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.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Cross Country Without Skis

This morning Astro D and I headed up Hyde Park Road for a little hike and some letterboxing. We had talked about doing this a week or so ago and made our plans for today.

I met her at her house at 9:30am and we headed up the mountain. Our first stop was at Hyde Memorial State Park to look for a box that was planted at the beginning of the month. This box is Fennboree 2017 by Brave Bonnie Bonsai and Miley Mystery Machine. We parked across the street from the entrance to Group Shelter 3 and walked over to the shelter. We followed the clues and made our way to the grill. This is where the clues started. Next we were to go down some stairs and then take 26 steps. But right away we encountered an obstacle. A very large tree had fallen and had landed across the stairs and over the bridge next to them. So we climbed over the tree and followed the rest of the clues. I was a little confused because there was a picture of a tree with a sign next to it and I assumed that that was where the box was hidden. But I was wrong, and Astro D continued along with the clues and found the box. We found a place to sit and stamp in. The box was nice but the stamp is double sided and by the time we finished I was covered in ink. After stamping in and replacing the box we made our way to the car. Once in the car I used two wet wipes to clean my hands and still ended up looking like I washed my hands with ink. Oh well, one of the hazards of letterboxing. We continued on . . .

We continued our drive up the mountain and made our way to the NorSki Trail parking area. This trail is for cross country skiing but makes for a great hike for the summer. As we were getting our things to head up the trail two vans parked next to us and then a gaggle of little kids climbed out. I was hoping upon hope we wouldn't have to be stuck with them on the entire hike. Our plan for this trail was to hike it (because I hadn't done that), check on a couple of letterboxes and plant one letterbox. Before we left the car Astro D stamped in to the box I was going to plant just to make things easier. So by the time we hit the trail the kids were gone. We took the trail from the kiosk and walked in a counterclockwise direction. Just a short ways down the trail we stopped to check on Inching Along One Letterboxer at a Time. I had originally planted this box for PineTree and had found a large squarish boulder a little off the trail. But the boulder is now gone. Astro D found the box back in November of last year and she realized the boulder was gone and she found the box just laying out in the open. So she found a new spot for the box and sent the new clues to PineTree. But the clues to the box haven't been updated so she is going to try sending another note. We didn't actually check on the box at this point, we just wanted to see what happened to the boulder. We hypothesized that they used it (they had to have broken it up) to line the edge of the trail. So we continued our walk. Now I needed to look for a place to hide my new box. So as Astro D help me to navigate the trails and point out things. We reached a point that I thought would work out well but decided to wait and see if what the rest of the trails held. The trail system is really just one big loop with smaller loops and crossovers. The back part of the trails seemed really confusing to me so I decided to hold onto the box until we arrived back at the first spot we encountered. The hike was really nice - large areas of aspens, lots of wildflowers and peace and quiet. There were trail maps and letters (alphabet) on trees at points were there are crossovers that take you from one side of the loop to the other. When we reached the crossover that is marked with 'D' and 'K' we stopped to look for a good hiding spot for my box. There are lots of aspen in this area so I thought it would make a nice and enjoyable spot for someone to find the box and sit and stamp in. So I planted the box, it is called sci di fondo. I think that the round trip hike to the box is about a mile (maybe more, maybe less). After getting the box planted we continued on to check on the other box already planted on this trail. We arrived at the landmark and checked on Twinville Trekkers' Beatles Series #6 "In Spite of All the Danger". Thankfully the box was there and in great shape - waiting for more finders. Now we continued on and returned to the first box and this time we actually checked to make sure the box was still where Astro D had placed it. We found it and she rewrote the clues so that she could send another note to Pine Tree. It was only a short distance to the car from here and then we were done.
It was a nice outing and I really like this trail. There are some uphill areas but nothing too strenuous, so it made for a pretty easy and incredibly enjoyable hike. Thanks Astro D for a great outing.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

A Day of Boxing Along the Niagara River

Today we spent a lot of time letterboxing - well, walking actually, but boxing also. We started by taking the WEGO bus from Queen Victoria Park to the Floral Clock, about 10km away. Thankfully, when we arrived at the Floral Clock there were only three or four people here so I was able to get a a few pretty good pictures of the clock and I was able to look for the box without too many prying eyes. I followed the clues for Adinkra Symbols - Beauty (ON) by LCAB and at first I had a little trouble but then things fell into place and I found the box nicely hidden behind some trees. I took the box back to the clock where I could sit on a bench to stamp in. After stamping in I put the box back in place and then Thomas and I started our walk back toward Queen Victoria Park along Niagara Parkway using the Niagara River Recreation Trail.

