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, November 29, 2012

A Quick Drive-by After Work

When I left work today I had a notice on my phone that Box Radar had updated. So I opened the app and pressed on one of the icons.
Cute little Christmas Cracker
It just so happened to be a new box that was planted today. And it was very near my house. I didn't have any of my letterboxing stuff with me so I went home and printed out the clue and grabbed my letterboxing bag. It took me about five minutes to get to the box. From my car I was able to figure out the area where the box was but I had to wait. A truck had parked facing the box and someone was sitting in it. Luckily, the driver came out of the store in five minutes. Then I ran to the area and  found the box without a problem. I brought it back to my car to stamp in. It was a great stamp and the box is called Christmas Crackers. It was planted by ArnoldZiffel. After stamping in I quickly replaced the box while there was no one around. I had a great time getting this quick drive-by letterbox.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Driving and Letterboxing

For the past week or so I have been going through all the clues for boxes in New Mexico and then mapping them out and planning for some trips when I have time. I have gotten some boxes in and around the Santa Fe area but the ones I have left are further away and will take at least a full day to go and find them. So I had put the clues aside waiting for a free day. Well today was that day. I was scheduled for work but I got a call that they didn't need me today so I that meant I had a fee day.
Tucumcari Veterans Memorial

I quickly got my letterboxing stuff together and grabbed the clues and headed out for a day of driving and letterboxing. I got on I25 and headed north and then took US285 south to I40 east. Once on I40 I drove to exit 251 - a rest area a few miles west of Santa Rosa. I pulled in and parked where the clues directed me. There were no other cars in the area and I parked in such a way that my car blocked the view from the bathroom area and I was free to grab the box - Letterbox the States: New Mexico that was planted by 2-2 Wheelers. I stamped in while sitting in the car and then replaced the box. Now to continue onward. I got back on I40 headed east and made my way to Tucumcari. I took the first exit and drove to the intersection of 3rd and Main to a small Veterans Memorial Park. The entire area was deserted. The entire time I was there I didn't see one car or one person. I parked and followed the clues and quickly found the box - Veterans Memorial: Tucumcari placed by trilla marion. I took it to a picnic table to stamp in. When I was done I put the box back in place and returned to my car. I decided to find something for lunch before leaving town. I stopped at McDonald's and grabbed some fries and a drink and decided to eat while driving. I took NM209 south and the took NM268 south and ended up in Melrose. I turned onto US60 and headed west. Just before arriving in Fort Sumner I turned onto Billy the Kid Road and headed south. About three miles or so I entered the Bosque Redondo State Monument. I paid the fee and got an audio tour radio and headed out back to the trails. I followed the numbers on the path and listened to the tour. I took a break when I got to the number in the clue for Wronghat's box - Sojourn. I found the box easily and stamped in at a nearby picnic table. After replacing the box I finished the audio tour and when I was done with that I walked the nature trail along the Pecos River. Then I went back inside the building and walked through the exhibits (they are still working on the displays). I really enjoyed the tour and found all the information fascinating even though it was a pretty horrific account of our history. After about an hour here it was time to move on. I made my way back to US60 and continued west. I made a quick stop at Yeso (a ghost town) and took a few pictures. Then I continued on to US285 where I headed north in Vaughn. I stopped at Huntsinger park to find Wronghat's Canine Constable box. This box is based on this story. The park was empty but the highway is right there so when I located the hiding spot of the box I looked to see if there were any cars and when the coast was clear I grabbed the box.
Windmill off of US60 near Yeso
I walked to a picnic table and realized I was being followed by a cute little dog. I really hoped this wasn't the Canine Constable of Vaughn - I really didn't want to be arrested by a dog and spend time in a Vaughn jail. Anyway, the dog followed me to the table and ended up sitting on the bench next to me while I stamp in. I think he was hoping I had some food but I was empty handed - but he just sat there and watched me. He followed me back to the boxes hiding spot and watched while I hid it and then he followed me to the car. I petted him and thanked him for watching over me while I stamped and then I left the park.

