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, August 13, 2015

A Spring and a Crest

This morning I had to be in Albuquerque for an appointment which would only take me an hour. That left the rest of the day to do something. So last night I got together some clues for boxes I hadn't found yet so that I could go and find them when I was done with my meeting. I also gathered all my letterboxing supplies so that I would be ready in the morning. When I left home this morning I had everything I needed to enjoy my letterbox hunt - clues, logbook, signature stamp, compass, inks, water, hat and camera. After my appointment I headed out to do some letterboxing.
I headed east from Albuquerque on I40 and exited on Tramway and then turned onto Central which turns into NM333 (this is the old Route 66). I made sure to go 45 mph so that I could listen to the singing road and then turned onto Carlito Springs and made my way to the Carlito Springs Open Space. I did a little research about this open space and found that it is the newest open space area for Bernalillo County. I also read about its history which was fascinating. Here are some links about Carlito Springs . . .

Carlito Springs latest open space area to open just east of Albuquerque
Bernalillo County Exploring Open Space "Carlito Springs"
Oasis in the Desert: The Renewal of Carlito Springs
Carlito Springs Open Space Trail Map
Carlito Springs Open Space

When I arrived at the Open Space parking there were three cars in the lot. I gathered my things and hit the trail following the clues I had with me. I took the left fork of the trail from the trailhead and started my hike. It was about 11:00am and it was already getting hot - I was thankful I remembered to bring some water. The first part of the hike was uneventful and took me up along stone steps placed in the trail with switchbacks added in to help ease the steepness of the trail. I then crossed the first of two steel bridges. I passed a couple standing on the bridge, said hi and continued on. After the first bridge I started seeing lots of beautiful wildflowers on the side of the trail. I also started seeing some stone walls off to the sides. I then crossed the second bridge and continued my upwards journey. The stone walls and wildflowers became more plentiful here.
Carlito Springs
This hike was mostly uphill and steep in some places and I was really glad I had water - with the heat and the climbing I needed it. I assumed the stone wall were for terracing the steep landscape to support the landscape and orchards all around. Up above I noticed some greenish buildings and eventually arrived at an intersection marked with two wagon wheels. This was the landmark I needed to start looking for Wronghat's Carlito Ingress letterbox. I stopped to reread the clues and quickly found the box not too far from the wagon wheels. I took the box to a shaded spot to sit and stamp in. I always enjoy finding Wronghat's boxes and love his carvings. After I stamped in I returned the box back to its hiding spot and then continued on the trail to the springs.  There are quite a few cabin-like buildings and one stone house in the area. When I arrived at the springs there was a mom and her two young kids sitting on a wall by a small trickling pond and there were four teenagers sitting below at the spring soaking their feet. I took some stone steps down to the spring and took a few pictures and chatted a little with the teenagers. Two of which were out with very nice cameras taking pictures as well. After a short while everyone went on their way and I had the place to myself. It was incredible - so peaceful and quiet. I just sat next to the spring and relaxed for a few minutes - having a snack and some water. Then I started my hike back to the car. I decided to follow the same route I took up since it was the shortest way back to the car and since I was tired it had the most appeal. Next time I will hike the entire loop and maybe bring a picnic lunch. Thanks Wronghat for showing me this place - it was truly magical.

Dalmation Toadflax (Linaria dalmatica)
Wild Sweet Pea (Lathyrus latifolia)
Wild Sweet Pea (Lathyrus latifolia)
Wild Sunflower (Helianthus gianteus)
After this spectacular hike I made my way up to Sandia Crest via the Sandia Crest Highway way to the Sandia Crest House. Here I was looking for cottonwoodlady's Sandia Crest House and Sandia Crest Rosy Finch. I paid my fee and entered the building. I found a place to sit and read the clues looking for landmarks. For the Sandia Crest House box I was having good luck up to a certain point. I kept looking at one of the landmarks trying to find the next one but I wasn't seeing it. I tried to skip down in the clues to see if I could find the next part but still no luck. I gave up on that box and tried the Sandia Crest Rosy Finch box. Again I was good until a certain point and then I became confused and the clues made no sense to me. I kept going back and forth between the clues trying to understand them. Then a young boy over near the entrance started a tantrum.
Hummingbirds at Sandia Crest
When I looked over to see what was going on I noticed a landmark for the Sandia Crest House box. The parents took the young boy outside and I made my to the area and finally after 30 minutes of searching I had found a box. I took that box to some couches and stamped in there and then returned the box to the hiding spot. Now to try for the other box, again. The clues eventually lead you outside to a patio. This was great - the views of Albuquerque from here were fantastic. There were a few other people on the patio so I took a chair and sat and watched the hummingbirds and squirrels. While I did this I read the clues and tried to understand where the box was hidden. Unfortunately I didn't find the box - I gave up after 25 minutes of retracing my steps and looking around. I was also getting a bit nervous because I had been in there for almost an hour and I had seen a sign for surveillance and wondered if the staff was getting suspicious of me walking around. I also didn't know if the staff knew about the boxes or not so I was trying to be stealthy.

Finally after an hour I left the Crest and drove back down the mountain. I took NM14 back home. I love this back road drive, much nicer that I25. I had a good day letterboxing - I just wish I knew what I did wrong with that last box. Oh well, maybe another time.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

A Letterboxing Odyssey

Last week a group of us got together to celebrate Astro D's 10 year letterboxing anniversary. For that celebration myself, ArnoldZiffel and Wronghat created a letterbox series consisting of three boxes. To celebrate Astro D arranged a lunch for rubberpeace, Wronghat, Semicolon, ArnoldZiffel and myself. At the lunch we had the stamps and boxes so that everyone could stamp in and then I took the boxes with me so that I could get them planted somewhere. Over the weekend I thought about a few places where I could hide the boxes - I came up with the Randall Davey Audubon Center and Sanctuary and the Dorothy Stewart Trail. Astro D suggested the La Tierra Trails. This morning I went to her house to pick her up so we could get the boxes planted and we made the final decision on where we would plant them. The Great Wuga Wuga pointed out that the Dorothy Stewart Trail has very little parking (like three spots) and that might aggravate finders if they couldn't park to find the box. In the end we decided on the Randall Davey Audubon Center and Sanctuary. So we made our way over there and started walking the trails. We walked the El Temporal Trail and the Bear Canyon Trail. It took us a while to get the three boxes planted because we were both being pretty picky about the hiding spots. We don't want these to go missing any time soon so we chose our spots carefully. The boxes are now in place and are ready to be found. I hope everyone enjoys them as much as we enjoyed putting this series together. Once we had the boxes hidden we headed back to Astro D's house. I dropped her off and then I left to run some errands. It was a nice time this morning and I was happy to be a part of this series to congratulate Astro D.
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