This blog chronicles my letterboxing adventures. It includes posts that share my travels that are letterboxing related, the letterboxes I have found and planted as well as the people I have met along the way. There are also photos included to help give a complete picture of the fun I had.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Which Way . . .

. . . wind, fire, burros, ghost, zigging & zagging into the middle of New Mexico.

Today Astro D and I took a trip south. We started at my house and headed south on NM 14 then took County Road 42 to Galisteo. We continued on NM 41 until we reached the town of Stanley (home of former NM Governor Bruce King). Here we stopped at a sign post on the side of the road with quite a few street names on it all pointing in different directions. Astro D found Fantastyk Voyager's Which Way From Here? letterbox. While she stamped in I took some pictures until I noticed a sign that said "Please don't take pictures of this property.", so I went back to the car and waited for Astro D to rehide the stamp. And then we continued on our trip.

We stayed on NM 41 until we connected with US 60. We drove along US 60 only a short distance to Willard, where we made a turn onto NM 42. A few miles down this road we came to a mesa covered with wind mills. We stopped at the gate with the 'W' to find Twinville Trekkers' Wind Power letterbox. Neither Astro D nor I had found this one. We read the clues and found the box - we took it back to the car to stamp in. Once we were done the box was put back into its hiding spot and we were able to continue along.

Still on NM 42 we drove to Corona. At this point we turned onto US 54 and headed for Carrizozo. We had a nice drive and had a nice chat and visit. We arrived in Carrizozo at the junction with US 380. Turning onto US 380 we drove a few miles to Valley of Fires Recreation Area where we found Twinville Trekkers' Valley of Fires letterbox. It was an easy find right near the entrance sign for the park. We stamped in at the car and then rehid the box. We walked to an area with lots of lava rock and took some pictures then returned to the car and headed back to Carrizozo.

We made our way to Twelfth St. (The Book of Eli was filmed on this street.) where there are lots of painted burros and some galleries. We looked for and found The Spinning Burro and a Tiny Little Burro placed by Tulie Boxers and WadeCat. We sat in a little alcove with a bench, tree and burro to stamp in. We enjoyed these boxes and after we stamped in and replaced the box we decided to walk along the street and take pictures of all the burros. By this time we were hungry and decided to look for a place to eat. Just a block over from the burros we found a tiny little Mexican restaurant. The food was good and we relaxed and talk and had a good time. After a nice meal we were ready to head back north.

We returned to US 54 and headed to NM 349 and the ghost town of White Oaks. Astro D wanted to look for two of my Alphabetical New Mexico Boxes (M and W). We first stopped at the Cedarvale Cemetery and she found William McDonald. While she stamped in I walked around the cemetery and took pictures. After she was done and the box was back in its hiding spot she looked around the cemetery and took pictures. After a little while we headed into White Oaks and drove up to the schoolhouse where Astro D found the White Oaks letterbox. She stamped in and rehid the box. A few pictures later we were back on NM 349 and then US 54.

We drove on US 54 to the junction of NM 55 where we made our next turn. We continued on this road until we were in the middle of New Mexico. Unfortunately Astro D wasn't able to look for this box because there were a bunch of people in front of the building and they looked at us as soon as we pulled over and stopped. We decided it wasn't worth looking for the box and continued our journey along NM 55. We were zigging and zagging along until we found Twinville Trekkers' Zig Zag letterbox. I already had this one so I just walked around until Astro D was done stamping in and the box was rehidden.

Well, that was the last box of the day and it was time to head home to Santa Fe. It was another great day of letterboxing in the Land of Enchantment. Thanks Astro D for a fun day and thanks to all the letterboxers who hid boxes for us to find.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

US 550 & NM 4

Thomas and I had such a great time hiking and letterboxing in the Sandias and Cedar Crest/Tijeras areas that we decided to take another letterboxing trip today. We decided to drive to Bernalillo and drive up NM 550 to Cuba then head back down to San Ysidro and take NM 4 through Jemez Springs to Los Alamos. This drive took us on most of the Jemez Mountain Trail. So here is how the day went.

