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, November 30, 2010

Another Trip is Complete

Well after being gone for nearly two weeks we made it home today. The trip was pretty good but as always it is good to be home. We traveled to four states and saw a lot of new things. We discovered quite a few things that we would like to visit again. And as usual I took quite a lot of pictures. So if you want to read about the trip go to A Southern Thanksgiving Letterbox Trip and if you want to see a slide show of the trip just click on the picture. Now that we are home I guess it is time to plan the next trip.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thanksgiving and Letterboxing

Well we are off on another one of our trips. This one is a trip to visit my brother for Thanksgiving. He and his wife have been wanting us to visit and so they have planned a family get together and everyone will be there. But we can't just go straight there we have to make it an adventure. We fly into Birmingham, AL, then make our way to Savannah, GA and finish in Asheville, NC before we get to Acworth, GA for the family Thanksgiving. This is a new area for us - neither Thomas nor I have ever visited here. So we think this will be an amazing trip. Of course as we travel along we will be looking for letterboxes. I am hoping that looking for letterboxes will take us to some places we would have otherwise driven right by. We leave tomorrow morning and won't return until the end of November. If you want to tag along click on the turkey.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Northwest New Mexico Loop - Part III

Sunday, October 31
HAPPY HALLOWEEN!


This mornig we slept in, we didn't leave the hotel until around 9:30am. We weren't in a hurry since our plans only involved letterboxing within Farmington. Since we didn't have any long drives we decided to take it easy this morning. When we finally did get around to getting out we headed to Berg Park. With clues in hand and letterboxing gear in tow we headed out to find three boxes. We walked the nature trail and visited the Riverside Nature Center and also walked around the All Veterans Memorial Park. It was a beautiful Sunday morning and the park was a great place to be, we even managed to see two deer. I guess we spent about an hour and a half at the park and managed to find three letterboxes - Love Stars Box, The Tree Sniffers and The Red Brick Box. From Berg Park we made our way to Gateway Park. Here we were looking for two letterboxes. I followed the clues for one and found 'a' box but not 'the' box. I was looking for Frolick in the Garden and what I found was Native Mandala. So before stamping in I read the clues for Native Mandala the box was in the right spot but it was hidden by a brick and the clues stated to look for a rock. So I reread the clues for Frolick in the Garden and retraced my steps to see if I was looking in the right spot. I thought I was but I never found the box. I am not sure I was looking in the right spot or not but we ended up walking all around the garden and still came up empty handed. So I stamped in to Native Mandala and rehid it as I found it. I hope the other box isn't missing - I just hope I misread the clues. We decided it was time to move along.

We headed to the north part of town to Lions Wilderness Park. We drove to the Overlook Shelter Area and parked. While I looked for the box Thomas sat under the shelter and read. I followed the clues and found Here Lies Jose HHH tucked nicely in its hiding spot. I decided to take the box back to the shelter to stamp in where I could have a nice flat surface. The hostel only had two hitchhikers in it (and the clues stated that there should be three) so I didn't take any hitchhikers with me and I didn't have any to leave there either. So I just stamped into the box and rehid it. From this part of the park we drove back to the Amphitheater area. I found Smelly Snail and quickly stamped in and put it back and then went in search of Wronghat's Sting box. I didn't have any problems with the clues and soon I was sitting on the incredible rock formation enjoying the beautiful sunshine and stamping in. This was another wonderful Wronghat/Semicolon box! Once the box was back in its spot I returned to the car. I had a box that I had planned to hide in the park but wasn't sure where. While I was stamping in to Sting I decided that I wanted to put it in the area where I found Jose. So we drove back to the other area but instead of going to the Overlook Shelter we went to the Rocky Point Shelter. It didn't take me long to find a good spot for He Strikes! and get the clues written. I enjoyed this park, especially the landscape - the rock formations were incredible.

When we left this park we decided to find a place to eat and relax for a little while. We had an enjoyable lunch and rested for about an hour before heading out again. We didn't have much left to do in the way of letterboxing. I had clues for seven boxes but only three of them were actually available. Four of them were either missing, retired or pulled. And I still wanted to get one more box planted today. Our first stop after lunch was Vietnam Veterans Park where we found The Lucky Box. I stamped in and rehid the box and then decided to give the park a once over to see if I could hide my box here. The park is small but after looking around I decide it would work perfectly. I think The Lucky Box may have been lucky for me. I quickly found a spot for Alphabetical New Mexico: F (Farmington). There were a lot of things that fit - a big "F" on the hill, I found a bench that had "The City of Farmington" on it and it just felt right. So with that box in place we could move on. We next went to the Farmington Library and found Play-Doh. I sat on the beautiful lawn and stamped in while enjoying the terrific Fall weather. After getting that box back into place we headed off for out last box in Farmington. This one would be a quick drive by as it was hidden right on the side of the road. We parked on a side street and I made the very short walk to retrieve Fly By Knight. I brought it back to the car to stamp in and then I walked it quickly back to its hiding spot. So we managed to get all the boxes that are available in the Farmington area - except one and we will get that one on our way home tomorrow and we will leave one final box in the area as well. All our things are organized and I think we are ready to head on home. Thomas and I both miss Daisy and Buddy and it will be good to get home and see them. And tomorrow just happens to be Buddy's 1st birthday.

Monday, November 1

Today we are going to make our way home to Santa Fe. We did want to get an early start so we were up at 6:00am to get things ready. After a quick bite to eat we got on the road, I was wanting to get to our first stop before the sun was up too much. We left Farmington and made our way to NM550 and headed for Angel Peak Scenic Area. We got there just as the sun started peeking above the horizon. We watched the sun hit the landscape and loved the way the light played on it. We did all this from the car as it was 35 degrees. We finally got out and took a few pictures and then went in search of Wronghat's Angel's Peek letterbox. It took a little bit of searching but we finally found it. I found a place to sit and stamp in and Thomas high tailed it back to the car - he was cold. I enjoyed the views, especially the ones of Angel Peak and Castle Rock. After I got the box back into place we left that picnic area and went to another one so that I could hide a box. I placed Angel Peak at the Cliffs Picnic Area. Once we had the clues written down we headed out.

We continued down NM550 to Cuba, well actually a little bit before Cuba. We stopped at Apache Nugget Casino to find T.P., the letterbox not the roll of, placed here by D-Girl. It was a quick and easy find right near the bathrooms. I took this one back to the car to stamp in as it was still quite chilly. I love the carved image - it really made me smile. And I enjoyed finding this box on our drive home. With the box back in place we were done with the letterboxing portion of our trip. Truthfully we were completely done with our trip except for the remaining miles of the drive home. That is exactly what we did - drive. We made it home around noon and were excitedly greeted by Daisy and Buddy, and today is Buddy's first birthday.

