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.

Friday, February 19, 2016

One Last Day of Celebrating

Okay, I had planned on planting a letterbox to celebrate my 10th anniversary on the 16th. But alas, I didn't get it finished until yesterday. I have put together a series of ten boxes and I have them ready to plant today. I had made a decision about where I would plant them and I got everything ready for this morning. Also ArnoldZiffel placed one last box for my 10th anniversary - Rail Trail. This one is also on the Rail Trail near the ones I found yesterday. I left my house at around 8:00am and made my way to Rabbit Road. I walked the Rail Trail for about a quarter of a mile following the clues and I didn't have any problem finding the box. I was first finder and I loved this stamp - and actually I loved all the boxes that ArnoldZiffel, Astro D and Wronghat placed this week. When I finished stamping in and replacing the box I returned to my car to make my way to plant my boxes.

The placed I picked to plant my boxes is the La Tierra Trails. From Rabbit Road I got onto I25 and headed south. I then took Exit 276 for NM599 and followed that for about 11 miles. Then I turned left onto Camino de los Montoyas and drove another mile to the parking area for the Calabasas Trailhead on the right. In the parking area there is a large sign with a trail map and I studied it and compared it to my printed out map. It was much easier reading the big map but the printed one ended up working just fine. I made the decision to plant the boxes on a loop following the numbers 1-8 on the map. These numbers mark trail junctions and if you follow the signs you can easily get from one number to next. To start on the trail I had to cross the road and go through the fence.

I walked a short distance along the trail and arrived at sign post 1. From here I started looking for landmarks that I could use to write clues and hide boxes. Almost immediately I realized that everything looks the same - junipers, pinons, rocks and dead trees. So I had to be creative and hopefully I could find something that I could use as a landmark. I was trying to gauge mileage using Map My Walk but soon realized that because I was going off trial and doubling back to find hiding spots I was not getting accurate distances. But I soldiered on. It was easy finding hiding spots but describing those spots proved challenging. I made sure to take good notes and pictures so that when I got home I could write the clues. I tried using the sign post at the junctions but with ten boxes to plant and only eight junctions I had to use other landmarks. The trail is wide in some areas and narrow in others and is easy to walk on. There are also great views all around. You also cross a lot of washes along the way and I tried using those but I wasn't always clear if I should call something a wash or not - so I was picky about using them. Eventually I completed the loop and got all ten boxes planted and had quite a few notes and pictures to help write the clues. The boxes have a theme and that is the Number 10. Nine of the boxes are like that - images that conjure the number 10 in some way and the last box is a lion crest with the number 10. I did a similar image for my 5th anniversary (lionsmane's 5 Year Letterboxiversary) - a lion crest with the number 5. I got the idea for using images that represented the number 10 from a conversation with ArnoldZiffel. When I first started planning these boxes I wasn't sure how I wanted to them but I had a few ideas. They just didn't seem to work, so when ArnoldZiffel mention the number 10 idea from something she had seen or a series of boxes she had found I started looking into using that. It worked perfectly! And since there are ten boxes I decided to put only one logbook and that one is in Box #10. This box is called lionsmane's 10 Year Letterboxiversay. It took me around three hours to get all the boxes planted - that was me being choosey about the locations, doubling back, taking long notes and some pictures. I am estimating that it should take between one and two hours to find all the boxes. The length of the hike (walk) is around 3.5 miles and there is only about a 250 foot elevation gain during the walk. It isn't a hard walk but it is long and the area is pretty much open space so I believe that in summer it could get really hot so it would be good to take precautions. Sunblock, hat, sunglasses and water would be a good idea. There are maps at each trail junction to help you stay oriented but I would suggest printing out a trail map before you go looking for these boxes. I had a lot of fun planting these and I hope they are enjoyed by all who go and hunt for them.