We left Santa Fe about 7:00am and made our way to US 550 and the town of Bernalillo. Our destination was the Jemez Canyon Dam. It was a nice quiet drive along Tamaya Blvd. which ends at the Jemez Canyon Dam Overlook. The views from here were wonderful and you could see Cabezon Peak in the distance, although there was no water in the reservoir. I was surprised to find that there were quite a few people around. There were two people at one of the picnic tables and there were three cyclists hanging out in the parking lot and there was a family at another picnic table. So we walked around and took some pictures and casually made our way to where the letterbox was hidden. We sat on the rocks and took more pictures and then just slipped the letterbox out from its hiding spot. I loved the stamp! After stamping in we rehid the box and left. By this time everyone else had left except for the two people at one of the picnic tables. Back on US 550 we continued north to San Ysidro. We turned into the parking area for the Perea Nature Trail. We headed down the trail following the clues. It was a wonderful trail - we saw lots of lizards, some wildflowers and a cute little snake (I say that because he was pretty small, maybe a foot in length and he didn't have a rattle) as we made our way to the letterbox hiding spot. The area where the box is hidden was a little gem. There is a bench under a big cottonwood tree and when sitting on the bench you have a fantastic view of Blanco Mesa and behind you there is beautiful little meadow. I enjoyed sitting here while stamping in - it was extremely relaxing and I think Wronghat and Semicolon hit a home run here. The stamp was excellent and the area was beautiful - I really loved looking for this box. Our journey continued up 550 to Cuba (at first we weren't going to go that far but changed our mind at the last minute) and a pullout for the Continental Divide. We parked and read the clues - I got out my compass and started my search. Standing at the first landmark I set my compass to the degrees noted in the clue and took the specified number of steps. I ended up in the spot I was supposed to be. So the next compass direction and steps put me a little off trail and the next set of degrees and steps put me in the middle of a bunch of pinons and junipers. The last compass degrees had me looking for a tree with three rocks in front of it. Nothing! We could not find the box. We searched around the area and looked in most of the pinons but couldn't find the box. We went back to the beginning and tried again - twice!. Each time we ended up in a little different area but still amongst the trees. I finally broke down and decided to use one of my lifelines - I phoned a friend - Astro D. I didn't get in touch with her so I left a message. Thomas and I decided to go into Cuba and have some lunch and see if Astro D would call us back. Just as we were getting to the restaurant she called and gave us a little insight into finding the box. So after eating we went back and found the box easily. I am not sure if I was reading my compass wrong or if my compass is just plain wonky but we were no where near the box and if it hadn't been for Astro D I don't think we would have found it.

Now it was time to drive back to San Ysidro and head down NM 4 (Jémez Mountain Trail National Scenic Byway). Soon after we turned onto NM 4 we saw a beautiful little church - so we stopped to take pictures. Then we continued on our way. The drive along NM 4 is beautiful. Lots of rock formations, tall pines and scenic little villages. We next stopped at Jemez State Monument. We paid our fees and headed down the Ruins Trail. The trail goes in and around The Village of Giusewa ruins. It was pretty impressive and I enjoyed the walk. There was another reason for stopping here - I wanted to place a letterbox and before we left we did just that. We placed "J" - Jemez State Monument. Time to continue our journey. We drove along until we reached Battleship Rock. We drove in and parked near the picnic area, but that isn't why we were here. We were here to hike to the McCauley Warm Springs and to find a letterbox of the same name. The picnic area was full - lots of people everywhere. We couldn't find an envelope at the pay site so we found a ranger and paid him. We also asked a few questions. There seemed to be a little 'something' in the air. The ranger informed us there was a mountain lion sighting in the back picnic area. So we asked if it was safe to hike to the Springs. He told us it was and that the trail started in the back of the picnic area (where the mountain lion was?). Somehow that information either didn't register or we just weren't thinking because we headed in that direction and started up the trail. Fortunately there were other people around the trailhead and even a little ways up the trail so we felt okay. Soon though we were the only ones around. I think I kept my radar up and was constantly looking around just to be safe, all I could think about was the show Six Feet Under when the hiker gets attacked by a mountain lion. So just in case you are out hiking here are some Mountain Lion Safety Tips. We had a wonderful hike (although it was a little hard) and enjoyed the peace and quiet. We ended up passing only four people on the hike and met up with a family at the Springs. There were some beautiful orange wildflowers so I took pictures for a little while until the family headed out. Now we were the only two people there, so I could look for the letterbox without anyone being nosy. We found it and I sat and stamped in and then rehid the box. It was such a beautiful area so we walked around the Springs and I took some pictures and we enjoyed the peacefulness. About 20 minutes later about five people showed up and we decided to head back down the trail. The hike down was uneventful and when we reached the picnic area it had cleared out and was almost empty. It was almost 6:00pm and we decided it was time to call it a day and head back to Santa Fe. I didn't get to do all that was planned because we spent more time at a couple of spots that were so beautiful. So we are planning another trip in about a week to the area to look for two more letterboxes and to plant one more.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Letterboxes and Wildflowers

