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.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

On Our Way Home From Farmington

After a great day yesterday and a good night's sleep we slept in this morning and it was 9:00am before we left the hotel and started our journey back to Santa Fe. We left Farmington and stopped to fill the car with gas in Bloomfield before hitting US550. We drove for a short distance and then turned into the Angel Peak Scenic Area. I had clues for three boxes in the area (later I found out that there was another box) at three different places. First we stopped at Sage Picnic Area and found C4's Angelic. A quick find, but I had to kick the rock loose since it was a little frozen. I sat in the car to stamp in because the temperature was in the teens. After replacing this box we continued up to Castle Overlook and found Sunny Delight's Castle Rock box. Again this one was frozen a little but I was able to loosen the rock and get the box. I sat in the warmth of the car to stamp in and then returned the box to its hiding spot. Then we drove all the way to the end to Angel Peak Campground and parked at the picnic area. We started following the clues but I got confused almost immediately. The clue says to go to the lookout tip and I figured either there would be a sign or the path would lead to only one spot. I was wrong on both accounts. There was no sign anywhere for a 'lootkout tip' and the path went in a couple of directions. We did try and look around at three areas that seemed to match some of the clues but we came up empty handed. We spent about 25 minutes looking for this box but gave up because we got too cold. We did spend a little time taking pictures and enjoying the peace and quiet - we were the only ones there on a cold Sunday morning.

From Angel Peak we got back on US550 and headed to CR7900. As we made the turn we noticed a woman selling bread and biscochitos.  We bought one loaf of bread and one package of biscochitos and then continued on CR7900 to look for three boxes. At the intersection of CR7900 and CR7950 we parked in a parking area near the first box and Thomas waited in the car while I went in search of Macao in Chaco. I made it to the spot only to find the box exposed and open. The logbook was laying next to it and there were three crayola markers in the box but no stamp. I picked everything up and looked around the area but I was unable to find the stamp. I put everything there back into the box, covered it and then put it back in its hiding spot. When I returned to the car I made a note on the clue sheet to contact the placer about the mess. We then continued on CR7900 for two more boxes. First we stopped at a windmill and found BFF - a quick and easy find, I stamped in the car and rehid the box and then we were on our way. The next box was a few miles down the road near a small hoodoo that the placer described as a turtle. I quickly found Chaco and took it back to the car to stamp in. After replacing the box we turned around and made our way back to US550. Along the way Thomas noticed some hoodoos off to our left so we pulled into the area and took a few pictures.

When we got to Cuba we made a stop to see if we could move the frozen rock to find the box we missed yesterday but it was still being obstinate and we called it quits ad moved on. We continued our drive and somewhere around San Ysidro we stopped at a pullout with a great view of Cabezon Peak and found ArnoldZiffel's New Mexico Centennial Stamp. After stamping in and getting a couple of pictures we were on our way again. In Bernallio we stopped for a late lunch and the completed our drive to Santa Fe. It was a great overnight trip and it was nice just to have a little getaway.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Spur of the Moment Trip to Farmington

Last night Thomas came home from work and announced that he wanted to do something this weekend. He said we could leave in the morning and come home Sunday and asked where I wanted to go. I asked him if he felt like letterboxing since I had quite of few clues for boxes in the Farmington area. He said that would be fine. So we got things together and packed overnight bags before going to bed.

This morning we got up at 6:00am and got a few last minute things ready and then we hit the road. We drove south on I25 to Bernalillo and then took US550 through Cuba and up to Bloomfield. As we drove we enjoyed the lack of traffic since it was early and it was a Saturday. We didn't make any stops until we reached Cuba. We decided to stop here and have some breakfast. We ate at the Cuban Café and took our time and talked and sipped our coffee. We really didn't have anything planned or needing to get anywhere at any certain time so we just relaxed. After about an hour we got in the car and decided to look for a few letterboxes before leaving Cuba. I read the clues and made a mental list of landmarks and we were on our way. The first stop was at the post office. I wasn't too keen about looking for a letterbox around a federal building but when we pulled into the parking lot it was empty. The box was easy to find and I don't think anyone could see me. I took the box back to the car to stamp in and when it was time to put the box back the coast was clear and I easily got the box rehidden. We then continued through town looking for landmarks. The next box was a series of four boxes and they were planted at different gas stations in town. We found three of the four boxes and I stamped in while sitting in the car. For the fourth box we found the right spot but the rock was frozen in place and we couldn't budge it. We decided we would continue on and we would have to look for it at another time. So we left Cuba and continued on our drive.

Not far out of Cuba we turned on to NM96 and drove to La Jara and stopped at the post office. The place was closed and no one was around so it was easy to grab the box and return to the car to stamp in. After replacing the box we returned to US550 and then stopped near the Apache Nugget Casino to look for another box. We were supposed to find an elephant doing a handstand. Well I never found an elephant but after some searching we did find the box. It was a little work to scramble up a snow and loose rock covered hill but I did it and grabbed the box. There was no where to sit and stamp in so I went back down the hill to the car and stamped in there. That meant when I was done I had to traverse the hill again. I did it and then we were able to continue on our way. Before arriving in Bloomfield we made one last stop at CR7500 to find Wronghat's Vicissitudes. This was a quick and easy find. I stamped in while sitting in the car and then returned the box to its hiding spot. I then walked around the abandoned house and took a few pictures. Next we made the last little bit of the drive to Farmington.

