Letterboxing Adventures – Hiding Boxes

 

PART II- HIDING BOXES

 

I began letterboxing in July 2013 (or there abouts).  Since then I have hidden 82 Traditional boxes for others to find.  Let me say that it has taken me awhile to learn good places and practices for hiding them because I have had mixed results.

During my first six months of hiding letterboxes, I placed twenty-five boxes.  Seven of them went missing.  Three of the missing ones were gone even before the first person went looking for them.  The other four had one finder each before they disappeared.  I’ve learned that you can’t trust that trees and bushes won’t be trimmed and that in the base of a tree near a active walking path isn’t a good hiding place.

But why do the boxes go missing?   Well, two of the boxes were spoiled by Geocachers who took the stamps and left behind a trinket.  Like the stamp below that was hidden at Enchanted rock.

Happy Birthday

The reason for the other five remains a mystery.  I wonder if perhaps a walker with a dog might have found those at ground level (and not under rocks) while on the trail I picked?  But why didn’t the dog owners rehide the boxes after seeing what their pet had found?   The stamp below was along a trail in Navasota.  Found once, the second attempt revealed a plastic milk jug in the place of the box with the stamp.

Sieur de la Salle

Another option could be a wild animal (squirrel or raccoon) carried them off? Who knows. But the moral is always put under a rock even if inside a hollow tree trunk.

Of the 82 Traditional boxes I’ve planted, I’ve left some of them in out of the way places.   Not a good idea, as twenty of them have never been looked for.  Others that I left at locations along I-35 have been found multiple times, and receiving notice of the find is what makes hiding them fun.

During this same time period I have also done 12 Hitchhikers.  Hitchhikers are different in that you place your small stamp in an already established box.  Then the person looking for that box finds the additional Hitchhiker and is supposed to take it and move it along to another box.

Of my Hitchhikers only 5 have been reported found and moved.  It is really fun to see where they go.  One has made it from Texas to Florida!

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Forrest Fenn Treasure Hunt

Erika Angulo, NBC News

Erika Angulo, NBC News

This is not a letterbox with a stamp.  This is an actual treasure.  Now this is a box worth finding.

I read about this on another blog and went out and googled it and found this. Apparently it is real.

Clues to the Treasure

The clues are too cryptic for me, but thought I’d share the information. Good luck!

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Letterboxing in Carrollton, TX

We were in Carrollton to do a volksmarching event so we looked for one letterbox while we where there.

We looked for this box Little Box on the Prairie.

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We parked here.

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Crossed over this bridge and walked for about a quarter of a mile.

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We found the trees in the old fence row.  Note the wire along base of this tree.  We looked at all the trees but didn’t find a box.

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During our volksmarch we kept a watch for locations to hide a box.  We plan to come back in the fall to walk the volksmarch again and hide some of our own along the hike/bike trail .

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Letterboxing in Copperas Cove, TX

The volksmarching event this weekend was in Corpus Christi, too far to go unless I took Friday off.  Since I’m saving my vacation days to collect new counties here in Texas
(see my blog about that.), I stayed home and went letterboxing instead.

Copperas Cover (home of zturtle) is only an hour an a half away and it has 12 letterboxes listed, so I was enthused to go find them all.

Our first stop was South Park to look for Aawgh. It was just a short stroll to the location and the box was there and in good shape. We moved on to Pioneer Walker Cemetery.

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There we were in luck again and scored Ari’s Cross. From there we moved on to Ogletree Gap Park, which is a very interesting place with a historic building and marker.

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Marker tells you that this was the original location of Copperas Cove and this building  was at one time a Stagecoach stop and a post office. After looking that over we headed out for the 10 boxes hidden in this park.

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This hidey hole was empty.  We didn’t find this box.

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We found seven of the ten listed boxes. I think the city has done some remodeling of the park. The road appeared to have been recently graded and I think the location of one of the boxes may have been cleared.

In any case it was a beautiful day in Copperas Cove. It was 55 degrees when we started and 69 when we finished! It was a great day to be out and about.

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Letterboxing Adventures

 

PART I – FINDING TREASURE

The idea is to find the box, collect the stamp in your logbook, place your stamp in the boxes logbook, and rehide it.  All without getting seen.

Looking for Letterboxes is an adventure that starts with your computer.  There are two letterboxing sites.  The original is Letterboxing.org and the other is AtlasQuest.com.  Some letterboxers use one, some use the other.

I joined both sites (you can join for free) using the same “username”.  Some users post clues for their boxes on both sites, but not everyone does this.  So you have to check both websites to be sure you get all the boxes in the area you are searching.

Once you have set up an account,  go over to the search clues link  and enter the location you want to hunt in. Obviously not all locations have boxes, if there are none, you might want to considerer  hiding some of your own!

Once you have the clues you need:  A personal logbook to stamp your finds in, a stamp pad, a personal stamp of your own to stamp in the stamp’s logbook, and a pen to mark the date (and any other note you might want to add).

