I love Las Golondrinas and walking around the grounds and being with other letterboxers out having fun on a beautiful New Mexico day was perfect. We hope everyone that attended had as good a time as we did and we hope that when we have future events we will see you again. And if you couldn't make it this year - maybe we will see you at the next one. Happy Letterboxing everyone!

I posted a photo album on Atlas Quest. If anyone who attended the event has some pictures they want to share you can add your pictures to the album - I made it a public album. Thanks for a great time!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Busy Letterboxing Day

I had a busy today and most of it involved letterboxing. First I decided to retire another signature stamp - and you know what that means. Another letterbox planted. It is really hard for me to find something to carve for these boxes. I started a habit of carving a stamp that relates to a statue in the downtown area of Santa Fe. I also make these magnetic boxes. So to find a good statue and a place to put the magnetic box can be difficult. The box I planted today is placed near the convention center and relates to an installation titled "Santa Fe Current" by Colette Hosmer. I really like this sculpture and really wanted to do a stamp for it - I just needed to find a good spot to hide it. So I got the stamp and box completed yesterday and this morning I went to hide it. I looked around for just a little while but didn't really have any luck. Then I stood on the steps leading to the sculpture and turned in a complete circle scoping out anything that might hold a magnetic box. And I found it. So Keep On Swimming is awaiting your visit.

This afternoon I met Astro D at El Rancho de las Golondrinas to get the letterboxes planted for the El Rancho de los Letterboxes event this coming Saturday. We met and went through all the boxes we had to plant (12 of them) and used the map of the grounds to plan it out. Once we had gotten spots for the boxes marked on the map we set out. It took us about 2 hours to hide all the boxes and write out the clues. We made sure that the boxes were spaced out all over the grounds and not just all in one place. This will give all the event attendees a chance to see las Golondrinas. And I think you will all love the boxes - we have some great stamps for you to find. Astro D and I had a great time this afternoon and we are looking forward to Saturday. Incidentally, while we were out hiding boxes Astro D said she knew a great spot to hide a box if I wanted to carve a fish stamp for the sculpture near the convention center. It was the exact spot where I had hidden the box this morning - great minds think alike.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Kissed Off

Today Thomas and I had to bring our friend, Donna back to the airport so she could return home. We decided that after we dropped her at the airport we would go on a hike and try and find a letterbox. So we headed to Elena Gallegos Picnic Area and started our hike on the Pino Trail. And after a few 'turn this ways' and 'turn that ways' we got to a point where we could see our landmark - a giant pair of granite lips. These "lips" were on top of a very, very, very large 'pile of rocks'. The clue was stated simply: "En route to Domingo Baca canyon, on the west side of the Sandia Mountains, is a gorgeous pair of green, granite lips. Look beneath them for your kiss!".

Well, we were standing at the base of the 'pile of rocks' looking way up at these lips and wondering how to get up there. Another part of the clue stated: "The hike in is about 1 mile long (bring water), followed by an uphill scramble through bushes, past cacti and potential snakes, over boulders, and through tunnels and caves!". We figured that we needed to just get up there anyway we could - so we started scrambling.

Our first attempt got us pretty close to the 'lips' but not close enough. So we headed down again and almost decided to just head on home. But Thomas saw a little trail that went around the side so we headed that way. Two young girls and their parents passed us and started climbing up. We decided to follow but just a short ways up we had some trouble getting over a couple of large boulders. So we turned around and tried another way - this time we made it to the 'lips'. Thomas got there first and sat down on the rock that the 'lips' were sitting on and he looked underneath the 'lips'. He found a bunch of little rocks that resembled a SPOR. He moved all the rocks but did not find a box. So we looked around the area and determined that we were in the right area and had been "Kissed Off". I don't know for sure if we were in the right area but it sure felt like it to us. I did write the placer to see if we were in the right spot but haven't heard back yet. Even though we worked our butts off getting up there and didn't find the box we really loved the views. All in all it was a great hike.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Letterboxing in the Duke City