Our trip to the northwestern portion of New Mexico was a lot of fun. We found some great boxes and enjoyed visiting some spectacular places. But as always it is great to be home. We found 31 boxes on this trip and placed 9. Some of the boxes I placed are in out of the way places but believe me it is worth the drive to the area - what you get to see is spectacular.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Northwest New Mexico Loop - Part II

Friday, October 29

This morning was an early morning - up at 6:30am and on the road by 7:30am. Thankfully the temperature was above freezing. We drove from Farmington to the Four Corners Monument near Teec Nos Pos, AZ. Thomas and I had been there before but it was quite a few years ago. The whole place has changed from what I can remember and they are still doing some construction. They recently redid the monument and now they are working on booths for the vendors and it looks as though they are also working on the parking area. And yes, Thomas and I both were in all four states at one time. After walking around and visiting the vendors (we did not buy anything) we found Wronghat's 4 Corners NM box. It was a bit tricky to get the box due to where it is hidden - I had to be very sneaky. We had a fun visit here and then headed back to Farmington. On the way back we stopped at a little pull off on US64 to find Shiprock letterbox. This was a quick and easy find, with a great view of Shiprock and very soon we were back on our way to Farmington.

As we entered Farmington we turned onto NM170 headed toward LaPlata. Only a mile or so up the road we encountered a large brown bear on the side of the road that was hiding the One Love letterbox. He graciously allowed us to stamp in and then happily sent us on our way right after reminding us that we could prevent forest fires. About 15 miles later we arrived in LaPlata and found Talley Park. There are two letterboxes in this park. The Newest Red Dragon and Puppies Three. Both were pretty easy to find. Puppies Three was left here by alamocito before she moved away. A beautiful carving of cute little puppies and from where it was hidden you had a fantastic view of the LaPlata Valley. The Newest Red Dragon was placed at the edge of the park with a nice view of the park. I enjoyed finding these two boxes and the peace and quiet of this lovely place. As we were leaving we encounterd two geocachers - I politely reminded them that if they found any letterboxes to please leave everything in the box.

After leaving the park we took NM574 to Aztec. Arriving in Aztec we found our way to the Aztec Ruins National Monument. After paying our fees I made sure to collect my National Park Cancellation Stamps - one for Aztec Ruins National Monument and one for Old Spanish Trail. Thomas and I then walked the ruins trail and marveled at the size and workmanship of the buildings. Once we made it through the ruins we walked over to the picnic area to find Aspen's Aztec Ruins Box. It was a quick find and a great little stamp. We sat under a tree while stamping in - the day was beautiful, sunny and Spring-like with a temperature of 67 degrees. After rehiding the box we decided we wanted to get something to eat. So we took a break and relaxed over some pizza and salads. Once we were full and rested we made our way to Riverside Park to find two boxes. First we found GAQLBE09 - Maine Quarter (a beautiful carve) and then walked over the beautiful new bridge (I loved the rusty finish and the lights) to find Wild Horse (a great Aspen carve). With these two boxes back in place it was time to head back to Farmington. We took NM516 and continued right into the downtown area. First we stopped to get Downtown Farmington, which I thought was a very clever hide. I found the box, took it to a bench to stamp in and enjoyed the coolness of the late afternoon while stamping in. With this box back in place Thomas and I decided to walk up the road a little bit to get Let the Wild Rumpus Start! letterbox. We arrived at Andrea Kristina's and order dessert and coffee and then found the letterbox. I stamped in between bites of chocolate cake and sips of caramel latte. This was a wonderful stamp - large (about 3.5" x 5") and beautifully carved. We relaxed and listened to a gentleman play music and talked about what a wonderful day we had.

We are now back in the hotel, the letterbox finds have been logged and notes have been sent. The blog for today is written and we have a plan for tomorrow. I guess it is time for bed.

Saturday, October 30

We had a very busy and very adventurous day today. It all started when we got up at 6:30am and got ready for the day. After dressing, a little breakfast, and filling the car with gas we were on our way. First stop - Salmon Ruins Museum and Library. When we arrived at the museum it hadn't opened yet, but we decided to walk around to the back of the building and we found the gate to the ruins open. So we went in and looked around the ruins (we didn't have a trail guide so we weren't sure exactly what everything was) and then looked for a letterbox - We easily found that New Hampshire Lily that was left here by uneksia. After stamping and rehiding the box we made our way back to the parking lot - we never saw a single person. We continued our journey heading east on US64 to the intersection with NM575. We turned north here and drove about three miles where we parked on the side of the road next to a large cliff. We made our way up to the top of the cliff to find Old Spanish Trail letterbox. We looked for the group of two large junipers at the top (this was a little difficult as there were quite a few junipers in the area). But we made our way to two which to us appeared to be at the "top". Sure enough we found a box under one of them. I grabbed it and found a good spot to sit so I could stamp in. I opened the box and found a bag with a logbook and a store bought stamp of an angel. There were also trinkets in the box (like you would find in a geocache). I became confused (this happens from time to time) and I looked in the logbook for the name of the box to make sure I had the right thing. There was no box name and no placer. I decided to stamp in using the store bought stamp (even if it had nothing to do with the name of the box). When I was done I replaced the box where I found it but kept thinking I must have found a geocache and this couldn't possibly be the letterbox. But, there were other letterboxers who had stamped in along with some geocachers. Thomas and I decided to look all over the top of the cliff under as many junipers as we could to see if we missed anything. We came up empty handed and decided that we had found the right box and returned to the car to continue our day.

We continued a little further along US64 to CR4450 where we turned south. This road is all dirt and was a little bumpy but not too bad. We drove 20 miles crossing two bridges and a wash as we made our way to Crow Canyon. Everything was going well to right before we got to the parking area. Towards the end you pass through a gate and come to a fork in the road with a sign. To the right 44 Panel, Warrior Panel and Crow Canyon Pueblito. To the left the Main Panel. We went left and came upon a very muddy area with deep ruts. Thomas continued along and we got stuck, thankfully we put the Jeep in 4L and made it through. After parking we walked the trail to some informational signs and read a little about the area. Then we went in search of Aspen's Crow Canyon Box. It was an easy find and I sat and stamped in while Thomas began looking at all the rock art. After stamping in and putting the box back in place I joined Thomas and we walked the entire trail enjoying all the petroglyphs. I had also brought a box to hide and we were on the lookout for the image I had carved. It didn't take us too long to find it and we searched for a good spot to hide the box in that area. After about 15 minutes the box was in place and Alphabetical New Mexico: C (Crow Canyon) awaits visitors. After taking tons of pictures we returned to the car and we left the parking area. As we came to the muddy part of the road Thomas switched back into 4L. We were doing fine until half way through. We got stuck again and this time we were high centering and nothing Thomas did helped. We found rocks and sticks to put under all four tires to see if that would get him high enough to get out - it didn't, the mud was just too soft and the car just pushed them into the mud. Finally I got out and tried to see what I could do (remember we are 20 miles in the middle of nowhere and no cell service). I noticed that every time Thomas went forward he would bulldoze a pile of mud in front of the car. I made him back up a little and I used my hands and one stick to push all the mud that had piled in front of the car into the ruts and lower the middle as much as I could. After about 1o minutes of this I told Thomas to try and if he got out to just keep going and I would walk up and meet him. IT WORKED! So I walked up the road and met him. My hands and wrists, as well as my shoes, were covered in mud. Luckily we had brought quite a bit of bottle water and I used almost two bottles cleaning off my hands and wrists. Now that we were free we decided to go to the 44 Panel. It was about a mile walk (partially through a wash) but it was worth it. We saw quite a few more petroglyphs and enjoyed the walk. We returned to the car and realized we didn't see a sign for the Big Warrior Panel so on the way out we looked for it but never found it. We made the 20 mile drive back to US64 talking about what a worthwhile drive we had just had (mud and all). Thanks Aspen for getting us out there. But to anyone making this journey I highly recommend a 4WD and a high clearance one at that - you never know what will happen out there with no one around to help.

