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.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Ready for T.A.L.E. 9 - Get Wild!

It is that time of year again - the Texas Annual Letterboxing Event. This annual letterboxing event is hosted by Silver Eagle and Baby Bear on the first Saturday in March in one of Texas' State Parks. This year it is at Brazos Bend State Park in Needville and this makes T.A.L.E. 9. The park is about an hour south of Houston and the theme this year is Get Wild (as in Texas Wildlife). I decided to make the trip and added a few days before and after the event for some time to letterbox in the Houston area. I always enjoy this event and love finding boxes in Texas. I will be writing about this trip day by day and if you are interested in reading about this adventure you can find it at Getting Wild in Texas for T.A.L.E. 9. I usually take some time each night to blog about the days activities so please check in often to see what I have been up to. Now it is time for me to finish packing and get some sleep.

Santa Fe in Santa Fe

Today I was running errands and getting things ready for my trip to Houston (more on that later) and I had a new clue for a box planted in Santa Fe. So I decided to make a quick stop to find this box. When I left home I made sure to bring my letterboxing supplies but when I got to the location for the box I realized I didn't have the clue. But I thought I could remember where to look for the box. Turned out I couldn't so I turned around and was heading back to my car when I remembered I could get the clue on my phone. Recently I downloaded the Box Radar app by Aiphid. So I took out my phone and hit Box Radar and Violà! I had the clue. So I found Santa Fe placed by Wronghat. I found a place to sit and stamp in and then rehid the box. I didn't spend too much time because I still had lots to do before my flight in the morning. I did enjoy finding the box - I really like Wronghat's carving style and always look forward to his boxes - thanks Wronghat for your contribution to New Mexico letterboxing.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Another Harry Potter Series

Last night while surfing the net I noticed a new letterbox in Santa Fe. It is the third Harry Potter series placed by ArnoldZiffel. This one is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban placed on the Arroyo Chamisa trail just like the previous two Harry Potter series. So I printed out the clues and got my letterbox stuff ready last night. This morning I was up early and headed out to the trail.

I parked at Sam's Club and headed out. I wasn't moving as fast as I did for the last Harry Potter boxes so I enjoyed this outing much more. I followed the clues and reached box 1 - The Dementor. I took the box to a flat rock to stamp in and then I replaced the box and continued along the trail. It took me only a short time to reach box 2 - The Firebolt. I sat and stamped and actually spent a little time just relaxing and enjoying the morning quiet. After about 15 minutes I headed for the last box. This was a short little distance from the second box. Box 3 is the Time Turner and once I had nabbed it I took it to a rock wall to sit and stamp in. After replacing the box I returned to box 2 and again sat and relaxed for a little while.

I then returned to the car and just thought about how letterboxing on a chilly Saturday morning was a great way to start the day. Thanks ArnoldZiffel for placing these boxes - I am really enjoying these series.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Six Year Letterboxing Anniversary

In my posts about our trip to Gallup I forgot to mention that the trip was done in part to celebrate my six year letterboxaversary. I found my first letterbox back on February 16, 2006 - it was Silver Eagle's Santa Fe Microbox. Every year since then I have made sure to do some letterboxing on that day. So Astro D and rubberpeace decided to help me celebrate and thus the Gallup trip was born. I had a great day in Window Rock and Gallup and on the drive home and what better way to celebrate than with letterboxing friends. I found Superman Canyon thus fulfilling my goal to letterbox on my anniversary. But, last night while logging in finds I noticed a new box in Santa Fe. And to be truthful I had no plans to go and find it. While I was taking my things out of the car and bringing them into the house I got the urge. So I printed out the clues and drove to the park (which is pretty close to my house). This box is Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and is actually a series of three boxes. The walk to find the boxes was on a paved trail and from the clues, didn't seem long. So I hit the trail and found the first box - Ford Anglia. I stamped in, put the box back in place and headed for box number 2. I found the box and started stamping in and began to realize that the temperature was dropping and the light was fading. I stamped in to The Whomping Willow quickly and got it back in place. On to box 3. I was now walking fast - trying to out run the cold and the dark. By the time I found Aragog my fingers were turning blue and it was hard for me to see what I was doing. But I got the stamp and replaced the box. My walk back to the car was fast and I was thankful for the paved trail and by the time I got to the car it was really dark. The things we do for letterboxes - risk of hypothermia and stumbling in the dark - oh what fun. But seriously I was happy to do it to add a few more boxes to my six year celebration. I am looking forward to the next year of letterboxing and celebrating my seventh year.