Today Thomas and I had to go to Albuquerque to pick up a friend from Texas at the airport. So we decided to make a day of it and do some letterboxing and go to the State Fair. This morning did not look promising - when we woke up it was pretty cloudy and there was a drizzling of rain. But we got our things together and made our way to Albuquerque with letterbox clues in hand. Thankfully the weather was much better in Albuquerque than in Santa Fe. There was the Pedalin Series of boxes and a couple of others that we wanted to look for. As we made our way into Albuquerque I read the clues and decided which box to go for first - we started with Pedalin Pigtail. We had to find the sculpture of Silente Paisano on the bike trail, which we did and then follow the clues to the box. We found it easy enough and stamped in and rehid the box. Next we decided to look for Pedalin Poet, again on the bike trail but near a memorial for Harry Ives. We headed in that direction but soon realized that we probably didn't have time to find that box and make it to the airport in time to meet our friend. Thomas said he could drop me off and I could look for the box and stamp in and he would go and pick up Donna and then they would come back and get me. So he brought me to the starting point for the box and left. I walked to the memorial and took a couple of pictures and read the poem and then followed the clues to the box. I found it and sat down to stamp in. I took my journal and stamp out and then opened the box and looked at the stamp and logbook. As I was stamping in I got a frisson. I looked up and then looked over my right shoulder and about five feet away from me was a coyote. I didn't hear the darn thing walk up behind me and let me tell you that I nearly wet my pants. So I composed myself and didn't make any sudden movements. I went for my camera and that scared the coyote and he took off - I did manage to get a picture but he was already far away. I couldn't believe that I was so wrapped up in the letterbox that I didn't hear him - I decided that for the rest of the day I would be more alert. Once he was gone I stamped in and rehid the box and walked back to the area where I was to meet Thomas and Donna.

They picked me up and we headed to our next destination - the Albuquerque Biological Park. There was one box to find and one to plant. We quickly found ABC Zoo Animals: D is for Dolphin. It is hidden near the entrance to the park and luckily it wasn't crowded and we were able to retrieve and then rehide the box without problems. Once that was done I went into the the park to replant my BioPark box. I had received a few 'attempts' and since it was hidden in a pretty easy spot to locate I figured it was missing. So I had recarved the stamp and made a new box this past week and wanted to get it back out there. I decided not to put it in the same spot, so I walked around the park and eventually found a spot I think will be safe - at least I hope so. I have updated the clues on AQ and put the box back as active.

Once we finished at the BioPark we wanted to get something to eat so we opted for the Route 66 Diner. After a nice quick lunch we were back on the road to look for our next box. This one was the last box in the Pedalin Series and it is called Pedalin Papa. We found the Chris Chavez Memorial and quickly located the box. I sat and stamped in while Thomas and Donna waited in the car. Wronghat did a nice job with this series - I really enjoyed it. After this I wanted to check on another one of my boxes that had been reported missing. So we went to Roosevelt Park and looked for the box - unfortunately we weren't able to find Roosevelt. I will work on another one and try and get that replanted soon. Now that we had finished with all that we decided to head to the State Fair for the afternoon.

The New Mexico State Fair started on September 11 and runs until September 27. Wronghat hid a box at the fair grounds in honor of the fair and I decided that I could kill two birds with one stone - get a letterbox and see the fair. There is only one place you can enter at the fair so we parked and got our tickets and went in. We made our way to the area where the letterbox was hidden and I spotted the landmark I needed. The only problem was that there were quite a few people around the area and there is a building right next to the hiding spot where the police are headquartered. So I played lookout while Thomas got the box - we thought we were being so stealthy but when Thomas pulled the box out another box fell on the ground and made a little noise. I looked around and it didn't look like anyone had noticed. So I took the box off to the side to a picnic table and stamped in. When I went to return the box there were about 10 police officers hanging around the building. So I kept the box and walked around the area for a little while until the officers all left and then I replaced the box. The box that fell was a small round lock & lock and turned out to be a hitchhiker (I really don't like hitchhikers that big - it makes them hard to get rid of).

