Wanda and Pete's Letterboxes - Mysteries
BEFORE YOU SET OUT, PLEASE READ THE
WAIVER OF RESPONSIBILITY AND DISCLAIMER..
|1. THE DANCING MEN||This is a mystery box having to do with a "fictitious" carved stone located somewhere in southern New England. A road map might be helpful.|
Checked on 20 Nov 2010; still awaiting visitors after all these years!
For the clues go to Pete's Puzzle: The Dancing Men. To earn your certificate of graduation as a "super sleuth" from Wanda & Pete's Detective School all you have to do is find this letterbox! We will be looking forward to seeing who "graduates"!
Our Detective School Graduates
|3. ONE MORE LITTLE FEATHER|
(aka "Stopping by Pond on a Boxious Evening")
(apologies to Robert Frost)
|This RI mystery box should not be too much of a mystery for the locals. Hope you have some fun adding your caps to this little feather!|
You just got "Feathers in your Cap"
So now you want to take a nap,
But 'fore you head off down the track
Get out your good Rhode Island map.
From near the Hunters' Quonset shack,
Drive west one road, then head out back
To reach a "trail" with warlike name,
Or maybe stop and have a snack.
Then keep on south from where you came
To cross a bridge with wooden frame.
Left towards a pond, then right you sweep
To reach a spot of fishing fame.
The pond so-named just might be deep.
Halfway around you'll find a heap
of stones with feather stamp beneath,
So "plume your hats", then get some sleep!
N.B. This box has now been replaced, but, in order to help prevent it from going missing again, please be extremely discreet in this popular fishing spot. The box itself is now under a single flat stone strewn with pine needles, a few steps south from a small pile of rocks at the base of a tree directly south across the pond from the northernmost fishing pier.
|19-20. POLISH SERIES||Placed for Polish-American Heritage Month, October, 2001. These boxes honor two Poles who are famous in American History.|
#1 HAS BEEN REPLACED - Jun 2011
Making allowances for the missing Polish diacritical marks in the English font below should be just part of the "fun" for those who did not get a marked copy at the Fall Gathering!
|28. PINE BARRENS OF RI||A special little area with a rather strange access route that is the only non-swamp-bushwhack route that we know! ( caution: not for the easily lost or the faint of heart!)|
This is retired for now as we have heard that the access route has been posted off-limits.
|29. GOING DOWNHILL||A "blue square" RI mystery with ghosts of downhill skiers from winters past near the present N-S trail.|
Checked 20 Sep 2010
To find this letterbox, you must first search for memories from the place where kids from the Ward Senior High Ski Club used to go downhill skiing on snowy Wednesday nights in the early 1970's. Find the sad remains of what was once a beautiful alpine ski lodge. Take the closest of the slightly overgrown runs up through the Pine till you find the rusty red building near the top of the lift where the snowmaking once ended. From the south side of the building, take about 33 steps at 210, 190 at 150, 38 generally south, and then about 15 at 140. Look low under the stone slab with the root loop on top. Follow a different run back for "Going Downhill", and don't forget to look for those ghosts of winters past!
|76. LOST MIND||A quick mystery "pick-me-up" in RI|
CHECKED - OK 7 April 2011
Couldn't resist doing an "add-on" to Bluebird's "Of All the Things I've Lost" series in CT, especially with that P.S. about missing her mind the most! Well, this particular little one is patiently waiting to be recovered in RI! All you have to do from the human foot starting point for "Dancing Men" is go to the nearest cemetery and look in a smallish stump towards the back on the western side. The lost mind is there to be found.
|77-79. SEAFARING MYSTERY||A fairly short series not too far from the sea.|
CHECKED - OK on 28 March 2011
Revised June 2005 after Quarry disappeared.
In a coastal New England town, find a place that, although entirely unrelated etymologically, is somewhat reminiscent of a letter sent across the ocean on Captain Ahab's ship. There your object is to find 3 letterboxes: "Plymouth Rock", "The Quarry", and "Back By 5 PM". The route you choose will determine the order of finding them and may involve passing through overgrown trail sections or crossing stone bridges.
From the first named eponymous feature walk back about 25 steps and look right to a multi-trunked maple. Search in the middle for this microbox.
For the second, from the stone seat overlooking the quarry pond atop its SE corner, head generally southerly along the western side of the stonewall about 12 steps to a tilted rock with moss and lichen on it that dips down just in front of an oak tree abutting the wall. Find the little black micro Quarry box in the hole underneath this stone behind two doors: first a very thin stone puzzle piece rock and then a roundish rock with a flat bottom. Please rehide just as found.
