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 27, 2011

285 & 68 to Taos, 64 to Tierra Amarilla and 84 to Abiquiu

I am trying to find letterboxes in the area and get caught up on things before we leave for Alaska on Saturday. So this morning I left Santa Fe (and all the smoke) and headed north on US285 to Taos. By the time I got past Pojoaque the smoke was completely gone and I was breathing fresh air for the first time in a while. I continued my beautiful drive along 285 to Espanola and then took NM68 to Rancho de Taos. I always enjoy my drive along this route - passing through Velarde, Embudo and Pilar before reaching Taos. I stopped a couple of times to watch the people rafting on the Rio Grande and let me tell you they were out in full force. I finally arrived at my first stop - San Francisco de Asis Church in Rancho de Taos. I walked around and took a few pictures and then went on my mission to find a letterbox - Rancho de Taos by Hi Desert. It was a quick and easy find but I did have to be a little sneaky as there were a couple of people walking around the outside of the church taking pictures, but it wasn't a big problem. I retrieved the box and returned to my car to stamp in. Once I was done it was easy to get the box back in place and I was on my way.

I continued my trip through Taos to US64. I turned left here and stopped at the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. I took a walk out onto the bridge and admired the view and took some pictures. After about 15 minutes I returned to my car and continued. I drove from Taos to Tres Piedras and through the Carson National Forest (which had a lot of dead trees) and eventually arrived at US84. I headed north to Tierra Amarilla and ended up at Heron Lake State Park. Once I entered the park and paid my fees I drove to the Brushy Point Campground West. I parked and walked down to the cove, following the clues for Kretaceous Klam by PetroPunks. It was a short walk along the lake and I found the box without any problems. I took the box and sat on an old log near the water and stamped in. It was a beautiful day and very peaceful - not one other person was in the area where I was sitting. However, there was one problem - noseeums! I hate these little buggers. With each bite I get about a dime sized pink area with a bright red dot in the middle and they itch like crazy. My ankles look horrible - all red and puffy - and I have been putting benadryl cream on to help with the itching, so it is more tolerable today. I can't believe I forgot my Off when I went left the house this morning. Oh, well. After stamping in I returned the box to its hiding spot. It was a really cool box. The stamp was mounted on a piece of stone with clam fossils on it. So after I replaced the box I walked along the shore of the lake looking for rocks with fossils. I found a few but didn't really spend a whole lot of time searching because I still had plenty of ground to cover.

Back on US84 I headed south towards Abiquiu. I made my first stop at Ghost Ranch to find Hi Desert's Georgia O'Keeffe at Ghost Ranch. This was a really quick find. I parked at the Visitors Center and walked a little ways down the road to the Ghost House and followed the clues. The box was right where it was supposed to be. I took it to the next building over and sat at a table to stamp in. Once I was done, I put the box back and returned to my car. Back on US84 and still heading south I stopped at a picnic area at mile marker 217. The picnic area was deserted and it was easy for me to search for the box - another Hi Desert box - Entering O'Keeffe Country. I found it quickly and returned to one of the picnic tables to stamp in. I didn't sit around too long because the smoke from the fires in Santa Fe and Los Alamos was getting worse and I didn't feel like sitting out in it for too much time. I rehid the box and continued my journey. My next stop was Bode's store. I parked, followed the clues and found the box - Forgot the Pickles by Hi Desert. I did have a little trouble with one part of the clue but eventually it became 'cleary'. Once I had the box in my hand and found a good spot to sit and stamp in it started to rain. Not much but a few drops here and there. I didn't care if all my stuff got wet - we really need the moisture. So I kept on stamping - and the rain stopped about 30 seconds after it started. I got the box back in place and returned to my car and put my stuff away. I then went into the store to look around. They had some really interesting and cool things - toys, cards, candy, etc. - I wanted to spend more time but it was around 4pm and I still wanted to make one more stop before returning to Santa Fe. So back on the road I drove south a little further and eventually made a left turn onto NM554 and in a short distance made another left onto CR155. I made my way to Dar al Islam and parked. The box I was looking for was Hi Desert's Dar al Islam and when I got the clues off of AQ it was marked unavailable but I decided to stop any way because I like the area - Plaza Blanca - with its white cliffs and spires. So I quickly looked for the box (and didn't find it - I really didn't look too hard since it was marked unavailable and Astro D & rubberpeace had mentioned to me that they couldn't find it) then returned to the parking area and hiked out to Plaza Blanca. It is such a beautiful and peaceful area and a great way to end my day in the Abiquiu area. Now it was time to head back to Santa Fe.

Once I got into Santa Fe I decided to go for one last box of the day before heading home. So I made my way to Amelia White Park and found rubberpeace & rbrhorno's Dessert in the Desert. I sat at a picnic table enjoying the cool early evening and stamped. I put the box back in its hiding spot and then headed home. I had a really fun day driving around Northern New Mexico and letterboxing. The next post I will make will be about our trip to Alaska - WooHoo!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Picking Up Letterboxes in Albuquerque

The last few weeks have been pretty busy mostly with getting things ready for our trip to Alaska. So I decided to take a break today and get outside and do something. And that something was to go letterboxing in Albuquerque. I had a stack of ten clues for boxes that were planted in Albuquerque between March and June. This morning I got all my stuff ready and headed south. I drove all the way to Belen before making my first stop. That was at the Harvey House Museum where I looked for Chuga Chuga placed by rookie traveler. I had to walk around and take some pictures before I could actually look for the box. There were three people just hanging around the parking lot and it took about 20 minutes before they went inside. After that the only problem I had was navigating my way around a giant yucca without getting stabbed to death and luckily I came out of it unscathed and with a letterbox. I found a nice spot to sit and stamp in and then rehid the box and was ready to get on my way again.

