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.

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.

Friday, July 16, 2010

'In Spite of All the Danger' I Took 'The Long and Winding Road'

I woke up this morning and had the feeling that I wanted to do something fun and relaxing. Twinville Trekkers had been up in Santa Fe a couple of days ago and planted a couple of boxes before they left to return home. So some letterboxing seemed like a good thing to do and this letterboxing would take me on one of my favorite drives - Hyde Park Road. Hyde Park Road (aka Artist Road, NM 475, Little Ski Basin Road) starts just outside downtown Santa Fe and goes for about 15 miles ending at the Santa Fe Ski Basin. It is a beautiful drive anytime of the year but my favorite time is Autumn. The aspens changing color are incredibly beautiful. Anyway, I digress.

So this morning I gathered the clues I needed and my letterboxing things and headed up to the mountain. As I drove up the road I was keeping my eye out for a good place to hide a box. I had a box with me that has needed planting for about a week now. This box was sent to me by Shorty. It is part of the Pin Up Stamp Swap 2 tracker. I will get back to this box later. My first stop was about eight or nine miles up the road. It was a pullout with a sign indicating that the road ahead was very curvy. I pulled over, read the clues and found the box just up a slight hill, behind a tree, covered with rocks. I took the box back to my car to stamp. It was a nice stamp and I got a first finder certificate as well. I stamped in and got everything back into the box and got the box back into its hiding spot. Time to continue on.

I drove another four or five miles up the mountain enjoying the views while listening to the radio. So relaxing! I pulled into the parking area for the NorSki Trail. This time it wasn't a drive by but it wasn't a long or hard hike either. I gathered the things I needed and followed the clues up the trail. The walk was only about a quarter of a mile but it was beautiful. Lots of green and lots of wildflowers. I also saw quite a few butterflies. I reached the landmark I was looking for and easily found the box. I found a nice big rock to sit on and stamp in. Another nice stamp and a second first finder certificate as well as incredible surroundings. After stamping in and replacing the box I walked a little further up the trail and took some pictures before turning around and heading back to the car.

So now I needed to head back down and decide on a spot to hide the box I had with me. As I drove down I had an idea of where I could plant the box. As I drove through Hyde Memorial State Park and exited the southern end I came to Black Canyon Campground. I pulled in here and parked in the trailhead parking area. I headed out to the area where I wanted to hide the box. It took me about 30 minutes to find just the right spot but I am glad I persisted - I found the perfect spot. Very peaceful and quite lovely. I think finders will enjoy sitting here and stamping into Pin Up Stamp Swap 2: Tess. Remember I hid the box but the logbook and stamp were created by Shorty. It is an image of a pin up but is tastefully done (no nudity) so it shouldn't offend anyone and it is a beautiful carving. But if you are prudish you might want to steer clear of this one.

My journey was now complete so I headed back into Santa Fe and reality. I ran errands and then headed home. All in all a very enjoyable day.

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Quick Find in Santa Fe

About a week ago Astro D and The Great Wuga Wuga placed a new box in Santa Fe. This new box is a Hitchhiker Hostel and we needed one in Santa Fe. We needed it because there aren't a lot of boxes in town that can hold a hitchhiker and we would usually have to hold onto them for a while until we could find a box that they would fit in. So this box is easy access and big enough for quite a few hitchhikers - so thanks Astro D for this box.

I haven't had time to find the box until today. I was running errands and I passed right near the area where the box is hidden. So I made a little detour to Museum Hill to find the box. When I got there to pull into the extra parking it was pretty full. This past weekend was the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market and the regular parking lot was still covered in tents and there were tons of workers taking everything down. I eventually found a parking spot and followed the clues to the arroyo. I made my way down to the wire/rock gabion and followed the clues. I found the box easily and then found a nice shady spot to sit and stamp in.

There were four hitchhikers in the box and I had one with me. So I exchanged one for one. Then I stamped into the box's logbook and stamped the box's stamp into my logbook. Another great stamp by Astro D. I then rehid the box and was on my way. Thanks Astro D and The Great Wuga Wuga for another great letterbox.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Heron and El Vado Lakes

Thomas and I spent the day in Rio Arriba County at Heron Lake State Park and El Vado Lake State Park. We couldn't get away this weekend so we opted for today to go kayaking and letterboxing. We had a pleasant two hour drive from Santa Fe to Tierra Amarilla. We arrived at Heron Lake State Park and made our way to one of the boat ramps. While we unloaded the kayaks we talked with this older woman who was getting her kayak ready. She was really nice, she told us she lives in an RV and travels around the country (she has been doing this for 17 years - 5 years with her husband before he died and for the past 12 years by herself). Her kayak was an inflatable one, I really liked it, easy to transport and store. Anyway, we got our kayaks in the water and headed out. Heron Lake is a "No Wake Lake" so the water was really still - it was like paddling on glass. We paddled around the lake never really getting into the open larger part. We put our kayaks in the water at the boat ramp near Willow Creek Campground. We paddled through The Narrows and made it into the smaller open area of the lake. We then turned around and paddled back through The Narrows and past the NM Sailing Club and through another narrow passage. At the end of this passage we turned around and headed back to the boat ramp. While going through The Narrows we saw all these birds flying around and eventually noticed all these nests on the rock cliffs on both sides of the water. I am pretty sure these birds are Water Ouzels or American Dippers. It was a great site seeing all the nests and watching all the birds flying around. As we were going around the NM Sailing Club we spotted two blue herons on the rocks just above the water line. Also flying around this same area were red-tailed hawks and lots of osprey. We spent a wonderful two hours on the water - it was so peaceful. We only saw two boats during our outing.