To Gallup and Back (Part II)

Well we had a great day yesterday and I probably stayed up too late logging finds and writing this blog but I was still able to get up by 6:00am. I got all my things packed and loaded in the car and then met Astro D and rubberpeace in the lobby for breakfast. After a leisurely breakfast they gathered their things and we all piled into the car for another day of letterboxing.

The morning was cold and so we decided to take a drive up to Window Rock so that they could find my Navajo Code Talker box. The box is hidden at the Navajo Code Talkers Memorial. We arrived in Window Rock about 35 minutes after leaving Gallup and found only a couple of people near the Memorial. They followed the clues and found the box in no time. This was exciting for me because the box was placed way back on October 28, 2010 and I had not received any notifications on the box. I wasn't sure if someone had found it or if it had gone missing. So when Astro D pulled it from the hiding spot I was excited. They were the first finders and they both got a Navajo Code Talker Medal as a prize. So while they stamped in I walked around and took some pictures and then we headed back to the Memorial and took more pictures. After about 10 minutes of walking around we got cold and headed back to the car for the drive back to Gallup.

Now that we were back in Gallup we made our way to the High Desert Trail System's West Trail Head on the west side of Gallup. We parked and read the clues for Pinnacle Puma and then we tried to follow the trail to the destination - a sculpture of a mountain lion silhouette high up on one of the mesas. After a little discussion we decided to scrap the hunt for this box because of snow and mud on the trail and because it seemed really far away and really high up. So back in the car we headed to the east side of Gallup. After what seemed like a long time we arrived in Superman Canyon to find Superman Canyon. The road was pretty muddy and where the box is planted there is a curve and we didn't feel safe just parking there. So Astro D stopped at the box and I jumped out and grabbed it and took it back to the car. We drove up a little further and found a better place to park while stamping in. When it came time to rehide the box Astro D again stopped in front of the hiding spot and I jumped out and put the box in place. While I was getting the box situated Astro D pulled up a little further to get out of some slippery mud. I was then walking up the road to the car when a truck came from behind me and blew his horn and then cut right in front of me missing me by inches and then he drove past Astro D. I swear some people are so rude and impatient. I got back in the car and we headed for our next destination - Red Rock Park to find and check on my Red Rock box. About a month ago I got a notice it was missing. And we when got to the spot I was able to confirm that it is definitely missing and is now retired.

We were done with hunting for letterboxes in Gallup and it was time to start our journey back to Santa Fe. Instead of heading onto I40 we decided to take NM 602 to NM 53 (the way we actually drove to get to Gallup). As we left Red Rock Park I was looking at a travel guide for Gallup and noticed a map for some murals in downtown. So the girls indulged me and we parked and took a walking tour and saw about 15 murals. I took pictures and we took a detour to get some coffee and then stopped in at the Chamber of Commerce for some brochures on the murals. Now it was time to really head out. The main reason for taking the back route was so that we could eat at Ancient Way Cafe. Yesterday when we drove through it was closed (yes, closed on Wednesdays). This time we called ahead and made sure they were open. We got there and loved the ambiance right away. And the baked goods and the list of specials on the board hooked us. Astro D and rubberpeace split a brisket sandwich (I think) and some 7 bean soup. I had a grilled cheese and the 7 bean soup. We then split a black bottom cheesecake cupcake. Yummy! Astro D and rubberpeace left with a piece of tart cherry pie and I went home with a black bottom cheesecake cupcake and a 7 layer cookie.

The rest of the drive was pretty uneventful and we made only one other stop at a rest area to check on a letterbox. I had noticed that it was marked 'retired' and we just wanted to check and confirm - yep! it is gone. We made it home around 5:00pm and I really enjoyed the trip. We found some great places and I am already planning some trips back to the area. Thanks Astro D and rubberpeace for a great time and thanks to all the letterboxers who placed boxes for us to find.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

To Gallup and Back (Part I)

A while back rubberpeace, Astro D and I had talked about getting together once a month to go letterboxing and I mentioned that my letterboxing anniversary was in February (this is not my AQ anniversary but the day I actually found my first letterbox) and somehow a trip to Gallup came up and it was given to me to plan the trip. My anniversary is February 16 (tomorrow) so we decided to do a road trip to Gallup to find boxing along the I40 corridor. So I made some plans and talked to rubberpeace and Astro D, we made hotel arrangements in Gallup and everything was good to go.