When I got back to my car I had one other box to plant. That was my Alphabetical New Mexico: Y (Yucca) box. The place I originally planted it was good but I realized there were no yuccas around so I pulled it and finally brought it out to the La Tierra Trails to hopefully place somewhere that had at least a few yuccas. I left the Calabasas Trailhead parking and drove to the Frijoles Trailhead parking. I left the parking area and went through the fence and started down the trail. At first I was discouraged since I wasn't seeing any yuccas and then about a quarter mile along the trail I saw a few. I decided to continue further along the trail to see if there were more, but I didn't see any. So I turned back and planted the box near the few I saw earlier. I took a few pictures and wrote some notes and then returned to my car.

It was a great day of planting and finding boxes and I am extremely happy to have this series done. It has been an incredible 10 years and I am looking forward to 10 more.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Another Letterbox on the Rail Trail

Well, another letterbox appeared on Atlas Quest yesterday. That box is also located on the Rail Trail, a theme that has progressed all this week - first with Wronghat's Santa Fe Super Chief, then Astro D's Toy Train Story and #07, and now ArnoldZiffel's Crossing to Safety (a three box series). I decided that I would get these boxes during my walk this morning. I usually walk the Spur Trail and then turn right and walk the Rail Trail towards Nine Mile Road. But today I decided to get these boxes so that meant I had to turn left on the Rail Trail towards Rabbit Road. This walk ended up being about a ten mile roundtrip walk. This was not a problem since I usually walk between six and twelve miles per day. And there was the added bonus of finding three boxes. The clues were perfect and I easily found all three boxes (and I was the first finder on these boxes). After finding the last box, stamping in and then returning it to its hiding spot I made the return trip to my car. These boxes were also planted for my 10th anniversary. The boxes were all about railroad signs which goes along with the train and rail trail theme. Thanks ArnoldZiffel for these great boxes.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Continuing the Celebration

Last night I noticed another letterbox was planted in Santa Fe in honor of my 10th anniversary. So I printed out the clue and put that with my signature stamp, logbook and ink pad so that I could take all of that with me on my walk this morning. I left the house around 7:30am to head to the trailhead for the Spur Trail. From the trailhead it is a three mile walk along the Spur Trail to the intersection with the Rail Trail. At this point I turn right and head south on the trail. To get to this box I walked another 2 miles and the followed the clues. I found #07 by Astro D without any problem. I then found a place to sit and stamp in. When I was finished stamping in I returned the box to its hiding spot and then got my things ready for my return trip to the car. So this morning I got a great stamp by Astro D and I got my 10 mile walk in as well. A perfect morning and continued celebration. Thanks Astro D.
View from the Rail Trail looking West!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Ten Years of Letterboxing

Today marks exactly 10 years to the day that I have been letterboxing - who knew that when I found that first box this would become an obsession. That first box was Santa Fe Trail by Silver Eagle found at Amelia White Park in Santa Fe. I remember that day well. We had some snow a couple of days before so there was still some lingering on the ground. It was also a cold and overcast day. But that didn't matter - I went ahead and found that box, took it back to a picnic table and stamped in as best I could while wearing gloves. I never imagined that 10 years and 4125 boxes later I would still remember the details of that day like it was yesterday. On my 5 year anniversary I planted a box in Amelia White Park (lionsmane's 5 Year Letterboxiversary) to commemorate that first day, first box and first place where I started the hobby. This year I am planting a series of 10 boxes to mark the 10th anniversary. And they won't be in Amelia White Park - it just isn't big enough. I had planned to plant them today but unfortunately I didn't get the logbook finished yet. All ten stamps are carved, I just have to get them in boxes and then I can go and plant them - I am hoping by the end of the week at the latest.
Every year since I started letterboxing I have gone out on February 16 and letterboxed and today was no different. I purposefully leave a few boxes in the Santa Fe and Albuquerque areas just for this day. I had clues for four boxes in Albuquerque and one in Santa Fe. It was somewhere around 8:00am when I left home to begin my journey. The drive down to Albuquerque was uneventful and I quickly arrived at my first destination - Academy Hills Park. There are two boxes in this park both planted by Origami Hen when she visited earlier this year. I first found High Desert Panda and took the box to a nearby picnic table to stamp in. The morning was a bit cool but the skies were clear and blue. When I was done stamping in I put the box back into its hiding spot. The other box - Howdy Kitty - was on the other side of the park. I decided to leave my car where it was and walked to that box. It wasn't very far and the walk was easy. I again had no problem finding this box and I took it to a bench to sit and stamp. I did have to be a little stealthy because there were quite a few walkers around. After getting the second box back in place I walked back to the car to continue on.