Once back on US285 I continued north through Encino, Clines Corners and back to I25. I headed south on I25 and returned home. I had a great time driving and letterboxing today in New Mexico. The weather was beautiful and I got to see some new things and visit some new places. Thanks to all who placed boxes - it really made my day.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Letterboxing On and Near I25

This morning was a bit colder than we have been experiencing but that didn't change my mind to go out and do a little letterboxing. I had clues for two boxes - one planted back in early September and the other planted just yesterday. Both boxes are planted just off I25 - one a little further off than the other. I gathered my clues and supplies and drove off to find these boxes.
Old La Bajada Hill Postcard
First, I headed south on I25 from Santa Fe and once I was at the bottom of La Bajada Hill (the I25 hill) I exited at #264 to Highway 16 and headed toward Cochiti. A mere three and a half miles down the road I turned right on the road to Tetilla Peak. This road is closed in winter and there is a gate across the road. When I arrived at the gate I turned right onto a dirt road. I followed it for a short way and when it made a sharp right turn there was an old road headed off to the left and just a few yards more there was an area to park on the left. So I parked there and followed the clues to find Old La Bajada Hill. I walked up the road and hill looking for the landmarks. When I got to the spot I looked for the box but was having trouble. So I went back a few landmarks and tried again. I ended up in the same place and still no box. So I looked for another cholla close by and that is where I found the box. I guess my steps are a little bigger that Agent 86's. I found a good spot to sit and stamp in and then I replaced the box. After hiding the box I went ahead and walked a little further up the road and then returned to my car to go for the next box.
Map of La Bajada Hill
Once I was back on I25 I headed north passing Santa Fe and Pecos. I drove to mile marker 324 and just after that exited at a rest stop. Just a little area off the interstate with a few trees and nothing else. No tables, no bathrooms and no trash cans. When I parked there was one other car there and the occupants were walking their dogs. I waited until they were done and gone and then I got out of my car and followed the clues to the box. I found Las Vegas hidden in a tree - I grabbed it and then returned to my car to stamp in. This box was placed by Krickster and I now had found all seven boxes that she hid while on her visit to New Mexico. I stamped in and then rehid the box making sure it was well hidden. Then I returned to the car and headed back to Santa Fe. I had to go another three miles north to an exit where I could turn around to head south.

When I got to the Pecos/Glorieta exit I decided to stop and check on a box I have planted in the area. So I made my way to the pullout with the marker for the Battle of Glorieta and parked. I walked the short distance to where the box was hidden and found it right where it was supposed to be. Everything was in place and the logbook still has plenty of room for people to stamp in. I put the box back in place and then made my way home. It was a beautiful day to do a little letterboxing off I25.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Fantastic Day in Taos

For the past few months we have been really busy. Between work, out of town visitors, a big trip and getting ready for the holidays I haven't had much time for just taking a day to relax. I had clues for some letterboxes in Taos and wanted to take a road trip to find them but never could take that much time. On Saturday I was cleaning the house and found the clues sitting on my desk and I planned to take a drive today. I got my letterboxing stuff and other things together on Saturday and mapped out the clues - essentially I was ready by Saturday afternoon.

