Wanda and Pete's Letterboxes - Maine

Index to Our Other Letterboxes


99 & 100. GARNET & BERYL Two little gems left up in Maine when Wanda was finding her 5000th box!

July 2007 - BERYL has been reported missing.

Tumbledown Mtn. near Weld is one of our all-time favorite short loop hikes in Maine. It is only about a 5 mile loop, but the upper portion of the western loop can be quite strenuous for those who don't feel comfortable pulling themselves up through huge chunks of rock. Therefore, we have also included a shorter , easier version for those who might still like to find these boxes on their way to Tumbledown Pond. The stamps certainly aren't much to speak of, but they are attached to small samples of the actual named semi-precious gems, so please replace them carefully for others to find who may be more interested in the mineralogy than in the stamp collecting.

To reach the loop trailhead from the junction of routes 142 and 156 in Weld, drive north (west) on route 142 to Webb's Corner. Where 142 turns right, continue straight on Byron Notch Road. When the paved road curves left, continue straight again on the now dirt Byron Notch Road about 5.2 miles to the parking area for the loop trail. This spectacular little trail takes you up through some of the rocks that give Tumbledown Mtn. its name, up to the col between the west and east peaks, and then eastward to Tumbledown Pond, where you may be able to locate that box that became Wanda's 5000th find! From there you can continue down the blue-blazed Brookside Trail to the dirt road (looking for Beryl and Garnet along the way), and then head west along the dirt road back to your car.

For the shorter, easier, less spectacular, but still very nice version, you can use the Brookside Trail parking area at 3.8 miles from the beginning of the dirt portion of Byron Notch Road for a 3 mile "in-and-out" hike to the pond. This trail uses an old tote road for about half its length. Shortly after the point where the old road narrows and becomes rockier and rootier, look right for a big rock with a garnet-colored diamond on it, about 1 foot square, next to a tree whose trunk is starting to balloon. Hop carefully to the top of the red diamond and then keep walking about 8 steps more toward an even bigger boulder. Find the "Garnet" microbox tucked into the crevice to the right of a yellowish stain behind a small removable reddish spatula-type rock and a smattering of leaves. Please replace everything as you found it.

Continue up through the rocky jumble, crossing several streams that could be tricky in icy conditions. When you reach the upper level, take note of the way back down, so that you don't miss the blue arrows after you have finished exploring the pond area. Shortly on your way back down the Brookside Trail, notice the large almost octopus-like white birch on the right near a huge steeply sloping rock face. Just 3 steps away from the tree, note the thigh-high triangular chink with green ferns growing out of is right side. Remove the triangular shaped rock and look behind green moss tucked into the right side of the cubby hole for the greenish gem "Beryl" microbox. Please replace this box very neatly, so that even if the triangle rock were accidentally displaced, the box would still not be seen. Then pick your way safely down the rocks and back to your care. Hope you enjoyed this little sample of gem/stamp collecting!

190. RECALLING THE PAST (aka "The Dead Ringer") A drive down "memory line" calling up echos of "lone distant" times Downeast.

Switch party lines to "Wincompoop",
although there is no need to tell her
you think that she's a "nincompoop"
with poor connections, and a lousy speller!

Oh, how passť to "dial" a call -
These days one scarce need lift a finger.
But look by road, near old stone wall
'neath lonesome fir sleeps this "Dead Ringer"!

191. REMEMBERING NIGHTS ON BALD ROCK MOUNTAIN A 3 mile round trip hike to a gorgeous lookout ledge in the Camden Hills of mid coastal Maine.

Just a little adventure to share what letterboxing used to be like here in North America before the current craze for quick stamps, postals, personal travelers, table toppers, drive-ups, logins and all that stuff that didn't even exist until a couple of years ago!

Many years ago, it used to be possible to park right off route 1 north of Camden, pack up about a mile or so to a set of Adirondack shelters near the ledgy summit of Bald Rock Mt, spend the night watching the stars twinkling out over the ocean, and wake up the next morning to one of the finest sunrise views you could ever hope to see anywhere, encompassing a broad ocean range from north to south, with islands like Isleboro and Deer Isle off towards the rising sun! It was even written up in the southern Maine edition of the "50 Hikes" state series books that I used to do in the late 1970's, before my major backpacking days, and made quite a remarkable moonlight jaunt, especially during the full moon, as I was recently reminded while crossing the Deer Isle suspension bridge with the full moon to the east and a glorious sunset to the west - WOW!

Well, nowadays it seems that the old hiking trail is no longer even available, and camping without prior approval is probably only permitted at the nearby pay campground. However, there still is a fairly easy way to access this marvelous viewpoint. All you need to do is take either one of the two roads heading westerly from near the Lobster Pound / State Ferry in Ducktrap / Lincolnville (Duck Trap Rd or Beach Rd) and drive a couple of miles west until you see the brown hiker parking sign on the left near the junction with Youngtown Rd. Park here and start up the old ski lodge road heading towards the south.

After about a mile of very gradual walking on the old dirt road, turn left at the sign by the foundation ruins for the final half mile of somewhat steeper and rockier ascent. As you break out of the evergreens onto the rock ledges following the blue blazes (be very careful here in rain or freezing conditions), go out to the tip of the overlook for not only phenomenal panoramic view of the miles and miles of isles spread out before you to the east, but also the top of one of the old shelters peaking out darkly behind you to the north. From this point, walk back west about two dozen steps to the two sided (north and west) 2.5 foot high rock ledge with remnants of a fire built in its corner. Sit down here on the north ledge, look east and find a microbox with "impromptu stamp" tucked tightly into the south side of the overhanging rock, behind one foot-sized stone and two tiny ones. Recover well to keep the spot looking natural, then head back the way you came or take the time to explore some more! Hope you enjoy your adventure on Bald Rock Mountain!

592. Spider at Snow Falls A scenic stopover along route 26 north of Paris, ME

Yup, by the time we got to Maine after hiking in the Whites, all we had left to plant was this silly little spider stuck on the back of a 2" rhomboidish-shaped gray stone. Still, this was such a nice little stopping spot that we couldn't pass up the opportunity to leave the spider behind overlooking the falls from his vantage point about waist-high on the left side of a mossy ledge in the "cave" under a large rock at the left end of the green fence near where the bridge crosses over to the right. Hope he stays there safely for a while!

674. Wanda's Wanda-rings: Maine Trails Drive-by along Maine's western border for a cute carving by teacup

This clever little footstep stamp was created by teacup of ME to represent my backpacking adventures throughout Maine, but I planted it just over the border from NH in the Evans Notch Maine portion of the Whites to make it accessible to find at the same time as the NH Trails box. For this Maine Trails box, simply go about one mile south from the Cold River/Basin Rec Area on route 113 and turn east on gravel Stone House Road to the turnaround parking area at its end. From the kiosk there, take about 8 steps south along the stone wall to its end and carefully walk around that end to find a small triangular-shaped cave between a mossy tilted rock and a chunk of cement with a piece of metal sticking out of it. There on the left side of the cave behind a whitish stone should be a small brown cylinder with some boot prints for Maine! Sorry we were in a hurry with planting, but I do have some great memories of hiking in this area, including a snowy winter climb and camp on nearby Blueberry Hill, so take some time to explore if you can!


You can find information about this hobby at Letterboxing North America (LbNA)

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