We arrived in Farmington and made our way to Lions Wilderness Park. There were quite a few boxes here and we felt it would be a good place to start. First we drove to the amphitheater area and searched for two boxes. Both were pretty easy to find and weren't far walks. The first one I found was right on the side of a road near a parking lot. So I went and retrieved the box and brought it back to the car to stamp and then after stamping I walked back and replaced it. The second box was a little walk down a road that was blocked from motorized vehicles so Thomas stayed in the car and I walked the short distance to the box. I found it easily and then took it back to a picnic table to stamp in. I was done in a short while and replaced the box and then returned to the car. From here we drove to the disc golf course area of the park. A while back I solved a puzzle clue by Sunny Delight called Charlie Brown Christmas Dance Scene. I was determined to look for this box since solving the puzzle took a little bit of time. This is actually a series of seven boxes hidden in and around the disc golf course. We started at the first one and had to wait a little while for a group of four to finish the hole. Once they left we followed the clues but didn't find the box. I am not sure if it was there and we missed it or if it is indeed missing. So after about 15 minutes of searching we decided to continue on for the other six boxes. After about 2 hours of walking all over the course and following clues we found the last six boxes without any problems - well maybe a couple of problems - at a couple of the boxes we had to wait for groups to play through with their frisbees. The boxes took us around the course and we started and ended up at the parking area. We got in the car and drove toward the exit of the park but before leaving we turned toward a picnic area to look for one last box in the park. I wasn't sure whether we would find the next box because there had been an attempt on it recently but since it wasn't on a long hike we decided to look for it. I followed the clues and easily found the box without any problems. I took the box back to the car to stamp in and then returned it to its hiding spot. Now we were ready to leave the park. I had clues for a box at Sandalwood Park just down the road from where we were. So we headed there. We parked and started following the clues. There was a comment that a finder had made on AQ that some of the landmarks were missing - mainly pink flags marking the trail. But we decided to try it anyway. We gave it a good try but never really located anything in the clue so we decided to call it quits and head to one last place before calling it a day. Our next stop was at San Juan College to look for a couple of boxes. There were two in particular that we searched for - RNR's Professor Stevens and BirchMoon's Numb3rs. We knew the area we needed for RNR's box but BirchMoon's box had very clever obscure clues. Instantly I found the first number in the clue for Numb3rs and we were on our way. These clues took us to the courtyard for the Little Theatre. This is where Professor Stevens is hidden. So we concentrated on those clues and quickly found the box. I sat on a bench and stamped in while Thomas looked for the next number for the other clue. After stamping in I replaced the box and joined Thomas. It took us a few minutes to locate the next number and we were now getting the hang of looking for the numbers. The next clue I figured out quickly and we continued on our walk to find the box. The last clue was a little difficult but we bumped into a security guy and he was able to give us some insight (we did not tell him we were letterboxing, we told him we were doing a scavenger hunt). A little while later we found the box. I stamped in at a nearby bench. After stamping in I copied the clues for the bonus box (I am not giving anything away here - she mentions the bonus box in the clues) and then we returned the box to its hiding spot. Thomas and I sat down again and tried to make some sense of the bonus box clues. I wasn't getting anywhere looking at the clues so we got up and walked around looking for something that made sense. By this time the sun was starting to go down and it was getting a little cold. But we kept trying but we found absolutely nothing - no sign of anything that made sense with the clues. We finally decided to give up since it was getting dark and hard to make out things - so we walked back to the car and headed out for something to eat. After dinner we checked in to the hotel and relaxed. We had a great day and tomorrow we start making our way home.

Friday, December 06, 2013

A Holiday Mini Meet in Santa Fe

Tonight we had a little mini meet in Santa Fe at Blue Corn Café. The meet was arranged by ArnoldZiffel and it was a way for all of us to meet the newest Santa Fe letterboxer - Speleo. We were scheduled to meet at 4:00pm and I arrived just a tad before because I had finished all my errands and didn't have anything to do. But I didn't have to wait long before ArnoldZiffel and Agent86 arrived. We got a table for 10 and waited for everyone else to arrive. So those that attended from Santa Fe were ArnoldZiffel, Agent86, Speleo, Astro D, The Great Wuga Wuga, rubberpeace, rbrhorno and myself (lionsmane). And it was a pleasure and a surprise to have Wronghat and SemicolonNM show up from Albuquerque. We had a great time visiting and making exchanges. It has been a while since we have had a good get together for all the boxers in the area. The food and company was great and I hope we can do this again soon. You can see some photos that Wronghat took at Speleo Meet in SF Photo Album.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

lionsmane goes to dartmoor

After years of thinking and dreaming about going to Dartmoor, it is finally going to happen. Back in September I received an email from Mark Pepe inviting Thomas and I to join them and a group they were putting together for a trip to Dartmoor in August 2014. The trip is another of their Pinecone Adventures. This one is Pinecone Adventures Returns to the Moor and I think it is going to be lots of fun. I have decided to create a blog just for this adventure so that I can keep a record of the entire trip. You can read about the research, planning and trip at lionsmane goes to dartmoor. I can't express how excited I am about this trip and I am sure it will be great fun just like the other Pinecone Adventures we have attended.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Making Our Way Back to Santa Fe

Today we head home, so we decided to get an early start. We were up at 5:00am and on the road by 5:30am. It was dark and the road was empty so we made good time. We did stop for coffee about an hour into the drive and at this time Thomas decided to take a nap in the back seat while I drove. It was actually a very relaxing drive along US54 for a few hours and then just before Plains we turned west onto US 160. We drove directly west on US 160 for a short time and then headed south and southwest on US 83 then took KS 51 west into Hugoton. We decided to stop here and use the restroom and get a little breakfast. Forty minutes later we were back on the road - I was still driving and Thomas was still resting in the back seat. From Hugoton we headed southwest on US 56 driving through the Cimarron National Grasslands and Elkhart before crossing the border into Oklahoma. We continued going southwest on US 56 until we arrived in Boise City.

