Home: Our Letterboxing Treasury
Wed Jan 7, 2009 1:38 am
LA-LA 2008/9 now appearing!
"Extra, Extra - Read all about it! " Ladies and Gentlemen, this way to the "Big Top" to see the long-awaited "Lifetime Achievement Letterboxing Award" nominees for 2008/2009! Those who may remember from past years know that this special "letterboxing award" is a sort of historical record of those who have seriously (or not so seriously!;) dedicated themselves to our delightful little hobby well beyond the "call of duty" for five or more years, planted 100 or more letterboxes and have a combined PFX over 500, or are well on their way to attaining those goals! We realize that nowadays that last number may not seem very impressive at all, when folks can get 500 "stamp images" in a single month just by doing drive-bys, going to a couple of stamp-swap gatherings or even just going on-line or out to their mailboxes! However, we're going back to a time that predates any of those latter day "stamp collecting" manifestations, or SWOH, as we call it (short for "Stamps Without Hikes"). We're talking here about a time when going out on hunts for a few hundred individual letterbox finds or meeting even a few dozen fellow letterboxers represented a HUGE challenge, so PFX 500 back then was very impressive indeed!
Speaking of which, we actually started a PFX500 Club back in 2001 that can still be seen on our web page at http://alum.wpi.edu/~p_miner/Letterboxes.html#pfxclubs We still remember how at the time some folks were rather disgruntled about it, thinking that it would be almost impossible to achieve that status, since there were scarcely that many letterboxes in the whole country back then! Well, just look at where we are with North American letterboxing now, tens of thousands of letterboxes and many PFX Club members later!
Yes, we certainly have had many letterboxers "join the club" since then, and although we don't advertise it much any more, since some of the newer folks seem to have difficulty distinguishing between what constitutes letterboxing and what is just "stamp collecting", we are still happy to recruit new members! All we ask, in fairness to those for whom achieving those numbers represented a real effort, is that none of the recent "new- fangled stamp stuff" like personal travelers, postals, virtuals, tabletoppers, cooties and other such SWOH from gatherings be included in the count, because those things simply did not exist at the time these clubs were established! Of course, some of the members in more recent times may have some of that "stamp collecting"/ "non-letterboxing stuff" already "grandfathered" into their counts, but for anyone else who might care to join up, please just send us the date you reached any particular level of what in some new circles is now being called "traditional letterboxing" (but which is just plain letterboxing to us!), and we'll be glad to add your name to the list!
Anyway, to get back now to those folks who have received or will soon be up for our "Lifetime Achievement Letterboxing Award", yes, historically many of these folks have represented important influences on our hobby here in North America, many are in our PFX clubs, and we are certainly happy to honor them with our "Lil' Oscar" ! ( Remembering, of course, that it's the thought, not the stamp, that counts!;-) Sorry it has taken us so long to get organized this time to "roll out the red carpet" - or perhaps we should say in keeping with this year's theme "the big top tent"! The first couple of years we announced the "LA-LA" in October, last year we didn't get around to it until Thanksgiving, and this time we couldn't even quite manage to get it ready for Epiphany! However, the advantage in waiting this long this time is that the "LA-LA" can now span two years, and since we're getting pretty shaky on remembering just exactly when some folks started and how many boxes they have actually planted (seeing just how many people and how many boxes there are in the hobby by now!), this is an advantage indeed! As we explain in this season's "LA- LA" itself, it's easier now to just have folks tell us when they've got their 5 years and eligible counts in, and we'll take it from there! Also, as we've said in years past, please let us know if there is anyone we've forgotten, as we would like to make this as accurate a portrayal of "highly significant letterboxers" through the years as we can, and have it be of some historic interest to newcomers to the hobby as well!
By the way, speaking of things that might be of interest to new letterboxers, we mention towards the end of this season's LALA how "log-ins" themselves are only a fairly recent phenomenon in North American letterboxing history, and are definitely not the "requirement" that some newbies seem to assume them to be! We also mention how happy we were to see some letterboxers returning some of that old "mystique" to the hobby by going back to the longtime standard practice of keeping their finds private, only available in their own lists/logbooks or to those who actually went out actively letterboxing and found out who had visited where for themselves! Well, imagine our delight when we went out to check on one of our own RI boxes just yesterday afternoon, thinking that with all the new people these days doing the "public log-in thing", it had probably not yet been visited... only to find out that there had already been over a dozen visitors, and not a single "public logger" among the bunch! What a wonderful surprise - now THAT, to us at least, is what letterboxing is really about!
Anyway, here it is - "LALA 2008-2009": http://alum.wpi.edu/~p_miner/Letterboxes.html ... See box 127!
Cheers and Happy Hunting,
Wanda & Pete
P303 F20,422 X1858
Thu Nov 6, 2008 11:19 am
Halloween F20K and Little Rhody Pumpkin Party!
Well, I know I said that I planned on slowing down in my letterboxing after reaching PFX 20,000 just this past June, but somehow that's not quite what happened. Several people had teased me about PFX 20K not being the same as F20K, obviously, since I was then 2000 boxes away from that next big goal, and certainly didn't think I was going to be in any hurry to reach it, if my intention as stated was to do only boxes in places I really wanted to visit anyway...