Back on US64 we were still heading east until we arrived at NM527. We drove north on this road for 11 miles and turned left on Werner Grade road. A few miles up this road we arrived at a sign for Francis Canyon Ruins. We followed four of these signs to a parking area. From the parking lot we followed the .1 mile trail to the ruins. What a great spot - a small set of ruins overlooking a spectacular canyon - absolutely beautiful. I took a few pictures and Thomas explored the ruins. I then went in search of Turtle of the Lake letterbox. A quick find and a quick stamp in so that I could walk around the ruins a little more. This was another bit of a drive but well worth it. I really enjoyed the views, the ruins and the letterbox. From here we wanted to go to Navajo Lake State Park and Astro D had done this trip just a couple of weeks ago and told me that her Garmin sent her over to the dam without having to return all the way back to US64 and making the trip back around. So I punched in Navajo Dam and it told me to follow the way back to US64. Didn't want to do that so I tried again - this time putting in Aztec. No dice. One more time - Navajo Lake. Finally we had something. So we continued in the same direction as we were before detouring to the ruins. For a little while everything was going well then the Garmin started freaking out - he kept telling us to turn right onto US64. That would have been fine if we had been any where near US64. We stopped I turned the Garmin off and the on again, retyped Navajo Lake and again we were on our way and okay. This happened two more times before we finally ended up at the lake. Twice we almost decided to turn around and retrace our path and go back to NM575 and US64. I was glad we didn't because this turned out to be way faster. Once at the lake we drove over the dam and ended up on NM511. Just past the dam we found a little pullout to take a picture of the lake. From this spot you could see the Marina. I decided to hide my Navajo Lake box here at the pullout mainly because I thought the view was wonderful. After hiding my box we descended the dam via NM511 and drove a few miles to NM173. This road took us to Cottonwood Campground so that we could look for one (maybe two) more letterboxes. We found the first one with no problem, it was in a picnic area near the day use area parking right along the San Juan River. After I stamped in here we decide to give the other box a try. This is an older box and I suspected it was missing (I read something on either the Southwest Talklist or the Rocky Mountain Talklist) but I decided since we were here to try. The clues were a little wonky and twice I had to retrace my steps to be in the right spot. The last little bit was confusing - I needed to find a crude path uphill through the brush. There were many paths. I counted the steps and went a little more and checked it out and then went back a little and checked it out. After looking between two large boulders (about 10 pairs of boulders) I decided it was missing (my choice - who knows it may be there and I just didn't look in the right place). I returned to the car and Thomas and I decided to call it a day. We headed back toward Farmington making a stop at one of those car washes with the power wands to get rid of some of the mud - the car was shaking as we drove because of all the mud in the tires. Once the car was rid of most of the mud we stopped and had a bite to eat. Now showered I had logged in my finds and plants and caught up on this blog. Tomorrow we are letterboxing right here in Farmington, no long drives.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Northwest New Mexico Loop - Part I

Thomas and I decided a couple of weeks ago to make a trip to the northwest part of New Mexico. I have been wanting to plant some more of my Alphabetical New Mexico Series and I have also wanted to letterbox in the Farmington area (I have been letterboxing for four and a half years and I haven't been to this area yet). So I mapped out a route and started carving stamps and making boxes. This trip will take us from Santa Fe down to Albuquerque then west on I40 to Gallup. From Gallup we will travel north making a detour into Arizona before ending up in Farmington. To head home we will take NM550 to Cuba and either go through Abiquiu or go through Jemez Springs and Los Alamos. So follow along and see where this trip takes us.

Tuesday, October 26

Today Thomas worked half a day while I got last minute things ready for the trip. Once he got home (after filling the car with gas, getting some cash and picking up a few things for the dogs) we got the car loaded and headed out. It was a little after one 0'clock in the afternoon when we hit the road. The drive was actually very pleasant, we made it through Albuquerque before any rush hour traffic and I40 wasn't too clogged with eighteen wheelers. We really didn't have too much planned, we just needed to be in Gallup tonight so Thomas could attend a meeting tomorrow morning and then our vacation would really begin.

Whenever we travel and visit a National Park I usually get a cancellation stamp from the park. I just stamp it on a scrap piece of paper - I never got one of the Passport books. But for some reason I decided that on this trip I would purchase one of the books and start collecting them that way. So I had mapped out what National Parks and Monuments we would be near and decided that we would stop to get the stamp and visit the area. We got to our first one today - the NW New Mexico Visitor Center near Grants. I purchased a Passport and collected three stamps here - NW New Mexico Visitor Center, El Malpais National Monument and an El Malpais National Monument Bonus Stamp. Once we were done at the Visitor Center we continued on our way.

Since we had left early enough and didn't really have any plans we decided to stop in Thoreau to see Thomas' brother, Bill. Thoreau is small and we weren't sure where Bill lived so we found the Elementary School where he teaches. As we pulled into the parking lot he was walking out of the building. We asked him if he and his two daughters wanted to follow us to Gallup for dinner. He said yes and we went to the High School to pick them up. We drove to Gallup and had a nice dinner and visit, it was good to see them and catch up on things. After dinner they left and we went to the hotel. It was a great afternoon and we are looking forward to the rest of the trip. Incidentally, while at dinner Thomas got a phone call and his meeting was cancelled. So tomorrow we have all day to play in the Gallup area.

