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.

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.
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