View from rest stop on US 68
So this morning I got up and got some things done around the house and around 7:30am I was on the road. It was a great drive (I always love this drive - well once I am past Espanola) and not much traffic. Along the way I stopped a couple of times just to look at the river and enjoy the views. Then I made a stop at the Rio Grande Gorge Visitors Center just to check it out. I got back in my car and read my clues and the first box I wanted to look for wasn't too far up the road. So I drove looking for the landmarks and turned into the Rio Grande Gorge Recreation Area/Taos Valley Overlook and parked. I then followed the clues and came up empty handed. I kept trying and spent about 25 minutes before I gave up, leaving the area empty handed. I finished my drive to Taos and stopped at the Visitors Center to get a map. I made my first stop in Taos at the Unicorn School Supply and Stationery. I went in to get the Taos Unicorn letterbox. When I entered I asked for the box and then remembered I was supposed to say "How's your sweet sis?" so that is what I did. The woman at the counter gave me the box and I stamped in while we had a great little conversation. I then looked around the store and bought a few things before thanking the woman and leaving. I then drove to the downtown area and I parked at the intersection of Quesnel Street and Kit Carson Road. Then I walked up Quesnel and made my way to Ledoux Street. At the beginning of the street I found my first box in a series. The series is Taos, NM . . . My Hometown by Krickster. Now this is the same series that the box I looked for on my drive into Taos is in. So I was actually finding the second box in the series. I nabbed the box and sat on a low wall to stamp in. This box is called Ledoux Street. After stamping in and returning the box to its hiding spot I continued to walk up Ledoux Street and about halfway up I found the third box in the series - Taos - hidden cleverly on a street sign. I took the box across the street and sat next to a wall and stamped in. I rehid the box and then headed to the Plaza area. I stopped into a few shops and then made my way to the corner of Kit Carson Road and Morada Lane.
Beautiful Turquoise Truck
Here I found Zia! - the fourth box in the series. I stamped in and put the box back in its hiding spot and then realized that I was parked just across the street. So I walked to the car and read the clue for the fifth box. I had to drive just north of town to a small cemetery that is set back a little from the road. I drove in and followed the clues and found the right landmark and parked. I then followed the rest of the clues and easily found the box. I returned to my car to stamp in. I was the first finder on this box (the other four boxes that I found in town had been found already by Astro D and the Great Wuga Wuga). I then rehid the box and then went to find some lunch.

Now that I was finished with finding all the boxes in town and my tummy was full I decided it was time to head back to Santa Fe. As I drove I kept thinking of the one box that eluded me. I just knew it had to be there. So I returned to the Rio Grande Gorge Recreation Area/Taos Valley Overlook and parked, again. I stood at the fence where the trail began and read the clues. I took out my compass and tried to figure out what I did wrong earlier. For some reason my compass and the compass directions didn't match (I need to test my compass - it may be wonky). But I read all of the clue and decided that I needed to take the trail to the right (there is a trail to the left and one that goes straight ahead). I counted my steps and when I stopped there were no trees on my right. There were a couple of trees about 25 steps ahead of me but they were on the left and there were two trees behind me about 10 steps. I decided those were the ones I needed. I read the clue again and looked around the two trees for a SPOR - nothing. I saw a couple of trees off the trail aways and decided that couldn't be them (and I did look around them earlier) so I decided that the small pine tree right next to the trail was where the box was supposed to be. Finally I noticed a couple of small rocks next to some dead branches (which turned out to be a dead tree or bush) and one loose piece of wood. I moved the wood and rocks and 'Violá!' there was the box - it was really hidden well. WooHoo! - I turned out to be the first finder on this box. I ended up sitting just off the trail to stamp in. I put the box back into place and made sure it was hidden just as well and then returned to my car.

The drive back to Santa Fe was really enjoyable and I was happy that I found all the boxes I set out to find. I had a great time in Taos and with the drive - it was a perfect way to spend the day. Thanks Krickster for planting these boxes during you visit to your hometown.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Walk on the Spur Trail

A few days ago a new letterbox by Agent 86 appeared in Santa Fe.This box is called Spur Trail and is hidden on the Spur Trail in the Rancho Viejo neighborhood.
View from the Spur Trail
This is a trail that I tend to frequent. It is a pretty level trail and isn't too difficult. I also like that it isn't that busy. In fact most of the time I don't see anyone else on the trail. So this morning I decided to go out for a walk to get the new letterbox and just to get out since it was a beautiful morning. I grabbed my letterboxing stuff and the clue and headed out. It was a quick 10 minute drive to the trailhead and when I arrived there was no one there. So I headed out for the walk to the box. In a pretty uneventful walk I arrived at the spot of the box in about 30 minutes. I found the box easily enough and found a spot to sit and stamp in. I was the first finder on this box and got a nice little first finder gift. After stamping in and then rehiding the box I decided I still wanted to do a little walking. So I continued on the Spur Trail to the Rail Trail and then backtracked to my car. I really loved my outing today and it was a peaceful way to spend a crisp, cool fall morning. Thanks to Agent 86 for the box and the walk.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Letterboxing in a Maze

Today we had a full day to explore Venice and of course I wanted to do some letterboxing. We started by looking for a box that was marked as unknown. We followed the clues and came across the road we needed (at least we think it was the right road) but we didn’t find the box. I had done some research to find the street and noticed that there was more than one street with that name so it is possible that we were in the wrong spot. So it was time to move on. We stopped to do a little window shopping and had some lunch and then we continued our letterboxing activity. 