Wednesday, October 27

This morning we woke up about 7:00am, we decided since we had all day an alarm wasn't necessary. After dressing and getting things ready we had some breakfast at the hotel. Once we had our fill of nourishment we set out for the day. From Gallup we took NM602 south to its intersection with NM53. This was a pleasant drive and I enjoyed the rock formations along the road. This also took us into Zuni Pueblo land. We turned and headed east on NM 53 leaving Zuni Pueblo land, driving through Ramah, NM to El Morro National Monument. This would be our first visit here. We stopped at the entrance and I got a picture of the sign with the monument in the background and then we continued to the visitor center. We paid our admission fee and got some information from the ranger and then I made sure to get my El Morro National Monument Cancellation Stamp in my Passport before we set out on our hike. There are two hikes here - The Inscription Trail (a half mile loop walk with some minor ups and downs, all paved) and The Headland Trail (a two mile hike that includes The Inscription Trail and takes you up 200 feet to the top of El Morro). We wanted to hike all of it. So we set out with our Inscription Trail Guide following the paved path to the numbered markers. We stopped at each point, read the guide and took in the sights. There are 23 markers along the trail and they point out some of the more interesting inscriptions in the rock. We marveled at how old some of them are, one of the oldest is from Don Juan de Oñate dated 1605. While looking at this one I looked around for a good hiding spot for a letterbox. I placed Alphabetical New Mexico: I (Inscription Rock) near this inscription because the stamp is this inscription. After hiding the box we finished this trail and then continued on to The Headland Trail. We followed the trail as it took us up 200 feet via switchbacks. On the top on El Morro there are fantastic views and it was a perfect day to be up there. We passed the ruins of Atsinna Pueblo and continued along the trail as it descended and made its way back to the visitor center. I really enjoyed visiting this place and was glad we made the trip.

From here we got back on NM53 and headed back west. I had another box to plant - Alphabetical New Mexico: Z (Zuni Pueblo). We had seen a Welcome sign on NM602 and another one on NM53 that announced that you were on Zuni Land. But I felt I wanted to place the box closer to Zuni Pueblo. So we drove into Zuni and looked around. We stopped first at an Historical Marker but it was too desolate and really had no place for a box. We next went to the visitor center and I thought maybe somewhere around there. But there was only one tree and no spot for a box, and there were a few people just 'hanging around' - it didn't feel right. We next went to a museum but it ended in the same results. I found the area to be uninspiring and was disappointed. Thomas and I decided to head back to Gallup and stop at the Welcome sign on NM602. There isn't a pullout here but there is enough of a shoulder to park safely. Even though the box isn't at the Pueblo it is on Zuni land and I felt that the views were better here. I hope it is good enough and that the letterboxers that go and look for this box aren't too disappointed.

After getting this box hidden we finished the trip back to Gallup. I had carved a stamp and made a box to hide at Red Rock Park. I mostly made the box because originally Thomas was suppose to be in a meeting this morning and I would be on my own. I thought it would be nice to spend the morning at this park and get another box hidden. So we made our way to the park and drove around. At first I thought we would hid the box on either the Pyramid Trail or the Church Rock Trail. In the end we found a spot that makes this box a drive by. We placed Red Rock near the park office. We enjoyed driving and walking around the park, especially the views of all the red rock, the view of Church Rock and the Church Rock, NM Post Office. Once this box was in place we were done for the day, but it was still early. We decided a little siesta might be good so we returned to the hotel and rested for a while. Around 5:00pm we decided to go out for a bite to eat. The hotel recommended the Badlands Grill. It was pretty good, we both had steak and baked potatoes and then split a dessert. It was a good day and now that the blog is written I can get a good night's rest, tomorrow will be very busy.

Thursday, October 28

We left Gallup at 7:15am in the dark and with a chilling 19 degree temperature. We drove north on US491 and then headed west on NM264. We arrived in Window Rock and made our way to the window rock that gave the city its name. Here there is a monument to the Navajo Code Talkers and I wanted to visit the monument and also place a letterbox. We walked around the memorial and took pictures (while freezing our butts off), during this time I was also looking for a good spot to hide the box. We eventually located a great spot and now Navajo Code Talkers has a home. From the memorial we drove to the Navajo Nation Museum. I have started collecting the elongated pennies and the museum has a machine with three designs. I got my pennies as soon as we got there and then we walked through the galleries. They have a nice collection of art, jewelry and photographs. They also have a small display about the Navajo Code Talkers. I enjoyed visiting this museum and was happy to get my pennies. It was now time to continue onward - we had a lot planned today.

We continued west on AZ264 to Ganado. We stopped at the Hubbell Trading Post and I found Jukebox Life Lessons #33. I stamped in and loved this stamp - very 'groovy' image! After stamping in and rehiding the box we went into the trading post and looked around. Then we visited the visitor center so I could get my National Park Cancellation stamp. This was a pretty quick stop because we needed to be in Chinle for a guided tour of Canyon de Chelly at noon. So we headed north on US191 toward Chinle. When we arrived we realized we had quite a bit of time before we were to meet our guide. So we decided to look for two letterboxes. We first found Falcon's Nest near Tsaile Public School and after stamping in and rehiding the box we went and found Howdy Man. By the time this second box was back in place it was time to be at the visitor center at Canyon de Chelly. We pulled in and parked and saw our guide pull in. We used Canyon de Chelly Tours which was recommended to us by Astro D. We had booked the tour with Leander but he had some school responsibilities and wasn't able to meet us - instead we got his uncle, Ben. Thomas filled out the permits at the visitor center and I got my Canyon de Chelly stamp and a Canyon de Chelly Bonus stamp. Then we headed out for our tour. We booked a three hour tour because we wanted to make it to Farmington at a decent hour tonight. The tour ended up being about three and a half hours and we got to see Canyon de Chelly and Canyon del Muerto. This was an incredible time. Inside the canyon is spectacular and we got to see so many more things than you can't see from the rim. I highly recommend a guided tour and would go with a private one. We saw tours with trucks that had open seating in the back and it looked like they were packed in. Our guide was very knowledgeable and showed us his family's farm - he spent many of his childhood years living and playing in the canyon. We learned so much history about the canyon and saw tons of ruins in the canyon walls. We also got to see petroglyphs and pictographs. For a little more detail about the tour you can read Astro D's blog post Camping at Canyon de Chelly. When the tour was done we asked our guide what he thought was the best way for us to get to Farmington and then we asked the ranger at the visitor center the same question. We got the same answer from both. So we took their advice and headed out.

To get to Farmington we took Indian Route 64 (which is the North Rim Drive for Canyon de Chelly) to Tsaile. We turned left onto Indian Route 12 and drove about eight miles to Indian Route 13. Here the landscape became spectacular. There were red rock walls all around us. We enjoyed the drive and made several stops for photos before we ascended up Lukachukai Mountain. We drove through ponderosa pines and aspens making our way through Buffalo Pass and finally descending on the other side with incredible views of Shiprock in the distance. The drive on Indian Route 13 took us just south of Shiprock. We turned onto a little dirt road that seemed to lead right up to the huge volcanic rock. We didn't drive that road, we just parked at the beginning and took pictures. From here the drive became just the drive. We turned off of Indian Route 13 onto US491 and passed through Shiprock, NM where we continued on US64 to Farmington. By this time we were hungry so we stopped for a quick bite to eat and then headed to the hotel for the night. We are settled in and looking forward to more adventure tomorrow.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Letterboxing and a Mini Meet in Albuquerque

This afternoon Astro D picked me up at my house and we headed down to Albuquerque. There were a few boxes we wanted to find and then we were meeting a family of letterboxers that were passing through Albuquerque. We talked about Astro D's recent trip to Farmington since I will be leaving on Tuesday for that same area. The trip went fast and before I knew it we were in Albuquerque.

