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.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Santa Fe, Sandia Crest, Cedar Crest and Edgewood

Last weekend we did some letterboxing in Albuquerque, Tijeras and Edgewood. We ran out of time to hit Cedar Crest and Sandia Crest. So we had a couple of clues remaining and we decided to head out today and get some more letterboxes.

We started in Santa Fe. There is a series of three boxes about a mile from my house and I somehow put off going out to get them.
So first thing we headed to Santa Fe Brewing to get Plant a Beer 2017: Santa Fe Brewing (series of three boxes) by ArnoldZiffel. The boxes are hidden along a dirt road next to the brewery. These were quick and easy and then we were on our way out of Santa Fe. So we headed south on NM 14 and made our next stop at Cerrillos Hills State Park. This was a quick stop - I just needed to check on my Felis concolor box. We made the short hike up the Jane Calvin Sanchez Trail and got to the ridge to check on the box. Everything is okay except three of the latches on the box have broken off. I made sure the baggies were zipped tight and the lid was secure on the box with the one latch and then put the box back in its hiding spot and covered it well with rocks. We then headed back to the car and back to NM 14.

We continued on NM 14 until we reached NM 536. This road is also known as Sandia Crest Scenic Byway and leads up to Sandia Peak. Once at the top we parked and looked for Where's George Series Box #293: Albuquerque Beam Me Up Scottie.
We followed the clues but couldn't find the box. So I texted Astro D to see if she had any insights for me. I looked in the spot she told me and still no box. Unforturnately, I think it is gone. So then we headed inside the Sandia Crest House to look for Sandia Crest Rosy Finch by cottonwoodlady. I had looked for this one before but didn't understand the clues. The placer changed her clues since then and this time I was able to find it. I stamped while sitting on a couch facing a wall of windows with some fantastic views. We put the box back in place and drove back down the mountain. Back on NM 14 we next headed for Ale Republic to find Hail to the Ale! by Kit. There is a parking area across the street from the brewery which is a parking area for the John A. Milne/Gutierrez Canyon Open Space area. The box is hidden across the road from the brewery by a post making it a quick and easy find. I took the box back to the car to stamp in and then went back to replace it.

From here we continued on NM 14 to I 40 and took the interstate east to Edgewood. We exited and then turned left onto NM 333. We drove a little over a mile to an abandoned Indian Curio shop with an horno, a railcar and a "STANDARD" sign. Here we looked for and found Retribution Road by Kit. Again, I stamped in while sitting in the car and then returned the box to its hiding spot. The story of Retribution Road is interesting and it is a story about Route 66 that I hadn't heard before.
Well, we had another great day of letterboxing and found some great and interesting boxes. Thanks to all who planted them.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Albuquerque, Tijeras and Edgewood

Thomas and I decided on another day out doing some letterboxing and today we decided to head to the Albuquerque area. Last night I got all the clues together and mapped things out. And this morning we packed some snacks, lunch and water and headed out.

Once we arrived in Albuquerque we headed to Marble Brewery to find Plant a Beer Day: Marble Brewery by Wronghat. We followed the directions, parked and then headed out to find the box. I was a little confused at first but then things fell into place and I found the box. I took it back to the car to stamp in and then when I was done I walked the box back to its hiding spot. Then we moved on to our next boxes. I had clues for two boxes in the same area - by the musuems. One was at the Natural History Museum and one at the Albuquerque Museum. One of the clues is titled GISHWHES 2017 Wayward AF Team - this is the one at the Natural History Museum. I followed the clues but couldn't find the box. I looked all around the museum but had no luck. So then we moved over to the Albuquerque Musuem and looked for Team Elefunky by TeamElefunky. I think this one is also a GISHWHES box. GISHWHES stands for Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen. I don't really understand it but it seems to involve creating art, solving riddles and meeting new people. I don't see how it relates to letterboxing and I am not sure if the people who logged in these plants are letterboxers or not. But after looking around the sculpture garden at the musuem we found the landmarks but didn't find any box. So we left and went to the next box - also a GISHWHES box. This one is GISHWHES 2017 TEAM VOODOO by Vecinos del Bosque. The clue description stated the location and then the clue was 'Huge Bike'. I found the bike but no box. After not finding three of these boxes I wonder if there was or is a box related to these clues. It was all just very confusing. I was almost ready to call it a day and head home but Thomas said lets just move on to the next box. So we did. We headed west on I40 to Route 66 Casino. We followed the directions and parked then followed the clues and easily found the box. I took it back to the car to sit and stamp in. It didn't take long and the box was back in place. So now it was time to leave Albuquerque and head to Tijeras.