For the last mentioned box, find something that seems out of place and obviously not returned on time, as the signs indicate. From that feature, walk about 12 steps N and look in the middle of the 2-sister tree on the left that has a colorful mark mindful of a relaxing sleep. Please tuck the box back into its nook safely with a few leaves for cover and continue on your merry way to enjoy your seafaring day!
|102. TWELVE||Planted by Pete for our 12th anniversary.|
Checked 19 Oct 2009
About twelve miles northwest of where we first met, a dozen or so hikers joined us for our first adventure together. Go there and stroll along the blue trail about 12x20 feet (12x8 steps) and encounter a tall, 12/2 feet high boulder beside the right side of the path. From there take a bearing of 12x20 degrees, and walk a couple dozen steps past a lesser boulder. Continue on toward a tree with a withered arm. Under the largest flat slab before this tree, you may find a commemoration of our twelve years together.
|103. LOVE'S MYSTERY||Just a short cruise to find Palmyra Palms swaying gently in the breeze.|
From the place where we first met, drive mostly southerly to find a distinct pointy rock. Find some lovely little colorful palms carved for us by Letterboxingbee of NJ tucked snugly into the deep cozy root system of a cedar about a palm's length away!
|129. WINGED SCARAB||A little bit of foreign culture that has winged its way across the middle of the Atlantic!|
To find this sacred beetle (carved by Talking Turtle of NY for Scarab of VA and now located somewhere in between) fly away from the ancient land of the Nile delta to an eponymous place in the new world. From a "pyramid of green" where you may leave your chariot, cross over to a sacred land of the dead beyond to the east. Don't be fooled if a scribe should try to tell you that some of the unusual "hieroglyphs" you can see on the nearby "Rosetta Stones" are in "Deutsch"! Some are, indeed, rather revolutionary! If you should spot a row of these to the north, with a 4-father tree to the east, tipping a stone slab on its north side just might reveal an ancient treasure beneath!
|130. MISERY LOVES COMPANY ...||Three "mystery" hikes up three mounts named "Misery" - in three different states. Collect all three, and please feel free to add to this series if there is another "Mt Misery" in your area!|
Mount Misery I
From the top of this "Mount Misery", continue west following the yellow blazes until you are just "out of the park". Very soon you will be following a black iron fence on your left side. Just over halfway along this fence, note a lone "single seater" rock on your right side. Reach under the sinister far side of this rock for a little black box full of misery!
Mount Misery II
For this little miserable companion letterbox, just follow the blue trail until you find the blue X marking the spot at the top. Then, still basically following the blue trail, take 20 steps NW, 20 steps SW, and 20 steps W to reach a 2-layer rock on the right. (This makes a good spot to sit and rest your feet on the lower foot rest.) From here, just look a couple of feet west. Under the western part of a shallow arch in the next rock over rests a little black microbox curled up inside a piece of bark under leaves.
Mount Misery III
Another pretty little piney peak encroached by suburbia somewhat in the manner of "Walden". To get there, we suggest taking the southern of one of the "Great Roads" and from the parking lot hopping onto one of the many sections of "Circuit" hikes available around the area. Whichever path you choose, perhaps following white and yellow blazes around a pond, and passing several numbers and letters, make your way to the top where my old friend, Ward who used to work here many years ago, told me there was once a lookout tower. From the center of the foundation, take 5-6 steps at about 25 degrees to sit on the NE corner of the foundation facing north downhill. Temporarily removing one small stone from beneath the tiny moss covered projecting lower ledge will allow access to the microbox. Please replace exactly as found, and find your way back down, being careful to stay on trails to prevent erosion on Mt. Misery, as the signs say!
|133. JOY DEMANDS IT!||A joyful little addition to one of the Mt. Misery boxes (we won't say just which - you need to figure that one out for yourselves!)|
Everyone has probably heard the phrase "Misery loves Company", but not everyone may realize that that is only the beginning of the expression and the real "punch line" constitutes the name of this little letterbox! To find it, all you need to do is figure out which Mt. Misery box listed has an adjacent "joyous mountain" just to the east across a stream paralleling a narrow numbered road. From the northern "T" end of that road, follow a path running generally southeast up the joyous mountain. Stay straight past the sprawling oak on your right, then curve gently right towards the first summit. Just before the trail curves left near the top, note a joyfully hugging two-some of trees on the right. A few paces off trail beyond them to the right you might find that even the tree that seems dead and empty in its inner core, underneath its small dark heart of stone and the accumulated crustiness of aged leaves, holds deep within itself a tiny white parcel of joy! Please be gentle and respectful in replacing misery with joy in your heart-to-heart hugs. Rejoice in good company for joy demands it!
|145. THE FULL MONTY||A totally innocuous, PFX rated twist or "take-off" on one of SweetPea's clues in CT (sorry, we just couldn't resist the puns!)|
Oh, how many times we drove by this place, saying "we should put a box here", until finally Sweet Pea beat us to the punch, and called her box "MONTY""! Well, that did it ... when we found out her stamp was just the head, we said, "we'll just have to make our stamp the "Full Monty"! Don't worry, folks, it's absolutely kid-friendly, rated PFX, P is for us, F for you, and X perhaps only for Chuck and Molly, because it's one of our "impromptu" / emergency stamps, cut out with scissors and stuck onto a Chuck and Molly wooden nickel and stuffed into an empty jar of lemon body cream since that's all we had handy at the time!