We both noticed that a new box had appeared today on AQ so we decided to head that way first. We made our way to La Luz de Amistad Park. We were here to find one of Twinville Trekkers Beatles Series boxes. This one was called I Wanna Hold Your Hand. Very appropriate as this park has a state with a hand on it. The statue is called Hand of Friendship by Ted Egri. We found the box easily and parked ourselves on a bench to stamp in - it was a little windy so we had to keep hold of all the papers. It was a nice stamp and we got a first finder prize as well. So once the box was back in place we headed off to the old Microsoft Offices so that Astro D could find Fantastyk Voyager's box (I found it a while back). This is a very easy find as long as no one is around. So a Saturday was just perfect and Astro D was able to get the box and stamp in after numerous tries with the area too busy for her to retrieve it. Once that was done we headed to downtown to find two of Wronghat's boxes. All Aboard the RAILRUNNER and KiMo. I already had KiMo but Astro D needed to get it. So after a little searching for a parking spot we followed the clues for All Aboard the RAILRUNNER and found the box. Thankfully the area was pretty quiet and we didn't have to avoid prying eyes. We grabbed the box and walked a little ways away to stamp in. While stamping in we were approached by a man that asked us tons of questions but thankfully he didn't hang around (I was glad we weren't sitting right by the hiding spot). After we stamped in and were ready to rehide the box we had to be much more careful. There were some people hanging around but with Astro D blocking for me I got it back in place safely. From here we walked a few blocks and arrived at the KiMo Theatre. Astro D found this box and we sat so she could stamp in. Once she finished stamping in we got the box rehidden and realized it was time to head over to the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History to meet Wronghat and the Happy SAHD Family. When we arrived we didn't see anyone but a few minutes later Wronghat and Semicolon showed up. We talked for a few minutes and then Wronghat gave Astro D and I clues for a box that he had planted in a nearby park. So while they waited for the Happy SAHD Family we went and looked for the box. It took us a little thinking and working things out but finally got the clues figured out and found the box. This was a little tricky since right near the hiding spot they were having some sort of concert, halloween, costume, dance thingy. There were quite a few people and a lot of them were dressed up as zombies or ghouls. We were able to grab the box and stamp in without drawing attention to ourselves. Rehiding the box was a little tougher. I sat in front of the hiding spot pretending to take pictures while Astro D was able to sneak it back into place. We headed back toward the museum and met up with Wronghat. I think he was concerned that we may not have been able to figure out the clues, but we did. We all returned to the museum and met Happy SAHD, Chesire Cat, Lil' Shamrock and Sodormaniac.

We decided to go and have some dinner and do some exchanges. Wronghat and Semicolon suggested Church Street Cafe. It was a quick walk to the restaurant but they were busy and we could only get two tables that sat four each. Fortunately the tables were next to each other and we were able to visit and get exchanges and personal travelers done. We had a great meal and a wonderful visit. I am always glad when letterboxers passing through New Mexico contact us for a meet. Thanks Happy SAHD, it was nice to meet your family and we hope you have a wonderful time on the rest of your trip.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Tarantula, the State Fair and Two Letterboxes

Thomas had today off so we decided to make a trip to Albuquerque. It's State Fair time here in the Land of Enchantment and we make it a point to go at least one day during the Fair. I also wanted to check on a box on the way so we made the trip going the back way.

We left the house around 10:00am and headed down NM 14. We stopped in Cerrillos at Cerrillos Hills State Park. I needed to make a few changes to one of my boxes there. The Park used to be just a local one and recently it became a State Park. When this happened they changed the brochures and the old ones were needed to find the box. Anyway we checked on the box and made sure the clues were good, once that was done we continued on our way. As we drove down NM 14 we saw quite a few tarantulas crossing the road. I finally made Thomas stop so I could take a picture. He pulled over and I got out and walked over to the tarantula. That little thing moves fast. It left the road and got into the grass and it was hard to see it and get a good picture. So I found a bottle and pushed it back into the road, but it just kept scurrying back into the grass. Eventually I got a picture and we were back on the road.

Once in Albuquerque we headed straight to the Fair. I won't go into all the details but we visited exhibits, saw some animals, walked around the rides and games, and saw a couple of shows. It was a good day to go. It wasn't too busy or crowded so we got to enjoy our day. Once we had seen all we wanted to we left the Fair and went on the search for two letterboxes.

The first one was off Rio Grande Blvd. at the Gail Ryba Recreational Trail Bridge. We parked and took our walk following the clues. We found all the landmarks and quickly found the box. We sat and stamped in with a view of the Rio Grande and the Sandias. It was another great Wronghat stamp and box - thanks big guy. Oh, and I was the first finder! After getting the box back into place we left the area and made our way to Montano and the Pueblo Montano Trail. I was here about a month ago to find another box and I love this area. There are all these dead trees that were carved by chainsaw into different animals and a fireman by Mark Chavez. The box we found was Chainsaw Bear and was another quick find. I retrieved the box and stamped in at a picnic table. A nice stamp in a very relaxing place - I enjoyed finding this box. I rehid it and it was time for us to make our way back to Santa Fe. We had a great day in Albuquerque and enjoyed the two letterboxes we found.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Labor Day Letterboxing

Since Thomas had the holiday off we decided to do a little letterboxing and explore an area of the State we haven't been to in a while. So we started out very early this morning as this had to be a day trip because we both have to work tomorrow.

We left Santa Fe and headed north on I25. We drove for a while and then took Exit 387 to Wagon Mound. We continued our trip on NM120 to Roy. This was actually a very nice drive - at one point we descended into a little canyon with incredible views and crossed the Canadian River and then started back up a little before we entered Roy. It was still early when we arrived in Roy and the town was still asleep. We only saw one car moving and there was nothing open on the main street. At this point we turned north onto NM39 and traveled a short distance to Mills Canyon Road. Here we took a left and continued our journey to Mills Canyon. Once we left NM39 the road was dirt and gravel. The first part was pretty well maintained but the closer we got to the canyon the road became rougher. And as the road descended into the canyon it became rougher still. I would definitely recommend a 4WD or AWD vehicle with pretty good clearance. We drove to the end and arrived at the remains of the Orchard Ranch Headquarters. The drive was long and out of the way and we ended up in the middle of nowhere but I loved every mile and minute of it. Being at the bottom of the canyon near the Canadian River was spectacular. We walked around the ruins and I took some pictures, and then I hid a letterbox. This new box is another in my Alphabetical New Mexico Series - the letter "O" for Orchard Ranch. After about an hour in the canyon and with the box hidden we made our way out of the canyon and back to NM39.