Anyway, we had a great day of letterboxing and enjoyed the State Fair. We are looking forward to the El Rancho de los Letterboxes event on Saturday, September 26 - hope to see you there.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Boxes for the Event are Ready

Well for the past few weeks I have been searching for images, putting together information, carving stamps and making logbooks. All of this is for our upcoming event El Rancho de los Letterboxes on September 26. I volunteered to carve the event stamp and I am pretty happy with the way it came out. I also made the logbook which isn't exactly a logbook - it is just one sheet of paper folded with an origami map fold (taught to me by rubberpeace - Thanks!). The cover is made with craft tin and is punched with a design so that it looks liked Tin Work. The event stamp is called El Rancho de los Letterboxes.

I then received a letterbox from Front Range Hiker. Back in July I was in the Denver area doing some letterboxing and visiting family and I just happened to bump into FRH on the trail. She volunteered to make a box and send it to me so that we could plant it for the event. She went with a Civil War theme - yes there were Civil War Battles in New Mexico. I decided to name it Battlefield New Mexico and I think FRH provided us with a great box, Thanks!

I decided on placing three boxes for the event myself. The first one I worked on was El Rancho de las Golondrinas. The stamp for this box is the logo for Las Golondrinas and after the event will find a permanent home outside of the facility (since they are closed for a good part of the year) - I will post permanent clues after the event. The next one I carved was Descansos. This box was made for a specific spot at Las Golondrinas where they have some descansos placed on the grounds - after the event I will try and find a permanent home for this box somewhere in New Mexico. And the last stamp I carved was Water-powered Grist Mill. This box was inspired by the mill they have on the grounds. I really love the water wheel and the way the whole thing operates. This box will also be placed permanently somewhere in New Mexico once the event is over. The logbooks for these three boxes have covers that are origami folds (thanks again rubberpeace). The logbooks were easy to make and look great. So all my boxes for the event are ready and Astro D and I are getting together in about a week to plant all the boxes and get the clues written out for everyone attending the event.

So with all the boxes that I needed to put together being complete all that is left is to hide them and wait for the event. And hopefully we'll see you there!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Origami Logbooks

Today I joined Astro D at rubberpeace's house to have a day of logbook making. I wasn't sure what we were going to do when I first mentioned to Astro D that I wanted to get together to make journals. I knew I just needed some motivation and some new ideas. I was really surprised and elated when I learned that rubberpeace was going to teach us some origami tricks to making logbook covers and a map fold that could make a logbook that opened to a single flat sheet. All the things that we made today required mostly folding with very minimal glue and sewing.

We first learned to make a logbook cover that has a diamond design on the cover with tabs that can hold the pages. rubberpeace first had us fold some thin paper just to practice without having all the bulk. I liked this design because you can do a simple sewing technique to add in a signature or you can even tuck the first and last page into tabs to be held in that way. There are also tabs on the outside that you could add other design elements. This started with a square piece of paper and ended up as a square cover.

The next one that we worked on was similar in that you could either sew in a signature or tuck in the first and last pages. This one you start with a rectangular piece of paper and it comes out as a rectangular cover. It has tabs on the outside on the back and front that open towards the spine so you can add a decorative element to the cover as well (or you could use a two sided paper that gives a design by itself). On the inside you end up with a diagonal pocket at the bottom and a little tab at the top. This is where you can tuck in the signatures. I think I will probably use this one the most. I like the shape and all the tabs and all the possibilities of design and decorating.

At this point we took a break and had some lunch. rubberpeace had stuff for sandwiches with some fruit salad, carrots and all the condiments. For dessert Thomas made his Texas Brownie cake and we all had a piece. During lunch we discussed taking one or two classes at Papers! in Albuquerque - both the classes we looked at seemed interesting.