The next box was just a short way down the road across from the Sir Adam Beck Generating Stations. We followed the clues, found all the landmarks and easily found Adinkra Symbols - Unity (ON) by LCAB. There really wasn't anywhere to sit so I just found a nice sunny spot in the grass where I could sit and stamped in. Once we put the box back in its hiding spot we continued our walk.

The next part of our walk wasn't too far away and we soon arrived in front of the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens and Butterfly Conservatory. The box is hidden across the road from the Gardens so we followed the clues and found Niagara Butterfly by Kenlaur. We sat on a low stone wall to stamp in and then put the box back where we found it. Once we completed this we decided to have a snack at the Butterfly Café at the Gardens. We sat, ate and relaxed for about 40 minutes and then decided to walk around the Gardens a bit and look for two more boxes (actually three - one box was a series of two). First, we looked for Queen of the Meadow Up the Garden Path by Fiddleheads. It took us a bit of searching to find this one. It was supposed to be in a tree but there was a note it was on the ground. So we weren't sure exactly where to look. We searched all around the area and finally found the box pushed back far under the tree. So we took the box to a nice spot under a nearby tree and stamped in. When we replaced the box we tried to put in in the vicinity of where the clue had it. We couldn't put it in the tree (by the way, the tree is a cedar and the branches go all the way to the ground) because there was netting all around the cedar tree. So we replaced it under one of the branches and covered it with mulch. Then we moved on to the series of two boxes. When we got to the area there was a couple sitting on a bench right under the tree we needed to get to, so we took a walk around this little pond and over to a walkway. By the time we returned the couple had left. Thomas saw one of the boxes in a hole in a tree - it wasn't covered with anything and completely visible. While he went to get that box I saw the second box in a nearby tree, also in a hole and also completely exposes. We took them both back to a bench and sat and stamped in. This series is Two Lovers and the Willow Tree by BCKramer. Once I was done stamping it we put the boxes back into the holes in the trees but this time we tried to cover them a bit so they weren't so easily seen by passers-by. We spent about two hours total in the Gardens and now it was time to move on.

Just a little ways down the road we arrived at Niagara Glen Nature Centre. There are hiking trails, picnic areas, a pavilion, and great views of the river. At this location we looked for and easily found The Totem by Kenlaur. It is hidden near the pavilion so we took it there to sit and stamp in and then got it back into its hiding spot. On to the next box. We continued our walk and soon ended up across the road from a golf course where there were more trails which was the start of the clues for Life is Good, in Canada by Mosaic Butterfly. We followed the clues and took a little hike into the woods to find this box. We didn't have any problem finding the box. I found a place I could sit and stamp in. It was nice back on these trails and after putting the box back in place we continued on. I do think that this area is also part of the Niagara Glen Nature Centre.

Back on the Niagara River Recreation Trail we continued our walk following the Niagara Parkway. Our next stop was at the Great Wolf Lodge. Here we looked for The Wolf - Niagara by Kenlaur. We made our way to the back parking lot and looked for landmarks and quickly found the spot we needed. We had to go under a wooden fence on to a little trail. The place was overgrown so my first thought was 'poison ivy'. So we looked around and didn't see any (or at least we hoped there wasn't any), I then found the spot where the box was hidden. I removed the rock and found the box, then I found a spot to sit and stamp in. After rehiding the box we retraced our steps back to the Recreation Trail.

There was one more box on this part of the Niagara Parkway so we crossed the road and made our way to the Whirlpool Aero Car parking area. Here we looked for Henri, Janyck, and Frank by Mim. This was a quick and easy find and there was a good spot to sit and stamp in nearby. Once we were done with this box we decided we had walked enough for today. At this point we had walked 5.9 kilometers (3.7 miles) along the Niagara River Recreation Trail from the Floral Clock to the Whirlpool Aero Car and we had been out here for about five hours.

So we waited and took the next WEGO bus back to Table Rock Welcome Centre and instead of walking up and around back to our hotel we decided to take the Falls Incline which took us to the back side of our hotel and just a short walk. I think there were two or three other boxes in the vicinity of the Welcome Centre but we didn't want to walk anymore. So we called it a day and headed up to our room. I did enjoy our way and we got some great views of the river and found some nice letterboxes. We did some other things today and you can read about that at A Walk Along Niagara Parkway.
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