Monday, December 11, 2017

Trying Letterboxing

A companion (or possibly rival) activity to geocaching is letterboxing. Geocaching is a search for hidden stashes using GPS coordinates posted on the internet. Letterboxing is a search for hidden stashes using clues posted on the internet. We've geocached quite a bit but the app version now has fees if you want to find anything more than the most basic caches. We don't go often enough to justify the expense, so we gave letterboxing a try.

Back in the summer, we had accidentally discovered a letterbox stash in High Ridge Park near our home. In November, we looked the stash up online and found that four stashes were in that park. We printed out each write up, a few of which required decoding of simple ciphers. My daughter was happy to do that at home before we left. With clues in hand we went to the park.

The first letterbox was hidden near the basketball court, so we began our search there.

Following the clues

The find was in a stump just inside the woods. Happily we did little bushwhacking to make it to the find.

Searching for the right spot

Found it!

The stashes typically only have log books and stamps. Visitors take the stamp from the log book and stamp their personal book. Then visitors use their personal stamp to stamp inside the log book, along with a name and date if they want. No geojunk trades hands, making it an easier job, especially if your kids fight over which things to take.

The next letterbox was further in the woods. The clue to go off the trail was a tree with the number 8 on it, which we thought was daft until we actually found a tree with the number 8 on it.

Three children searching near the 8 tree

Making the find

Stamping the log book with our stamp

Stamping our book

 The final two letterboxes were just off a paved path in the woods. The path is sponsored by Wegmans, which is a big weird since the nearest Wegmens is a good twenty-minute drive away.

Following the corporate path

Path sponsor

The find wasn't too hard. Similar to geocaching, the hiding spot was in a fallen tree.

Working together

We found the final letterbox very quickly since it was the one we discovered over the summer. My daughter was happy to have a full page on her log book.

She was not happy about the bright sunlight

We enjoyed the park while we were there. The preschooler wanted to throw rocks from a gazebo into the river far below. We didn't have the heart to tell him he'd never make it all the way. Even we parents couldn't have done it.

Throwing rocks

We also played at the playground before heading home.

Stair climbing

Stair walking

 The next day, we tried to find a letterbox near Savage Mill, on the train trail. We started at the Bollman Bridge.

Crossing the bridge

Historical certification for the bridge

The trail was supposed to have two letterboxes. According to the write up, the first box is gone. We went on to find the second one. We found the right location according to the clues but couldn't find the box. The last find was two years ago, so judging from the amount of trash (beer cans and water bottles, mostly), the box is probably long gone.

The proper stairs

The proper spot?

We enjoyed the walk along the Patuxent River anyway.

Waterfalls on the river

Back at the bridge, we tried throwing rocks in the river again, with much more success. The preschooler was very happy.

Throwing rocks

Checking for a splash

We also stopped in at Savage Mill, which is festively decorated.

It is the most wonderful time of the year

Even with the disappointment, I'm sure we will try out more letterboxing soon.

1 comment:

  1. We should letterbox together in California!