Well, man, did that change, and I just ended up doing my fastest 2000 boxes ever! Going out to upstate NY for a wedding in late July turned from a long-weekend trip into a month-long "letterboxing spree", as I quickly found myself going from dancing at the wedding to once again getting stuck on "letterboxing autopilot"! I just couldn't seem to stop myself hopping from box to box, even in some urban areas I really didn't want to visit, until finally getting sucked out of the vortex into the Adirondacks, which was where I had really wanted to go in the first place. Thereafter, I followed up with a few other trips up north, and even a short trip with Pete out to Oregon the week after the big gathering out there! And before I knew it, there I was pushing F20,000!!!
I wanted to pick a special box for F20K, but didn't feel like driving all the way up north again for that last couple hundred finds, so I decided that almost any of the many terrific boxes that have come out within the last year or so along the 495 beltway around Boston would do, without even having to cross the 95/128 line into any of the urban areas that we tend to avoid anyway. There are certainly enough great boxes around now outside the beltway to keep any letterboxer busy for many days, including those in the Andover area merrily stocked by The Merry Pranksters, Choi and others, the Sudbury area beautifully covered by Dale End Farm, the Westborough/Northborough area delightfully filled by Zess and Mim, and the Ashland/Bellingham/Foxboro area plentifully salted and peppered by The Travelers 4 and many others!
So, what an exciting last few days of October I ended up having for my final push to F20K! After visiting the wonderful boxes placed for T2's 13th Birthday Bonanza (the Beatles series, the Seinfeld series, the Boys of Summer Baseball series, and a whole bunch of monsters and other assorted boxes all marvelously planted by Ellen, T1 of the Travelers 4) in several beautiful preserves around Ashland, I hopped on over to Framingham for DEFs Clutch of Celtic, and a fun-filled evening of international folk dancing with many of us in our Halloween costumes.
Halloween morning itself saw me starting out with "Go, Dog, Go" and "Grateful Letterboxes: Singing for the Merry Pranksters" very craftily planted by Zess on a pleasant loop around Chauncey Lake, while also finding several other boxes, including a mystery that hadn't been found since 2004! The afternoon I spent mostly collecting charms on Mim's sweet "Charm Bracelet" series in many lovely preserves scattered around the Westborough area, while somewhere in between I managed to scoot up to Northborough to get my one remaining box up there - out of the many delightful ones Pete and I had done there together recently - at Harmony's "Up, Up and Away:Celebrate!" near the top of Mt. Pisgah, a perfect box for my F20K! I then went back to finish up the last few charms in Westborough just before darkness fell and the trick-or-treaters started coming out, then quickly changed into my discreet Turkish belly dancer outfit, and headed off for yet another wonderful evening of Halloween international folk dance partying in Arlington - WOW! Needless to say, I was really beat by the time I got back home to southern RI, and it took me several days to recuperate, but what a grand way to ring in F20K!
So, now it's time to celebrate again, and Pete and I are thinking of having a Little Rhody Pumpkin Party at Ninigret Park in Charlestown, RI this coming Sunday, November 9th, from around 2 to 4 PM. (Sorry again for the short notice!) I am hoping to have enough time between now and then to carve and plant about a dozen little pumpkin stamps based on boxes of ours that some people may recognize from the past. However, most people know that I'm still not much for carving myself, so if you would like some good stamps, please feel free to come on down to the park a bit earlier and plant some of your own! It would be great if everyone who felt like it could bring one carved pumpkin stamp to plant somewhere in the area for the day (actually the cruder the better, so mine won't feel so bad, but beautiful stamps are, of course, most welcome, too!:-) Anyway, please feel free to come meet and greet at the picnic pavilion near the pond, just north of the Frosty Drew Observatory and Nature Center around 2PM, and join us for some pumpkin pie, pumpkin cake, punch, pizza, pretzels, or whatever else anyone might feel like bringing - whether or not it starts with "p" and has pumpkin in it, and whether or not you choose to wear pumpkin-colored clothing!
Sun Jun 29, 2008 8:18 pm
PFX 20K Picnic Gathering - Thanks for coming!
Just wanted to say thanks again to everyone who came down to the Burlingame Picnic Area yesterday evening in Charlestown, RI to help make my PFX 20K celebration picnic so very special! What a treat to see some old letterboxing friends and meet some new ones, sample a delightful variety of food that folks brought to share, and even find a few letterbox surprises!!! I loved being able to sneak in a couple of plants at the last moment, like that "sassy gal with the 12 slender legs" and the picnic basket box carved by the Compass Cuties, who also helped find a good quick rest spot for it before it gets its more permanent home. Then, of course, Warrior Woman's pretty piney event stamp really "took the cake" (you just had to see the cake to get it!:-), and Laurette's cute little surprise box "Wanda Queen of Letterboxland" just blew me away and made me feel like "Queen for a Day"! Patrick and Amy's "Busy Bee" - soon to fly away - reminded me of just how busy I've been these past few years following our "sweet honey of a North American letterboxing circuit", and Sparky Butterfly's nice stash of carving material will probably keep me busy carving for a good long time to come (and also contained one of the prettiest logbooks I've ever seen!) Many thanks to all of you who came to help me celebrate this special letterboxing milestone, to all who have hosted gatherings all around the country through the years, and of course to all who have planted, found and cared for the little boxes that keep this hobby going! What a great bunch you all are!