We continued our trip headed north on NM39 to the intersection with NM56 where my New Mexico map told me I would arrive in Abbott. But when we got there we only found trees and grass, no town. Anyway we turned right and headed east on NM56 making our way to Clayton. When we arrived in Clayton we stopped to fill the car with gas and then found something to eat. Once the car and ourselves were full we continued our little adventure. Last year in October Astro D placed a box for me in the Clayton Cemetery. It was my "K" box. I didn't hear anything from this box until April of this year when I was notified that the box wasn't where it was supposed to be and that the stamp was missing. I have been thinking about this box a lot. The note I received stated that people were logging into the log book as though the box was a geocache. I have come to believe that either geocachers are ignorant, stupid or just plain don't care. There were three places on my letterbox stating it was a letterbox and they still didn't get it. So we arrived at the cemetery and found "Black Jack's" grave and my box directly behind it sitting in the same hole covered by the same rock as a geocache. Now the geocache was empty except for a scrap of paper - they literally had turned my box into the geocache. I took my box with all the junk in it and my logbook and left the geocache. We then looked for another hiding spot for the new box that I had with me. Before actually picking a spot I double checked all the trees and bushes around just to make sure there were no other geocaches. I hope my search was good and that this doesn't happen again. So "Black Jack" Ketchum is active again. We left the cemetery and headed north(ish) on US87 to NM370 to Clayton Lake Road (State Road 455) and we entered Clayton Lake State Park. We made our way to the Nature Trail to find Stormcrow's Clayton Lake box. We had a nice, short walk along the lake (although we couldn't see it because of the trees) and next to some great rock formations. We arrived at the landmark quickly and found the box without any problems. We stamped in while sitting on a bench in the shade of a rock outcropping. As I stamped in I celebrated another milestone - this makes 1900 finds. When the stamping and celebrating was done we rehid the box and made our way back to the car. On our way out of Clayton we stopped at the Eklund Hotel. I wanted to see this historic landmark. But when we approached the door we realized that the place was closed and it looked like it was up for sale. There was a Sotheby's sign in the window and a note on the door about being sorry for the inconvenience. I was a little bummed - I wanted to see the interior of this place. Oh well, time to continue on.

We returned on NM56 and when we reached mile marker 24 we pulled off the road into a little roadside picnic area with two historical markers. One for View of the Rockies and the other was for the Dorsey Mansion. From the picnic area we took Dorsey Road headed north. This is a gravel road that goes for about 12 miles to the Dorsey Mansion. Unfortunately the mansion is no longer open to the public but I wanted a box here for my Alphabetical New Mexico Series. At the gate for the mansion we turned left and drove a little ways so that we were parked in front of the mansion - not right in front, it was quite a ways away but there was still a good view. Here is where I hid the box. So now "D" is out there. Now that the box was in place and I got to see the mansion we backtracked to NM56. I wanted to make one more stop before heading home to Santa Fe. When we reached Springer we turned onto Summit St. and made our way to the Mills Mansion. This was the home (at least for a little while) of Melvin W. Mills - Mills Canyon and Orchard Ranch. It looked like it could have been a beautiful place at one time, but it is very poor condition now. So we had a very full day and drove to some very out of the way places. But it was an incredible day - we learned a lot about the history of the northeast section of New Mexico and saw some beautiful landscape. I know that the boxes I placed today will probably not see much action. But for those willing to take the time and make the journey you will be rewarded with some incredible history and a very beautiful view of New Mexico.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Dining with the Beatles

Last weekend I spent a day in Albuquerque looking for all the letterboxes that had been planted this summer and I thought I might have time to head to Tijeras and Edgewood to find two others- but alas, I ran out of time. So today Thomas and I decided a road trip was in order.

We headed down NM14 (The Turquoise Trail) and made our way to Tijeras. It was an uneventful drive as it was still early and virtually no traffic. In fact as we drove through Madrid we did not see one person out and about. From Tijeras we headed south on NM337 about nine miles to the Oak Flat Picnic Grounds. The parking area we needed wasn't open yet so we parked just outside the gate, gathered our things and headed out. We followed the Twinville Trekkers' clues and found the "concrete herd". (I have never seen so many of these in one place.) We continued following the clues and continued going in circles until we were Dizzy like Miss Lizzy. We located the box and found a spot to sit. I opened the box and realized I was the First Finder - woohoo! I thought for sure either Fantastyk Voyager or Wronghat would have beat me to it. Anyway, I stamped in and then replaced the box. We made our way back to the car (passing landmarks that we had already seen two or three times). So we left Oak Flats and headed to our next destination.

From Tijeras we drove down NM333 (Old Route 66) to Edgewood. It was a nice, pleasant drive and we arrived at the Red Arrow Campground and the Redtop Diner. I took a few pictures before looking for the box. The diner is so tiny - it looked like maybe only six or seven people could eat in there at a time. So I found the box but in order to get it I had to fight with a pyracantha bush. Unfortunately, the bush one because by the time I had the box I had gotten stuck three times. I took the box back to the car to stamp in. Once I was done I carefully put the box back in place. This brought us to the end of our letterboxing activities.

We continued down Route 66 to Moriarty and decided to stop for lunch at El Comedor de Anayas. We always enjoy this place - the food is pretty good and consistent and they are always friendly. After eating we drove up NM41 through Stanley to Santa Fe. It was a fantastic way to spend a Saturday morning.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday Letterboxing in the Duke City

All summer long new letterboxes have been popping up all over 'The Duke City'. So, I have been planning a day when I could go and find these boxes as well as check on some of my boxes. So this past week I mapped out the boxes I could find and intermingled those with my boxes I wanted to check on. I also had carved a new stamp and made a new box for my Koi Fish letterbox. I had all my things ready before I went to bed last night so that when I woke up this morning I could get on the road quickly. And that is just what I did. I was heading to Albuquerque by 7:00am and looking forward to a day of letterboxing.