We stopped in Boise City to find a couple of letterboxes and to take a little break. First we drove to the Cimarron Heritage Center to find jb kokopelli's North to Alaska: Bombing of Boise City. This was a pretty easy find and I stamped in while sitting in the car. I replaced the box and walked around to take a couple of pictues - one of a large tinman and one of a lifesize metal dinosaur. Then we drove to the Boise City Cemetery to find To OK From CO by Tai Chi and Chai Tea. This was another quick and easy find and again I stamped in while sitting in the car. Now that we were done with boxing in Boise City it was time to continue our drive. I continued to drive so that Thomas could read (I guess the book he is reading was getting good). We continued on US 56, crossed into New Mexico and made our way to Clayton. Since we were here I wanted to check on my Alphabetical New Mexico: K ("Black Jack" Ketchum) box and to find To NM From CO Purple Mountain Majestical Greetings by The Woodshed. We were successful on both counts - I found the To NM From CO without a problem and my box was safe and in good shape. We left the cemetery and drove into town to fill the car with gas and then make the last leg of our drive home. The rest of the trip was uneventful and we didn't make any stops until we arrived home. We had a great trip and found some nice boxes but as always we are glad to be home with our dogs. And now I have added Kansas to my letterboxing map.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Driving and Letterboxing

Today I was on my own for most of the day as Thomas had his conference and was busy. So I decided to do a little driving to look for a few boxes and see a little more of Kansas. I got all my things together and had a little breakfast before hitting the road.
I left Pratt and headed north on US 281, I drove by Iuka and eventually arrived at US 50. Here I turned west and drove through Mackville, Belpre and Lewis before arriving in Kinsley. I stopped at a small rest area/park at the edge of town to look for a letterbox.
Midway USA Sign
This area is suppose to be the midway point of the country. There is a sign here that states that San Francisco and New York or equidistance from this point. Not sure if it is true! Anyway I took a picture of the sign and the looked for RTRW's Midway USA letterbox. I followed the clues but came up empty handed. I tried two more times and then looked around the area but I didn't find the box. There is also the Edwards County Historical Museum and Sod House here - but they were closed. So I decided to continue on my trip. I was still on US 50 headed west and I drove through Offerle and Spearville (Home of Windmills and Royal Lancers - at least that is what the sign said) before arriving in Dodge City. Somehow I felt I needed to be on a horse and not in my car if I was heading in to Dodge City. My first stop was the Visitors Center where I got some information and maps.
Boot Hill Cemetery
Then I headed across the street to the Boot Hill Museum. I spent about 45 minutes walking around the area and looking at all the exhibits. I enjoyed the history and loved that they are keeping the legends alive here. When I was done here I drove a few blocks away to Wright Park to find Azroadie's Dodge City letterbox. This was a quick and easy find and I was glad to have another of Azroadie's boxes. I replaced the box, returned to my car and continued on my drive. From Dodge City I headed south on US 283 to Minneola and then turned east on US 54. I was on my last stretch back to Pratt but I had one more stop.
Sculpture at Big Well Museum
I drove through Bloom, Kingsdown and Bucklin before arriving in Greensburg. My destination here was the Big Well Museum. Here I found Wronghat's Big Whale Anomaly letterbox. I took this one to the car to stamp in because the wind had been getting progressively stronger as the day went on. I was glad to be in the car so that I could take my time stamping in and not have to chase baggies and clue sheets around in the wind. This was another great Wronghat stamp and I was the first finder as well - so I got an FF card. Thanks, Wronghat! After replacing the box I returned to Pratt on US 54 driving through Haviland and Cullison first. I returned to the hotel and figured out that I had found a total of 8 boxes in Kansas. I am happy to add this state to my map.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Wichita Letterboxing

The original plan for today was to drive from Pratt to Topeka and visit the Capitol but after our long day of driving we didn't think we would enjoy the seven hour round trip drive. So we decided to just drive to Wichita on US 54 and just letterbox. We ended up sleeping in and after breakfast we headed east - it was around 9:30am.
Friends University

The drive to Wichita took a little over an hour and was pleasant. When we arrived in town we headed over to Friends University to find LouietheRabbit's Mascot Series #2: Freddy Falcon. I found the location on campus we needed and we found a spot to park. The campus is beautiful and we enjoyed walking around. We spent a little time taking pictures and then went in search of the box - to tell the truth in wasn't much of a search. The clues were straight forward and I found the box without any problems. There was a bench right near the box and I sat there to stamp in. Luckily the area was pretty quiet and there weren't many people so it was easy to retrieve and rehide the box without being seen. Now on to the next box. In a short time we arrived at Maple Grove Cemetery. The cemetery was very nice and big. We were looking for three boxes here and after about 30 minutes here we had found all three boxes. At this location we found The Woodshed's To KS From CO Purple Mountain Majestical Greetings and two boxes by brown eyed starling - Gunfighter: Bat Masterson and Gunfighter: Buffalo Bill Cody. It was a pleasant morning in the cemetery. After all the boxes were back in place we left the cemetery and headed over to Swanson Park to find Foxy Grandma's box - Grandma's Tea Party. This was such an easy find. It was a short way down a paved trail from the parking area. I sat on the trail to stamp in and then we decided to walk a little further just to enjoy the place. We ended up only spending about 30 minutes walking around before returning to the car.
Fall Color in Swanson Park

We were done letterboxing around 1:00pm and we decided it was time for a little lunch and after eating we made our way back to Pratt. Thomas has a reception this evening for the conference and then he is there all day tomorrow and I will do a little letterboxing and driving around the area.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Letterboxing Along US 54