Yesterday there was a little snow in the state and there was questions about whether I40 would be open heading west. This morning I got up early and put on the news to see what was happening around the state. There was snow in the direction we were going and the schools in Gallup were closed for the day. Thomas checked with the NMDOT in Gallup and they said that by the time we got there the roads would be good and at the time there were no road closures. Well, rubberpeace and Astro D arrived at my house around 8:00am and once the car was loaded we were on our way. I25 between Santa Fe and Albuquerque was clear and not much traffic and the same held true for I4o from the Big I interchange headed west.

Now that we were on the road and everything seemed copesetic we were ready to find some letterboxes. We exited I40 to NM 117 and headed south to La Ventana Arch to find Twinville Trekkers' Beatles Series #12 "From a Window". This drive is beautiful and it didn't take long to get to the area. We parked and headed down the trail following the clues and being a little careful and the area was covered in snow and ice. Luckily it wasn't very deep. Astro D read the clues while I took some pictures and before I knew it she had found the box. We found a rock that we could use to stamp on. The bad thing was that this rock was in shade and it got pretty cold while we were standing there. So we quickly stamped in and then Astro D replaced the box. I really enjoyed the area, it was beautiful and serene. We then made our way back to the car and headed back to Grants. Once we were in town we drove to the New Mexico Mining Museum to find Harry Potter Horcrux Series #4 - Helga Hufflepuff's Cup by BirchMoon and ArnoldZiffel. This was a quick drive by and we found a nice sunny place to sit and stamp in. After this we made a quick stop at the NW New Mexico Visitors Center and picked up a few brochures before continuing our trip.

Back on I40 (but only for a short distance) we drove to Exit 81 and headed south on NM 53. Our plan was to stop at the Ancient Way Cafe for some lunch. When we got there it was closed and we learned that they are closed on Wednesdays. So instead of lunch we had some snacks and continued the short distance to El Morro (Inscription Rock). Here we walked the short Inscription Trail and found Twinville Trekkers' Beatles Series #18 " Shiek of Araby". We stamped in sitting on the trail and then replaced the box. We then continued along the trail so that Astro D and rubberpeace could find my Alphabetical New Mexico: I (Inscription Rock) box. I took some pictures while they stamped in. We got the box back in place and continued the loop back to the visitors center where we got some postcards and then headed to the car. By this time we were all hungry and the rangers at El Morro told us about another cafe in Ramah called Stagecoach Cafe. So we stopped there and had a nice meal. They had huge portions and we left with doggie bags. We continued our drive along NM 53 to NM 602 where we headed north to Gallup. Along NM 602 we stopped at a sign for Zuni Pueblo so that Astro D and rubberpeace could find my Alphabetical New Mexico: Z (Zuni Pueblo) box. They found the box quickly and brought it back to the car to stamp in and once they were done they ran back out to rehide it. It was a real drive by and we were on our way again. NM 602 took us in to Gallup and after a quick stop to fill the car with gas we made our way to the Church of the Holy Spirit to find CoVicars' Holy Spirit box. We had a little trouble finding the box because the rock we were looking for was covered with a branch from a bush and the branch was covered with snow. We had to read the clues and follow the directions about three times before we noticed the rock. We grabbed the box and stamped in while sitting in the car. I rehid the box and on to the next one. Next we found On the Run! - Astro D had already gotten this one so rubberpeace and I stamped quickly and we continued to the next box. On the way to the next box we made a quick stop to check on another box - Tiny Tooter. We noticed it was in the LbNA basement and wanted to double check on it. We didn't find it so we moved on to BirchMoon's Get Your Kicks. We misread the directions and stopped to soon but quickly found our mistake and got to the area. A quick dash from the car and I had the box in my hands. We all stamped in while sitting in the car and I was glad to be in the car because the box is hidden near a soccer field that is next to a Waste Treatment Plant and there was a definite smell in the air. After stamping in and rehiding the box we had one last box to look for. We drove to the Mentmore Rock Climbing Area and looked for The Lost Texan Series #10. Astro D and I had already found this one but rubberpeace hadn't gotten it. We followed the clues but unfortunately we didn't find the box.