I usually try and plan a route so that I am not backtracking but as usual things happen. It was nothing bad but I had to backtrack for one box at the end. But it wasn't too out of the way. So as I entered Albuquerque I exited I25 onto Montano. My first stop was the Pueblo Montano Trail and the Coyote del Bosque letterbox. As I drove down Montano I could see hot air balloons in the sky and as I drove into the parking lot I noticed how many cars were there already. I grabbed my things and started down the trail hoping that I would be able to grab the box. The box was only a short ways down the trail but it took me about 20 minutes to get to it. I stopped and took pictures of the balloons and there were all these dead trees that had been carved (by chainsaw) by Mark Chavez. The sculptures were incredible and I took tons of pictures. I finally arrived at the box and thankfully no one was around. So it was an easy retrieve and stamping in was no problem. The box was rehidden and I was on my way to the next box. I returned the way I had come on Montano and I stopped for the next box but the place didn't open until 10:00am so here is where I had to backtrack. I continued along Montano to my next stop. The Tree of Life. The letterbox and the mosaic art piece. This was at a very busy corner and next to a Dunkin Donuts. I parked behind the donut place and walked to the sculpture. I took a few pictures then followed the clues to the box. It was hidden in a bush off to the side of the sculpture, but the only problem is that the cars in the drive up at Dunkin Donuts are looking right at you as they order. So I had to wait for a few minutes and then I was able to get the box. I didn't actually have to search for the box because I could see it by just walking around the bush. So I reached in when the coast was clear and grabbed it. I took it to a bench and stamped in. When I rehid it I made sure it couldn't be seen and that took moving the branches of the bush and reaching in a little further. By the time I finished hiding the box I was covered with scent. The bush was rosemary and both my arms had been rubbbing the branches - so all day I smelled like rosemary - I had this horrible thought of being roasted like a chicken. But as the day went on either I got used to it or it faded because I stopped smelling it eventually. Okay, it was time to move on. I drove to my Urban Forest box to replace the logbook (I had gotten a couple of notes that it was full). I found the box and put the new logbook in it. After I put the box back in place I looked at the old logbook. It was full except that the backs of the pages could have been used - I guess it doesn't matter now that the new one is in place. Now to check on a box that had been reported missing. I went to UNM and made my way to the duck pond. I went to the area and looked for the box but just as I was getting started some people showed up and sat nearby. I checked the area the best I could with that group watching and came up empty handed. It was never hard to find the box so I decided it was missing - no problem I had made a new one. I walked around for over a half hour looking for a better place. I found a spot but I am not sure if it is better - maybe just different. Anyway, it has been replanted and I have updated the clues. I had one more of my boxes to check on - Roosevelt. I arrived at Roosevelt Park and went to the tree the box is hidden in. I couldn't look for it because there were so many people around playing disc golf and a man sitting on a bench looking right in my direction. I scanned the tree and walked around it but I was unable to see the box. I decided to leave and I'll check on it another time.

Now I headed off to find Chevy on a Stick. This box is hidden near an art piece titled "Cruising San Mateo I" on a very busy street corner. I was glad it was Sunday. I walked around and took pictures and then went to find the box. I located the rock hiding the box and I looked around - there was no one. So I kicked the rock out of the way and then pushed the pouch with my foot a little ways away before picking it up. I stamped in on a bench and enjoyed the wonderful Wronghat carving. Luckily when I was done there was still no one around so it made hiding the box easy. I put the pouch in the spot I found it and then covered it with pine needles and then put the rock over it and threw more pine needles over the rock. I think it should be safe . The next box gave me a little history lesson about a well known computer company. The box is called Micro-Soft (It's Not Ice Cream!) and it is placed near the building where Microsoft was first started. I easily found the box and took it back to my car to stamp in. I enjoyed this box and learning a little bit of trivia but I still had more to find, so I continued on. So I headed downtown for my next box - KiMo. This box is hidden off Central by the Kimo Theatre. I always enjoy walking around this area. I took my time and took some pictures before following the clues and finding the box. I found a nice spot to sit and stamp in and then rehid the box in its spot. I spent a little more time walking around before heading back to the car. The next box was at the Rio Grande Zoo. It wasn't in the zoo just in the parking lot. It was a busy day at the zoo and the parking lot was full and there were people all over. I had to wait about 10 minutes to get the box and I took it to a shady spot to stamp in. A nice little carving of a panda bear (which really isn't a bear) and I loved the name of the box - Panda and the Poo. When trying to hide the box it took me a little time again waiting for a clear window of opportunity. Once I did get it back in its home I headed out to the Aquarium. Now I was searching for another of the Twinville Trekker's Beatles Series - Octopus' Garden. Again this place was busy and there were two people parked and sitting right at the hiding spot. I went through the boxes I had found and noted the ones I needed to find and then had a little snack. Finally the area was clear and I retrieved the box - the stamp was a nice carving of a cute little octopus. I took it back to the car and stamped in. Rehiding the box was easy as no one was around. On to the next box.

I made my way to Martineztown and Longfellow Park. This park has a sculpture by Luiz Jimenez called Southwest Pieta. The park was empty and it made it easy to find the box. I followed the clues and found the box. I sat on a stone wall under a tree and stamped in. This box marks my 3ooth find in the state of New Mexico. I liked the park and found quite peaceful and relaxing. After I stamped in and rehid the box I took a few pictures and returned to the car. The next box was just a few block away at New Heart, a cardiac rehab facility. Kind of a boring spot. Just a business area - parking lot, standard building and the road right on the side of the building. I didn't waste too much time here. The stamp was simple and I am not really sure what it is and the area did nothing for me. So I quickly stamped in and put the box back in its hidey hole and I was on my way. So it was back to Montano and the Unser Racing Museum. They were open and I only saw two cars in the parking lot. I followed the clues to the back of the building and parked. I felt a little conspicuous. There were no other cars back here and really nothing to see so I couldn't fake taking pictures if someone came out and asked me what I was doing. I kind of walked around trying to follow the clues without looking weird. I found the box and looked around - no one watching me - so I took it back to the car and stamped in. I didn't waste time rehiding the box and then made my way back to the front. I parked and took pictures and then I organized all my clues and letterboxing stuff so that the car wasn't a complete mess. I was done and ready to return to Santa Fe. I had a great day in the Duke City and thanks to all the letterboxers who placed boxes for us to find.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Lunch and Library

The Santa Fe letterboxers (Astro D, rubberpeace and myself) haven't had a chance to get together in a while. So we planned for lunch today. That way we could talk about rubberpeace's trip to Maine and Iowa, my trip to Maine and Astro D's upcoming trip to California. We were also joined by Rita to make up a nice little lunch group. We met downtown at Rooftop Pizzeria. We had a great lunch and visit. We sat outside on the patio and enjoyed a wonderful Santa Fe Summer day. We discussed our trips, recent letterboxes planted in and around the Santa Fe and Albuquerque areas and we talked about making logbooks. We met up right about noon and Rita needed to leave around 1:00pm and rubberpeace said her goodbyes not long after. As for Astro D and I we stayed and chatted for a while. If you talk to our significant others they would tell you that we could talk the day away and I guess that they would be right. Because Astro D and I didn't leave the restaurant until 3:45pm. It was such a relaxing afternoon and we talked about getting together to make logbooks and do other crafts. But as usual all good things must come to an end. We both had errands to run and still get home in time for dinner, so we said goodbye and headed off to our other duties.