We are off again on another trip. Thomas is attending a conference in Pratt, Kansas and I am tagging along. The conference is S.P.I.R.I.T. (Southwest Passage Initiative for Regional and Interstate Transportation) and is focusing on trying to get funding and approval for the upgrade of US 54. They want to four lane the highway from Wichita, Kansas to El Paso, Texas. One of the main reasons I wanted to tag along on this trip was because I wanted to find letterboxes in Kansas so I could add that state to my map.
So we left Santa Fe early this morning and drove to Clines Corners and through Santa Rosa to Tucumcari. This is where we hit US 54 and headed northeast. There were no letterboxes for me to find along US 54 in New Mexico so we just drove. We made our first stop in Dalhart, Texas. Here we looked for three boxes (well we looked for one and kind of looked for two others). The first box we looked for was The Empty Saddle by Wag Time. This box is hidden in Memorial Park Cemetery and when we arrived there was a funeral going on but it was on the opposite side of the cemetery from where the box is hidden. I easily found the box and stamped in while sitting in the car. I replaced the box and then we headed out. Usually I like to walk around the cemetery and take some pictures but I didn't want to impose on the ceremony so we just decided to move on. Next we made a stop at the Dallam/Hartley Veterans Memorial. The box was marked as retired but I took the clue just to make a stop at the memorial. I quickly looked for the box but didn't find it. Then we drove to where the Mission Twin Theater was supposed to be. There was a comment left that said the theater had now been turned into a evangelical center.
Stratford Station
So we drove by but didn't even stop to look for the box. From here we took a detour off of US 54 and headed east on TX 297 and ended up in Cactus, Texas. We made our way to Tumbleweed Drive to look for a box by jb kokopelli. We needed to find a sign but we drove up and down the road twice and never found the sign we needed. We then noticed an area on the side of the road that had been torn up and they were doing some kind of water or gas main work and I got this strong feeling that that was where the box had been. As we looked around we found a pile of cross ties (which was mentioned in the clue) and decided that the box might be in the pile. But we didn't have any luck finding the box.  To get ourselves back on track we headed north on US 287 and rejoined US 54 in Stratford, Texas. Here we looked for two boxes by Wag Time. We didn't find Beauty Shop Bygones but we had more luck finding The Stratford Station. After stamping in and replacing the box we filled the car with gas and then headed out to continue our trip along US 54.

It wasn't long before we crossed into the panhandle of Oklahoma and then into Kansas.
Welcome to Kansas
We did make a stop in Oklahoma but it wasn't for any letterboxes so I am going to write about the trip from just a driving point of view without letterboxing and you can read about that at Driving US 54 . . . and get a little information about another road that was used to cross the United States before the building of our interstate system. Once in Kansas we made our first stop in Liberal, Kansas. We drove to New Hope Church and easily found my first box in Kansas - Holy Grail by SunStateStamper. I stamped in and was so happy to be able to add another state to my letterboxing map. After I replaced the box we headed over to "The Land of Oz" just for the fun of it and to kind of look for a letterbox (which had a few attempts). We didn't find the box because we didn't find the landmark we needed - so we made an assumption that the box was gone. Then we continued on US 54 and made our next stop at a rest area just past the Cimarron River to look for the Nightwatch Box by Aspen. I think I found the right place because I found some flagstone that was mentioned in the clue but I didn't find the box. Time to continue on because with all the little stops we made it was getting late. This was our last stop of the day for letterboxing because it wasn't long before it got dark (since the time change last weekend). So we just drove until we reached Pratt. It was an interesting day eye opening - this part of the country is quite different from anywhere else I have been. Anyway, we had a great day and found a few nice boxes along the way.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Home From My Texas Trip

I was up at 4:00am this morning and on the road by 4:30am. I guess I am ready to get home. I loved driving early this morning because I missed all the traffic and I find that it is peaceful and relaxing. The car was full of gas so I was ready to go. I drove non-stop until Chilicothe where I stopped to fill the car with gas and take a bathroom break. I also decided to get some coffee to make sure I could stay awake all the way home. Again I drove without stopping until I reached Amarillo where I again stopped for the bathroom and put gas in the car. When I stopped the car still had half a tank of gas but I decided it was a good time to take a break from driving and stretch my legs. I made one last stop in Santa Rosa before finishing the last little bit to Santa Fe. I finally made it home around 3:30pm. I had a great time in Texas and you can read about the trip by going to Traveling Texas for Delicious Delights. I am really glad to be home and to be able to sleep in my own bed and now I can start planning for TALE 11 - Naughty or Nice next March.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Headed to Texas for the Delicious Delights Event

I have decided to take a trip to Texas to attend the Delicious Delights event at Lake Houston Wilderness Park near New Caney. I am taking some backroads through Texas as I make my way to the event. I will do lots of letterboxing along the way and I will also visit a couple of friends. I am hoping to find lots of great boxes since Texas has some incredible letterboxers. I always have a great time when I travel throught Texas and I hope this trip proves to be just as much fun as always. You can keep up with my trip by going to Traveling Texas for Delicious Delights.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Another Scenic Driving and Letterboxing Day