From the park I made my way to Uptown and more specifically the Albuquerque Marriott. Here I was in search of Where's George Series - Box #292: Dreamcatcher in Albuquerque by alexandria_ky and Where's George. This was a quick and easy find - it is just a magnetic key holder with only a stamp, no logbook. Once I nabbed the box I took it back to the car to stamp in. When I finished stamping I took the box back to its hiding spot. I then drove to the next box - Little Free Library Albuquerque - which wasn't very far away. I arrived and parked in front of the library, read the clue and then went and found the box. Again I stamped in while sitting in the car and then replaced the box.

So now I was finished in Albuquerque and it was time to head back up to Santa Fe. I decided to forego the traffic and boring drive on I25 and headed east on I40 to Tijeras and then took NM14 up to Santa Fe. A much prettier and calmer drive. I still had one more clue to find in Santa Fe so I made my way to the Rail Trail parking off of Rabbit Road. From the parking area it was only a short 10 minute walk to the box. It was a perfect afternoon - blue skies, light breeze and no other people on the trail. Here I found Toy Train Story by Astro D. There was a stone wall nearby and I sat there while stamping in. After replacing the box I took a few pictures and the returned to my car. It was a great day - thanks to everyone who has planted boxes in Albuquerque and Santa Fe and especially thanks to Astro D for the Toy Train Story box - fun, fun, fun! The last two days have been great and I had a wonderful 10th anniversary.

Monday, February 15, 2016

A Letterboxing Celebration

I have been letterboxing for 10 years now and I am still having lots of fun with the hobby. Today starts a celebration that will probably go on for three or four days. Every year since I started letterboxing I go out and letterbox on my anniversary as a kind of celebration. But this year is different - a milestone if you will. This morning a new clue popped up on Atlas Quest - Santa Fe Super Chief by Wronghat - the clue stated that the box was placed in celebration of my decade of letterboxing. I was excited when I saw the clue, so I printed it out and decided that sometime this afternoon I would go out and find it. But first I had lunch plans. Astro D and rubberpeace invited me to lunch to start the celebration. We met at The Ranch House (a favorite restaurant) around noon and immediately things were happening. rubberpeace gave me an LTC with images carved by both rubberpeace and rbrhorno. This LTC is a one of a kind - I have the only copy and I have a carved image by rubberpeace (she doesn't do the carving, rbrhorno does the carving). Astro D surprised me with a photo memory book spanning my 10 years of letterboxing (a very special gift) and a small logbook made from circuit boards (I will probably start using this for exchanges). And she also gave me an awesome lion card. We had a relaxing and wonderful visit.
After lunch I returned home and got my letterboxing things together and the clue for the new box. Thomas was home and he decided to come with me to find the box. This box is hidden on the Rail Trail near the Nine Mile Road access. Every morning I walk the Spur Trail to the junction with the Rail Trail and then I turn right and continue to that access point. Then I turn around and make my way back to the parking area for the Spur Trail. This walk is a 10.5 mile walk. But this afternoon I didn't walk all that way, we drove to Nine Mile Road and parked. We made our way to the trail and followed the clues to the box. We found it easily enough  and found a nice place to sit and stamp in. The afternoon was incredible - around 60° with clear blue skies. So the walk was great.
After stamping in and getting the box back into its hiding spot we returned to the car and then home. Tomorrow is my actual anniversary and I am planning a trip to Albuquerque for a few boxes. I also have a series of boxes to get planted as soon as I make a logbook and get the boxes finished. Hopefully before the end of the week.
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