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.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Mini Meet with the Travelin' T's

The Travelin' T's (Sha, Ann, Carter and Max) are in Santa Fe for a little vacation. So Astro D arranged a little mini meet at her house for us to get together and visit. It was the Travelin' T's, Astro D, The Great Wuga Wuga (who grilled some really good chicken), rubberpeace, rbrhorno, Highwayman and myself. We had a nice little dinner of grilled chicken, grits and salad. For dessert Highwayman made a choclolate cake (it is called Texas Brownie) - it was a request from rubberpeace. We had a great time talking and sitting out in the backyard on the deck - it was such a nice evening (the day had been pretty hot), cool and breezy. We had the ¡Bienvenidos! 2009 event stamp for everyone to stamp into and the Travelin' T's brought along and hid Bird Takes Flight. This is a very clever letterbox that moves around and the clues are posted on Twitter. So we all got to stamp into that box as well. And then there was the obligatory group photo. Carter and Max were great - such well behaved kids - it was a pleasure hanging out with them. I hope that the Travelin' T's have a great time in Santa Fe.

Astro D got this shot of rubberpeace enjoying Highwayman's chocolate cake - is this not the perfect advertisement.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

A Holiday Weekend in the Centennial State

Thomas and I decided we needed to get away so this past weekend we headed to the Denver area - and more specifically to Broomfield. Thomas' brother and his family live there and we decided to visit for the July 4th holiday. Thomas is going to help his brother with a couple of projects around their house and I am going to do a little letterboxing. We left Santa Fe on Thursday afternoon about 1:30pm. We weren't in any hurry because we were only driving to Trinidad for the evening. So we took a little side trip on our way up to Colorado. There was a new letterbox planted just south of Cimarron, NM by stormcrow at the beginning of the month. So from I25 we exited at Springer and headed west on NM21. This was the first time I had been on this road and it was beautiful. There really isn't much out there but open land with mountains for backdrop and the beautiful blue New Mexico Sky. We really enjoyed the drive. We passed through Miami and stopped by the lake for a couple of pictures before reaching the area where the letterbox was hidden. We found the pull off and I quickly found the box. It was a nice carving of a pine cone and pine needles. And the views from this area were fantastic. After stamping in and rehiding the box we continued on NM21 to Cimarron and made a quick stop at the St. James Hotel. I had read about the hotel and we just thought we would look around. One of the hallways from the lobby has some great pictures of all the people who have stayed there with information about their fate. It was really interesting, but it was time to head out again. From Cimarron we continued a short way to the junction on US64. We took this road north through Colfax. We weren't sure why Colfax was on the map because all that was there when we passed through was the Colfax Tavern (serving Cold Beer according to the sign). We never saw any houses or anything else for that matter). Now that I have access to the internet I found that Colfax is a ghost town. A few miles up the road from Colfax we did see quite a few antelope. Eventually we merged back on to I25 just south of Raton and continued our trip to Trinidad. We had time some time before meeting Thomas' cousins for dinner (they were driving up from Albuquerque on their way to Casper, WY) so we went to look for another letterbox. This one was placed by the boxtops (one of a series of 64 they are working on - a letterbox in every county in Colorado). It was a great little box on a nice walk along the river. During the walk we passed a great mural that covered walls, was under bridges and even on rocks. The only bad part was that there were a ton of mosquitos so I didn't linger when stamping in. Once the box was back in its hiding spot we made our way back to the car. We then did some driving around and looked for a place to have dinner. We found a nice little restaurant and then called Thomas' cousins and gave them directions. They arrived about 20 minutes later and we enjoyed a nice meal and had a great talk. We then went to find a hotel so we could rest up for our continuation up to the Denver area.

On Friday morning we left the hotel around 7:00am and headed for our first letterbox in Ludlow. The box is hidden at the site of the Ludlow Massacre. It was a really incredible lesson in the history of unions. I am really glad we stopped and learned about this.

From Ludlow we continued north on I25 to Colorado City to find Shrek - apparently he went camping. So we made our way to Greenhorn Meadows Park. It didn't take us long to find Shrek. I stamped in and rehid the box and we were able to continue our trip. While walking back to the car we came upon some gophers just running around - I think they were babies and they just sat there when we walked up to them. We needed to be in Broomfield by 5:00pm so we opted to to skip stopping for letterboxes until we got to Castle Rock. I wanted to stop at Castlewood Canyon State Park. I had looked up some things on the internet and I really wanted to visit this park. I also knew that they had placed their own letterbox and I wanted to look for it. So we arrived at Castlewood Canyon and I got a map and the clues for the letterbox and we headed for the parking area. We followed the clues and learned a lot about the canyon and had a great walk. The park was incredible and the views of the canyon were spectacular. It did take us a little while to find the box because one of the landmarks for the clues was missing. It was a very enjoyable walk through the park but we needed to head out if we were to make it to Broomfield on time.

