Read, Run, Repeat

A tale of fitness, books, food, and life in between

Letterboxing 101

on September 21, 2012

I’ll bet you have never heard of letterboxing 🙂 It’s something Pete and I used to do alot together, but haven’t been since we got Fiona! I’ve really missed it and was super excited when we decided to go on Sunday!

Pete and I at Ann Lee Pond Nature Preserve

So what is letterboxing, you ask? “Letterboxing is an intriguing mix of treasure hunting, art, navigation, and exploring interesting, scenic, and sometimes remote places. It takes the ancient custom of placing a rock on a cairn upon reaching the summit of a mountain to an artform. It started when a gentleman simply left his calling card in a bottle by a remote pool on the moors of Dartmoor, in England”

Simply put, letterboxing involves someone hiding a waterproof box somewhere containing at least a logbook and a stamp (sometimes hand carved). The hider then usually writes directions to the box (called “clues” or “the map”), which can be straightforward, cryptic, or any degree in between. Often the clues involve map coordinates or compass bearings from landmarks, but they don’t have to. Once the clues are written, hunters in possession of the clues attempt to find the box. In addition to the clue and any maps or tools needed to solve it, the hunter should carry at least a pencil, his personal rubber stamp, an inkpad, and his personal logbook. When the hunter successfully deciphers the clue and finds the box, she stamps the logbook in the box with her stamp, and stamps her personal logbook with the box’s stamp.

This is our logbook and our “turtle” stamp

 Basically, I like to think of it as “hiking with a purpose” and it’s pretty cool to try to figure out the clues and keep track of all your stamps 🙂 Clues can be found online, and I usually use http://www.letterboxing.org/ and http://www.atlasquest.com/. We bought our stamp since neither one of us are all that artistic!!

So, on sunday we discovered that there were a bunch of boxes hidden in a place called “Ann Lee’s Pond” which was really close to us! (Many clues only have 1 or 2 boxes hidden and we like to find hunts that have a bunch to find at once). This was Fiona’s first letterboxing experience, so we packed up all our “stuff” and headed out!

A long wooden bridge that we had to cross

Fiona had a blast with all the new smells in the woods – and I was actually really surprised that she walked across that bridge with no problem – since she HATES water. Pete and I apparently did not read the beginning of the clues very well – because as we began to search for clue #1, we were totally not able to find it. This does happen sometimes, so we moved on to try to find clue #2 to see if we were even in the right place — well we managed to walk almost the whole trail before we figured out that we were completely backwards and that’s why we were so frustrated! We should have read where to park!

Cool shot of the pond that I look after playing with settings on my camera

Eventually we got ourselves sorted out and found clue # 1 and then we were on a roll!! Once we got going, I remembered how much I LOVED letterboxing! Pete and I used to hike/do outdoors stuff so much more frequently when we first started dating and I have really missed it! And Autumn is such a cool time to go as the leaves change!!

Fiona helping to find a clue 🙂

So, our clues said that the trail was about 2.0 miles, but we pretty much walked it twice, so I would say that we ended up hiking about 4 miles. It was an easy hike, with very little hills or obstacles. At one point I stopped to pick up a bunch of acrons – I used them in a candle center piece in the center of my dining room table. I’ll have to take a picture!  Overall, it was an enjoyable afternoon and a great way to reconnect 🙂 I’m looking forward to doing it again already

The view as we were walking back to the car 🙂

Do you have an interest in trying out letterboxing? What outdoor activities do you find most enjoyable? How do you reconnect with your singnificant other or yourself?

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5 responses to “Letterboxing 101

  1. Looks like y’all had a lot of fun! (Also, you two are toooo cute)!!!

  2. kitkat1126 says:

    I’ve never heard of this before, I love this! I am going to look up whether this is something done in any hiking areas near me! 🙂

  3. I LOVE letterboxing! I say love, but I’ve never actually done it lol. I have read all about it thought and keep meaning to try it sometime! It’s officially on my ‘to do’ list for October now 🙂

  4. […] and I (okay and Fiona). Hooray! We decided to go letterboxing together (check out my post all about letterboxing 101 here!) at a nearby state park. We spent some time in the morning getting stuff done around the house […]

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