Wanda from RI
P279 F18119 X1738
Sun May 18, 2008 10:58 pm
Pete Hits F 10,000!!!
Well, he finally did it: on April 21st, 2008, Pete got his 10,000th letterbox find at Chuck's "In Search of the Phantom Kangaroo" in Willington, CT! (And, with of course no virtuals or postals included in that count, he is only the second person in North American letterboxing history ever to have achieved this special distinction!) I was still off hiking in the Southern Appalachians at the time, getting ready to celebrate "BABE" - the 10th Birthday of American Boxing Event, for that first post-Smithsonian letterbox placed on Max Patch along the Appalachian Trail on April 26th, 1998. However, I told Pete that we'd have to have a little celebration for him when I got back, so now - in keeping with the tradition I started two years ago, when I first reached F 10,000 at Archimedes' Screw's "Year of the Dog" on Cape Cod - the time has come for Pete's "Celebratory Swing"! We actually took it this afternoon after church at a nice new series by D & B Hikers at Green Hill Park in South Kingstown, RI, and decided to leave a little memento there under a low rock in the wall behind the cedars, just a stone's throw from the swings where we whooped it up in true swinging letterboxer style!
So, then, a week from tomorrow, starting around 6PM on Memorial Day Monday, May 26th, I'm planning a little party for Pete at our home in Charlestown, RI, pretty much like the one we had for my 10K celebration a couple of years ago. We have a small house, so we generally invite just a handful of friends in case of foul weather, but in fair weather we can actually accommodate several dozen in our backyard, so hopefully anyone who feels like making the trip can come to celebrate with Pete! We especially hope to see some of our long-time letterboxing friends, who have been so kind and supportive, LA-LA recipients (see #127 on our webpage), and others who have given us so many wonderful boxes to look for over the years!
In order to allow plenty of time for those who might wish to letterbox during the day, we'll probably start snacking around 6PM, with our usual baked ham and beans supper buffet, lemonade, and cake shortly afterwards. Any additional salad, dessert or beverage contributions would certainly be appreciated, but I think that Pete would be even more surprised and delighted if anyone cared to carve him a stamp symbolic of his special achievement - say, a commemorative kangaroo to signify all the hopping around he had to do to find all those boxes leading up to that #10,000 "phantom kangaroo"! Be it kangaroos, "mr. sunshines", or whatever, hopefully we'll have at least one event stamp for those who come to celebrate with Pete! Thanks for being such a great letterboxing community that has gotten us to this point in our collective North American history!
Wanda from RI
Thu Nov 1, 2007 1:16 pm
Hopping Aboard Our Third Letterboxing Cruise!
Also wanted to mention that a few weeks back we signed on board for our third ever letterboxing cruise! We had gone on both Norwegian and Royal Caribbean letterboxing cruises before in 2003 and 2005, and discovered that we had just as much fun on the $200 cruises as we did on the $1000 ones, so we thought we'd go on just one more! Well, Pete had to opt out, so I decided to go with my letterboxing friend Irene, but just days after we signed up, all hell broke loose - wildfires in CA!!! We got a fantastic price, though: only $215.47 with senior discount for a 5-day cruise with all the trimmings from Long Beach to San Diego to Catalina Island to Ensenada, Mexico on the "Monarch of the Seas" for Jan.28 - Feb 1, so we thought we'd pass that along just in case there were any other parties not already otherwise booked that might be interested in joining this exciting little adventure! Let's hope those fires should all have subsided long before that time, but probably because of them, I noticed that Royal Caribbean today is offering an additional $75 onboard credit for that cruise -something we didn't get- so now there is even more incentive to sign on! Please let us know if anyone else might want to go winter cruising in southern California, or maybe even just meet up with us for some letterbox magic along the way! Here's to some great California dreamin' for Irene's first trip to CA!
Wanda from RI and Irene from CT
Thu Nov 1, 2007 1:14 pm
Back from the Canyon
Just had to give a holler here for those who hadn't heard how happy I am that I got to do one of my "dream dayhikes" recently when I managed to hike from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon to the North Rim in less than 10 hours, while still recovering from a re- sprained ankle! Pete and I had both backpacked the Grand Canyon 15 years ago the usual "permit" way, packing down and staying at the campground on the way up, and several years before that I had hiked rim-to-river-to-rim in 6 hours ( 17 miles, 9000' elevation change), but I had thought that the days when I could hike the whole thing south to north in one day ( 22 miles with well over 10,000' elevation change and huge temperature variables), let alone in less than half a day, were long past - until Pete convinced me I could still do it, while he literally drove 215 miles around to meet me on the other side - what a wild trip!
So, I got to accomplish one of my minor "life list" goals, while the very next day Pete got to do one of his, thanks to acquiring a special passport which allowed us the rare opportunity of hiking all the way around Meteor Crater! I might have a chance to write about some of these and other adventures later on, but right now I'm just so backlogged all the way to last spring and booked all the way through next spring that I don't know if I can! Suffice it to say, though, that letterboxing adventures, like Dennis and Donna's trek through the Quabbin in MA or Mainekokopellian's recent fantastic night time "treasure haunt", as well as many of our adventures out west still play a good part in our travel plans, so if I gave anyone the idea that I really would have traded all my letterbox experiences for one single trip through the Grand Canyon, I hope they know I was just kidding! (I'd really only gladly give up the 5% "SWOA" - those Stamps Without Adventure!:-) Hope to write more later, and thanks for all the "AWS" - Adventures with Stamps!
