This blog chronicles my letterboxing adventures. It includes posts that share my travels that are letterboxing related, the letterboxes I have found and planted as well as the people I have met along the way. There are also photos included to help give a complete picture of the fun I had.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Replanting and Maintaining Boxes

For a few weeks now I have been evaluating some of my boxes. I had pulled some and was trying to decide if I wanted to replant them in safer places or retire them and I also checked on some boxes and worked on updating clues so they were more appropriate. For some of the boxes I cleaned the stamps and then added new baggies before finding a good hiding spot in the same general area. Others were in great condition and all I needed to do was make sure they were hidden well and that the clues made sense. Today I went out and replaced boxes and checked on a few more. I am feeling relieved that a good number of my boxes in the Santa Fe area are in great condition. Once the boxes were in place and I had notes for clues I came home and update the boxes on the web.

The boxes that were taken care of are . . .
City Different Walking Tour
Goodbye Mom
lionsmane's 5 Year Letterboxiversary
I am still working on a couple  . . .
Alphabetical New Mexico: Y (Yucca)
Dreams of Eames
When these two are done I will update clues on Atlas Quest.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Not Finding a Letterbox with Astro D

Last week sometime Astro D went out to look for a new box planted by PI Joe. She had trouble finding the box which is weird since it had just been planted a few days before. She was sure she was in the right spot but there was no box. She contacted me and asked if I wanted to go out with her today and try to find the box. I met her at her house and we made our way to the Dale Ball Trails off of Hyde Park Road. We headed down the trail following the clues and when we arrived at a junction we stopped. Here she wanted me to continue with the clues to see if I would end up at the same spot as she did. So I continued with the clues and after counting off the number of steps I stopped. I wasn't quite at the landmark mentioned in the clues but it was close enough. Then I looked uphill for the tree mentioned in the clues. When I located it I asked Astro D if that was the same tree that she found - it was. We made our way up the hill and to the tree and found a SPOR nicely stacked behind the tree. There were rocks but no box. We started talking and it actually looked as though the rocks were stacked but no box was ever placed there. Usually you would see an imprint of the box but we didn't even notice that. We moved some dirt and really checked the spot but still came up empty handed. Since we hadn't found the box we decided to search all the trees in the near vicinity. We found nothing! After a little while we returned to the trail and walked a little further and checked behind other trees. We spent about a half hour searching all around the area but we came up empty handed. We even started joking that PI Joe had forgotten to actually put the box in place. Of course that was just a joke. But it is sad that a box just planted has disappeared in less than a week. I hope we were just in the wrong spot and eventually the box will be found. We had a nice walk and enjoyed looking for the box - a great way to spend the morning.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Double Checking on Boxes

This past weekend we had our Letterboxing with Altitude event up at Hyde Memorial State Park in Santa Fe. We had about 30 people attend the event. So today I decided to head up the mountain and check on the boxes that got the most action. I wanted to make sure after lots of finds that they were all closed properly and hidden well. It is likely that these boxes won't be found again until next Spring. Since they are in the mountain they will be covered with snow for the winter. So today I drove to the to the top of the mountain and then worked my way down checking on boxes along the way. I made sure baggies were closed well and lids were on tight. Then I made sure that they were hidden well, covered and secure. I was pleasantly surprised that most of the boxes were in great shape but I was glad I checked on them - it made me feel better. So the boxes I checked on were . . .
Purple Skeleton
Inching Along One Letterboxer at a Time
Beatles Series: In Spite of All the Danger
Trembling Poplar
Beatles Series: The Long and Winding Road
Hyde Memorial State Park Series
The Trill of Flying
Hyde Park Lodge
Susan's Black Eye
Howling Moon
Celtic Warriors
My Favorite Swine: Piglet
Pin Up Stamp Swap 2: Tess
A Boy and His Tiger
The Art of Ebrû
Heroes on the Line
Gnome Day 2014: Amelie's Gnome
Southwest Charm
I am hoping that by checking on these boxes that they will be safe through the winter and be available next Spring. Thanks to everyone who came to the event and looked for our boxes.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

My Longest Hike to a Letterbox

This morning Bell Motel, PI Joe and I went on a hike. They were after five letterboxes and I had my sights set on one - the other four I had already found. Now I had done part of this hike back in July but before I could get to the last box it started to rain so I had to turn around and head back. You can read about that hike at Hiking, Letterboxing and Getting Wet. I knew that this hike would be hard since I had done a good part of it before but it turned out to be really tough. I am not in the best shape and haven't done much hiking this year so I wasn't sure what exactly would happen. But I was willing to try and I was looking forward to it. The hike we did today was to Puerto Nambe.