Be aware that where boxes are hidden other creatures might also hide.  Spiders, fire ants, bees, wasps, and snakes.  Don’t stick your hand into the hiding place without at least poking a stick in first.  Be aware of your surroundings, I’ve stepped on fire ant mounds too many times.

There are other types of treasure besides these traditional boxes that you might encounter.  When you find a box and it has another stamp other than the one the clue describes, you have found a hitchhiker or cootie.  These are meant to be moved to another location.  Stamp them into your logbook, and place your stamp in their logbook (if they have one).  Take it with you and leave it in another box somewhere else.  When you do leave a hitchhiker in a box, stamp the hitchhiker into the box’s logbook and stamp that box’s stamp into the hitchhiker logbook.

When you get home log your finds/attempts into the online database you printed the clue from.  If it is listed on both sites, by all means log it on both sites.  Hitchhikers have a separate log, but be sure and log them in too.  The placer is very interested in where their stamp has traveled.

When doing your searches check out the “last time found” data and read the comments people have left.  If the box has not been found in a long time, it may not be worth the effort to look for it.  It is up to you, it might still be out there.  I have found some that were a couple of years old.

Good luck and if you enjoy blogging, by all means set up a blog to tell of your adventures.

Do NOT post pictures of the stamps you have found.  The stamp design should be a surprise for the person finding the treasure!

 

 

 

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Letterboxing in the Rio Grande Valley Jan 17-18

We were in Brownsville doing a Volksmarch so we went out to look for the Texas Historical marker about the Battle of Palmetto Ranch. It tells an interesting story about how the Texans knew that General Robert E. Lee had surrendered, but they weren’t ready to give up the fight. So this Civil War Battle took place after the actual end of the war. It was an interesting place even though the letterbox BATTLE OF PALMITTO RANCH was nowhere to be found. It looked as though the area had recently been mowed with a weed eater.

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The next day we headed over to Port Isabel. We climbed the lighthouse (74 steps) and great views. Then we went looking for the FORT POLK letterbox. Unfortunately there was construction going on in the area. The steps the box should have been under were brand new wood. We couldn’t actually get there because of construction but I’m guessing the box is gone.

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We continued on over the causeway to South Padre Island and headed to the Convention Center and the Laguna Madre Nature Trail. There we looked for KING RAIL. We found the gazebo and continued on to the tree where the box was supposedly hanging. We did a thorough search both of the tree and the ground around it, but did not find the letterbox.

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We then looked for BRAZOS ISLAND DEPOT which should have been near a waterfall. The waterfall is not more, or maybe it was just turned off for the winter. In any case we looked for a support post with a white rock but didn’t find it. There is a fence around the area and we checked all the posts as well as the post inside the fence that used to have a plaque but no longer does.

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So we attemped four and struck out on all of them.

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Letterboxing in Manor, TX 12/20/14

On our way  to a volksmarching event in Seguin we drove the back roads via Manor and did some letterboxing.  Our first attempt was at the Manda School which sits out in the country between New Sweden and Manor.

Manda School

Manda School

The Manda School House is the last publicly owned one room schoolhouse in Travis County. Manda ISD lasted until 1963. The community has been restoring the building to its original condition. The community was named for Amanda Bengtson Gustafson sister of the town’s postmaster. The school building now serves as a community center.

It has no markings or name on it anywhere. It is a simple wooden structure sitting on piers.  However, it used to sit on cement blocks, inside of which was a letterbox called “Manda”.   The letterbox is gone.

Pier support

Pier support

We continued on to look for “Mirror Image”.  A winding country road took us past corn fields, farm houses, and livestock.  The copper church steeple, which stands 104 feet high could be seen from miles away.

Christmas Decorations

Christmas Decorations

New Sweden Evangelical Lutheran Church

New Sweden Evangelical Lutheran Church

Texas Historical Marker on Church

Texas Historical Marker on Church

Church Cornerstone

Church Cornerstone

Church Steeple

Church Steeple

Repair work

Repair work

Unfortunately they have been doing some maintenance work on the old church and I believe the letterbox is now out of reach behind the patch shown above. We didn’t get a stamp, but we enjoyed visiting the old church.

We continued on into the town of Manor and our next attempt was for “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape”. Do you remember the movie? Johnny Depp had the lead role. Leonardo DiCaprio plays his little brother. The movie was filmed in the town of Manor. How cool is that. We found this stamp. Yeah!
We stopped to check out Depp’s footprint in the sidewalk in “downtown” Manor.

He had a small foot!

He had a small foot!

Our last attempt was for “James Manor” the man the town was named after.

Entrance Gate

Entrance Gate

Broad view.

Broad view.

Manor Cemetery Historical Marker

Manor Cemetery Historical Marker

James Manor headstone

James Manor headstone

The box should have been in the middle of some Crape Myrtle bushes but it looks like they have been trimmed back extensively. We did not find a box.

Our score for the day: Looked for 4, found 1

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