Wanda from RI
Fri Aug 24, 2007 10:09 pm
Hare and Tortoise Reach Finish Line!
Well, it wasn't exactly a "photo finish", but I'm glad to finally report that both the Hare and the Tortoise hitchhikers which were apparently racing from somewhere out in the midwest to get to the "Inn of the End" hitchhiker hostel in RI have both now arrived and taken off again! I just hobbled out to the hostel yesterday on a sprained ankle, after zero letterbox finds for almost a week now, so I was feeling a little like a tortoise myself, but it was nice to see that the the Racing Tortoise had actually gotten there several weeks ago, while the Hare had visited last October and then hopped off toTexas!
Anyway, I hope they both had a good run, and that folks won't mind if I mention that I reached one of my own personal "finishing lines" goals recently, too! After several months last winter of becoming rather disenchanted with the direction letterboxing seemed to be taking towards stamp collecting, I finally jumped back on the "Aws" wagon in the spring, and started doing a few more of those mega letterbox hiking months that are now possible in quite a few parts of the country, even without needing a gathering to collect "Swoa"! (for explanation please see my plant #204, "15,000 Finds and Still Standing Tall" aka "Requiem for an Old Growth Tree" at alum.wpi.edu/~p_miner/NewYork.html#Box_204 .)
So, after several trips to Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, I reached F 14,000 at "Panda" towards the end of a big boxing day in Tyler Park, PA in May, then went on to revisit most of those states plus a few more to reach F 15,000 at "Sail Away" in the Adirondacks on July 31! Sorry that I haven't been able to keep up with e-mail, trip reports and such, but we still don't have computer access at home, and I'm usually too busy off hiking (when I'm being a "hare") or too slow and tired (like now when I'm in "tortoise mode") to go to the library and try to get caught up on things, so please just understand that we still do things the old fashioned way around here, and please don't feel slighted if we don't manage to acknowledge all your messages or log-ins. We really do appreciate all the wonderful boxes people have planted for us all to find! As Mr. Pujeh might say, "Thanks a meellion"!
Wanda from RI
P222 F15144 X1544
Thu Dec 7, 2006 6:49 pm
Updates and Happy Holidays!
Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving, and is getting set to enjoy the winter holidays! Pete finally got our Thanksgiving report up on our webpage last week. It's at(let's hope I get it right this time!):
http://alum.wpi.edu/~p_miner/Letterboxes.html (left side of page - Turkeys, Pickles and Peanuts)
We also have our Texas trip report up from October, and some people might even be interested in reading my "summer burnout" report from somewhat earlier ( not those with "weak stomachs", though, since it's not my usual "cheery self", but from a time when I was rather down on stamp collecting gatherings and letterboxing, so please bear in mind that I may not yet have fully recovered!:-)
Anyway, I also wanted to note that we've added Franzsolo to our 2006 LA-LA list! We still remember noting at one point in 2002 that Ohio was almost rivaling Connecticut for greatest number of letterboxes - due largely to his efforts - so we knew he'd be up for a "lil' Oscar" soon, but it turns out he already has his 5 years in as of this fall, so special thanks to Franzsolo for his groundbreaking work in spreading letterboxing across Ohio, too!
Now, what with cooking and baking for church bazaars and dinners, making costumes for Christmas pageants, caroling at nursing homes, dance parties, etc. I won't have much time left for letterboxing lately - or even getting on a computer again perhaps - so I'll take this time to wish you all "Happy Holidays"! (complete with turkeys, pickles and peanuts!)
Wanda from RI
P186 F12706 X1340
Fri Nov 17, 2006 5:05 pm
Climbing to F12,500 in the Monoosnoc Hills!
Just had to say how happy I was to have reached F12,500 last weekend along the Monoosnoc Ridge Trail in Leominster, MA! Old Hounder had been telling me that I just had to go do the "Comb City Quest" because I'd really enjoy getting back into that type of hiking, and - sure enough - I completed all 13 boxes in one afternoon, had a great time, and, appropriately enough, got "Pine Forest"( my old symbol from my backpacking days!) as my 12,500th find!
Well, not so long ago it seems I was just joking about how I would love to find 25,000 letterboxes in my lifetime, to go along with those 25,000+ miles of solo long-distance backpacking that I did in the '80's and 90's ( 5+ AT's, 3+ PCT's, the CDT, and much more!) - and now it turns out I'm already halfway there! Actually, I don't know if I could possibly even have the time, energy and drive to find another 12,500 letterboxes left in me, but it has been fun getting this far! Days like we had recently collecting over 200 beautiful stamps from all over the country at the Great Book Adventure in Tomball, Texas, or hiking half a dozen different conservation areas on Cape Cod last month to find 75 boxes in a single short,rainy, non- gathering afternoon are definitely not the "norm" in our letterboxing experience, where the vast majority of our finds still come from long walks for a single box or two! However, even with a combination of what I call the "all-you-can-eat buffets" (gatherings), the regular everyday fare, and those long searches for single gourmet delicacies, reaching another 12,500 finds seems like quite a stretch! I'll try to keep going, though, as long as time, health, and other life factors permit, and I don't get "burned-out" on it! Meanwhile, thanks so much for the encouragement, and thanks again to everyone who has been so gracious about planting all these wonderful boxes for the general public to enjoy!