After getting the boats back in the truck we headed off to find a letterbox. This box was planted by PetroPunks a little over a year ago and is called Heron Lake. It is on the Nature Trail at the Willow Creek Campground. It was an easy find and we were the first finders. We stamped in on a stone bench very near the box with a great view of the lake. After stamping in and rehiding the box we headed back to the car. The trail was an easy walk and had a guide that told you about the trees and plants of the area.

We drove through the rest of the park and stopped just as we drove over the dam so I could take a couple of pictures. From there we continued our drive on a dirt road that lead out of Heron Lake State Park and took us into El Vado Lake State Park and around the entire perimeter of the lake. We entered the park from NM 112 and made our way to Shale Point and more specifically to the Rio Chama Trail. This is a 5.5 mile (no, we did not hike this trail all the way) that connects the two parks. The reason we were on this trail was to plant a letterbox. I placed Eagle @ El Vado about a quarter mile up the trail. It is an easy walk to the box and you get a really great view of the lake. Now that the box was hidden we were ready to head home.

The drive home wasn't as pleasant as the morning drive. There was much more traffic - everyone heading home after their holiday weekend. We decided to stop for a late lunch/early dinner at the Café Abiquiu (at the Abiquiu Inn). After a nice and relaxing meal we completed our journey home. It was an absolutely beautiful day and a great way to end a long holiday weekend.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Hiking and Letterboxing

About a week ago Thomas and I took a trip through part of the Jemez Mountain Trail. We had a great time but there was so much to see and do we didn't get to stop everywhere we wanted to. So today we took a second trip to find a couple of letterboxes and hide one as well as get in some hiking.

The day started with a nice drive into Los Alamos. We left at a good time and we avoid all the traffic heading into the Labs. As we entered Los Alamos I wanted to visit a bookstore to see if I could find a good hiking book for the Los Alamos area. Astro D had told me about one that she said had some good books. So we stopped at Otowi Station and indeed I found a great book (actually two books) - Los Alamos Trails by Craig Martin and Guide to the Jemez Mountain Trail by Judith Ann Isaacs. I am going to love using these books. So after the shopping was complete we headed a little ways up the road to the Larry R. Walkup Aquatic Center. We parked here and found the trailhead kiosk. We were looking for the Acid Canyon Trail so we could hide a letterbox. We headed down the trail and kept our eyes open for a good hiding spot. We found a little bridge and crossed it. Not far along we found a great spot and hid Alphabetical New Mexico: A (Atomic Bombs). This is a pretty short hike (maybe a half mile round trip with maybe 200 feet elevation gain) and nice & quiet.

From here we headed to NM 4 and the Las Conchas Trail. There were only a couple of cars at the trailhead so we figured we would have a nice, peaceful hike. We went down the stairs and connected with the trail. Immediately we were transported into another world. It was absolutely beautiful. We walked along the trail following the Jemez River and enjoyed all the wonderful views the canyon had to offer. This hike is really easy. It is pretty flat all the way to where it ends at a Box Canyon. Great trees, beautiful wildflowers and wonderful views made this a fantastic way to start a holiday weekend. We took our time walking through the canyon and I took a ton of pictures. There were so many wildflowers all over and it made me wonder what this hike would be like in the Spring. I am hoping to get back there in the Fall to see what it looks like then. Eventually we had to leave this area so we made our way back to the trailhead and our car.

One more stop for the day. This one was in White Rock. We decided to find some food for lunch before we headed out on the next hike. There isn't much in White Rock and we ended up at the Bandelier Grill. It was an okay place and it provided us the fuel we needed for the next hike. The trailhead for the next hike was about three miles from the second traffic light in White Rock off of NM 4. We found the pullout and parked, went through the fence and headed up the trail. The trail had a few ups and downs but nothing too steep. The only thing was that it was pretty boring, very few views and really no flowers to speak of, mostly just junipers, a few cacti and some other pretty scraggly bushes. Also it was out in the open so the sun was beating down on us. After almost two miles we took another trail to the right. This lead us to some sandstone cliffs. Here we reread the clues to Fetch Fido and started climbing into the cliffs. We were supposed to count switchbacks (left, right, left, right, STOP). We did that and looked for the box. No box. Started from the beginning and again no box. One more time from the beginning and still no box. By this time I was getting hot and I wasn't feeling all that well. Even with drinking water the heat was getting to me. So I found a shady spot and sat for a few minutes while Thomas decided to go further down the trail and see if we were just counting the switchbacks wrong. Turns our we were in the wrong spot and Thomas found the box. So I made my way to where he was and stamped in. The views from here were incredible but unfortunately I just wasn't feeling all that great and didn't enjoy them as I should have. Once the box was back in place it was time to head back up the trail. Luckily, the 'up' part wasn't that much. Now we were out of the cliffs and back on the trail I felt like things would be okay - the hardest part was over. It took us a while to get back to the car because I needed to stop often and drink water. I am positive I just got over heated and probably didn't drink as much water as I should have going up. I drank plenty of water on the way back to the car. And on the way out of White Rock we stopped to get gas and Thomas bought me some Powerade. That really helped and by the time we got to Santa Fe I was feeling better, but still really tired. So I took a shower and just relaxed. I am sure I will sleep good tonight.
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