Well it was back to work after lunch and at this point rubberpeace was going to show us a map fold. I got excited about learning this because I had an idea for a logbook that opened up to a single flat sheet. I wanted to use this for an event stamp so that when you opened it up it was like a banner and you could see at a glance all the people who had attended the event. rubberpeace actually showed us two different folds. The first one was a little more complicated. You can start with a rectangular sheet of paper any size you want. We did two easy folds creating a plus sign from top to bottom and then side to side. The next two folds were a little more complicated. They were diagonal folds but you had to match the first two folds and all the folds have to intersect in the middle of the page at the same point for the fold to work well. After those four folds were done the next few folds were easy and then you had to do a reverse fold that was a little difficult. But I have to say it is worth it to make all the folds exact and to learn this fold because you can use it to include large pages into logbooks and scrapbooks so that they fold smaller to fit the pages but then open up large to be able to read it better or hold more information. The second map fold was a lot easier and only required four folds - I have to say I liked the first map fold better and will use it soon.

Thanks rubberpeace for taking the time to teach us all this and for your great hospitality. It was a great day with Astro D and rubberpeace and we always have fun talking about letterboxing. I also talked with rubberpeace about her most recent trip to the North Oregon Coast. Every time I hear about her trips to that area I really want to go there. So now Thomas and I are planning an Oregon Coast trip for this October. I am hoping to get plenty of ideas for places to go, things to see and letterboxes to find in the area. And anyone attending the El Rancho de los Letterboxes event in Santa Fe this September will get to see logbooks made from all that we learned today.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Staurolite

A little over a year ago Highwayman and I were suppose to go on a rockhounding trip with Astro D and The Great Wuga Wuga. That was scheduled on June 6, 2008. That trip got delayed due to my Detached Retina. We finally got to go on that trip today. You can read about the whole trip at A Day of Rockhounding. But I will just report about the letterboxing part of the day here.

Astro D had planned to plant a box at a place where there are staurolites (aka Fairy Crosses). The box is called Staurolite. It is a little drive to get there and you can either park at the beginning of the forest road and walk the two miles in or if you are in a 4WD vehicle with high clearance you can drive to within yards of the box. So we arrived at the area where you hunt for these crystals and The Great Wuga Wuga, Highwayman and I went up the hillside and looked for these crystals. While we were hunting for rocks Astro D looked for a spot to hide her box. When we returned back to the path Astro D gave me the clues and I went to look for the box. I followed the clues and found the spot for the box. I actually had a little trouble finding the box itself - it is a camo bag hanging in a tree and it blended in well. After retrieving the bag I sat down on the trail and stamped in. It is another great stamp by Astro D. I also got an actual staurolite as a first finder prize.

Thanks Astro D for a great box and a wonderful day. I really had a nice time at this site and I always have fun when there is letterboxing.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A SONG in my Heart and a BIRD in My Hand

Today I was home all morning because my car was at the dealer getting a 48,000 mile servicing. So I cleaned the house, paid some bills, caught up on emails and finished logging in finds and putting away things from my trip to Arizona. I decided to check LbNA and AQ for boxes planted in New Mexico - I have a search set up with AQ so I usually get notifications when a new box in New Mexico is logged there. But with LbNA I have to go there and check on a regular basis. It had been a while since I checked and I was pleasantly surprised to find that a Texas letterboxer had made his way into New Mexico and had left a couple of boxes. Silver Eagle placed Santa Fe Songbird in Santa Fe on August 12, 2009.

So when the dealership called that my car was ready I got a ride into town to get the car and I brought my letterbox stuff along. I made my way to Upper Canyon Road and to the Santa Fe Canyon Preserve. When I got there the road to the parking area for the Preserve was closed (construction - there was a backhoe doing some work at the entrance to the parking area). So I decided to drive a little further up Canyon Road and parked along the road where I knew I could get into the Preserve and start my hunt for the box.