I had mapped out things so that I wasn't backtracking and so I didn't waste too much time just driving around. So as I headed back to Albuquerque my next stop was somewhere off of the Rio Bravo exit. The clues don't actually tell you the location, they just gives you directions and tell you to look for something. Well, I found it easy enough. I won't tell you anymore about the clues or location but I did like the area and the box - thanks Twinville Trekkers. This was another of their wonderful Beatles Series.

From here I made my way to Fairview Memorial Park Cemtery to find All Quiet by Wronghat. As I entered the cemetery I marveled at the green grass and tall trees (it seems that this year everything is brown - a product of zero moisture) but as I followed the clues I entered into another section of the cemetery only to find the typical New Mexico landscape - dirt. There were very few trees and not much other vegetation. I continued to follow the clues and eventually found the box. I stamped in while sitting in the car, which was shaded by one of the few trees. I really liked this double sided stamp.

My next stop was at the Rio Grande Zoo and more specifically the parking lot. There was a box here called Panda and the Poo that I found in August 2010. I guess that box eventually went missing so the planter decided to plant another box in the same location. Last year I found the panda and this time I was going in search of the poo. But as I parked and started walking while counting light post I realized that they were digging and working on the parking lot and that there weren't even enough lights to match the clues. I tried to remember where the other box was and I think they were digging right in the area. I am pretty sure that the poo is gone. But I will leave it up to the planter or someone who has found the box to make a more accurate statement.

From the zoo I drove to Old Town and parked on 19th Street near The Albuquerque Museum and walked through a beautiful mosaic arch to Old Town. I walked to the gazebo and followed the clues to find Old Town by Wronghat. It was a wonderful day to be in Old Town, the weather was good and there weren't that many people which made it easy to find the box. It was a clever hide and I loved the two sided stamp. I sat on a bench in a shaded area and stamped in and enjoyed the incredible summer day. After I stamped in it was easy to get the box back in its hiding spot and then I made my way back to my car. I then drove a few blocks to the Natural History Museum where I went on the hunt for Spike by Wronghat. I parked, found Spike (the dinosaur sculpture, not the letterbox), I found the Cosmic Connection and made it to the future. Once there I quickly found Spike (the letterbox, not the dinosaur sculpture). I found a bench to sit on while stamping in. This was another nice Wronghat carving. By the time I got back to my car the temperature was rising - it was now in the '90's - so I sat for a minute in the air conditioning to get cooled off.

Next I found myself in the downtown area and was parked on 4th Street near the Madonna of the Trail statue. This was my starting point for the next box - another of the Twinville Trekkers' Beatles Series. To find this box I had to do a little work - I had to find words and letters to figure out all the clues. It took me a little time to decipher everything but it didn't take me too long to find the box. Like I said earlier it was getting a little warm so I found a nice shady spot to sit and stamp in. Thankfully there weren't many people out and it was easy to find and rehide the box. I made the short walk back to the car and the comfort of cool air and then started for my next destination. It wasn't too far from where I was at and it only took me a few minutes to get to the UNM Cancer Center. Hi Desert placed a box here called Cancer Awareness Letterbox. I found the location of the box pretty fast but I wasn't able to actually get the box right away. Just as I parked a woman was getting into her car right where the box was and her car wouldn't start. So she called for someone to come with jumper cables to help get her car started. So I waited for about 20 minutes. Finally, she got her car started and left. After that I easily retrieved the box and took it back to the car to stamp in. Putting it back in place was pretty easy as well.

I had one more stop on my list. It was for La Luz by Wronghat. This box is placed near the La Luz Trailhead off of Tramway. But just as I turned on Forest Road 333 I was stopped by closure signs. The road was only open to residents. All this dryness in New Mexico has made all of our forests prime fire areas. So they are closing lots of areas for the time being in hopes of preventing more fires in the state. I really had a good day in Albuquerque and found some really great boxes.

While in Albuquerque I did make a few other stops to check on some of my boxes. My Roosevelt box is definately missing and I am now retiring it. I had also gotten a note from Wronghat that my Koi Fish box was missisng as well. I checked and it is missing and now retired. Fortunately, my Urban Forest box is still in place and doing well.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Cleaning Things Up

I recently retired some letterboxes and I have been spending time cleaning up my AQ listings. I updated the status on all the boxes and I even took time to update the clues.
Boudreaux's Hitchhiker
I do need to still do some actual checks on some of the boxes and see if they are still there and double check on the clues to make sure they still work. So not everything is done but I have made some headway. I also went through all my LTC's and I have quite a few that I can trade. After we get back from our Alaska trip I will actually present a list on the LTC board. I have also lifted most of the restrictions from my boxes but I have left a few for my own personal reasons and I won't even bother to justify why - because I know that no matter what I do or say someone won't be happy with my decision. But it is my decision and I am standing by it (just not justifing it). So if you don't like the restrictions that is something you will have to deal with - I won't be changing them or making any exceptions. I also took a little time and created a slide show of the letterbox stamps that I have retired. So here are some of my carvings . . . Retired Letterbox Stamps.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I 'Read' Today

I had the clues to a box that was placed recently in Santa Fe and I thought that today would be a good day to look for it. The clues were sort of a puzzle to solve so I can't tell you where the box was hidden. But I had figured out the clues and decided that I would try to get the box this morning. It just so happened that I was going to be in that area anyway. So I gathered my things, drove to the location and parked. I followed the clues and the box was right where it was supposed to be. It was a nice little carving and I enjoyed sitting and stamping in. When I was done I easily got the box back into place. I enjoyed the morning and was glad to find this box which was hidden by someone new - Postal. I have an idea of who this might be but I'll keep that under my toup for now.
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