Wanda from RI
P185 F12521 X1331
Sat Aug 19, 2006 4:16 pm
Magical Mystery Cruise
In keeping with the "gathering of mysteries" theme about to be celebrated tomorrow in Killingworth, CT, we would like to sweep a few special friends away on the waves of our own little "minor mystery"! A couple of years ago, we first had the idea to invite fellow letterboxers along on a cruise we were taking to the Bahamas. We posted a message to the LbNA"big list" in the fall of 2004 (see our clip from message # 47368 on Nov 10, 2004 at the bottom of this post), because we thought it was such a good deal - only $249 (plus taxes) for a 4-night cruise, including port charges for 3 different islands, all food, accommodations, entertainment, and possibly even a few letterbox plants on board and along the way! (We did pick up quite a fine bunch of boxes at ports of call in Key West on our last couple of cruises!)
Well, over the past several years we've seen quite a few even better cruise deals, and would like to share one we're considering doing as our fourth cruise together ( and sixth for me overall - not bad for a person prone to motion sickness!) for January of 2007. Granted, some people may desire fancier quarters, more hobnobbing with the "hoi polloi" and spending more time "at sea"... but as landlubbers who prefer spending our precious daylight hours exploring islands, heading out for some local hiking and letterboxing, and mainly using the ship as a place to royally eat and sleep, this cruise certainly seems to "fit the bill" for us! It's a "loveboat-style" cruise, 4-nights with full-day stops at a beautiful island, a lovely city, and a foreign country, with time for a little bit of "mystery letterbox cruising" both before and after the actual cruise itself!
Anyway, if anyone's is interested in working out these details with us, just search around for the lowest price offered for this particular cruise (hint: it's well below the price of that last cruise we mentioned!) This will start your trip off on a good bearing. (I just checked schedules again, and the price did just go up $5, but that should not appreciably affect your standing!) On that note, take steps to find out how many letters there are listed in the cruise line's good name (this, too, hardly matters, since we've traveled on five different cruise lines so far, and find that we pretty much enjoy them all!) The only question then remains to find the starting point for this cruise. Most of the time you will find this ship docked near its home port of "New Beginnings", but for its maiden voyage, we hope to be announcing its first port of call tomorrow at the "Gathering of Mysteries" in Killingworth, CT! Bon voyage, and au revoir!
Wanda and Pete of RI
P177 F11369 X1234
"And speaking of cruises, we did actually sign up for another one just the other day! It was too good of a deal to pass up - 5 days of "Royal Caribbean" out of Miami for under $300, so we thought we'd pass that on to anyone else who might be interested in joining us in the latter part of January! We immediately thought of fun folks like Don and Gwen, the Doubtful Guests, and many others who could turn that ship into quite a letterboxing "Party Line", with boxes hidden on islands along the way and maybe even a few on board the ship, too! Plus fun things always happen on cruises anyway, like last time I actually won a pearl necklace just for singing a few lines of a song! So we really are hoping some old or new letterboxing friends will be able to come aboard and get the party hopping! Please let us know off- line if you're interested, and we'll be glad to send you the details!" (from message 47368 of 10 Nov 2004)
Mon Apr 3, 2006 8:09 pm
Thanks for 10K Congrats!
Well, after a beautiful spring weekend spent mostly on long-overdue home, garden and yardwork (with just a little bit of letterboxing thrown in on the way up to Boston for international folkdancing on Saturday night!), I decided to stop by the library this evening to see if there was any response to my report on reaching F10,000 a few days back. WOW, did it ever warm my heart to see that nice outpouring of congratulations from fellow letterboxers from all over the country! I'm not going to have the time to answer all the individual e-mails right now, but I did want to say how much it meant to me, and I hope that some of you can make it over to our house this coming weekend for our little 10K "celebration party". We have a very small house, so I had only planned on having a few of our closer letterboxing friends over for a little New England-style ham and beans supper this coming Saturday around 6:30 PM. However, since we're not the sort of people who could feel good about leaving out anyone who might want to come, we'd like to extend the invitation of "open house" to anyone who has wished us well over these last few years of our letterboxing adventures, and who night like to get our "home box" at the same time, since this would be one of those rare occasions that we could actually be found at home! So many fine people around the country have offered us not only the gift of the letterboxes they place, but the gift of their frienship as well ... a kind word of encouragement when things got rough, a glass of water when we got thirsty, sometimes even an overnight stay with breakfast, or dinner! We are so grateful for all these kindnesses along the way, large and small, and welcome a chance to reciprocate. So, please, any of our letterboxing friends who might wish to swing through our area this weekend, please do stop by - you're all welcome! And, of course, thank you all again for your graciousness and kindness!
Wanda and Pete
P165 F10025 X1105
Fri Mar 31, 2006 1:39 pm
I did it - F 10,000!!!