Earlier this week Thomas and I decided we wanted to get out this weekend and do some hiking and look for a few letterboxes. So this morning once we were up and had breakfast and coffee we loaded the car and headed off to Albuquerque. Well, it wasn't exactly Albuquerque. We drove the Turquoise Trail (NM 14) until we reached the Sandia Crest Highway (NM 536). We turned right onto NM 536 and drove 11 miles to the parking area for the 10K Trail. There are two parking areas - one on the right for the 10K North and one on the left for the 10K South. We parked on the left. After gathering our things we started down the 10K South Trail. It was an incredible walk. Plenty of trees to keep us cool, lots of beautiful wildflowers and lots of peace and quiet. Almost immediately we started seeing wildflowers, they were everywhere and we continued to see wildflowers throughout the day. We saw Rocky Mountain Iris, Deers Ears, New Mexico Locust, Red Penstemon, Apache Plume, Baneberry, Yarrow, Western Wallflower, Red Columbine, Golden Pea and Prickly Pear. So what should have been short hikes turned into long hikes because I stopped to take so many pictures - click on the Prickly Pear to see the slideshow. Just a little ways up the trail we encountered a group of six people that were on a wildflower walk (that is how we found out about some of the wildflower names) - it is called Celebrating Wildflowers. They have them every Saturday and they start at 9:00am. They meet at different areas in the Albuquerque area and are guided tours. For more information you can go to the Sandia Ranger District website and scroll down to the box titled Sandia Mountain Happenings. So now lets find some letterboxes.

To find the first letterbox we were looking for we hiked a little over a half mile we arrived at the Sandia Peak Ski runs. More specifically the Double Eagle ski run. Once we reached this point we had to figure some things out and it involved math. We didn't have to solve any equations or anything like that but we did have to know a little about triangles. We read the clues and started to think (yes, we can think). We figured out what we needed to do and headed to the area we thought was were the box was hidden. We were in the right place but it took us a little while to find the box - it was a little confusing. So with 2E * 10^4 in our hands we found a place to sit so we could stamp in. Turned out we were the first finders and we picked up the Lemon Shark Hitchhiker as well. After stamping in and rehiding the box we started out for the next box. We decided to hike up the Double Eagle ski run to the Sandia Peak Tram station.There was a little trail that headed up the ski run along the south edge. It was quite a climb but worth it. The next box we were looking for was the Sandia Peak Tram by Twinville Trekkers. So we found the 2 spheres, the cube and the submarine, followed the directions and headed down the Nature Trail. Then we ended up on the Gravel Pit Trail and found the box. A very nice stamp that really represents the box. We stamped in, rehid the box and then decided to check on two other boxes that are hidden in the area. We found Kantexan's Lost Texan #9 - which I have noticed is no longer listed on either AQ or LbNA - don't know why, it is alive and well. Oh, I just found it in the LbNA basement and noticed that the clues are a little off. But just know that the box is hidden by that log - you just may have to look a little. We also checked on Wanda and Pete's Sandia Picnic, which we were unable to find. It has been a while since I found that box but I am pretty sure we were looking in the right place. I am sad that this one is missing because the view from the hiding spot is spectacular. We returned to the tram area and decided lunch was in order. So we stopped in at the High Finance Restaurant. We both had hamburgers and onion rings (we figured we deserved after our climb up the mountain). After eating I took some pictures and then we headed back down the ski run to the 10K trail and eventually back to the car. It was a beautiful day on the mountain and there were some great views and wildflowers.

