Wanda and Pete's Letterboxes - Minnesota

Index to Our Other Letterboxes


472. Wanda's Wanda-rings: Superior Hiking Trail A nice little climb up to the top of Pincushion Mountain along the SHT near Grand Marais, MN, about 3 miles roundtrip

Our summer 2012 trip, paralleling the North Country Trail for much of its route on our way out to Montana, seemed like a good opportunity to put another of the "Wanda's Wanda-rings" boxes out on its original trail, the Superior Hiking Trail, which I had hiked back in 1996 - especially since the SHT is now officially part of the NCT as well!

To reach this pleasant little section of the SHT, take the Gunflint Trail (route 12) a short distance west from route 61 in Grand Marais past the water tower, and turn right on Pincushion Drive to its end at the large parking lot for the Grand Marais Trailhead. Follow the blue-blazed SHT, which at this point is a joint hiker/biker/skier trail, northeasterly about a mile or so, crossing 4 wide bridges. Near the top of a gradual uphill trail section, before the "single track" sign on the left, note the Pincushion Mountain spur trail leading off to the right. Follow that white-blazed spur trail another tenth of a mile or so up a short steep rocky grade, crossing two small plank bridges before reaching the top with its sparse straight trees sticking up out of the bare rock supposedly reminiscent of pins in a pincushion!

Now, if you are just on "pins and needles" to find the letterbox, first find a small 4 trunk pine beside a small boulder ("sitting rock") in the middle of the smooth rock area. Next find a white blaze on the rock about 10 steps south of that tree. From there take around another 17 steps at 215 degrees, passing between two medium pines, to a rock located about 4 feet to the right of another medium pine. Look under the back edge of that rock behind several carefully placed stones to find the SHT logo stamp carved by RMN SD!

473. Wanda's Wanda-rings: Superior Hiking Trail/ Split Rock Lighthouse A drive-by bonus on the way north from Two Harbors, MN or south from Silver Bay, with a chance to catch a free glimpse of this famous lighthouse

Many of the access routes to the Superior Hiking Trail follow lovely gorges in state parks that require fees to park at their trailheads. Such is also the case for getting a close up view of the lighthouse from within Split Rock State Park. However, since we generally try to avoid planting letterboxes in places where people would have to pay fees to get them, we were pleased to find this wayside with its long-distance lighthouse view to complement the lighthouse image carved by RMN SD and used in the Wanda's Wanda-rings series.

To find this letterbox, simply head northeast a dozen miles or so from Two Harbors to the wayside on the east side of highway 61 shortly before it descends to the entrance for Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, and north of Split Rock River Wayside on the west side of the highway. From the parapet of that "eastside wayside", you should have a fabulous view of the lighthouse on a clear day. From the "Parking Overlook" sign at the north end of the wayside, look beyond the end of the wall about 10 feet to a ledge with State of Minn, Dept. of Hwy Bench Mark 3806J. From that bench mark, go 5 or 6 steps more at 120 degrees just a bit into the woods to find the box hidden on the east side of a moss-covered chunk of concrete among several other rocks. As usual, please be very careful with the finding, re-hiding, etc.!

688. MN - Lost Watermelon Slice This little one fell “through the cracks” in more senses than one, but we did plant it, so we’re listing it anyway…

N.B. As many letterboxers probably know by now, after planting well over 500 regular boxes, we have mostly gotten tired of leaving plastic containers out in the natural environment lately, so for the past few years, instead of actual boxes, we sometimes just leave in our wake small stones with stamps glued underneath that we call "travelin' lights". (Don't expect this to be a box!)

Sorry about this little “travelin’ light”! We were headed eastbound on I-90 across MN and stopped at one of the rest areas for a break - now can’t even remember which one because we “wrote it off” after “things fell through”. Anyway, I had first decided to leave this small stone where it had a comfortable fit just inside the top of the metal post on the right when heading east out of the parking lot. Then, for some reason, like not having people cross the road to get to it from the rest room side, I switched it to the yellow-topped post on the left, where it promptly fell through! Probably no way of ever retrieving that little slice of watermelon now…


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