I couldn't believe how lush the Preserve was. I don't remember it being so overgrown and thick with vegetation. I didn't have to go far to reach the landmark for the box and I easily found it. And WooHoo! I was the first finder. And it was a great little stamp of a bird. I sat on some rocks nearby and stamped in and then rehid the box. After hiding the box I walked around the area and enjoyed all the green. Not far from the box are some benches so I sat for a little while and just daydreamed. After that I finished the loop around the Preserve and then walked up the road to my car. Thanks Silver Eagle for a new box in Santa Fe.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Safe and Sound at Home

I wasn't so worry about getting an early start today since I was pretty close to home. So I didn't get on the road until 8:30am. There wasn't much traffic so it was a pretty nice drive. I drove straight through to Albuquerque and since it was still early I decided to try and find a few boxes before heading up to Santa Fe.

I started my hunt on the westside since that was where I was coming in from and made my way to Coors. The road not the beer and found the starting point for Westside Breeze. I followed the clues and walked to the landmark for the box. When I got there I read the clue again to determine exactly where to look for the box. I looked around and didn't see anyone so I reached under the statue and moved a few rocks but didn't find the box. I reread the clues and determined that this was the spot. So I decided to look around and I went to the side on my left and squatted down. And when I looked under the statue I saw something orange (like orange PZKut), so I reached in and pulled it out and it was the stamp. So I looked under the statue again to see if I could find the box and the logbook. I didn't find them, so I walked around the area and found the logbook in a bush next to the statue. I never did find the container. I decided to take the stamp and logbook home and contact the placer - I hope they write back soon so this box can be replaced. I then headed to my next destination - an area off of Rio Grande Blvd. just north of I40. There were two boxes in this area, one on a short walk between some houses - nothing really too exciting and the other took you on a short walk to the river. Nice and peaceful! (The theme I had for this weekend.) After getting these two boxes I made my way to San Mateo to find Dawn Light. The box is hidden in a little park that runs along San Mateo and has a large orange sculpture called Dawn Light. It didn't take me long to find the box and stamp in so I took some time to take a few pictures. It had been a long day already with the drive and it was getting pretty hot in Albuquerque so I was ready to call it a day. I decided to look for one more box on a short walk before heading home. I made my way to Jefferson where there are lots of businesses - pretty much an industrial area. From the time that I turned down the road to the parking area for the box to the time I left that road I did not see another person - it was pretty weird. It was like all life form had disappeared. But that was okay it was nice and peaceful. I found that last box and stamped in and rehid it. I did make one last stop for gas before heading up to Santa Fe.

I am back home now safe and sound. I had a great weekend - it was nice and relaxing - just what I needed. And I got in some letterboxing - what could be better.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A Little Further West and then Back to East