We drove back down NM 536 and turned right onto NM 14. We headed to Tijeras and more specifically Canyon Estates and the South Crest Trail #130. Our mission was to find the Poecile gambeli Letterbox. We parked and headed up the trail, and thankfully it was only a short walk (we were both pretty tired from our morning hike). We saw some wildflowers and ended up at a small waterfall. It was nice seeing this waterfall (we don't have many in NM) and enjoyed the area. We made our way up to the top of the waterfall and followed the directions to the box. We found it easily and found a nice shady spot to sit and stamp in. Once I finished stamping in we rehid the box and I took some pictures. Then we headed back to the parking lot. We redrove our route and headed back down NM 14. We stopped for one last box near the San Antonio Church. This was a drive-by and an easy find. I stamped in, rehid the box and we were off back down NM 14 headed home to Santa Fe. We got home, had some dinner and relaxed for a little bit. I have gotten my finds logged in and got this post written. Thomas and I had a great day and enjoyed all four of the letterboxes we found - thanks to all who placed them.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Day in Los Alamos

The trip today happened because Astro D wanted to attend the Salvage Sale at the Labs. About two weeks ago Astro D, rubberpeace and I did a little letterboxing in Cerrillos and we planned for a trip today to Los Alamos to attend the sale and to do more letterboxing. Plans changed a little when rubberpeace decided on an impromptu trip to Maine. So the trip was on but minus one.

I arrived at Astro D's house around 9:00am and after a little visit we headed out. We had a nice, relaxing drive and made our first stop at the PlayLot. I was looking for Oppenheimer. Astro D carved a stamp that depicted New Mexico for GreenJello who is planting a series called Hello from the United States. In return for that stamp GreenJello sent Astro D a stamp to plant in New Mexico and that stamp was Oppenheimer. It was just a short walk down the trail but it was in a beautiful spot overlooking a canyon. I sat and stamped in and enjoyed the beautiful morning. The stamp was a wonderful carving and Astro D found the perfect spot for it. It was a great way to start the day. From here we headed to The Black Hole to find The Black Hole. This was only a few blocks from the Oppenheimer box. We parked in front of The Black Hole followed the clues, counted the rocks and found the box. We took it back to the car to stamp in. It was a great little stamp of two little bombs (I am assuming that it was Fat Man and Little Boy). After stamping in and rehiding the box Astro D and I headed into The Black Hole and looked around. There was so much stuff and we had no idea what most of it had been used for. After looking around for about 45 minutes or so we ended up buying some paper rolls and it was time to leave. We needed to get to the Salvage Sale to check in and get in line before noon.

The Salvage Sale was pretty interesting. You check in at the office and get a bid number. Then you stand in line at the gate until they open. Someone goes over the rules and at noon they open it up. Everyone hurries in (you aren't allowed to run and push - part of the rules) and heads to whatever area they are interested in. If you find something you like you mark it "Sold" and put your initials next to the price. It was fun watching everyone search for their prize. The most surprising thing was the prices. Office chairs go for 50¢ - that is amazing even if they are used. Astro D didn't find what she was looking for but we still had fun. So we headed back into town for a bite to eat. We stopped at Ruby K's Bagel Cafe. We had sandwiches and visited - it was nice and relaxing.

Time to continue our day. We headed down NM 4 to a pullout overlooking the Valles Caldera. What a beautiful area. We were looking for a letterbox by The3DT's called Big Valley. It took me a little while to find the box. I looked in the right place the first time but didn't see the box so I started searching under other trees. I finally went to the first tree again and searched better and found the box. It was camoflauged well and the bush it was under was very stickery (pretty sure I just made up this word). We brought it back to the car to stamp in. The stamp was a great little carving of a volcano. We rehid the box and then I took a few pictures. Astro D noticed some little specks in the distance and she was pretty sure they were elk. So we ended up driving to the Visitor's Center to get some info. The people there were so nice. They gave us a lot of info about the area and even got us a pair of binoculars so we could see the elk - Astro D was right.