Anyway, to find the "Full Monty" just walk about 18 steps at 270 deg from Sweet Pea's head of "MONTY" and look in the obvious spot just below your waist and beyond the tree!
|174. W&P BUGS||Just a couple of bonus "Humbugs" to go along with our GAG "No See Um" cootie.|
Not really worth looking for these bah-humbugs, but they are supposedly munching bark somewhere on a little rock ledge under a stone tepee 5 paces south of a tree.
|185. BELL, BROOK AND CANDLE||LOCATE IN VAST WALL AT RIGHT OF AN ABANDONED WOLF DEN|
To get the three stamps for this CT mystery search, you will need to tell us what you see at each of the three designated spots mentioned below.
Once you have gained permission to enter this property (please either plan ahead or have your cell phone handy) follow along the eastern ledges until you reach a south trending dirt road. Follow that road until a bell goes off in your head, telling you once again to turn east to find a tiny, piney, bit of "hallowed ground". Give us a ring or post to tell us how many and what type of posts surround this secluded little spot.
Now doodle along south on the loop until you rejoin the dirt road going to the southern portion of the preserve. Then follow the brook, looping back to its northwestern junction with another trail. Send us a reading of what can be found about thirty steps north of this junction at about "lectern height".
Next you will probably want to head back to the throne, enjoy a lily, and "cut to the chase". Go to the furthest western part of the preserve and, if you are just burning to light your candle, whisper to us about what distinctive feature is located at "ground level" about thirty steps north of the wooden bench.
Hope you enjoy your day in the park.
|188. M-95||A boxing comrade to a certain CT mystery called "M-60", but this one should be considerably easier to find, since RI is so much smaller than CT!|
RETIRED - the area has been posted No Trespassing
In a quaint RI village, find a monument to some local men who may actually have come eye to eye with a Mannlicher in their travels abroad. From there you would do well to look on the right of the short stump about 40-50 steps away at 270 degrees.
|189. JOSHUA'S DILEMMA||A CT mystery of the dilemma variety.|
Checked 6 Oct 2011
Joshua was a hiker from way back who had tracked and trekked the many trails across the country before he stumbled upon the quaint little hobby of letterboxing, which he enjoyed for several years. Recently, however, he found himself on the horns of a dilemma. Letterboxing, instead of the hiking hobby he had previously enjoyed, had become mostly just a series of endless stamping parties with his new girl friend who hated to walk anywhere! In fact, just the other day she had informed him that if he were ever to take her letterboxing anywhere that involved a walk, he would have to pick her up in a limousine and take her out to a fancy dinner or a swinging dance party at the casino afterwards.
Well, what was poor Joshua to do? He didn't want to loose his brand new flashy girl friend with her colorful, pointy high heel shoes. On the other hand, he did not want to give up his hiking boots, and letterboxing as he had once known it, just to make her happy. He wanted to compromise and take her on a letterbox walk, so he went and picked up the limo, and then was on his way to pick her up. But the more he thought about it, he started to balk ...
So, what do you think he did? Did he A.) just keep on driving down to the river, hop up onto the northwest corner of the old cemetery stone wall, and decide to give up letterboxing to be with his girl friend? (After all, his life was just about over anyway, wasn't it?), B.) pick up his girl friend, deposit her at the north entrance of the casino in a wintery mood, and toss the ring he once meant to give her behind a nearby azalea bush, or C.) remembering the other dilemmas of letterboxers from the past who had also had dilemmas and seem to have left the hobby, did he just turn around the corner, ditch the limo in a lumpy little dirt parking lot by partner trees near a stone wall, and take off walking to Alaska?
|194. DON'S FLOWER||A RI mystery using a stamp image that Don gave us during our trip to southern California in the spring of 2007. Now where might this flower be planted?|
To find this plant
you first must follow
an old dirt road
to "Frosty Hollow".
A scant six feet
from Stone for Barber
this little flower
found "Safe Harbor".
Between two stones
near wee white pine
this plant may help you
"Rise and Shine"!
|201. WHISTLER'S FATHER||A Father's Day mystery commemorating fathers who somehow or other got overshadowed by mothers.|
CHECKED - OK 2 Apr 2011
Since we spent a small chunk of our Father's Day afternoon looking for the gravesite of Whistler's father, we thought that some letterboxers might enjoy doing a similar search themselves. After all, why should Whistler's mother be the one who gets all the attention, just because her son painted her portrait, whereas Whistler's father goes relatively un-noticed, even though he had a very interesting life? For example, who knew that Whistler's father was born at a fort in the western territories, because his own father had left Ireland with the British army in the 1770s, surrendered with Burgoyne's army at Saratoga, returned later to join the American army, got stationed in Indiana and named his son after his favorite American hero? (Can you guess who this was?) And, who knew that this boy who went to West Point at 14 would grow up to be a remarkable engineer, laying out railroad projects for various early lines around the country and even in Russia, where he died from smallpox in 1849, and that his remains were shipped back to the United States and reside not far away from one of the railroad lines that he established? To find out more about this fascinating fellow, find the location of his burial spot, and then look 4 steps away around waist level behind one medium sized stone. If you look around, you may even find possible inspiration for Whistler's mother!
|217. STONE SOUP CELERY, TOO!||A slightly bigger bunch that didn't quite fit in the original pot.|
Well, since our first stalk of celery went traveling somewhere down south, we decided it might be fun to add another bunch to a more local batch of stone soup recently prepared in time for Christmas dinner. Just look where wood kisses stone on the SW side of the massive rock near the frog prince. Bon appetit!