We called Thomas' brother to see what was scheduled and told him we were just leaving Castle Rock and we thought it might take us a while to get through Denver with traffic on a Friday afternoon (and it being a holiday weekend). Surprisingly we made it to their house in a very short time. So we had time to unload the car and get cleaned up before we headed out to Denver. Today is Ashley's (Thomas' niece) birthday and she wanted to have dinner at Casa Bonita. Everyone kept warining us that this was a pretty cheesy place and that we should probably eat dinner before we went to the restaurant. They have all kinds of "acts" going on throughout the evening. Things like divers, magicians, jugglers, puppet shows and other entertainment. The whole thing was like being at DisneyLand. We had to stand in a line to get in and then we were loaded in by going through roped off areas weaving back and forth until you reached the area where you picked up your food and then you were escorted to your table. Even though the place wasn't all that great we all had a good time. When we finally got home we visited for a while longer then everyone went to bed except me - I wanted to get a little blogging done.

On Saturday morning everyone seemed to have their own plans. Thomas and Chris were going to do some work on the house and Karla and Ashley went to some street fair and then to do some shopping. As for me - I of course was going letterboxing. I got all my things together and headed out. I decided to go to Genesee Park for the morning. I found Big Bison HH Hostel, Beaverbrook, Ambigram #1, What Was THAT?, Where Are The Buffalo? and G is for Genesee. From the park I headed to Wheat Ridge - I had decided to look for part of the SWS series on the Clear Creek Trail. I found Bear Fetish, Roadrunner, Rock Art, Santa Fe Sign, Turtle, Cactus and Cowgirl. During my walk to find the SWS series I was unable to find Roadrunner, Turtle and Cowgirl. On my way back to the car I decided to look for roadrunner again (I had made two efforts for turtle and cowgirl but only one for roadrunner) so I followed the clues and got to the same spot but no box - I decided that those three boxes were missing and I made my way back to the main trail. As I emerged from the trees I saw Front Range Hiker. She was out replacing those three boxes that I couldn't find - so we visited for a short while and I was able to get those last three boxes before leaving the park. Front Range Hiker will be attending El Rancho de los Letterboxes in September and she graciously offered to contribute a letterbox for the event. i am looking forward to seeing that stamp. So we said our goodbyes and I headed back to the car. By this time I was pretty tired and decided to head back to the house and get cleaned up for dinner. We had a nice dinner with grilled burgers, corn on the cob, pasta salad and chips - a pretty good Fourth of July meal. After dinner everyone went to the neighbors house to visit except for me - I was feeling pretty antisocial so I stayed home and relaxed and did a little blogging. Later everyone returned and we had ice cream and cake for Ashley's birthday (we didn't have time to do it the night before) and watched Ashley's CDs of Arrested Development. I have to say today was a good day.

The plans for Sunday were pretty much the same as on Saturday. Thomas was helping his brother while Ashley and Karla did their own thing. I of course was back out there letterboxing. I returned to the Clear Creek Trail but on a different portion to continue my search for the remaining SWS series. So once I arrived at the trailhead I started reading the clues and headed out. It was an absolutely beautiful morning, very peaceful and perfect weather. I ended up walking about three miles and found ten boxes . . . Kokopelli, Moose, Gecko, Arches National Park, Thunderbird, Mountain Goat, Chief, Cougar, Soaring Eagle and Cowboy. I thoroughly enjoyed this series and my two days walking the Clear Creek Trail. By the time I reached my car it was beginning to get warmer. I decided I wanted to do a little more letterboxing so I found boxes that were on the way back to Broomfield. So my next stop was in Arvada. My first stop was Gold Strike Park to find Whar's Me Stuff? - it seems Pete the Pirate had had a few things taken from him and he wanted them back. Luckily I found all three items and I hope Pete is much happier now. This park has the coolest pedestrian bridge and was the perfect place for this series. Now that this problem was solved I headed to Majestic View Park to find three boxes. The School Daze series was planted by wandering newmans to introduce some fourth graders to letterboxing. Unfortunately I only found two. One of the landmarks for one of the boxes seemed to have been removed and with it the box - oh, well. I decided at this point that I was too hot and tired to do any more letterboxing so I headed back to Broomfield to relax and visit with Thomas and the family. Once showered I was feeling better, so I sat down to log in my finds and do a little blogging. While doing this Ashley and I watched Entourage (she had rented Season 2) - I really enjoyed this show - very funny. Later we had a great dinner of shish kabobs, watched a little more entourage and then had some cake and ice cream. We were all in bed at a decent hour since Ashley had to work the next day and Thomas & Chris were tired from all the work they did this weekend. Thomas decided to stay one more day to help Chris get a few more things done so I was going to go letterboxing again on Monday. Especially since I was so close to reaching another milestone - my 1400th box.