Last week I was unable to get two boxes on my day of letterboxing and driving. So I decided to try and get them today. I also had clues to two new boxes. After breakfast and coffee I gathered my things and I was out of the house around 8:00am.
My first stop was near my house at the Spur Trail in Rancho Viejo. It was only a short walk down the trail to two benches and I easily found ArnoldZiffel's The Road to El Dorado. I love the stamp - it is a nice carve. I stamped in sitting on a bench and while there three people passed me with dogs. I ended up having two dogs come and inspect what I was doing.
Embudo Station (now closed)
When the coast was clear I put the box back in place and walked back to my car. From here I headed to NM 599 and then to US 287 and headed north to Espanola. I then continued my drive along NM 68 to Embudo. I was sad to see that the gallery and restaurant there are now closed. I parked and found Speleo's Embudo Station box.
Our Lady of Guadalupe at Embudo Station
This was another nice stamp. I stamped in while sitting in the car and when done got the box back into place. I ended up walking around and taking a few pictures before getting back on NM 68 and heading back south. Just a few miles down the road I stopped at Black Mesa Winery hoping to get ArnoldZiffel's Black Beauty box. This time when I asked for the box the woman behind the counter knew exactly what I was looking for. But she had a little trouble locating the box but found it in about five minutes. I stamped in and got another great stamp by ArnoldZiffel. I returned the box back to the woman and headed to the car. I drove south again on NM 68 and then turned right onto NM 74 toward Hernandez. This was the same route I took last week. The only difference was this time I didn't head toward Abiquiu. Instead I headed to Espanola and then took NM 30 to the Santa Clara Puye Cliffs Welcome Center. There is a sign on Santa Clara Canyon Road that says you need a pass to continue so I stopped in the center and asked. The woman told me I could just drive in. So I followed the clues for RNNR's Hidden Puye Treasure box which is hidden at a scenic overlook area. I parked and followed the clues but I was a little confused about where to look. The clue said 45 paces from information sign to look for a cloud shaped juniper hidden behind a baby juniper. First there were some baby junipers but none actually hid a bigger cloud shaped juniper. And second there were lots of junipers. So I picked one and headed to it. I found a large rock hidden under the juniper and I moved it and found the tip of a ziplock bag. I pulled it out of a hole in the ground and found the bag had a black box in it.
Hidden Puye Treasure Letterbox Stamp
I took this back to the picnic table at the information sign to stamp in. I am assuming I found the right box but the logbook didn't have the same name as the clue and the placer's name wasn't on the logbook. I stamped in wondering if this was the right box. The stamp was made of foam not rubber and was mounted on a piece of stick with a handle (that is a picture of the stamp mount on the right). When I was done I returned the box to its hiding spot and then I kind of searched around a few other junipers just to make sure I found the right spot. I didn't find anything else so I am counting this as the box I was suppose to find.

After finding this last box I decided to head back to Santa Fe. When I reached Santa Fe it was a little after noon so I headed to Five Star Burgers for some lunch. I ended up having the crab burger. Once I was done eating I had one errand to make and then I returned home. It was another great day driving around New Mexico and letterboxing. Incidentally I was the first finder on all four boxes I found today.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Scenic Driving and Letterboxing

Today I decided to forget about everything and just get out there and box. I had clues for 12 boxes between Santa Fe, Eagle Nest and Abuquiu. Last night I got all the clues ready and mapped out my driving so that I could maximize my time. I like starting early so I was in the car and on my way by 6:30am.

My first stop was in Pojoaque at Cities of Gold Casino. C4 hid a box on the side of the casino under a large rock near a concrete drain. I easily found Cities of Gold and stamped in while sitting in my car. I was a little worried though, since I had talked to Astro D and she said that she and rubberpeace were greeted by a security guard while they were stamping in. Fortunately I didn't see anyone although the intersection near where the box is hidden is quite busy. I replaced the box and continued on my drive and letterbox hunt. From the casino I drove to NM 503 and drove about 2 miles and then parked on the side of the road next to a large 'V' shaped tree. Here I found C4's Rock of Hope. I again stamped in while sitting in the car.
Cross near Chimayo
Once the box was back in its hiding spot I continued up NM 503 another four or so miles and again parked on the side of the road. I then walked up a hill to a cross to find two boxes. Here I found Sunny Delight's Romans 12:21 and C4's Good Friday. Both were nice stamps and I sat and stamped in with gorgeous views of mesas and bluffs all around me. It was a terrific way to spend part of the morning.
Santuario de Chimayo
After getting these boxes back in their hiding spots I continued on to Chimayo and more specifically the Santuario de Chimayo. Before I spent time looking for the box I headed to the front of the church to take some pictures. I didn't go in because it wasn't open yet but I did walk around the outside and took pictures. Then I returned to the back of the church and started following clues. First I found Bless My Family by Sunny Delight.
San Francisco de Asis
This was an easy find and I took it to a bench to stamp in. When that was done I replaced it and went in search of C4's John 3:16. Another easy find in a place where I could sit comfortably and stamp in. When I was done I had to wait a few minutes to rehide the box because there were a few people milling around. Once the coast was clear I put the box back in place and I returned to my car. Leaving the Santuario I decided to drive the High Road to Taos. I was in the mood for some scenery and a relaxing drive. This drive is one of my favorites in the state and today it was perfect. Very few people and wonderful weather - it gave me the opportunity to stop along the way and take pictures. The road ends at NM 68 very near the San Francisco de Asis Church. Along the way, before reaching NM 68 (about eight or nine miles) I turned on to FR 476 to find Viewfinder's San Francisco de Asis Church.
Eagle Nest Lake
A quick and easy find near a Smokey Bear sign and I was the first finder. I stamped in and replaced the box and then continued my drive to Taos. From Taos I took US 64 (part of the Enchanted Circle Scenic Drive) and made my way to Eagle Nest Lake. My first order of business was to find the Rodriquez Family's Trip Through the Enchanted Circle. This is hidden near the Visitor Center and I didn't have any problem finding it. I sat on a rock and stamped in and saw absolutely no one. While stamping I noticed that the lake was really low and the boat ramp had no water any where near it. When I was done and the box was in place I moved on to my next order of business. I have a box placed here and I had received notices that the box was missing. So I headed down the trail following my clues and was rather quickly confused. Things didn't look the same as when I planted it. Needless to say I couldn't find the box.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
So I went back to the beginning of the trail and started over. I stopped at the number of steps and looked around. I then noticed a faint trail that branched off of the main trail and I looked back up the main trail to the trail head and noticed that the trail seemed to have been moved. So I followed the older faint trail and now things looked much more familiar and I was able to locate the box. No one would have been able to find it since the trail had changed. I checked the box and found that the baggies were gone and the logbook was damp so I decided to just take it home and redo it. I will try and replace it soon. I then left the lake and drove back toward Angel Fire and stopped at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to check on another one of my boxes. This one I couldn't find - I guess I will have to redo this one as well. I marked both of these boxes (Alphabetical New Mexico E and V) as unavailable and will update when I replace them. Now it was time to begin heading back to Santa Fe, with a few detours for a couple of more boxes.