We had a fun and a long day so we decided to head to the hotel. After we checked into our rooms we freshened up and then headed out for a little dinner. We ended up at Camilles' Sidewalk Cafe after trying two other places that didn't seem right. We were all glad we stopped here - it was a good, light dinner to end the day. Tomorrow we continue our trip and head back to Santa Fe.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Letterboxing with Harry

Yesterday I was going through some new clues that have popped up over the last couple of days in New Mexico and one of those boxes is in Santa Fe. So I printed them out and planned to go and find the boxes today in between running errands. The box is called Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and is a series of three boxes. These were planted by ArnoldZiffel in the area near Monica Lucero Park.

So after running two errands I parked at Monica Lucero Park and sat in the car and read the clues. The entire walk (roundtrip) sounded like it was maybe half a mile. I scanned the area and noted one of the landmarks from the car and didn't see anyone around. I grabbed my letterboxing bag and the clue sheet and headed out. In less than two minutes I had found the first box - The Golden Snitch. I took the box a little ways away from the hiding spot and sat on the trail and stamped in. There was no logbook with this stamp so it was a quick job. I replaced the box and then read the next part of the clue. About 4 minutes later I had found The Sorting Hat. I found a nearby bench to sit on and stamp in. Again no logbook so a quick stamping and then the box was back in place. The final box in the series was on the opposite side of the arroyo. So I crossed over and followed the clue. About two more minutes passed and I had the last box in hand - The Mirror of Erised. This one held the logbook so it took me a little longer to stamp in. This box also contained a First Finder Certificate - thanks ArnoldZiffel. I got the box back in place and started the short walk back to the car. I love Harry Potter so I really liked this series of boxes and stamps. I am hoping that since this series represents the first book we can look forward to six more series representing the other bo0ks. I had a nice time letterboxing - it was a beautiful, sun filled morning and going out letterboxing made it even better.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

An Excellent Day of Albuquerque Letterboxing

Yesterday I was going through all the letterbox clues in New Mexico for boxes I haven't found yet. I realized that there were quite a few boxes in Albuquerque that I needed to look for. So I gathered all the clues for Albuquerque and mapped them out last night and made a plan so I wouldn't be backtracking. Early this morning I loaded the car and made my way south to Albuquerque. Here is how my day went.

My first stop was in Corrales at the Old San Ysidro Church. I got there early and it was so peaceful there. It was quiet and there was no one around. I easily found Wronghat's Corrales Asylum. I took my time stamping in and then I walked around and took a few pictures before heading out to my next destination. I drove from Corrales down Coors Blvd. to Montano and then to Unser. Here I parked at the trailhead for the Paseo de la Mesa Recreation Trail. This trail is just a little over 4 miles long. Wronghat recently planted six boxes along this trail. So this morning I did an 8 mile roundtrip walk and found all the boxes in his Mesa Series. I was out there for about three hours. It was so quiet and isolated. I didn't see any other person the entire time. I liked that - I didn't have to worry about anyone seeing me find and hide the boxes. The views were also great, I had volcanic cones on one side and the Sandias and Albuquerque on the other. I really enjoyed all the stamps and the walk - thanks Wronghat.

From the Mesa Series I drove down Unser to Central and made my way to Tingley Beach to find Just Fishing by trilla_marion. At first I was worried that I wouldn't be able to get to the box because there were quite a few people out there 'just fishing'. Luckily they weren't any where near the box. It was an easy grab and there was a picnic table nearby where I could sit and stamp in. After I replaced it I took a few pictures and then returned to my car to continue with my day of letterboxing. I drove from Tingley Beach to Bridge St. and that changed into Avenida Cesar Chavez which took me to the Lobo Football Stadium. The parking lot only had a few cars and none of them were parked in the vicinity of the the box I was heading for. So I parked right at the spot for the box. I read the clues in the car and visually found where the box was. So I walked up the ramp grabbed the box and took it back to the car to stamp in. This box is called Temple Owl Transplant. BirchMoon carved the stamp and Wronghat & Semicolon planted the box. It was a great little stamp and I enjoyed the area being deserted. Time to move on.