Carnevale in Venice
I was looking in specific areas to hide boxes so that they kind of made sense. I had a box to hide that I called Masked in Venice. I wanted it to be close to St.Mark’s Square since that is where Carnevale is held but the place is way too busy. So we ended up in the Castello area (where there were lots of mask shops) where I found a great spot to hide the box. I found a Poste box with a lip on the bottom that worked well. After jotting down some notes for the clue we continued our walk. We headed to the Rialto Bridge for a box in the area. We had a little trouble finding the right street and the right Madonna in the wall. We found three streets with the same name and we found countless Madonnas in the area. Finally we found the right spot and found one of the boxes that were listed there. One was definitely missing because you could see right into the spot and there was nothing there. I stamped in and then we put the box back into the hiding spot and made our way to one of the main streets. Here we consulted our map and headed out to hide two more boxes.

As we zigged and zagged through the maze known as Venice we enjoyed finding tiny, narrow streets and wonderful shops. Each turn was a surprise and most of the time provided a photo opportunity. Eventually we made our way to the Dursoduro area. The next box I wanted to hide was of a gondola and gondolier - voga alla veneziana. I had read information that there is a boatyard in the San Trovaso Square area and I wanted the box hidden there.

We found the church and square and what we think was the boatyard (it isn’t open to the public). We looked around and found an old metal pipe partially embedded in a wall with pieces of brick missing. As I was looking for a good spot I encountered a geocache. I was disappointed because I wanted to hide the box there after searching around I found a spot lower than the geocache and hid the box nicely. I sat and wrote the clues out and then took a few pictures. And then we moved on. Now I wanted to go to San Samuel area to plant my next (and last) box – Giacomo Casanova. He lived in this area and I had first thought it would be nice to plant the box near his home but writing clues for Venice proves to be a bit challenging. So I choose a square that you could identify on a map. Then it took us a while to find a spot but then I located a pipe about half a block down that worked out well. I didn’t stop to write clues, I just took a few pictures of street names and landmarks to help me write them later.

It was starting to get dark and we were going to look for one more box but decided not to worry about it and just head to the Ferrovia. We looked for signs for the Ferrovia and headed that way. We had a great day of letterboxing in Venice and maneuvering our way through the tangle of streets really helped us to see the city. You can read about our day there at A City Built on Water or you can read about the whole trip at Viva Italia Letterboxing Tour.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Placing a Letterbox in Beautiful Country

We are in Tuscany and having a fantastic time. The countryside is so beautiful and I am enjoying every minute of it. Today we visited a winery – Castello di Verrazzano in Greve in Chianti. After that we drove over to San Gimignano for the afternoon. I had carved a stamp that is a collage of Italy (it has the outline of the country with a gondola, the colosseum, wine & grapes, the word Italy and the flag). When I was searching for a name for the box I looked at a lot of information about Italy and eventually came across the following phrase – “Bel Paese” – this means beautiful country.
View from San Gimignano
And since everything I had read about the Tuscan area of Italy suggested that this part of the country was so beautiful I decided this box had to be somewhere in Tuscany.

We had about one and a half hours to wander in San Gimignano but my priority was to find a place to hide my letterbox – Bel Paese. Thomas and I decided to head up to one of the highest points of town (the town is built on a hill). So we made our way to the Rocca di Montestaffoli and walked around the ruins and climbed an observation tower to get some incredible views of the Tuscan countryside around San Gimignano. We descended the tower and walked around the little park area and eventually found a nice spot for the box. So if you are ever in San Gimignano find my box and then climb the observation tower to see this ‘bel paese’. You can read more about the winery and San Gimignano at Wine and Towers or you can read about the entire trip at Viva Italia Letterboxing Tour.
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