Well, am I ever delighted to be able to report that I reached my F 10,000 goal a few days early! ( I decided that I'd better get it done before April Fool's Day just so that no one would think it was a joke!) Anyway, Pete and I went out after church last Sunday afternoon to finish up a few letterboxing "loose ends" remaining for us in RI. Monday I had a dental appointment, plus volunteer work to do at church ( rearranging the big floral arrangements to bring smaller bouquets to shut-ins in nursing homes and such), so I decided to make Tuesday my big "CT wrap-up boxing day". I'd already done pretty much all the nearer CT boxes, so I got an early start to the "other side of the river" to make a big sweep through Wallingford, Woodbridge and Naugatuck. By hiking over 20 miles that day on various trails in different areas, I finally got all the boxes along the Beacon Cap ridge, plus many more!
That evening back in RI at Polish Club, I asked one of my friends there (now known as "Hibiscus" for the prevalence of that flower everwhere we went last year when I first introduced her to letterboxing in Florida!) to join me the next day for a quick swing through Cape Cod. We got a rather late start, but picked up quite a few boxes out there Wednesday afternoon, bringing Irene to F100 near sunset at "Wychmere Harbor" in Harwich, and me to F9999 at "Holidays: March" nearby! I was going to leave F10,000 for the special commemorative box that Pete was planning to plant for me back in RI, but Irene and I stayed over at a motel in South Yarmouth, so the next morning we just had to go out to the nearby "Year of the Dog" letterbox! "Archimedes' Screw" did such a wonderful job on this stamp, logbook, and story (including the symbolic meaning of the year as a time for less selfishness and increased social awareness of the less powerful among us) that I was absolutely delighted to have this box as my 10,000th find!
So, afterwards we two "old ladies" in our 50's and 60's swung up high into the air like happy children on the nearby swings! Then we went down to the Dunkin Donuts and onward up the Cape for a few more boxes nearer the shore before heading back towards Hyannis for our celebratory Chinese lunch at the Cape Cod Super Buffet - our traditional letterboxing favorite! We even got to meet up with "Archimedes' Screw" later that afternnon after school to tell her how happy we were with our letterboxing adventures, and then we headed back to RI while viewing an absolutely gorgeous sunset and playing loud polka music - what a blast!
So, once again I just want to thank everyone who made this accomplishment possible. I think it really is a big deal for North American letterboxing, not only to have a supposed 20,000+ plants listed as available to find "on-line", but to actually have a real live person who went out "on trail" and found over 10,000 of them - and has the many many books full of stamps to prove it! Actually, I could have said that I reached F10,000 quite a while ago, if I counted all the multiple stamps in boxes, partial boxes, boxes listed as missing before either of us could find them that we searched for anyway, hitchers we found multiple times, etc., but I prefer keeping count the way we describe in an interview done with us several years ago ( see "About Us" on our webpage), so I'm just really glad to be finally reaching this landmark number now!
Thanks a bunch,
Wanda from RI
P163 F10012 X1105
Thu Dec 8, 2005 6:22 pm
PA "Tee Party" and DE Delight
Just had to say what a pleasant surprise this past weekend turned out to be for Pete and me! It's been getting harder and harder to talk Pete into traveling anywhere for letterboxing lately. He almost always prefers long local hikes to long drives with barely time left for a few drive-bys! However, last Saturday morning he agreed to make the 5-hour drive down to the Tyler "T" Gathering in Newtown, PA, and we're both so very glad we went!
First of all, the gathering itself was a blast, not only of cold air and battling bands pulling us in different directions (really just in our heads!), but also of good cheer and laughter, as Hikers&Hounds warmed us up with hot cocoa and grilled cheese sandwiches cooked on a camp stove, Mack sent us scurrying for "who done it" fingerprint clues, and Lightnin' Bug and friends regaled us with rich humor, Pokemon fun, and new musical clues till the sun went down!
Even when darkness fell, though, we were still not quite ready to quit letterboxing, so off we dashed to the "Songs of the Season" in nearby Chalfont. What great timing that turned out to be! Holiday evening events were just beginning as we finished our outdoor search amidst the lit trees and sculptures, so inside we went to sip wassail surrounded by Byers Choice "Christmas Carolers", live Dickensian carolers, and an interesting display of creches from all around the world! We were so delighted that once again letterboxing had led us to such an unexpected treat!
The next morning looked like a vision from Narnia! We climbed the snow-encrusted hills in search of long-lost mapsurferian treasure, but ended up planting an addition to one of our own little boxes instead. Afterwards, we found ourselves "Walkin' the Dog" in Mizscarlet's backyard, and then headed down to Delaware for a nice warm meal and stay after such a cold day!
It had been several years since we last boxed in Delaware so we were quite amazed to see how many new boxes were now available. We decided to concentrate on the longer hikes, from the Mason-Dixon Trail in White Clay Creek, to Hexcat's "green pastures" before they turned white with the next approaching snowstorm. Our favorite of all was getting "Into the Woods" on Sheba's fairy tale of a loop trail. And, to "Sum It Up", we actually ended up "quadrupling" our former Delaware count, giving us plenty of new memories to enjoy thinking about on the long drive home!