My next stop was just down Central at the Frontier Restaurant. I got there right at one o'clock and the parking lot was totally full but people were beginning to leave. I wasn't able to park where the clues suggested but I was pretty close. So I parked and read the clue again and spotted the area. So I left the clue in the car and went to the area but had a little trouble - I guess I wasn't understanding a part of the clue. So I went back to the car and reread the clue. It still didn't make sense but I went back to the area and started looking around. It took me about five minutes to locate the box - Cinnamon Daddy by What What. It was a nice carving and made me hungry for one of Frontier's delicious cinnamon rolls but alas I fought the temptation After stamping in I replaced the box and continued on. My next stop was only a short distance away at the Monte Vista Elementary School. The clues were a bit of a puzzle and it took me a little time to actually get to the location and find the box. The spot where the box is hidden is kind of out in the open and I was worried someone from the nearby houses was looking out of their window and they would see me. So I took my phone out and pretended to text while I used my foot to actually locate the box. Then I just bent down and grabbed it and took it back to the car to stamp in. The box is Monte Vista Penguin by What What and the stamp is really nice. I returned the box the same way I found it by pretending to be on the phone and putting it back in place with my foot. Now that I was done here I decided to stop by my Urban Forest box to do a check up. Not too long ago Wronghat notified me that it was missing so I decided to check for myself and search the area in case someone had just moved it. Unfortunately I didn't find it anywhere, so I am retiring this box. It kind of makes me sad that it went missing because this was one of my favorite carves.

Well two boxes left. The next being Hardball Legacies: Albuquerque by Kazam. This was in Balduini Park which was totally empty of people when I got there. I easily found the box and sat on a log to stamp in. It was a nice stamp and once I was done I put it back in place and made sure it was secure and well hidden - I am sure during baseball season this park can get pretty busy and I didn't want to chance that it wasn't hidden well. I continued my day by heading east on Menaul to Juan Tabo and more specifically the John B. Robert Dam. I climbed the dam and then descended the back side into the Bear Canyon Arroyo. I was looking for Another Dam Letterbox by Jane Booth. I attempted this box back in November but didn't find it (I wrote the placer and got a note back that it was missing). She replaced it recently and I was able to find it today. After stamping in and replacing the box I made my way back to the car.

What an excellent day letterboxing in Albuquerque. I was 13 for 13 - I found every box I looked for. I also enjoyed the areas I visited and the boxes I found. Thanks all for planting.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Went Out Letterboxing, Came Home Empty Handed

I planned on Thursday to go out letterboxing on Friday but I ended up with a massive headache and decided to stay home. So yesterday I rested and kept thinking how I wanted to get out and do some letterboxing. I got things ready last night and early this morning I got in the car and headed out. My plan was to go to Heron Lake to look for a box and maybe stop at Chimney Rock and check on my box there and then on the way home I was going to take a detour to the Santuario.

The drive up to Pojoaque, Espanola and Abiquiu was really nice. There was no traffic and I love driving in the early morning. There were spots of snow here and there and I always love the beautiful views around Abiquiu. Anyway, I made it to Heron Lake and found the parking area for the Rio Chama Trail. The lot was covered in snow. I guess I thought since we don't really have much snow in Santa Fe that there wouldn't be much at Heron Lake - well I was wrong. But since I was here I grabbed my things and headed for the trail. First it was down some wooden steps (about 28 or so), most of them covered in snow and then still heading downhill on the trail with railroad ties every so often. And again the trail had a lot of snow on it. But I continued. I got to a wooden suspension (swinging) bridge and carefully crossed it. Once on the far end of the bridge I had to go uphill in mid calf deep snow. It was rough but thankfully it was only a short distance and then the trail leveled out. Next I had to find a sign and then go 57 paces. The sign was pretty close to the end of the bridge so it didn't take long to find it. Then I counted 57 steps and reread the clues and realized it said paces so I went 57 more steps. When I stopped I didn't see any boulders on my right which was the next part of the clue. So I went back to the place I stopped at first. There were two boulders near there and I started clearing snow from around them but my hands got really cold. I looked for a stick I could use and kept digging. Eventually I found some smaller rocks along one edge of one of the boulders. Unfortunately I couldn't move them. Either they were frozen in place or just bigger than I thought and I wasn't in the right place. So I looked around a little more and then decided I wasn't going to find the box today. So I retraced my steps back to the parking area. I have to say even though I didn't get the box the area was beautiful and I had a great hike.

So back on NM84 I made my way back toward Abiquiu. I made a decision to bypass Chimney Rock and head to Chimayo to look for El Santuario de Chimayo. I arrived in Chimayo and parked. Before I got out of the car I read the clues and figured out where I needed to start. Some of the clues confused me and I wasn't able to follow them. But then I located an area and thought I had found the right spot. So I headed there and it was covered in snow. I kind of looked for the box but my hands were cold and I didn't feel like digging too much in the snow again and besides I wasn't even sure I was in the right place. So I walked around and took some pictures and then decided to call it a day. I headed back home without any letterboxes but I still had a great day. I will wait for the Spring to go back and look for these boxes again.
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