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 22, 2011

A Beautiful Letterboxing Day in Albuquerque

A few weeks ago I had a letterboxing outing in Albuquerque with Astro D and rubberpeace. We had a good time and found quite a few boxes but we didn't have time to get all the boxes available. And since that time a few more boxes had been planted in the area. So last night I decided to get things together and map out all the boxes so that I could spend today letterboxing in Albuquerque.

I wanted to get an early start so that I had time to do a little hiking on the La Luz Trail. So I left Santa Fe about 7:00am and headed for the trail head. When I parked there were no other cars in the parking area and it was a bit chilly but not bad. So I gathered my things and hit the trail. This was my first time hiking this trail and I found that I loved it. The views are spectacular and even though it was a lot of work I enjoyed it. Now I did not hike the entire way up today - I only went two and a half miles up. At this point I found a letterbox and stamped in while enjoying a nice view of Albuquerque. Just after getting the box back in its hiding spot and starting my way back to the car I encountered my first person on the trail. By the time I got back to the parking area I had passed three other hikers. It was a challenging and wonderful hike and a great way to start the day. I will have to get back out there and hike the entire trail - I really think I can do it. Anyways, back in the car I looked at my map of letterboxes and headed back to Tramway and made my way to Elena Gallegos Picnic Area.

Once I paid and parked at Elena Gallegos I did a short little hike on the Pino Trail to find a box planted by Stormcrow - Whole Enchilada Fiesta. I was a nice little walk and I enjoyed sitting and stamping in while enjoying the terrific views of the Sandias. I enjoyed the letterbox and the short walk but it was time to head out again since I had a lot to do today. From here I made the short drive to Juan Tabo and the John B. Robert Dam. Here I was searching for Another Dam Letterbox placed by Jane Booth. So I parked and climbed up the dam to the top and then walked down the backside. As I descended the dam I was trying to follow the clues but at one point I got a little confused at what something meant and had to make an assumption. But in the end I thought I figured out where the box was. When I checked behind the rock I thought was hiding the box I did find a spot where a box could fit and some rocks off to the side but I didn't find the letterbox. At the spot where I was looking I was a little self conscious because there was a large two story house with the whole side facing where I was covered in window - anyone in that house could see what I was doing. Anyway, I searched around the rock but came up empty handed. I then returned to a spot at the beginning of the clue where I knew I was in the right spot and started again. I never made 100% connection with the clues so I gave up and returned to the car. I hope I was in the wrong spot and that the box isn't missing. My next stop was only a little ways down the road from the dam at a restaurant - A Taste of Italy. This also is the name of the letterbox I was looking for and that box was placed by Hi Desert. I pulled into the parking lot, which was pretty empty and looked at the clues. I parked and scoped out the area and located the box's hiding spot. I had to wait a minute or two for a car to clear the area and then I made a mad dash for the box. It took me about a minute to actually locate the box and then take it back to the car to stamp in. I loved the stamp and enjoyed stamping in. But when it came time to put the box back in place I was feeling a little uncomfortable. The hiding spot can be a busy area and I wasn't sure if anyone could see me from the restaurant or not. But I got the box back in place and headed out to my next location.

For my next stop I hit I40 and then exited onto I25 and headed south to Rio Brave. Then to Isleta Blvd. and the Gutierrez-Hubbell House. I parked and read the clues and then headed out to find the box. They have a perimeter trail that goes along an acequia with some incredible cottonwoods bordering the trail. It was only a short walk to the box - a Wronghat box called Abode of Adobe. A beautiful stamp and a beautiful location - thanks Wronghat. It was so nice to sit and stamp in among the grand cottonwoods. I didn't have time to visit the museum but I did enjoy the grounds and the letterbox.

The next location on my letterboxing map was the Albuquerque BioPark - which includes the Rio Grande Zoo, the Albuquerque Aquarium, the Rio Grande Botanic Garden and Tingley Beach. These places are all pretty close together and easy to get to from each other. I had clues for three boxes - all at different locations. I was looking for Twinville Trekkers' Beatles Series #28 "Baby,You're a Rich Man" at the zoo, trilla marion's Just Fishing at Tingley Beach and TKH's Don't Worry, Bee Happy at the Botanic Gardens. I always love the zoo so I walked around and enjoyed what few animals were out and about and then looked for Baby, You're a Rich Man. I didn't find it and I am pretty sure I was in the right place. I was really disappointed by this because I am really liking the Trekkers' Beatles Series. I then left the zoo and headed to Tingley Beach. I didn't find Just Fishing. Now I was getting bummed (this was the third box I couldn't find today) - later I found out that the box had been moved and hidden in a different place and I missed the new clues. (Note: You see, I tend to print out the clues as soon as I get the notice of the box being placed - this is only for boxes in New Mexico. I save these and when I decided to go letterboxing in a certain area I pull the clues I have and map them out. I usually also go to AQ or LbNA and double check if the clues were changed - but today I forgot to do that and that is why I couldn't find this box.) So on to the Botanic Gardens for Don't Worry, Bee Happy. When I got to the gardens I went straight to the area to find this box and it didn't take me long. I stamped in and rehid the box pretty quickly. The gardens at this time of year aren't the best and I didn't really want to hang around too long. After getting this box back in place I did go and check on my box that was hidden here - BioPark. I checked its hiding spot and the box is gone. I have decided to retire this box since this is the second time it has gone missing.

Well, I still had two boxes left to look for and it was mid afternoon by this time so I moved on. I punched in the next location on the Garmin and followed the directions to Paradise Hills Park to look for Just Tryin' To Hold On by Vegaspua'a. The park was empty so I didn't have to worry about anyone in the park seeing me but I did have to watch for people in all the houses that surround the park. Luckily, the area was pretty quiet and I found the box quickly. I stamped in while sitting on a bench and enjoying the terrific weather. I got the box back in place and headed back to my car. One more box left. I now headed to Public Servants Garden of Vista Verde Memorial Park to find trilla marion's 9/11 Memorial - NM. This was a quick and easy find in a peaceful area. After stamping in and rehiding the box I got back in the car to head back home to Santa Fe. I had a terrific day in Albuquerque and found some great boxes - thanks to all the planters.
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