Wanda and Pete's Letterboxes - Grills At Grills


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543. Grilled Pumpkins A rehash of pumpkin stamps from the 8th Annual Southern RI Gathering at Ninigret being served up just for the fall of 2014 at the Grills Wildlife Sanctuary in Hopkinton, RI

RETIRED





Yes, we figured the fall of 2014 would be a good time to get these old pumpkins based on some of our earliest boxes out in the woods for one last "walk down memory lane"! (Goal: either to have folks remember finding some of these boxes, or to spark their interest in finding out if any of them are still out there!) Out of the hundreds of boxes we've planted over the years, we had tried to pick a few of those with something obvious in them that could be turned into pumpkin facial features, and that, with our limited skills, we could still actually carve (which leaves out Ben Franklin!;-), but even then, you will definitely need your colored pens to have these features stand out, so - pens at the ready! (and compasses, too!)

The walk itself is about a 2-mile gentle in-and-out round trip along the white blazed trail within the Grills Wildlife Sanctuary on Chase Hill Rd in Hopkinton, RI, stopping at rustic cedar log benches along the way. There are two pumpkin stamps hidden adjacent to each of these benches, plus a picnic table at the end for the sole logbook. All measurements were taken from the center of the benches. The trailhead can be found near the junction of Ashaway Road (route 216) and Chase Hill Road by going south on route 3 from exit 1 off I-95 near the RI/CT border and then a mile or so east on route 216. There is a large sign/kiosk near a bunch of old trucks on the south side of that triangular junction to mark the trailhead parking lot.

From the parking area and mapboard, head south, passing the old farm trucks and other assorted vehicles, to reach a cornfield just ahead. Then bear left to quickly enter another cornfield, and turn right to walk along its right edge. At the end of the cornfield, you may notice off left some signs of "grilling": a charred cedar bench and fire-blackened stump. Enter the woodlands following the white blazed trail along an old cart path. You will quickly arrive at BENCH 1 to the left of the trail.

1) Dancing Men Pumpkin #1 ( our very first plant and one of the first mystery boxes in the country, so it generated quite a bit of buzz in its time! Pete even had to draw his own images for the code letters, since they did not yet exist online at that time!) Take 29 steps at 30 degrees to 2 pine trees. The small pumpkin pouch is between them under a medium stone.

2) Nurse Log Pumpkin #11 (planted after another trip to the Pacific Northwest, where there are so many of these "nurse logs", but relatively few like this one growing a nice crop of mushrooms and baby pines to be found in New England!) Take 11 steps at 110 degrees to a 3-tree. The pouch is in its crotch about 3 feet up.

Continue on white blazed trail crossing over a 3 stone slab bridge until you arrive at BENCH 2 to the right of trail.

3) Root Beer & Grapes Pumpkin #13 & 73 (planted after waiting a long time for someone to do our 8-mile Lil' Rhody Runaround Series, then seeing Jay Drew's car parked at the lot and meeting him at the end with root beer and grapes!) Take 21 steps at 140 degrees to a large oak tree with a bright mossy base. Look in the green crack down low at the right rear of the tree for the pouch.

4) Pine Barrens Pumpkin #28 & 33 (planted after another visit to the NJ Pine Barrens for some old mapsurfer boxes, and then realizing that we had a couple of cool pine barrens in RI to show off, too!) Take 32 steps at 340 degrees, crossing the orange blazed trail, to a long-dead and quite barren huge multi-pine candelabra ruin. Look under a piece of rotting wood at the front of the base.

Continue on white blazed trail until you see BENCH 3 to the right of the trail

5) Triple Crown Pumpkin #33 & 180 (planted after a geocacher took over our original Queen of a River letterbox site, so we moved on up to a better neighborhood!) Take 12 steps at 260 degrees to a large oak. Look behind this tree under a 2 foot long piece of rotten wood.

6) Opuntia Pumpkin #37 & #233 (planted after we unexpectedly found opuntia growing on a side trail off the AT in NY, and then found another really nice patch of it in CT!) Take 14 steps at 150 degrees and look under the root end of a rotting log.

Continue on white blazed trail and reach BENCH 4 to the left of the trail.

7) Blossoms into Butterflies Pumpkin #75 (planted as a bonus box for Laurette's birthday - still perhaps my favorite stamp of any that I have ever tried to carve, of mountain laurel turning into butterflies - for one of the sweetest people we ever met in letterboxing!) Take 23 steps at 215 degrees to an oak. Look under a small cut log.

8) Get Whale Soon Pumpkin #118 (planted in connection with the whale sculptures that came out all around our area around that time, including one near Wilcox Park in the center of Westerly) Take 15 steps at 150 degrees to a large oak. Look in front root crack under a small stone.

Continue on white blazed trail until you arrive at BENCH 5 to the left of the trail. Note that there are also two picnic tables nearby.

9) Bacon & Eggs Pumpkin #123 (planted as an add-on to the Hungry Rocks Series - #68-73 - when we realized that we were still hungry, and bacon and eggs were easy to carve!) Take 9 steps at 170 degrees to the root end of a fallen tree. Look on the ground under and behind the closest root stub.

10) Mt. Misery Pumpkin #130-132 (planted after finding so many places named "Mt.Misery" in our travels that we thought making a semi-mystery series out of at least a few of them might be fun!) Take 21 steps at 105 degrees across trail to the root end of another fallen tree. Look on the ground under and behind the closest root stub.

Continue on the white blazed trail passing the picnic tables. Cross a metal bridge and its connected boardwalk. Continue along the trail which has now changed from an old cart path to a narrow trail. Proceed for a slightly longer distance than that between the benches until you arrive at a PICNIC TABLE to the right of the trail at the top of a ridge.

11) Mt. Joy Pumpkin #133 (...and of course, we had to plant at least one "Mt. Joy" as well!) Take 8 steps at 220 degrees under small pointy rock overhang

12) Fishy Pumpkin #134, 244-250, 259- 262, etc. (planted with regard to everything fishy in letterboxing , from early legerdemaine "ghoti" fishbowls to a Happy Dancer bonus at an abandoned fish hatchery, Something Fishy Going on in RI , More Fish Fly into RI, etc. - plus fish are easy to carve!;-) Take 10 steps from the west side of the table and look under under a small lichen angular log in the angular back crevice of the low rock ledge. Hope you enjoyed the pumpkin walk!




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