We had one more stop before heading back to Santa Fe. There is a box at Bandelier. It was placed by either the ferretbusters or Kokopellitravelers (AQ list one and LbNA list the other). Anyway the box is called New Mexico Petroglyphs #2 and I hate to say it but it wasn't at all exciting. It was a store bought stamp hidden in the picnic area. You weren't even close to any petroglyphs. It was a little underwhelming way to end the day. So after we stamped in and rehid the box we went to the Visitor's Center to get some 'squished pennies'. When I told Astro D that I wanted to get these she said she had been looking at those as well. It was too funny that we both recently were thinking about these and stopped here to get some. I also got a patch and stamped the National Park Passport Stamp.

It was time to head home. We had a great day in Los Alamos and we had fun letterboxing. Thanks to all who placed boxes for us to find.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Cerrillos, NM

On Saturday when rubberpeace and I met Bandaid we found out that Bandaid had left a box for us in Cerrillos. I have been wanting to get out to Cerrillos Hills State Park and do a little hiking and this was the perfect opportunity. rubberpeace wanted to go to find the new box and there were three other boxes in the area that she hadn't found yet. So we made plans to go on today, we decided to leave at about 7:30am. When Astro D returned from her trip to Las Cruces I called to see if she wanted to join us - she decided to join us and it was set that we would meet at my house and I would drive us to Cerrillos.

At 7:30 this morning everyone was at my house, we loaded the car and headed out. From my house it only takes about 20 minutes to get to Cerrillos. So we had a nice, quick trip and made our first stop at Garden of the Gods so that Astro D and rubberpeace could find Fantastyck Voyagers' Magical Gate. We parked at the pullout and walked back along the road to the gate. Once the box was found they sat down and stamped in. While they were doing that I walked along the fence and took some pictures of sculptures in the field just over the fence. I walked a little ways and came to a gate. It was locked but it had a plastic box (not a letterbox) on it that said "Info", but it was empty. I wondered what it was and I think it is The Garden of the Gods Sculpture Garden. I hope that eventually it is open to the public because the art I saw looked great. I returned to meet the girls and we got the box back in its hiding spot and returned to the car.

We drove the few remaining miles and entered the village of Cerrillos. It was pretty quiet, we saw one very old and hunched over woman sweeping in front of one of the shops. We drove through town and headed out to Cerrillos Hills. Our next stop was near the cemetery. Just past the cemetery was a small pullout and what looked like a trailhead. There was a thick cable and a large rock blocking the trail. We parked here and got the clues for the box that Bandaid left us - A Kiss From Connecticut. It was a pretty easy find and we decided to stamp in the car. It was a nice little stamp and we thank Bandaid for planting it for us. We replaced the box and continued along the road to the pullout near the Escalante Trail.

I was along just for the walk, rubberpeace was looking for two more boxes. One of those boxes is Twinville Trekkers' Who? Who? and the other one is for me to know and you to find out. Astro D has some problems with her knee and wasn't able to actually join us on the trail. So she stayed in the car and entertained herself with the New York Times crossword puzzle. So rubberpeace and I headed out. The beginning of the trail is pretty much all up hill for about a half mile. The rest of the hikes in the park are mostly level with a few areas with inclines. Along the way to the first box (Who? Who?) we saw a bunch of lizards and some wildflowers (Thistle, Indian Paintbrush, Prickly Pear blooms and some little purple flower that I didn't know what it was). The hike started out with the temperatures pretty cool and then the wind picked up and by the end it was getting pretty hot.

We made it to the Escalante and Elkins trail junction and rubberpeace went in search for the box. She found it pretty easy and brought it back to a bench to stamp in. I took pictures while she stamped in and we just talked. She rehid the box and we continued to the other box. It was a pretty good walk and she found the box and stamped in - we talked while she stamped in and once the box was rehidden we started our walk back to the car. The walk back was a lot easier than going.

We got back to the car and found Astro D just doing her puzzle. We made our way back to Santa Fe and talked about the morning. We also made tentative plans for a letterboxing trip to the Los Alamos area on June 17th. Thanks rubberpeace and Astro D for a great morning.
Related Posts with Thumbnails