|242. PETE'S CELEBRATORY SWING||The clue for this box was embedded in an LbNA message announcing Pete's reaching F 10,000 in the spring of 2008.|
Slight revision - look at the base of the tallest part stone wall just left of the greenbriar.
|254. "LIVE AND BREATHE IT"||Just a little breather near one of our other boxes for those who take the time to stop and look at things from a different angle|
Well, so many people over the years have told us that to them we exemplify the true spirit of letterboxing in North America, with our love for quiet adventure hunts and for keeping the focus on gratitude to those individuals who create them. In fact, as far as the type of lertterboxing we started out with here on this continent, it could probably be said of us more than of anyone else that we "live and breathe it!" After all, although we have almost no time for talk lists, blogs and other such peripheral activities, we are the ones who have been most continuously engaged in the actual hobby itself longer than just about anyone else on this continent, and have certainly found more letterboxes than anyone else by a long shot! It would certainly be true to say that our letterboxing counts have grown along with the hobby here over the years. When we first stumbled upon questing and letterboxing at a time when it was still difficult to find several dozen boxes in the whole country (it took us nearly a year and a half to find our first 24 boxes!), who would have guessed that just a few months later we would so expand our letterboxing efforts as to become the first folks in the country to reach PFX 500, and that 7 years later we would have reached PFX 20,000 by actually letterboxing almost every single day(no virtuals or postals), whether it's 0 degrees in the snow or 95 degrees in the shade, and by finding over 3,000 boxes a year for the past few years!
The real crux of the matter as to why we "live and breathe letterboxing", however, lies not at all in the accumulation of stamp images or proliferation of parties which some of the newer folks mistakenly seem to think letterboxing is all about. It lies rather in those quiet times of solitary pursuit, or in carefully chosen company, on the less trammeled paths of life that make up more than 95% of our letterboxing adventures and naturally our most treasured and meaningful memories. For us, those are certainly not the type of memories you get from any number of stamps being bounced off the walls and tables at gatherings, or of people going "en masse" to stamp in someplace like a big group egg hunt. One astute relative newcomer to the hobby remarked to us at his first gathering (a rather small one at that) that the gathering actually seemed to him to be "the antithesis to letterboxing" and we couldn't have agreed more: with some folks fixated at tables relentlessly stamping, others frantically rushing around without a clue like chickens with their heads cut off to grab as many stamps as possible, to us it looked like "letterboxing hell "! To us, letterboxing as it was set up to be in North America has almost always involved getting to someplace special and taking a few moments of repose to sign in there quietly. As we frequently tell people, if it had been just about the frenzy of collecting stamps and attending parties - much as we have enjoyed them on occasion - I'm sure we would have quit this hobby long ago!
So, to those who still think "living and breathing letterboxing" is about stamp collecting, attending Tupperware parties or being involved in big social productions, we would ask you to just stop for a moment, sit back, take a deep breath, and try to look at things from a different perspective. Given the right angle on the real essence of letterboxing from an old-timer's point of view, surely even the newer generations will be able to see what we mean when we say "we live and breathe ietterboxing", and hopefully some of you will come to "live and breathe it", too!
|255. WANDA'S PFX20,000||Just another little mystery on our way home from Wanda's F18,000 on 6/13/08 atop Mt Lamentation!|
This box is not only NAMED "Wanda's PFX 20,000" - it actually IS Wanda's PFX20,000!
After much tromping of feet, grinding of teeth, and lamentation, on Friday, June 13, 2008, Wanda found her 18,000th letterbox on Mt Lamentation. We then actually stopped and turned around in the middle of a series just so we could plant this letterbox on our way home to make it Wanda's PFX 20,000!
So, this box, our 277th plant, combined with 1723 exchanges and 18,000 finds (no virtuals, no postals, and none of Pete's extra finds are included in this number, since we have traditionally only used the higher of our individual F counts when calculating PFX) make exactly PFX 20,000 - just imagine that! So, to mark the occasion, we decided to let you use a little imagination... Imagine you are driving on a major interstate, perhaps using the same route that we told the mapsurfer to take on his way to the little gathering we once held at our home back in May of 2003. Imagine taking an exit onto a route that soon has you crossing a state border, passing a distinct pointy rock, and coming to a "WI-FI" spot with a gazebo out back. Imagine yourself entering the gazebo, immediately and dexterously reaching up into the eaves for a quick and surreptitious retrieve before taking a seat in the middle of the gazebo. Imagine taking out a book or snack, so as not to look too sinister or suspicious as you make your mark on the skinny little scroll. Then imagine replacing everything very carefully as you discreetly exit the gazebo. (Hope you also take some time to imagine all the hard work it took to reach PFX 20,000, since most of our letterboxing adventures have certainly not been as quick and easy as this!:-)
|279. OLD "TROF TERGININ"||A little tucked-away RI mystery site in our neck of the woods.|
You might have to do a little bit of research before hand to unearth the starting point for this old site, but once you are there, finding the letterbox should be fairly easy. From the parking lot, walk over to the southeastern bastion. Then take about 3 dozen steps easterly passing a cedar to reach another tree leaning towards you. At its base behind the middle of three orange-sized stones find a memento of your journey into the past.