I drove along US 64 and then turned onto NM 68 and made my way to Velarde.
Black Mesa Winery
I stopped at Black Mesa Winery to find ArnoldZiffel's Black Beauty. I made my way into the tasting room and asked for the box. The extremely nice woman had no clue as to what I was talking about. She looked around and couldn't find anything so then she went and asked someone else and they didn't know anything.
Rocks near Abiquiu
She even made a phone call but in the end I left empty handed. So I continued my drive along NM 68 toward Espanola and then turned onto NM 74 and headed toward Hernandez and US 84. At US 84 I turned and headed toward Abiquiu. I drove about twenty or so miles and stopped at a picnic area and parked.
Santa Rosa de Lima
From here I crossed US 84 and went into an area with some beautiful rock formations to find C4's Don't Step on Me! - this was an easy find and there was this large flat rock that I could use to stamp in. When I was done and the box was back in place I took some pictures and then returned to the car. I started back toward Hernandez and stopped at Santa Rosa de Lima. I have drivien this road quite a few times and never noticed this place. It is the ruins of an old church with a couple of crosses. Here I found Sunny Delight's A Tremendous Thing. It was so peaceful sitting there and stamping in. I then replaced the box and returned to the car. I drove alond US 84 into Espanola and then took NM 30 to the Santa Clara Puye Cliffs Welcome Center. By this time it was around 4:15pm and I noticed signs that you needed a pass to drive up the road. I decided I didn't want to deal with that at this time and decided to forego this last box. So I continued on NM 30 and then I took NM 502 back to Pojoaque. From here I returned to Santa Fe and home. I had an incredible day driving in some of the most scenic areas of New Mexico and I also found 10 letterboxes. Once I was home I showered and then had some dinner. After eating I checked my emails and found I had a note from ArnoldZiffel. Apparently Black Mesa Winery called her when they couldn't find the box and abut 15 minutes after I left they had found the box. Oh, well I guess I will just have to make another trip to get that box.
My Travels for the Day

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park

This morning we didn't set an alarm and ended up sleeping until 8:00am. After a quick breakfast at the hotel we made our way to Rocky Mountain National Park. We entered the park on US36 at the Beaver Meadows entrance. I picked up some information and a map of Bear Lake Road at the Visitor Center and got my passport stamp and then we were on our way. At the entrance station we paid our fee and then turned left onto Bear Lake Road. I had read that the road was under construction and that there were delays but we didn't have any problems. Either the construction was over or they weren't working on a Sunday but either way the drive was nice and uneventful. We didn't make any stops along this road until we reached the parking area for Bear Lake.
View of Longs Peak from Bear Lake
The lot was pretty empty so we didn't have any problem with parking. Before taking off on any hikes we talked with a ranger. Her name was Judy and she was so nice and gave us lots of good options.
Alberta Falls
We really weren't looking for a long or hard hike, we wanted something relaxing and beautiful and Judy helped us to pick a hike that turned out incredible. First we did the short ½ mile loop around Bear Lake - this is a nature trail and there are numbered sign post along the way that with a trail guide gives you some great information. There were some wonderful views of Longs Peak while walking around the lake and the mountains reflected in the lake was beautiful. Once we had completed the loop we took the trail to Alberta Falls. This trail turned out to be very active - we saw quite a few people walking here but it was worth it. The hike was a little less that a mile one way and there weren't really any major inclines so we really enjoyed this morning walk. Arriving at the falls was incredible - they aren't huge and the drop isn't long but the scene is beautiful. We spent about 30 minutes just taking pictures and enjoying the area. We were glad to have taken this walk, it was a great way to start the day. On the walk back to the trailhead we took a detour and followed a horse trail back to the parking lot which was much quieter - we didn't see any other person on this trail.