For some reason I didn't sleep that well last night (I usually don't have problems sleeping) and I was up at an ungodly hour this morning - 4:30am. Well I was awake at that time but I didn't actually get out of bed until 5:00am. So I showered, got dressed, packed and loaded the car. I then went to the hotel lobby and had some breakfast. With all that I was still on the road by 6:30am and found my first box by 6:50am. I actually enjoyed it - it was so quiet and peaceful, no traffic and no people. It made hunting for boxes much easier. Especially since my first two boxes of the morning were on the Northern Arizona University campus. I found Riordan Mansion and Old Main. Both had terrific carvings and were hidden in beautiful areas. It was a great way to start the morning. The other thing that helped me was that last night I looked up all the locations in Flagstaff where there were boxes and put the addresses into my Garmin GPS. It sure helped me to navigate my way around Flagstaff. From NAU I headed for Thorpe Park, well not actually Thorpe Park but near it. I had to find an area with a very tall flagstaff. It wasn't difficult - the flagpole was pretty obvious. I had to walk a short way down a trail from the flagpole and pass a pond and then take an urban trail for a few steps to find the box. I enjoyed the walk but was a little dissapointed to find a store bought stamp. It was all good though and continued on my quest. I arrived at Buffalo Park, read the marker with the statue of a buffalo and then entered the park to begin my search. I followed the clues and arrived at the spot where I thought the box was hidden. Man oh man is this a busy park. There were so many people out there walking or running - I had to wait almost 15 minutes before I could even attempt to look for the box. Luckily there were some great views of the San Francisco Peaks and I was able to take pictures until the coast was clear. Unfortunately I didn't find the box. I looked rather quickly the first time because there were people coming down the trail and I didn't have time to give the area a thorough look. After another five minute wait I had the chance to look much closer but still came up empty handed. For the placers sake I hope I was either in the wrong place or I just wasn't looking careful enough because of all the people around. Anyway, it was time to move on. I made my way to the Museum of Northern Arizona and quickly found the trail I needed and started walking. It was only about a 10 minute walk to the box but it was in a beautiful area. Kind of a little canyon with lots of vegetation and rocks. I had the place to myself so I took my time stamping in and just enjoyed the moment. But all good things must come to an end and I had to be on my way. Last night when I went to bed I hadn't decided exactly what I wanted to do today but while I was eating breakfast and while I was out boxing in Flagstaff I decided to continue going west on I40 for a little further and see what might happen.
Back on I40 heading west my plan was to stop in Bellemont to find Azroadie's Historic Route 66 box. I always enjoy his carvings! I exited the interstate at Bellemont and made my way to the frontage road. After a couple of miles I was on Route 66. I drove until I reached the parking area for the 1931 alignment of Route 66 and began my walk. I didn't have to go far and I easily found the box. I sat under the tree where the box was hidden and stamped in. Again I found myself totally isolated - not another soul in site. So after rehiding the box I decided to walk further down the trail just to enjoy the peacefulness of the morning - that is what the intention of the trip was all about. When I got back to the parking area I studied the map on the board and then consulted my map and decided I could continue my drive on Route 66 pretty much all the way to Williams so that is what I did. I drove to Parks and then continued until I arrived at Deer Farm Road. There were two boxes at Deer Farm and there was petting zoo as well. Both boxes are hidden out in front of the farm so I found them both and went to sit at a picnic table to stamp in - it was nice to have a solid surface to stamp on. I finished and rehid the boxes and then entered the farm (I thought it was a little expensive for what if was - and you had to pay extra for food to feed to the deer). Anyway, I walked around and it was neat to have all these deer come up to you for food and get to pet them. When I ran out of food they actually started pulling on my shirt - they were like your pet at home trying to get your attention to feed them. I ended up spending about 45 minutes just hanging out with the deer. They also had other animals - potbellied pigs, goats, reindeer, mules, camels, llamas and a bird that barks. So I left the farm and drove to Williams. I needed to find the depot for the Grand Canyon Railway. I found a spot to park and walked to the depot. It was pretty quiet there and it was easy to retrieve the box. There was a bench nearby so I sat and stamped in and enjoyed the warm day. After hiding the box I walked through the depot and then headed to the main part of Williams. I found a place to have a quick lunch and while eating I decided it was time to head back to New Mexico. I was having a great time and feeling pretty relaxed - the trip had accomplished its purpose. So I filled the car with gas and drove down Route 66 to return to I40. In Williams Route 66 makes a loop (each part a one way), so when I made the turn to loop around almost immediately the traffic came to a standstill. Well it didn't actually stop it just slowed to a crawl. It wasn't long before I realized what the problem was. They were having a car show and one lane was totally blocked off and filled with incredible cars for quite a ways. The traffic was moving so slow I was able to take a few pictures from my car window. Once I reached the end of the car show the traffic eased and in no time I was back on I40 - this time heading east.

It was an uneventful drive and I didn't stop until I reached Gallup. By this time I was tired of being on the road and decided to find a hotel for the night. Tomorrow I will head back to Santa Fe - I may stop in Albuquerque for a few boxes but we'll see how things go when I get there.