We took I40 to Tijeras and then took NM337 south to Oak Flat Recreation Area. Here we went in search of Beatles Series #29 "Blackbird" by Twinville Trekkers. This box is suppose to be done at night and you follow fire tacks using a flashlight or headlamp. I had been our here once before but didn't have any luck so I hoped with Thomas' help we could find the box. On my previous visit I found a fire tack on a tree right near the start of the trail but then after that I couldn't find any more tacks. Today we decided to follow this one trail and we found two pyramid shaped fire tacks but then nothing. After walking for about twenty minutes and searching for tacks we decided that we had gone past where the clues had stated. So we turned around and headed back. On the way back we found a few more tacks but these were round and flat. But still nothing made sense and we didn't find the box. I guess you really have to go at night but I don't know about that - it seems a little too spooky. Once back at the car we decided to eat our lunch and sit and relax.Thirty minutes later we drove back to Tijeras. In Tijeras we turned onto NM333 and drove to the Musical Road. We approached it from the wrong direction to drive on it so we had to make a 'U' turn. Then we drove over the rumble strips (at 45mph) and listened to America the Beautiful. Just past the end of the song we followed the road until the guardrail ended then we pulled over to find a letterbox - America the Beautiful by 66gypsies. This was a quick and easy find and then we were on our way again.The next box we went in search of didn't have any clues. But there was a location - so I did a search and found where we needed to be. We arrived at the location and parked. Then I thought about it and figured out where the box was. So I ended up asking Thomas to go and check and it turned out we were in the right place. So we found Desert Dreams by Kit and I stamped in and returned the box. We decided to go for one more box before calling it a day and heading home. So we drove to Edgewood. I have never been to Edgewood and it turned out that it wasn't at all what I expected. I thought it was a small town like Tijeras but it was bigger and more spread out. We drove to the Church Street Market to find Deep Space Aerial by Kit. This was another quick and easy find and it didn't take long for me to stamp in and replace the box.

We had a good time today and enjoyed the letteboxes we found. It is always nice to explore New Mexico.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

A Wild and Enchanting Letterboxing Day

Last week I planned on taking a trip to the Taos area and do some letterboxing so I worked on getting boxes put together and on clues. And this morning Thomas and I left the house at around 7:00am and headed north. The drive was pleasant and relaxing. There was no traffic on this early Labor Day morning. We didn't stop in Taos, we continued our drive up to Questa and a little beyond. About three miles north of Quest we turned onto NM 378 which begins the Wild Rivers Back Country Scenic Byway and leads to the Wild Rivers Recreation Area which sits in the Rio Grande Del Norte National Monument. I have wanted to visit this area for a while now and just never made the time. I was looking forward to this drive.
We drove along passing through the town of Cerro and made our first stop at Sheep Crossing Overlook.
View from Sheep Crossing
We took a short walk from the parking area and got some amazing views of the Rio Grande. After about 10 minutes and a few pictures, we returned to the car and continued our drive. We next stopped at Chiflo Trail. This is a short half mile walk and has great views. Then we drove to Bear Crossing Trail. From the parking area, we walked down a path and passed a picnic table and continued straight ahead to the edge of the canyon. The views at this spot are incredible and we ended up sitting and just enjoying the peace and quiet.
View from Bear Crossing
Twenty minutes later we headed back toward the parking area but decided to take the trail for a bit and see what was down there. While walking down the trail I decided to plant the first box of my NM Scenic Byways: Wild Rivers Back Country box. I found a good place and jotted down some notes and took pictures so I could write up clues when we returned home. Once the box was in place and I felt good about my notes we returned to the car and continued on. We next stopped at the Pay Station to pay our $3 fee and then continued on to the Visitor Center. They have two 3D maps of the area outside that you can get a bird's eye view of the area. We looked around the gift shop and talked to the attendant and got a map before heading out again. Our next stop was at the El Aguaje Campground.
Confluence of Red and Rio Grande Rivers
Here we took another short walk and got some wonderful views of the Red River. After a few pictures, we returned to the car and continued on to the La Junta Overlook, Campground, and Trail. Here they have a paved path that walks around the camping and picnic areas and leads to an overlook for the confluence of the Red and Rio Grande Rivers. Again there were incredible views. The La Junta Trail starts here and is a 1.2 mile one-way trail that leads down to the confluence. It is labeled as difficult and you have to traverse ladders and stairs during your 800 foot descent into the canyon. We didn't do that. I didn't think I could make it back up so we saved that trail for another time. We did take a short walk along the Rio Bravo Nature Trail and got some beautiful views of the Rio Grande. We left this area after about 30 minutes and decided to make one more stop before leaving this area and continuing on with our day. That stop was at the Chawaluna Overlook. From the parking area, we took the gravel trail to the overlook and walked along the rim (which is fenced off) a short ways to admire the views. Then we went in search of a spot for the second box of the NM Scenic Byways: Wild Rivers Back Country box. It took a bit of time to find a good spot but we managed to get it done. I took pictures and made notes and then we were ready to head out.
Note: This box is made of two stamps that are stamped over each other. When you find box one you will stamp the image and then when you find box two you will stamp that image over the first one - to get a good image line up the top and side edges.
From the Wild Rivers area, we drove out the way we came in and made our way back to Questa.
Eagle Rock Lake
Here we started our drive on the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway and hiding a series of five boxes related to the byway. We turned onto NM 38 and drove for about a mile and a half and stopped at Eagle Rock Lake. Here we planted the first box for the NM Scenic Byways: Enchanted Circle box. We walked around the lake and then crossed the bridge over the Red River and found a nice spot for the box - away from the people fishing the lake. Once I had pictures and notes we headed back to the car and continued our drive to Red River.