A Friend We Made on the Trail
Now that we were back at the car we headed back up Bear Lake Road and made a stop at the Moraine Visitor Center which was closed so I couldn't get my passport stamp. We made it back to the main road and turned left and decided to drive the Trail Ridge Road to the Alpine Visitor Center. This drive is beautiful and we thoroughly enjoyed it. We made some stops along the way for pictures and just to enjoy the views.
Alpine Tundra at Rock Cut
On the drive up to Alpine Visitor Center we stopped a Rainbow Curve and Rock Cut. At Rainbow Curve we stopped and just looked at views - I think we spent 15 minutes just sitting on the rock wall staring. When we got to Rock Cut we took a short walk up a kind of steep hill to some very incredible views. It was a little rough on us since the two of us are not in the best shape but it was worth it. After Rock Cut we didn't stop again until we arrived at the Visitor Center.
Gore Range
Here I got my passport stamp and bought some postcards, a book, a patch and some pins. We noticed some people climbing up some steps cut into this hill which is only a short ¼ mile hike but you gain 300 feet in that short span.
View from Forest Canyon Overlook
Our energy level at this time prevented us from attempting this climb. After looking around the gift shop and taking in the views we headed back on Trail Ridge Road to where we started. During this part of the drive we stopped at Gore Range Overlook. For me this had the best views along the part of the road that we traveled. I really enjoyed this stop. Our next stop was Forest Canyon Overlook which is also beautiful with views of a canyon with lots of trees. Our last stop was Many Parks Curve. At this stop we actually saw and heard an elk down in the valley making bugle calls. It was wonderful! We left this overlook and we made our way out of the park.

It was a little after 2:00pm and we were hungry so we stopped at the first restaurant we say which happened to be a chinese place. After a good meal we headed out to do a little letterboxing in Estes Park. We first took Mary's Lake Road to find Viewfinder's Rocky Mt High: Music Box #12, John Denver. It was an easy find and once I had stamped in we made our way to CO7 and down to the Baldpate Inn. We took a short walk on the Homer Rose Trail to find Shark Boy and Lava Girl's Dear Sweet Matthew.
Keys at Baldpate Inn
Another qucik and easy find and after I stamped in and put the box back into place we headed into the Baldpate Inn. We made our way to the library to look for TaiChi and ChaiTea's Seven Keys . . . letterbox. I thought I had the clues figured out and I thought I knew what I was looking for but when we entered I became confused. One of the clues was 'bookcase' - there were lots of book shelves but only one thing that I considered a case. So I went there first. I read the clues again and looked where they said to look but I didn't find anything. So I read the clues again and looked again but still nothing. Anyway, we spent about 15 minutes lookng for what I thought I needed but didn't find anything so we called it quits and walked through the "Key Room". It was amazing to see all the keys hanging there and they really have taken the time to label each one and have them so organized. Now it was time to leave and head back into Estes Park. As we drove to our next stop it started to drizzle but we continued on to the Lumpy Ridge Trailhead off of MacGregor Avenue. First we found Viewfinder's Moose in the Mountains and after stamping in we found the Gem Lake Trail and looked for Gem Luck by Monkey Miller. We didn't find this box so we continued a little ways up the trail but the rain was getting worse so we returned to the car. By the time we reached the car it was a heavy downpour. We decided to head back to the hotel and rest a while and wait out the rain. We spent about an hour and a half at the hotel and once the rain was done we headed out again.

Staircase in the Lobby of The Stanley Hotel
This time we made our way to The Stanley Hotel. We decided to go through the guard gate and pay $5 to park near the hotel. The parking lot in the back of the hotel was pretty empty and that is where we decided to leave the car. There were a few boxes hidden on a trail by some large boulders to the back of the employees quarters and that is were we headed. Immediately I noticed a couple of problems.
The Stanley Hotel
One - there was really no discernible trail and two - we were unable to locate a landmark we were looking for. But we continued on and looked for other boxes. We spent about an hour out there and found the following boxes . . . Sarcasmo's Stephen King: Heeere's Johnny! and Redrum and The Stanley by TeamPumpkinKing. We found other landmarks for boxes but then the clues fizzled out and the only boxes we found were the three listed above. Next we headed into the hotel. We looked for a box near one of the back entrances but came up empty handed. Then we went in and walked around the place for a little bit and took some pictures. After about 20 minutes we headed out front to look for two boxes but we only found one - Seattle Bound's Stephen King: The Overlook Hotel. I stamped in and then rehid the box and then we walked back to the car.

Leaving The Stanley we encountered about five elk walking in the road. I snapped a couple of pictures and then we headed downtown. We parked and again encountered more elk walking the streets. During our walk downtown we looked for three boxes but only found one - ona journey's Urban Box Tribute to Preboxed. It was a little tricky finding the box but I did have some ideas of where to look and one of them panned out. We stamped in and then kept walking to find some place to eat. We had a nice meal and then decided to call it a day. Back at the hotel we got things packed so that we could get an early start in the morning to make our way back home. We had a great visit and enjoyed the weekend getaway.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Estes Park

We are in Estes Park, Colorado and we had a great time today. Yesterday Thomas and I left Santa Fe after work and drove part of the way to our destination. We stopped and had dinner in Raton and then decided to stay in Colorado Springs for the night. We ended up at a Double Tree Hotel and had a nice room and some delicious cookies. This morning we had breakfast at the hotel and then drove to Littleton to meet up with Thomas' brother Chris and his wife Karla. We met at a flea market called A Paris Street Market. We spent about two hours walking around checking out all the booths and just visiting. Then we went for a coffee and visited some more. From there Thomas and I headed up to Estes Park while his brother and sister-in-law went back to their house to check on their dogs and then they drove up to Estes Park to meet us. When we arrived in Estes Park we went and checked in to our hotel and waited for Chris and Karla to arrive. We then all drove up to the Visitor Center to park and then walk around the downtown area. The town was packed - this weekend is the Longs Peak Scottish Irish Highland Festival and we knew something was going on when we ran into a traffic jam trying to enter the town. We found a parking spot and then grabbed a map at the Visitor Center and asked for a recommendation for lunch.
Elk in Estes Park
Three people suggested Ed's Cantina & Grill so that is where we headed. We weren't disappointed - the food was great and we got to visit some more. After lunch we just started walking. At times we walked along the river and at times along the street. At one point we watched some Elk play in the river - there was one buck with eight cows, it was amazing to be so close to them. We did a lot of window shopping and some real shopping. And we did a lot of snacking. We stopped into a candy store and bought some old time candy (Mary Janes, Bit O Honey, BB Bats, Kits, Necco Wafers, Banana Splits, Squirrel Nut Zippers and Abba Zabba Peanut Butter Taffy) and ate as we walked. Later we stopped into a Blue Bunny Ice Cream Shop and had some ice cream and cones. Finally about 5:00pm we all returned to our hotel and then Chris and Karla left to head back to Broomfield.