The first part of this hike is a few switchbacks leading up to the National Forest fence. I have done this part quite a few times and it is always hard for me. Along the way we stopped so they could find Purple Skeleton. At the fence we took a detour up to Ravens Ridge (we didn't actually hike up the ridge) where they found Astro D's Ravens Ridge letterbox. We didn't stay there long as it was really windy and cold. Back at the gate to the National Forest they found Southwest Speedster. From the fence line to the creek near the junction for the trail to Nambe Lake wasn't too bad for me - it is mostly level (some ups and downs but nothing serious). Near the creek crossing we stopped and they found their fourth box - What's it all about Mr. N? At this point I seriously thought about turning around and heading back. I was tired and the hike was kicking my butt. It didn't seem to bother PI Joe and Bell Motel and I felt like I was hindering them. But I really wanted to make it to the meadow and get this box so I continued on. I kept telling them to hike at the pace they wanted and eventually I would catch up to them but they would stop and take breaks with me along the way. Then we arrived at the switchbacks just before the meadow and here I really had trouble - I had to take frequent breaks. PI Joe kept stopping to let me catch up and Bell Motel went on ahead at her own pace. Finally I arrived at the meadow and they were already stamping into Ché What? so I walked up and joined them. After a short break and a snack Bell Motel went and put the box back in place (since she was actually the one who had found it) and we started on our return trip.

This part of the hike back to the intersection with the trail for Nambe Lake wasn't too bad. Mostly downhill or level and along the way PI Joe hid a box he had with him. But the next part was all up hill and I was really tired. I needed frequent breaks to give my legs a rest. The others took breaks with me but I think by this time they were getting frustrated - I could see it on their faces and I was feeling really bad about holding them up and it made the last part of the hike that much worse. All I could think about was how I messed up their hike and just wanted to get back to the car so this day would be over. When we finally made it to the fence line I was elated since I knew the last half mile was all down hill. The hike took the better part of the day. We started a little after 9:00am and arrived back at the car somewhere around 5:00pm. PI Joe had a GPS and Bell Motel had a FitBit and we figured that we had hiked somewhere between 10 and 11 miles. I was just glad it was over - if I had done this alone I would have felt better about completeing a 10 mile hike (I have never hike this far before.) but I know they could have shaved an hour or so off this time if I hadn't been there. They were both supportive and cordial but I could tell they were also frustrated. Later tonight it got back to me that I did hold them up and they were a little frustrated which didn't make me feel any better. I know now that I can't keep up with them so I won't go on any hikes with them again - I am just not in good enough shape.

After the hike we met other boxers that had attended our event yesterday - Letterboxing with Altitude (You can read about that at A Letterboxing Event in Santa Fe.). We met at Second Street Brewery and had a great time. It was a good way to end the day and the weekend. Those that attended the dinner were Azroadie, Desert Flower, PI Joe, FamilyTreeShaker, Bell Motel, ArnoldZiffel, Agent 86, Astro D, The Great Wuga Wuga, The Woodshed, Highwayman and myself.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

A Letterboxing Event in Santa Fe

Back in May of this year, Astro D, ArnoldZiffel and I met to plan a letterboxing event. We talked and came up with some ideas and then tweaked those ideas into an event. We spent the summer planning Letterboxing with Altitude. Things were divied up and we all did our part over the summer to check on boxes, carve stamps, reserve the location and send out notices. We decided on Hyde Memorial State Park and before we knew it things had fallen into place and the event was upon us. Today was the event and it turned out great. Lots of folks showed up - boxers came from all over New Mexico (Las Cruces, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Galisteo, Farmington and Tijeras) and from Colorado, Arizona and Texas.
I arrived just before 8:00am at the gate and had to wait for the Ranger to open up the area. Thomas was with me and while we were waiting a couple of people showed up as well. About 8:10am we were at the group shelter and setting up. The event was actually scheduled for 10:00am but people started arriving soon after we were set up. Everyone gathered at the shelter and visited. There were exchanges, personal travelers and event stamps. Throughout the day people would head out to letterbox and then return to visit or get exchanges. There were plenty of incredible boxes for the event and most of them are staying around.

The day turned out fantastic. We had great weather and the aspens were already showing a hint of yellow. Letterboxing in Hyde Park and along Ski Basin Road was wonderful and I recommend that anyone planning a visit to Santa Fe put that area on their list. You will find some great boxes and enjoy a beautiful area. Thanks to everyone who attended the event and for traveling to be here with us. We hope you had a great time and hopefully we can have another event in the near future.