So, it was a blustery but wonderful wintry weekend, now continued with several more days of chilly letterboxing back here in frozen New England. We just want to say thanks again to all who have helped make letterboxing such a "great outdoor open party", even in the snow!
Cheers and Happy Holidays!!!
Wanda and Pete in RI (getting ready for some ski 'boxing this weekend, conditions permitting, to get us "tuned up" for Syracuse!) (And, yes, can't forget those happy dance numbers: P159 F9178 X1051!)
Wed Nov 23, 2005 4:54 pm
A Good Year's Worth of Letterboxing
Finally getting a chance to stop by our local library and make this post before Thanksgiving! (I actually tried to post this message last week while stopping off at the library in East Hampton,CT just before it closed, but somehow couldn't get onto this talklist!) Anyway, I just wanted to say that a while back Pete had posted a little "wrap-up" of our past year's letterboxing adventures on our webpage. In case anyone is interested in reading it, it's on the left side at http://alum.wpi.edu/~p_miner/Letterboxes.html
We've also been hitting a few other milestones recently, in addition to PFX 10,000 at "Trek to Destiny" at Hartman Park in Lyme,CT on Oct.29th, including my 1000th "exchange", with Leafcutters of Sellersville, PA, on Oct. 15th at "Boxtoberfest" in NJ, and my 9000th "find", with "Clarence the Angel", while visiting with WarriorWoman just this past Saturday!!! And hopefully we'll be reaching our 150th "place" this weekend, as we go off to plant some "Holiday Leftovers"! We truly are thankful for all the wonderful people out there who have chosen to play this little game of ours with such open, generous, warm-spirited camaraderie! (To think, it could long ago have devolved into just little groups of "elitists" playing "keep-away", or jealously guarding "exclusivity" in vain attempts to establish "superiority", had it not been for the vast majority of you wonderful letterboxers!) So, once again - a big thank you to all who have "played a good game". Thanks for the boxes, thanks for the memories, and Happy Thanksgiving!
Wanda & Pete of RI
P145 F9029 X1041
Fri Sep 23, 2005 6:22 pm
Hot new LB destination - Idaho!
Just sending in a quick report from our recent trip to Idaho. Who would have thought that such a small group of far-flung letterboxers could create such a treasure trove of delightful boxes! Soon after we landed, we were enjoying sampling the chocolates and smelling the roses in the Boise area, traipsing along the "woodsy" river for which that city is named, and finding a variety of cute carvings by A-Bear, Blackvelvetrav, Lizman, and WD'A, whom we were glad to meet for exchanges as well!
Then we headed up into the Sawtooth Mountains for some hiking and camping before attempting to climb the state high point, Borah Peak, which was to be our next to last state high point "close approach" - save for Denali in Alaska. We got hailed and snowed out even before reaching "Chicken-Out Ridge", but had a great time anyway, and even left a little "RI Red" chicken up there about half a mile as our letterboxing memento!
Next we drove down to the black lava area of south central Idaho to spend a hot fun afternoon rocking and caving with Cadenza on the Craters Of The Moon, after finding her finely Land Of The Yankee Fork series up in the cool mountains the day before. We then swung back up into the frosty mountains north of Sun Valley for a bit more hiking, camping and exploring before beginning our final descent to Boise and one more big day of letterboxing.
We ended up finding well over 100 boxes in just a few days, and only wish we had more time for some of the many other nearby boxes we simply could not get to on such a short visit. Now we are already hoping to get back and make a bigger loop through Idaho, Montana and Utah in a couple of years. Meanwhile, thanks so much to that prolific little bunch of Idaho letterboxers who helped make our trip so pleasant, and especially to A-Bear and J-Bear, who joined the ranks of such such legendary letterboxing hosts as the Doubtful Guests of VA, Don and Gwen of CA, Scout Dogs of IN, Mountain Scorpia of NC, and many other fine folks all over who have shown us such great hospitality as we letterbox our way around the country. Many thanks to you all!
Wanda and Pete from RI
P137 F8496 X970
Mon Feb 28, 2005 12:53 pm
Doubling Those Southern Counts!
Recovering at last from a bout of the flu and a twisted ankle that swelled up like an orange a week or so ago, but is now mostly just a painful patch of purple, I'm finally getting a chance to write up my long overdue Southern trip report. Originally Pete and I had planned to just fly down to Florida for a 5-day cruise to the Bahamas at the end of January, but then I decided I might as well drive down and stay awhile to visit friends, letterbox, folkdance, attend a gathering or two, and do hurricane relief work in the Punta Gorda area with a team from our church in RI. So, that's just what I did, and it turned out to be quite a good month, with over 300 new letterboxes found along the way, and with some of my personal state counts getting doubled (VA,MD), quadrupled (FL), or even sextupled (NC,SC)!!! (The inside joke here being that my GA count also doubled - from 1 to 2, but -hey- there just aren't that many boxes along the I-95 corridor in Georgia, so that's all I could do without going too far out of my way! Don't worry, though - I definitely hope to make another foray down to the more boxious parts of some of those states sometime soon, so we'll just have to wait and see what happens then!)
