Wanda and Pete's Letterboxes - North Carolina

Index to Our Other Letterboxes





235. OH HAPPY DAY! Just a short hop, skip and jump over from the picnic tables at Murray Branch to celebrate North American letterboxing's 10th birthday!

Now here's a little flower that even the most avid of "stamp collectors" should be able to pick up at the BABE (Birth of American Boxing Event), if only they are willing to leave the "cootie table" for a short couple of minutes! I also thought this stamp, an early RTRW eraser-carved sunflower, would do well to remind us of North American letterboxing's wonderful traditions, from those first little commercial stamps seeded on Max Patch and elsewhere, through the eraser carvings of the following years, to some of the intricate carvings of recent times, yet always preserving the true letterboxing focus on the hunt and not the stamp!

So, to do this very quick and easy letterbox search, simply roll on downstream with the French Broad, 4.6 miles down River Road from the Hot Springs bridge and just a hundred or so feet from the "cootie pavilion", to the first spot where you would have to rock hop a little creek if you were to continue along the river. Stop and look on the north side of a good-sized two-trunk bearing tree. Yup, there in the groove about three feet up, tucked well behind leaves and bark, find a little flower to mark this happy day and to remember what makes it so special!

236. GOLDEN WHEAT A somewhat longer walk up Jack's Branch from the River Ridge Loop at Murray Branch (to further separate the "letterboxers" from the "stamp collectors"!:-)

This stamp carved by RTRW of CT I had initially intended to plant somewhere out in the "bread basket" of the midwestern plains, but not knowing when I might ever get out that way again, I figured the mountains of NC would do, especially since this was the place where the first letterbox in America was seeded that got the hobby growing over here in the great mountain tradition of hiking to scenic vistas!

So, to find this stamp, go 4.6 miles down River Road from the Hot Springs bridge to the spot used to celebrate the "Birth of American Boxing Event". Follow the loop trail directly across from the picnic area exit until you reach the blue-blazed Jack's Branch Trail, where you might hear some singing! Continue up Jack's Branch Trail about another 15 minutes (less than a mile), winding around a couple of lovely deep hollows, until suddenly you crest the saddle, and see a view of Hot Springs spread out before you about 5 miles away. With that view at about 150 degrees, a fire ring at 210, an old charred stump at 295, and a blue-blazed tree at 55, the box should be at your feet, tucked near the mid part of a long gray log behind a trap rock door. Please take care to replace the box exactly as found, so that others might be able to enjoy finding wheat up here for many years to come! Thanks!

466.     Bounding through the Mountains A very short leg stretcher, less than 1/4 mile round trip, on the Benton MacKaye Trail in western North Carolina.

This box got its beginnings from the "Simple Gift" personal traveler by Blue Delft of PA. By obtaining that particular stamp, we also got to pick out a logbook that was meant to be planted in our upcoming travels. I picked out one with trees and a bounding deer on the cover, carved a very simple stamp to match, and decided to plant it along the Benton MacKaye Trail, which had in recent years been extended from Georgia to the Great Smokies through Tennessee and North Carolina, the extension of which I was finally getting to head back down to hike in the spring of 2012. (I had certainly been waiting many years for this, since I had backpacked the original BMT from Springer Mt. in GA to back near the TN border after my second "thru-hike" of the Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia way back n 1985!)

Anyway, my first thought had been to plant the box about midway along a 5-mile section of the trail that starts out by straddling the TN/NC border, shortly above a place where bikers frequently mount a campaign to make "deals" to "slay the dragon". However, the second half of that particular trail section turned out to be rather fire-ravaged and scruffy (although there was some evidence that trail maintenance could be coming soon), so I decided to leave the box close to the other end of that section near the "Fugitive Dam", so called because it was used in the 1993 film by that name, starring Harrison Ford - giving this box just a touch of mystery to figure out exactly where to go rather than having it all spelled out!

Once you have found your way to that place (which also has the same name as one of the main mountains along the Appalachian Trail between Wesser and Fontana Dam) park in the small parking area along the road near the spillway. Carefully cross the highway and head to an old partially cemented road starting northwards up the hill. Where the old road makes a sharp hairpin left, look for a green BMT sign on a tree uphill to the right. From there, spot a large dark "double layer chocolate cake" boulder just across a tiny little stream. Go gently off trail to its right side (avoiding the poison ivy on the left side) and look down behind several small stones to find a deer "simple gift". Hope you enjoy "bounding through the mountains" and thanks for replacing everything with care.


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

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