|284-5. THE ONES THAT ALMOST GOT AWAY||Two fish that thought they might make it through the winter without getting "landed". (Ha! Someone's bound to go "ice fishing"!)|
HOP on over to the southwestern part of RI to find these last two fish which are sort of KIN to each
other. (It was a TON of fun setting them free in a land of snow on our 23rd consecutive day of cross
country skiing in RI in January 2009!) Don't STUB your toe as you walk through the boulders on the
northwest side of TOWN, at the end of the dirt ROAD. (We had to park further east on the paved portion
of the road, and ski the dirt road west, but when the snow is gone, you can probably drive further
to the end of the CHAIN link fence.) PICKing your route is rathER ELementary from here, since the
old road west past the boulders is about your only option.
After a short while, you will pass an old foundation on your right. Soon thereafter see a large opening on your right which could be a vernal pool, but in winter looked like a lovely white meadow around which we skied the perimeter. Just after a SECOND smaller opening on your right as you continue west, note a BOULDER row on your LEFT. This trail is pretty FLAT and easy for skiing with only a ROCK here and there BENEATH the snow RIGHT up until this point, although there are many nice rock formations on either SIDE of the old road.
The "no trespassing" sign between the second and third boulder here on the left makes a good turn around point, although if you continue, you may see another interesting shaped house and some horses as you head towards the next road. Turning back the way you came, keep your eyes on the NORTHERN side of the old PIKE for some huge stone walls and rock formations. When you see a yellow trail going off to the south, you will know you are close to the WESTERN END of the stone foundation you saw earlier. Here by a STONE WALL, on the east side of the opening, you may even see a small shovel that we found nearby on the NORTH SIDE of the trail, if you want to dig in the snow!
From this point it is just a short distance back to your car, but we hope that someone might consider putting a letterbox somewhere down the yellow trail (which was just a bit too rocky to ski) to give us further incentive to come back and explore this area! Hope you enjoyed some nice "ice fishing"!
|303. WE'LL TAKE THE FIFTH||Somewhere in Connecticut stands a milestone we passed on the way to somewhere else, reminiscent of that collection of a certain CT denizen heavy into peppering our neighboring state with numerous drive-by boxes. (We helped her find a spot to do Number 2, but now we're "taking the fifth"!)|
Park carefully somewhere nearby.
Find the bird with the cracked head.
Then go 105 deg passing behind 2027.
Look under a small flat stone.
|304. DEAD FISH IN CT||Another example of our little crappie stamps that crossed the border over into CT.|
This Fish can be found in a Town fairly close to where one of Pete's early CT ancestors was buried in
1690. Once you find the wishing well there, head east past the Fish, then north to just left of a big
tree. Gently remove and later replace one small carefully placed stone.
A similar but smaller Fish in a similar but smaller place lays at rest under the northeast corner of a much larger stone denoting a long ago merger with another distant member of Pete's namesake family.
|306. FISH ROCK||A drive-by reminiscent of those CT mysteries that a few find amusing, a few find annoying, and most simply ignore!|
Snap this fish up on the fly
On background color of the sky
Behind big rock at leaning tree
Next to "crossing", leaves of three.
Close to trail where someone mows,
Twixt dead toes ... thar she blows!
|307. A&P ROCK II||A replacement for the first A&P rock in a slightly different location. (Which makes it a new find!)|
Checked 27 Oct 09
When we first planted the original A&P Rock letterbox/litterbox a long time ago, we actually meant it as sort of a joke. Drive-by boxes were just starting to become common back then, and we thought that a microbox near a giant rock in a grocery store parking lot would be kind of funny - and probably wouldn't last more than a week! Well, nearly five years and three logbooks later, it finally went missing. But, since it was so popular and people still seem to want to look for it, we planted another microbox behind the big rock's little brother. Just wander around the parking lot, acting like you're taking a little walk to stretch your legs before going inside to shop. Once you locate the second biggest rock in the area, slightly further afield, just duck behind it, lift up the one small rock that moves, and brush aside a little dirt. Voila! Kindly replace exactly as found so this box may have as long a life as its big brother!
|308. ROSA MISTERIOSA||Another box in that devilish CT genre where a few folks know exactly where to go while most might need to do some "digging".|
In an alcove of white near a tree of blight
Where the Celtic Roots sowed seeds Chinese.
Where a golden marsh marigold once saw the light,
A mysterious rose now plays the "tease"!
|309. WANDA'S PFX25,000||Another milestone memento marking Wanda's reaching PFX25K (at "Off the Beaten Path" in MA on 5/28/09!)|
We tucked this little memento into a dark corner diagonally across from another opposite from where we "Live and Breathe"!!!
|XXIII. FAIRY OF DARK DESPAIR||A very special box sent by Mama Wolf of NC - a "golden present" reminder: there's no time for despair when you're "running with wolves"!|
Checked 30 Oct 09
When Mama Wolf sent me this remarkable surprise box a couple of months ago, knowing I'd gone through some pretty dark times in my life, perhaps she had an inkling that one day soon it would be just the thing for me to go out and plant somewhere on a rainy afternoon!