By the time we got up and dressed on Monday morning Ashley was already gone to work. Chris, Karla, Thomas and I had some breakfast and talked about what a circus Michael Jackson's funeral was turning out to be - not a chance that he was going to have a dignified service. Around 8:00am I helped Thomas and Chris load some OSB panels onto the roof so they could finish that project then I left for some letterboxing. Today I decided to stay a little closer to Broomfield so I headed out to Lake Link Trailhead to find GAQLBE08 Mountain to Mountain. This was a nice area and a nice box. The trail went around a small pond - Josh's Pond (dedicated to Josh Cassell 1981-1991 who liked to play in the area) and then up a hill. I didn't walk the entire trail - I only needed to go a little ways and then take a side trail up to a fence. The box was hidden under a rock ledge and while I stamped in I got to enjoy some beautiful views all around. As I made my way back to the car I stopped at a bench. It is part of an Art Bench Project the city of Broomfield had. It is a stone bench with bronze fish on the back and one fish off to the side. One of the fish on top is reading a book to three smaller fish. There is a poem inscribed on the book - see the pictures below. I really enjoyed my walk in this area but I needed to move along.

From here I headed into Westminster and to the Big Dry Creek Park to find This Way 2009 Feet. This was a nice enough park but nothing compared to the places I had been so far on this trip. So I quickly found the box, stamped in, rehid the box and moved along. My next stop was McKay Lake. I was looking for Eagle Feather. I didn't have much of a walk because the parking area for the lake wasn't available due to road construction so the clues sent me to an optional parking area which put me at about 100 yards from the box. I did love the area and enjoyed sitting on the bank of the lake while stamping in - the stamp was a nice carving and I ended up spending about half an hour just relaxing near the water. It was cool in the shade of the cottonwood trees and I was enjoying a little relief from the heat but I was so close to reaching 1400 boxes that I decided to head to one last area. I arrived at the specified location (can't tell you where because it is a little bit of a mystery) to look for The Fools of April by Leviathan. This is a series of three letterboxes - Mime, Clown and Harlequin and if I found at least two I would reach my goal. So I parked, got my clues and headed for the trail. I am not sure if I was just tired & hot or if I was excited about reaching 1400 or what but I was unable to find the first two boxes and I started to doubt whether I was in the right place or not. Then I found the third box - what a relief. I stamped in and then rehid that box, then reread the clues to the first two trying to figure out what I had done wrong. So I back tracked along the trail and almost stepped on a snake - I freaked and this didn't help me any because I found myself back at the trailhead one box from 1400. I sat down on the side of the trail and read the clues again and looked around trying to find a landmark - it took a minute or two and I finally found the error of my ways and I was excited again. The grass had grown and obscured the path I needed a little making it hard to see - but now I was on a mission. I made my way along the trail and in no time I was holding my 14ooth find. WooHoo!!! I was so happy! So I took my time stamping in and enjoyed the milestone. After rehiding the box I continued on for the next box. I was still on the path that was overgrown and for the second time in about half an hour I almost stepped on a snake but I wasn't going to be stopped - I wanted all three boxes in this series. So I found the next landmark and found the box, stamped in and rehid the box. I sat on a bench a little ways up the trail and relaxed (those snakes really scared the bejeezes out of me). Once I was feeling more relaxed I realized how hot I was and decided to call it a day. So I headed back to the house.

When I arrived at the house Thomas said he wanted to try and leave for home about 3:30pm. Our original plan was to leave early Tuesday morning but he had been getting emails about the budget and some meetings that he needed to be at so he wanted to at least get a little closer to home this evening so we could make it home by noon today. While Thomas helped Chris with one last part before we left I got everything packed and into the car except for some clothes for Thomas - he wanted to take a shower before heading out. The project took them a little longer than they thought and we didn't get to leave until almost 5:00pm. We said our goodbyes (except for Ashley - she was still at work - sorry we didn't get to see you before we left) and headed out. We did get into a little bit of traffic on I25 near downtown Denver but it wasn't too bad. Somewhere around Castle Rock we stopped for dinner and then drove until Pueblo where we decided to stop for the night - that would give us a four hour drive today and we could make it home in time for Thomas to go to his meeting. We checked into the hotel and had a good night's sleep. This morning we were up really early and on the road by 5:30am and we made it home around 9:45am. It was a good trip and we both enjoyed ourselves but now it is time to get back to work.
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