Friday, August 14, 2009

A Vulture, Stoned Wood, Teepees, Ghost Town and Lava

I continued my westward journey this morning back on I40 heading into Arizona. I got a pretty early start and found my first box in Sanders. The box is called Voracious Vulture and at first I thought that it was missing and that my day was starting off on the wrong side of the stamp. The first thing I noticed was that a tree that was mentioned in the clue was gone (well not actually gone - just cut back - and the branches were piled up off to the side). But I looked for the box using the other clues and I found a pile of rocks but no box. So I started looking around and found the box out in the open about ten feet from where it should have been. After stamping in I rehid the box in the original spot and I hope I hid it well enough now that the tree is gone and the area isn't as concealed. Back on the highway I headed for my next destination - Holbrook. But I got distracted. I saw a sign for the Petrified Forest and since it has been at least 15 years since I last visited this place I decided to take a detour. I wasn't really thinking and forgot that Arizona doesn't follow Daylight Savings and it wasn't quite 7:00am. I ended up having to wait about 15 minutes for the park to open. It was worth it. I forgot how incredible this place is. I drove the entire park and stopped at almost every pullout and took tons of pictures. It was a wonderfully relaxing morning. I got to the park before the crowds and was able to enjoy the drive with traffic. When I got to the end of the park I decide to take US180 to Holbrook instead of driving back through the park and hitting I40. Best idea of the day, a nice quiet drive.

Once in Holbrook I made my way to the Wigwam Motel to find 'Sleep in Wigwam!' and 'Wigwam Motel - Nakii'. I loved both boxes and I didn't have any problems finding them. After stamping in and rehiding the boxes I walked around and took pictures. It got me thinking - I wish I could go back in time and spend two or three weeks visiting towns like Holbrook and driving Route 66 in its heyday. Okay enough daydreaming - on to the next box. I had to drive a few miles south of Holbrook to find a Convoy left by Kristal and Ron. It was an easy find and I was on my way again. I rejoined I40 and drove about 50 miles just to visit some ghosts. Well actually just a ghost town - I didn't actually see any ghosts. As I exited the highway and made my way into Two Guns I was taken aback. Quite a few buildings and all of them falling apart. I drove up to the building with a sign advertising Mountain Lions. From here I began my search for the letterbox. I ended up near a bridge sitting on the edge of Canyon Diablo while stamping into the box. When I first got to the area I was a little worried because there seemed so many spots where snakes could hide. So before walking around I read the clues and threw rocks near the area to make sure no creepy crawlies were there. Once I knew it was safe I reached for the box. I actually enjoyed sitting there - it was kind of peaceful and relaxing - just what I needed. After spending about 30 minutes walking around I headed for Flagstaff.

Once in town I made my way to a park to hunt for a series of three boxes. Unfotunately there was a "Trail Closed" sign where I needed to go. So I changed my plans and headed out to Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument. Two boxes here and I decided to look for the one that was further in the park. So I drove to the parking area for the Lava Flow Trail. I picked up a trail guide and headed out. I needed to find post #11. The trail was a little confusing and it took me a while to find the landmark. Once there I looked for the next landmark - a pine tree shading the trail and the next, a tall snag. So I walked up to the snag, located the compass bearing and found the box. I was a little skeptical that I would find it because on AQ there were three attempts on this box, but it was right where it should be and the view from the box was of the crater and it was beautiful. After rehiding the box I drove back to the entrance and pulled into the O'Leary Campground. I parked and headed up the trail to the lookout. I only had to go in about a quarter of a mile to reach the landmark. I found the box, stamped in and put the box back in its hiding spot. I decided that I was done letterboxing for the day and wasn't sure when or if I would ever be back to this park so I continued my walk for about two miles before turning around and heading back to the car. It was still pretty early so I drove back into the park and hiked the Lenox Crater Trail. By the time I got back to the car I was tired and decided to find a hotel and get some rest. I am not sure what I am doing tomorrow I will see how I feel when I wake up.
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