Well, that afternoon finally came, soon after reaching my PFX25,000 letterboxing milestone and running into a little black cloud of the type I used to encounter from time to time out on long-distance backpacking trails from a certain subclass of angry or competitive males. So... out came the little box with the beautiful, sad fairy of the golden wreath and wings, based on a very distinctive art print with a message of hope even in the midst of despair that you can read if you find this box!
I had originally thought of planting this fairy at "Dark Entry", along a portion of the old AT near Mohawk Mt. and Dudleytown, CT, but that area seemed to be haunted by too many ghosts from some long-ago disease (plus a few of those "macho types" still furious that they could be "out-hiked" by a "mere woman" who wasn't even trying to race, but was simply hiking her own personal hike!:-) At any rate, I next considered planting the fairy among the flaming azaleas in Maudsley Park in Newburyport, MA, with blossoms reminiscent of her bright yellow wings so like the azaleas that bloom wild right along the AT in certain parts of the mountains of her NC homeland.
Finally, however, I settled on keeping her closer to home, so Pete and I drove over the border into CT to a place where we like to go on days when life presents a bit of "misery". There we let the fairy lead the way along the blue trail, past the spot where I hope to have my ashes tossed when that time comes, near a bunch of roses planted long ago in gratitude for all that letterboxing has meant to me over the years.
After awhile we crossed into a brighter area, but stayed on the blue trail past a solitary gray island table, and then the fairy spied a row of rocks near the edge of a field by the road. She sat on one of the roundish topped rocks, then set one bare foot down on top of the rock beneath her, and a remarkable thing happened...as she sat there pensively gazing down as if into a reflecting pool, the rock beneath her foot transformed into a huge human head with face contorted in pain and eyes full of either madness or despair!
"What does this mean?" I wondered aloud, as the fairy continued to sit with heavy sadness upon the groaning stone man's furrowed brow.
"Don't be frightened, sweetheart," said the fairy, "I just wanted to show you that, although you may experience black clouds from time to time, the anguish of some of these tormented souls I sit long upon is Sisyphean, the product of such a bedrock of underlying pain and hard-hearted rancor that it would perhaps be hard to even imagine without sharing with you this visual image. Therefore, just try to understand how hard it is for some people to give out anything but contempt, condemnation or disapprobation of others when they are so heavily burdened with emotional problems themselves. This time I sit here but for a short spell before I quickly disappear, so let's be on our way!"
So, we continued following the fairy still on her blue route on a trail that seemed like it might help some people overcome their disabilities. "Here you will find sanctuary from despair", she said. "Whenever you're blue, just wander along this lush green path through the deep mossy swamp where sometimes can be seen the blood red blossoms of wounded hearts between the thick dark green leaves." In such fashion did we walk the plank to the very end, when suddenly the fairy turned and said, "Lighten up now and don't despair, for soon you will get that stamp of approval for which you have been searching and all will be clear." Upon saying which she flung herself off the far end of the plank, and buried herself from our view below a blue marker and woodland debris. So now anyone who wants to can go through that heart of darkness, hopefully without despair, to finally get that stamp of approval in which we may all secretly delight!
|XLV. VICTORY AT KATAHDIN||A mystery box from the "mystery man himself", currently planted somewhere in the woods of the Arcadia Management Area in Exeter, RI|
CHECKED - OK 16 October 2011
Having often been intrigued by mysteries over the course of our letterboxing career, and delighted at having been able to solve a few very cool ones ourselves, we wondered if a certain intermittently resurfacing investigator might be willing to contribute a box for our retirement. Curiously enough, he said, "yes", as long as it would be a mystery. I told him about a certain very memorable sandwich I had been given on my last AT by two guys from Vermont: hot-off-the-grill sizzling crisp bacon with melted peanut butter on fresh pumpernickel bread - surprisingly delicious, for a hungry backpacker - and that became the basis for this clue to represent my last few hundred miles to finish AT#5, as well as the continuity of threads of intrigue, cloaked in poetry, right up to that final summit!
Bacon, p.b. on pump on my final AT at a place in Vermont called Seth Warner;
Find the only place like it in Arcadia and investigate its southwest corner!
|407. A Breathe of Fresh Air||A mystery box currently planted along the AT upwind of some PA farmlands|
Checked 11 Oct 2010
No, this is not the mystery box which we've been meaning to plant in PA for years, but just never seem to get back around to the proper place for planting it! This is just a temporary placement to keep us in compliance with one of Lightnin' Bug's boxes from which we were almost chased off by a scruffy, rabid-looking raccoon! (We had already planted this box near our camping spot of the night before and after the Zoo gathering, so that raccoon had no business trying to run us off either! ;-)
Anyway, this microbox, contains just a crappy little leftover stamp related to one of those big shindig gatherings we're not so very fond of and generally avoid, so we don't suggest going after it unless you happen to be traveling through the area. We had meant to put it a bit closer to the Trexler Game Preserve, but every animal there was kept as neat as its pen, with no discernible smell whatsoever! So, off we went to a spot we remembered along the AT that always seems to have a whiff of farmland wafting up to it, on a mountain road about halfway between a barn full of cats and a lake full of leeches. Once there in the parking lot, simply head west to the gate, find three colinear boulders on the left of it, and three colinear trees to the left of the boulders. Just look under a couple of flat stones in the right hand corner at the base of the third tree where it meets the wall, if you want to find this microbox.
