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.

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!
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