We didn't spend a lot of time at any of the stops we made along the way because we had a lot to do and wanted to make sure we had enough time.
Red River
Once in Red River we drove to the Convention Center and parked. From here we crossed the covered bridge and headed up the Red River Nature Trail. We walked the trail in one direction but couldn't find a spot for the second box because the landscape slope down toward the river and there wasn't any real safe place to plant the box. So we turned around and headed back the other way and thankfully the trail leveled out and we were able to find a nice spot to hide the box. I made notes and took a few pictures and then we returned to the car to continue on with our day.

Next, we continued along NM 38 to Eagle Nest. We turned onto US 64 and drove through town and headed for Cimarron Canyon State Park. We stopped at the office and talked to a ranger to find out about the trails and got a map of the park.
Eagle Nest Lake
My original thought was to place the third box here but once we were out on one of the trails we changed our minds The area was really overgrown and I was having trouble finding a good spot and there were so many bugs. Lots of flies and mosquitos and I didn't fancy getting eaten alive so we nixed that idea and headed back toward Eagle Nest. We stopped at a pullout that overlooks the lake and I decided to place the box here. I didn't want to put the box at Eagle Nest Lake because I already have my Alphabetical NM: E (Eagle Nest Lake) box there. The pullout isn't the nicest place but it does give you a great view of the lake while stamping in. After finding a good hiding spot, taking pictures, and making notes we were ready to continue on.

Our next stop was in Angel Fire. We turned off of US 64 and onto NM 434 and made our way to Monte Verde Lake.
Monte Verde Lake
The lake is located about two miles past the Visitor Center and I was a little confused about the area. It seems the lake is part of the Angel Fire Resort and could be a private area. But we didn't see any signs and when I was doing research I didn't see anything that said it wasn't open to the public. So we continued on with our mission. We drove around the lake because I wanted to place box four on the Lady Slipper Trail. We found the trailhead and walked a short ways up the trail and found a decent spot to hide the box. I took pictures and made notes and then we returned to the car. Before we left Angel Fire we stopped at the Visitor Center to find a letterbox. I followed the clues (which were a bit of a puzzle) and found Garden Tour 2016 by wadecat. I brought the box back to the car to stamp in and then replaced it without any problems. Now we could leave Angel Fire and continue our drive.

Back on US 64, we continued on our drive towards Taos. Our next task was to find Forest Walk by Brave Bonnie Bonsai and Miley Mystery Machine. The clue is a poem and I had spent some time researching before we left home and I hoped I had figured out the right spot. Once we arrived at the location and started looking I was relieved that we were in the right place and we easily found the box. I found a spot to sit and I stamped in. Then once the box was safely put away we walked back to the car and continued with our adventure. We drove to mile marker 264 and stopped at a pullout to find another box - this one being From Texas with LOVE to the Land of Enchantment by Texas Wanderers. This was a quick and easy find with straight forward clues. I stamped in while sitting in the car and then replaced the box. Now we had one more stop to make and then we were done. We continued along US 64 and drove through Shady Brook and then made our next stop at the El Nogal Picnic Area.
(Not sure if this is a picnic area or a campground or if it is a trailhead. I have found lots of things mentioned here from signs at the location and from things on the internet. There is a brown sign on the road that points to the are and mentions the South Boundary Trail #164 and an arrow pointing to the Devisadero Loop Trail #108 across the road. Google maps shows this as El Nogal Campground with both trails noted. When we pulled into the parking area we saw a sign for the El Nogal Trailhead, so I am not sure exactly what the area is called but you are safe to know that it is El Nogal and whatever else - picnic area, trailhead, campground, etc.)
Anyway, we stopped here and parked. We took a trail that crossed a bridge and walked a short distance before planting the last box in the NM Scenic Byways: Enchanted Circle box. Again, I took pictures and made notes so that I could write up clues when I got home.
Note: This box is a series of five boxes placed in five different towns along the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway. I know it is a lot of driving but the Byway is worth it. The five stamps are stamped together to form one image and I made a template for you to use. The lines are very faint because I didn't want them to interfere with the image but I think you will be able to see them well enough to stamp the images in the right spot. You can download and print the template at NM Scenic Byways: Enchanted Circle Stamp Template. There is only one logbook in the last box. The clues are written in a way that you can find the boxes in any order. I hope you enjoy these boxes.
Now we were done. It was time to head back home. We had a great time on the Wild Rivers and Enchanted Circle Scenic Byways. It was a full day of driving and stopping but it was wonderful as well. It was 7:00pm before we got home and we were both tired. But after showers and some dinner we feel good.
Our Drive Today

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