|430. Sheepishly Adding More Boxes to CT||Just a couple of new places to plant boxes that we found during National Trails Day walks in CT on June 4th, 2011.|
These days it always seems to amaze us if we find out about a new place to walk in CT that doesn't have at least one or two boxes already in it! Well, on National Trails Day 2011, we actually went on walks to two such places, both somehow related to sheep, so that's why we are now saying that we are sheepishly adding more boxes to CT!
For the first box, find the northern entrance into a sheep-related preserve (better to use the Ridge than the Hollow), and follow the "white fleece" to a tree that was described to us during our loop walk as the "Jimmy Durante Tree". Continuing on the trail twelve steps should earn you your sheepskin behind the tree on your left.
Checked 23 April 2016
For the second box, find a new preserve tucked away on a dead end road behind an outpatient clinic, locate the old farmhouse foundation and head for the northwest corner of the outer wall which is adjacent to a 3 trunked stump. Check out the inside edge of that corner. Plenty of room to explore further and follow trails to visit the old mill dam and nice little waterfalls, if you so desire!
432. BOOTS, BOOTS, BOOTS!!!
Well, looks like the time to hang up my old boots finally came! And, as the above picture shows, this was not your "average hiker's boot collection" to hang up either, since it didn't even include all the boots of my backpacking days that "bit the dust along the way"!
No, many of the boots that I used along my 30,000 miles of solo long-distance backpacking "radical repeater" multiple thru-hiking days never even made it home, since they were oftentimes replaced by new boots in "mail drops" at the nearest trail towns every thousand miles or so along the various trails I was backpacking back then in the 80's and 90's. After I'd hiked my first three AT's and two PCT's in the mid-80's, one company even sent me free boots along the trail in exchange for using my name in their advertising. So, although, many boots got left behind, many more made it home with plenty of miles of trail tread left to spare...
Until recently I hadn't really known what to do with all these old boots lined up on shelves in my garage. Sure, I would rotate wearing different colored pairs on the various trails I still hiked after retiring from backpacking, but there were still more miles of tread left on all these boots than I could ever use up in my lifetime, and some of them were practically new - especially the higher cut ones that I never really adapted to, since nowadays I mostly just wear low-cut sneakers for hiking anyway.
So, when our pastor announced at church this past summer that a collection of clothing, hats, bags, belts, shoes - even boots and backpacks! - was being organized both to get these items to those who could use them and to help send kids to camp by earning money according to the weight of the articles collected, bells went off in my head! I had some mighty heavy boots and packs from my early backpacking days that I'd never be using again...heck, my oldest pair of heavy-duty winter leather hiking boots was so weighty they just might send one kid to camp singlehandedly!:-) Anyway, that's how I managed to get these boots out of the garage, cleaned and dusted them off, and got Pete to take one last picture of them out on our back deck before packing them off in big plastic bags to "go to camp"!
And now a memento of those many pairs of boots can be found near the end of my "backpacking career", wandering in the woods of western RI before that final parking lot gate. Whether wandering back from the first or final loop, simply stop 22 steps before the yellow trail takes off to the north, or 22 steps after the yellow trail, if just going for this one box. There is a boulder adjacent to a thin 5-trunk tree on the north side of the trail, and behind that boulder, under its mossy point, rests this box.
|434. Stalking the Wild Camas||A short pit-stop when heading out to play some games in CT|
Find the place where we mention in a logbook how this plant, thanks to members of the Nez Perce tribe who shared it with them, helped Lewis and Clark survive their arduous journey. Then go 27 steps at 360 degrees and look for SPOR.
|474. TP on the NET||Just a little something more for which to forage.|
A while back when "nosox" of MA had asked people to carve stamps
depicting their favorite games, our minimal "nocarve" effort had been to
hen-scratch the letters "TP" onto a stub of leftover eraser to represent
the game of Trivial Pursuit. Our pathetic excuse for a stamp was so
bad, though, that we never even bothered to turn it in to the "game
stamp collection". However, now that the collection has been planted and
spread out over several states, we felt that we might as well add our
little bit just for anyone who might happen to be out and about in the
central CT area with an eye for an extra "find" - almost like a
"hole-plug", but with a bit more of a clue!;-)
Anyway, if you find yourself heading out gaming along the New England Trail, and need a quick pit stop before you've even gone a tenth of a mile, just stop and take a quick break after the first short steep uphill section of the "game trail". On your right, spot a large two sister oak with the third sister cut off to form a mossy green seat. On the backside of the seat itself ( not to the rear of the two big sisters), behind a tiny sprig of a tree that is trying to grow, find this little piece of TP on the NET! And don't forget to snap the lid down tightly afterwards, and tuck the microbox back snugly into its tiny hide hole so that "no one" would even suspect that it's there!;-)
|531. Black Shadow of Sasquatch||Just another little shadow of a dark creature in this area already teeming with them!|
Some letterboxers will probably know right where to go for this mini box. For others, we've left a little hint in a prime-numbered sighting area that just happens to be in a town of the same name as the town to the northwest of the town this box is in, only in the next state to the north! For several months in a row now we have been seeing a gangly dark creature lurking at the edge of the neighbor's yard to the east, probably in search of smaller creatures to eat. To try to catch his shadow, carefully approach the right side of the stone gate post and reach into the second level of the stone wall between 2 small stones with one tiny thin flat stone cover. Just hope he isn't hungry!