Thomas and I then decided to head out and do a little letterboxing.
Birch Ruins
We ended up on Wonderview Ave. and more specifically the Birch Ruins and Knoll Willows Nature Preserve. We walked around the area and enjoyed the views from the hill, the ruins, the cabin and we had a great time finding three letterboxes - Estes Inferno, Elk Nursery and Estes Pine. I liked all the stamps and was happy to have found a few boxes. By the time we found the last letterbox it was getting dark and we decided we needed some dinner. As we drove in the direction of the hotel we looked for a place to eat and we ended up at Village Pizza and had a nice meal. We arrived back at the hotel a little after 8:00pm and now that I am showered and relaxing I am getting this post completed. Tomorrow our plan is to spend some time in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Heroes and Monsters

In Memoriam
Three new boxes have recently appeared in Santa Fe and today I had the afternoon free so I decided I would bring all my letterboxing gear and the clues and try and nab these boxes after my morning appointments. My morning was pretty busy and I didn't finish all my appointments and errands until after 1:00pm. The rest of the afternoon was mine to just letterbox. One of the letterboxes was off of Hyde Park Road and two others were off of Richards Avenue which is close to home. I decided to take the drive up the mountain first and get that box. The box is a memorial to firefighters (especially the group who recently died in Arizona) and was planted by ArnoldZiffel, Agent 86 and Speleo. The box is called Heroes on the Line and is hidden on a small trail that isn't marked just a few miles up Hyde Park Road. I parked in the pullout on the right side of the road and gathered my things. I crossed the road and walked a short distance up the trail and found the landmark. The box was hidden well but was easy to find and once I had it in my hand I walked a little further up the trail until I found a nice place to sit and stamp in. The stamp is wonderful and I really enjoyed the box - thanks guys.

Once back in the car I drove down the mountain and made my way to Richards Avenue. I then drove to Governor Miles Road and ended at Pueblos del Sol Playground which is where the clues started for the Monster Mash series planted by BirchMoon and ArnoldZiffel. Technically these boxes are night boxes and are marked by fire tacks. When I first read the clues and thought about where the boxes were planted I was a little concerned about getting these boxes at night. Not that I was scared of the dark but I was a little concerned about walking a trail behind some houses at night, in the dark with a flashlight. I just didn't want one of the neighbors to wonder who or what was out there and the light flashing around while I looked for the boxes. I know this sounds paranoid but I have been stopped by police and security for less while out letterboxing - so now I am a little more cautious about what I will do. Another example is a series of letterboxes in Farmington planted at or near schools. I don't think I will ever get these boxes (at least not by myself) because the first thing people will think is 'What is this pervert, old, white guy doing skulking around a school with childeren?'. I am a lot more discerning about looking for boxes that may raise concern for someone. This hobby is suppose to be fun and the fun is taken away when a cop stops to question you. I really wish planters would think a little more about where they are planting boxes and if they are putting people in compromising situations. Now I am not saying that the Monster Mash boxes are in a bad spot, I am just saying that I don't want to go searching for a letterbox in a neighborhood at night - so I chose to find these boxes during the day. Maybe I am just paranoid but I want to operate within my comfort zone. I didn't have any problems finding the two boxes in the series and I loved the stamps and the theme. I stamped in while sitting just off the trail on a bench a little ways from the hiding spots of the boxes.

Sunglasses on the Trail
After I got the boxes back in place I returned to my car and headed home. It was a good afternoon of letterboxing and I got three great stamps. Hopefully in the next week or two I can get some boxes that are just north of Santa Fe that I haven't yet had time for.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

A Box on the Way

This afternoon Thomas and I had plans to meet friends in Albuquerque and then go for dinner. There is a letterbox about half way between Santa Fe and Albuquerque that I have been wanting to grab for a while now. I decided that today we were going to stop and get this quick find. The box in MacabreMobile by Wronghat and I always love finding his boxes. This was no exception. The box in hidden near a water tank that has some very cool graffiti murals on them. We pulled up and parked next to the water tank and it took me all of 30 seconds to grab the box. I decided to take it back to the car to stamp in. I finished stamping in and decided to drop a hitchhiker in the box - this should be a good spot for the little guy to be picked up and moved along. When I was done it the box was replaced and we were on our way to meet friends. Thanks Wronghat for the distraction along I25.

Cactus and Adobe
Saxophone and Guitars
Macabre Mobile

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Back from San Francisco

Well we are home from our trip to San Francisco and we had a great time.
Golden Gate Bridge South Tower
From walking the Golden Gate Bridge, touring Alcatraz, visiting Golden Gate Park and admiring the Palace of Fine Arts it was all wonderful. I also got to find a few letterboxes along the way and add another state to my letterboxing map. We did all the touristy stuff as well as some side things and boy did we walk. We put a lot of miles on our feet even though we used the public transportation system a lot we still needed to walk to some things. Highlights for me were Alcatraz, Lands End and the walk over the Golden Gate Bridge. Even though we did a lot there are things we still didn't get to and we will have to make another trip. But until then you can read about this trip at City by the Bay Letterboxing Trip.
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