Friday, September 19, 2014

A Little Letterboxing and Final Preparation for Our Event

This morning I joined Astro D and ArnoldZiffel to get some final things done for the Letterboxing With Altitude event tomorrow at Hyde Memorial State Park. We met at Astro D's house and then drove up to the park. First we checked on three boxes Astro D had planted a few days ago to make sure her clues were good. Then ArnoldZiffel planted two boxes she had with her. Next we checked on the four boxes I placed two days ago. Thankfully my clues were okay. So now that all the boxes we needed to plant were in place and the clues were good we decided to go to Group Shelter #2 and go over things for tomorrow. We went over the list of things we needed to do and everything is in place. I will arrive at the shelter around 8:00am and get some things ready and be there in case anyone wants to get an early start and needs any assistance. Astro D and ArnoldZiffel will get to the shelter around 9:00am and the event officially starts at 10:00am. After we talked I took Astro D and ArnoldZiffel back to their car so they could leave since they had things to do. I decided to stay in the mountains and do a little letterboxing.

There are two series of boxes I wanted to look for - one by Astro D and one by Front Range Hiker. My first stop was at Forest Road 102 to look for Finbar's First Road Trip by Front Range Hiker. I parked in a pullout near the junction of Hyde Park Road and FR102. I quickly found the first box -
We're Going For a Ride and found a place to stamp in. After stamping in and replacing the box I walked down FR102 a short distance and found Are We There Yet?. This was another quick find and there was a log to sit on and stamp in. Then I replaced the box and started walking down the road and then I heard a noise and stopped and listened. It sounded like a gunshot, so I waited and then hesitatingly continued a little ways. I then saw a red truck and a man shooting at something in the trees. So I turned around and went back to my car. I waited a few minutes and I saw the truck coming up the road. Now I felt a little more comfortable so I drove down the road to the last box - Home and Happy. I was feeling better now that the shooter was gone and I found the box and stamped in. I replaced the box, got back in the car and returned to Hyde Park Road. This series of stamps is amazing and I am glad I took the time to find them. Now I made my way back down Hyde Park Road to the Big Tesuque Trail. I parked, crossed the road and went down the stone steps. I followed the clues for Astro D's Sangre Series. In no time I arrived at the first box - Ole Man Winter. I took the box and found a place to sit and stamp in. I was amazed at the carve. I finished stamping in and replaced the box and then continued to the second box. I found So Very PC quickly, stamped in and replaced it - all the while thinking that this carve was even better than the first one. Continuing along the trail I arrived at the third box in no time. I found Bright-eyed and Feathery-tailed in a beautiful meadow. When I opened this box I couldn't believe how incredible this carving was. I stamped in and looked at my logbook and was in awe of the three beautiful carvings I had just found. Eventually I replaced the box and made my way back to the car.

I continued my drive back down Hyde Park Road and returned to Group Shelter #2. Here I was going to look for 4 boxes. I started with two that began at the volleyball area. I followed the clues and they took me to a small shelter. I didn't find the boxes because there were some people camping there and I didn't feel comfortable searching around the shelter with all their things there. So I turned around and walked over to the big group shelter. From here I followed the clues to a box and was a little surprised to find two boxes hidden together. I stamped into both and then replaced them. Then I went to look for one more. I walked down the trail a bit and quickly found the last of the four boxes I had wanted to find. I sat and stamped in and then replaced it. At this time I decided I was done for the day. I wanted to go home and get a few things ready for tomorrow. I have done that and I am ready for the event. Stay tuned for a report on everything that happened at the event.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Our Dartmoor Trip Has Come to an End

We are home from our fantastic trip to Dartmoor. To keep a record of this trip I started a blog just for Dartmoor back in September 2013. I made a post each month leading up to the trip and then I posted each day of the trip. The blog is up to date and I plan on making at least one more post just to finalize any post trip information. We had a great time and were fortunate enough to get to Cranmere Pool and Duck's Pool. We met some great local boxers and found plenty of boxes. We got our Dartmoor 100 Patch and lifetime membership card while there as well. If you want to read about our activities you can go to lionsmane goes to dartmoor. I highly recommend to any letterboxer that you take a trip to Dartmoor. Not only for the boxes but for the history of letterboxing and the beautiful moors. It truly is a magical place and I hope to make it back there someday.
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