This morning I had a list of errands to run before lunch and I got almost everything done. But after lunch I really needed to get one last errand done and I also wanted to stop and get a letterbox that rubberpeace had placed at the beginning of this month. I was so busy getting things ready for the trip to Maine that I couldn't get it before the trip and since I've been back I have been too busy to go and find it - until today. And the rest of the week is busy so I really wanted to find it today. So after leaving downtown I made my way to the LaFarge Branch of the Santa Fe Public Library. I parked and followed the clues and quickly found the box - Open a Book. It was a great carving (and I am pretty sure it was carved by rbrhorno) and the logbook was incredible. It had a little pocket on the inside cover with a little check out card, just like a real library book. It was a pleasure finding this box - thanks rubberpeace and rbrhorno. I stamped in and then rehid the box. Now I had to run my last errand - one that I don't like doing - going grocery shopping. Thankfully we only needed a few things and I was in and out and on my way home in no time. It was a great day and I got quite a few things done, had a fantastic visit with friends and found a letterbox - can't ask for more than that.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Another Adventure Comes to an End

Well, we made it home safe and sound. It was a long day of nothing but airports and airplanes. We both like to travel but we also look forward to being back in our own home. The trip was fantastic and we had a really good time. We saw some amazing places and things and we now have tons of new memories. On this trip I added three new states to my total of states letterboxed in, I surpassed 1800 finds during this trip and I got to see two State Capitols that I had never seen before. So it was a very worthwhile trip.

The luggage is all unpacked but the laundry still hasn't been done. I also need to go through a week's worth of mail and pay some bills. And there are a few things we picked up during the trip and I need to deal with those. Hopefully I will get all of that done tomorrow so that Monday we can start the week fresh. I did manage to go through all my photos and put together a slide show of the trip. Just click on the picture to see it. And to read all about the trip just go to The Maine Event.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

The Maine Event

Hi all, just dropping a line to let you know we are headed to the Northeast early tomorrow morning. Thomas and I are going to Maine for the Maine's Nautical Past letterboxing event on Saturday. Here is the website for the event. After the event we will drive the coast of Maine to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. Our trip will also take us to Vermont and New Hampshire. I am really looking forward to this trip. This area has been on my 'To Visit' list for a long time. You can follow our adventures by going to The Maine Event blog. I will try and post something each day to document the trip. You can also go to Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire to see the letterboxes I find. This trip will add three new states that I have letterboxed in which will bring my total to 24. When we get back I will put together a slide show of the trip.

Friday, July 30, 2010

A Letterboxing Outing

Today Astro D and I took a little road trip to find a few of Wronghat's boxes. It was a bit of a drive but turned out to be a fantastic day. I met her at her house early and we headed out. We drove from Santa Fe to Bernalillo and then headed north on US550/NM44 in the direction of Cuba. Our first stop was just a few miles south of San Ysidro near the Ojito Wilderness. Our actual stop was the White Mesa Bike Trails. After parking we took the short walk up the trail to the letterbox. Once we found the box we found a place to sit. We stamped in while having a great view of Cabezon Peak in the distance. This was another nice box from Wronghat and Semicolon. After rehiding the box we headed back to the parking lot and continued on our little road trip. We continued on US550/NM44 to just before San Ysidro and stopped at the Perea Nature Trail. I already had found this box but Astro D still needed to find it. So we had a nice walk down the trail. While Astro D found the box and stamped in I just walked around and enjoyed the views and took pictures. With the box back in place we headed back to the car. Our road trip took us still further north on US550/NM44, through the town of Cuba and beyond (well actually we just made it to between mile markers 108 & 109). There is a pullout here with some beautiful rock formations (described in the clue as 'castles') and this is where we found the box. It was pretty easy to find the box and we took it back to the car to stamp in. We both decided that we love Wronghat's carvings, they just keep getting better. We rehid the box and decided to call it a day. We returned home via a more scenic route - NM96. This road begins just north of Cuba at US550/NM44 and goes to just north of Abiquiu at US84. It was a great day except for about 20 minutes when it rained so hard we could barely see fifty feet in front of us. But we survived and the weather cleared up. Thanks Astro D for a nice day and thanks to Wronghat for some great boxes.

Oh, I forgot to mention that Astro D celebrated her 5th letterboxing anniversary today - Congrats! my letterboxing buddy.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Turquoise Trail

Last night Thomas and I decided we wanted to do a little letterboxing and hiking this morning. So I checked what was available and got everything together. We decided to try for three more of the Twinville Trekkers' Beatles Series. So that meant a trip down the Turquoise Trail to Cedar Crest. I also wanted to get another of my Alphabetical New Mexico Series planted - 'T'.

We left the house a little before 7:00am and headed out. I always like driving NM14 - it is a great drive and it sure beats the traffic on I25. As we drove I kept my eye out for a good spot to plant my box - we would stop on the way home and hide it. It didn't take us long to get to the trailhead in Cedar Crest. The boxes are hidden in the John A. Milne/Gutierrez Canyon Open Space. We gathered out things and headed down the trail. We enjoyed a great walk, it was cool in the canyon areas. It was quiet and peaceful (when we parked there were no other cars). We followed TT's clues and eventually came to the first box. We found it and sat and stamped in - a very nice stamp and a first finder certificate. Once the box was in place we read the next clues and then continued along the trail. We walked until we came to the next landmark- a arrow with red letters. We followed the clues and in no time had the second box in our hands. I found a shady spot to sit and stamp in. The stamp was really good and there was a first finder certificate and a surprise (a dish towel with a rooster on it). We rehid the box and made our way back to the main trail and followed the clues to the next box. We enjoyed our walk through trees, along arroyos and by meadows. There were quite a few wildflowers along the way. We arrived at the next landmark - a very large ponderosa pine. From there it was only a few short steps to the letterbox. We sat and stamped in and enjoyed our surroundings. I collected another nice stamp and another first finder certificate and another surprise (this time it was a horseshoe - how lucky is that). We rehid the box and the hunting was complete. We still had a little way to go to return to our car. We did encounter a very strange cairn. It was composed of rocks and a creepy little baby doll. So we made it back to the car and talked about how this was a great way to begin the weekend and a great way to spend a Saturday morning. I do have to confess something. I was a little nervous during the hike. TT stated that this is an area that is frequented by mountain lions and bears. And with all the news about bear sightings and attacks in this area I was a little worried. Thankfully we didn't encounter anything ferocious. Here is a little pamphlet I came across that might help you deal with bears when you are out in the wilderness. It is called Be Bear Aware.

It was still early when we got to the car so we stopped and had some breakfast at a cafe right next to the trailhead. Fat Boy Café was pretty good - we had breakfast and coffee and talked about our hike.

Time to head back to Santa Fe and find a spot to hide my box. Thomas and I had picked two potential spots. As we approached the first one we decided to keep going and plant the box at the other spot we found. I felt that it had better views. So we placed the box, wrote the clues and took some pictures. So another letter (T) in my Alphabetical New Mexico series is planted. That makes 14 of the 26 boxes placed. I guess I have a little more work to do. We had a nice drive back home and made it back well before noon. It was a great outing and we really enjoyed ourselves. Thanks Twinville Trekkers for some great boxes in a great area and thanks for the little surprises in the boxes.
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