|575. Flight Training for a Future President||Day Only - A short stroll at a former WWII training airfield|
Find the place in "Charlietown" where a man who would years later become president trained for flight missions to the South Pacific. (He even named his Hellcat for the then debutante that later become First Lady!) Follow the nearby large yellow X to the tip of its southern prong and look under a small flat stone at the end of the middle yellow beam.
|576. Crash Landing?||Day Only - A strange little landing site off runway 30 in "Charlietown"|
Looks like our grateful alien spaceship has finally made a landing not too far from our hometown. From the large yellow cross in "Charlietown", look southeasterly to the cedar tree that crashed over and sent up some alien-looking roots. The little space ship sits on top of the cedar trunk near the roots, cowering under dirt and a shell in front of a small black and white triangular rock.
|625. Small Duck near a Large Pond||Another tiny little recycled "rock stamp" from a while backů|
Here are the scribbled notes I just found hanging around our kitchen for this little old stamp:
2 steps along "Smoke Rock" toward water, tucked into L corner of tiny overhang, 2" L of another flat filler rock = 2" light gray trapezoidal rock with tiny pink duck on its backside.
Now, scanty as these notes may appear to anyone from the larger landmass of the entire US, they are probably more than sufficient to get folks from the little landlocked letterboxing community of central CT about 100 steps or so down the wide path on the west side of a large pond where plenty of small ducks can be found. Of course, for people outside that immediate community, we are always more than happy to fill in extra details to make this itty bitty stamp accessible to anyone from the "wider outside world" as well!
|628. Jet-Puffed Quidditch||Just flying through on the back on some jet-puffed marshmallow clouds!|
We were going to make a "beeline" to Colorado for our 2016 volunteer trail work projects along the Continental Divide, but decided at the last minute to make a quick "pugs and beeline" detour through NC to visit Hogwarts and a dear old hiking buddy in W-S afterwards. So, if you happen to find any "rough splinter carvings" left over from our quick pass through, maybe you'll catch a glimpse of the golden snitch, too! (and clearly see why we're "seekers", not carvers!)
|659. Rainy Day Egg Hunt at "Mystery Falls" (4)||Hunting for eggs near an "equal-sided quadrilateral where rain is made" in eastern CT, but without having to get wet!|
Caution: these tiny stamps are glued on the backs of small stones ("traveling' lights") that are hidden in a place requiring extreme discretion in retrieving and replacing, as well as brown, pink, blue and green ink pens for coloring them. (No boxes, no logbooks and no blackened eggs, please!) Limited time - only available through April Easter Egg Hunting Season, after which they hopefully go back to Basket Swamp in RI, where they belong!
Looking for an interesting place to go walking on a rainy day without getting wet, maybe catching a good meal and a few waterfalls while you're at it? Just find the closest venue from our home in RI to over the border into CT that has indoor waterfalls and ties to the heartland of an early basket weaving culture! We placed our little brown basket at the top of the southernmost waterfall inside this establishment, adjacent to the huge east-facing window that looks out over a hill of silica that a couple of hundred years ago had some signal lanterns on it and a decade or so ago had one of our early spring gatherings! Read the writing on the north wall, then turn around and bend over the waterfall between a bench to your right and a trash can to your left. Reach under the right side of the reddish rectangular rock in front of your feet for the " brown basket" on the bottom of a 2" round-shaped flat gray stone!
Now head to the bottom of the waterfall and stand on the "selfie" spot looking up at the falls. Just slightly right and about 1 foot up on the gray ledge rests a tiny pink egg on the back of a 1" stone, from which you can stamp an image in the middle of your basket.
Next head over to another more northerly waterfall with gigantic fish hovering over it and a few herons. (Perhaps you will go through the theater district to get there, and see a sign showing that Sinatra sang here in November of 1993. On the day he performed here, however, we were surprised to not find his photo in the entertainment section of the local newspaper, but a picture of me teaching international folk dancing at a nearby school instead!;-) Once you are standing near the escalator going down toward buses, simply reach discreetly into a shallow crack in the cement wall about 3 feet left from the escalator and 1 foot down from the top of the wall - or about 3 feet up - for a small gray stone with the blue egg on back!
Finally, find the waterfall that you can walk behind and stand there behind it with the water rushing down and a green metal railing in front of you. The right side of the middle railing has a little green egg stone tucked next to it! Hope you have fun walking around this interesting place, and maybe even get in some shopping, too!
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