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.

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
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.
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