Anyway, I'd have to say that we were pretty pleased overall with the quality and quantity of boxes we found this trip. There were many more boxes than when Pete and I last drove down that way a couple of years ago, so we obviously didn't have time for them all, but we tried to do a fair sampling of both older and newer planters, Our favorite boxes, naturally, were those like "Myakka River Critters" and "Bitter Orange Cracker Shack" in the larger preserves. We even managed to plant a couple of boxes ourselves, with stamps by Scarab of VA ("Nosey Bee") and RTRW of CT ("Boardwalk Beebop"), in parks where we saw whole families of wild boar, armadillos, and baby alligators! I also enjoyed watching the manatees, letterboxing with Irene, folkdancing with Ralika, Annie, Andy, and the "Gotta Dancers", painting John's formerly devastated house sea turtle green, and attending DebBee's Fabulous Florida Flamingo Fiesta, which kept its theme all the way through to the flamingo-shaped cookies and other things that went so well with those flamingo lawn ornaments! A big "thank-you" to everyone involved, and especially also to the Doubtful Guests for their hospitality, for taking me on "drive-bys" in MD after I'd fallen and twisted my ankle in VA following a long day of letterboxing in Richmond, and for the impromptu little "Bee Gathering" that really lifted my spirits! I think everyone would be amazed at how many boxes I still managed to hobble to on my way home in the rain even with my leg taped up, but I just kept going until a nasty flu finally did me in just as I was getting back to RI! I spent several days in bed, then Pete took me to the Dance Flurry in Saratoga Springs, NY over the past weekend, and now he's sick, too! Oh, well... hope we all feel better soon, so we can get in a bit more skiing and winter 'boxing before the season's over!
At least now after visiting the Southern states, I can feel that I have a little leeway before all those CT boxes once again try to gobble up almost half of my total F-count, as they seem to have been trying to do for almost my entire letterboxing history! When I saw my CT state count creeping up to 3000 found boxes late last year, all I could think was that I'd have to start 'boxing more systematically in other states just to keep CT at "half bay", so that is exactly what I intend to do! (Unless, of course, I decide to leave letterboxing completely behind for a while as I quietly slip off to hike the "King of Trails" again - and for those who don't know, that's not the AT or the PCT, but the grand old Continental Divide!) Meanwhile, thanks again to all those folks who, instead of just keeping boxes in private circles, have at least in theory, placed boxes out there to share with everyone - and that even includes the mapsurfer boxes, 44 of which we got a long while back before "hitting the wall", but at least they're all supposedly still out there for anyone interested! Cheers to all the great "equal opportunity planters" everywhere! We love you!
Wanda from RI
P107 F6500 X781
Wed Nov 17, 2004 5:55 pm
Wonderful Weekend in WNY
Who would have thought that our biggest letterboxing day yet would come just last Saturday in conjunction with a great gathering out in western NY! Talk about tremendous growth, when I drove out that way just last year on my way to Colorado, I planted RTRW's "Silliness in Chataugua" because the only other box along that part of my route had already gone missing! Now, thanks to the efforts of some very dedicated folks like the Elba Onions, the Sprite and the Highlander, Team Dakota and others, this area is simply teeming with letterboxes!
Until very recently we weren't even aware of all this "new growth". We'd heard something about a gathering somewhere out there, but Pete had said he didn't feel like driving that far, and we thought we'd be going to the Chatfield Hollow Gathering in CT anyway. It wasn't until Thursday that we took a look at the NY index and noticed how many boxes were out there that we finally printed out a few clues. The combination of meeting the folks who planted all these "thankful boxes" and letterboxing in a new location at the same time was just too big of a draw for us, so off we went!
Friday morning saw us dashing through the snow near Binghampton for the new "Winter Wonderland" boxes, then bursting out into the clear cold afternoon sunshine of Batavia for some very interesting letterbox surprises. We stayed the night there and even got to pick up a few more clues the next morning from the internet access in the motel lobby!
Saturday morning we went scouting for "thankfuls"(spirit, refuge, etc.) on our way to the gathering, where we got a nice warm welcome from the Sprite and others that kept us going - along with the hot chili - for the rest of that very cold day! We did one big series after another in the lovely Royalton Ravine, picked up a cute cupcake on the way, and got back to the gathering pavilion just in time for group pictures and my 6000th box, the first of the "Thankful for Donations" series that just happened to be resting for the moment in a nearby bunk tree. It was Laurette's wandering box called "Where's Wanda?" that depicts me with my glasses and red beret, and it had already wandered around the country quite a bit itself - now how cool is that!?!
Well, by now it was already getting dark, so we finished off that series and a few more "Thankfuls" along the Erie Canal( and even drove under it at one point!) as we headed back to Batavia for the night. In counting up our stamps that evening, we were amazed to find that we had reached a "grand one-day total" of 75 finds( including 6 hitchers and one personal traveler) and 27 exchanges. WOW-what a day!
On Sunday we "thankfully" boxed our way eastward and even did a couple of "Thruway boxes", bringing our F-count for the weekend to well over 100 boxes, for which we are indeed very thankful. We're also thankful for being able to "reel in" a few of the boxes planted for the Chatfield Hollow Gathering, too. Even the very last box we found today was a bonus called "Thank You". So, a great big "thank you" from us to everyone who helped make this weekend so very special!
Cheers and Happy Thanksgiving,
Wanda and Pete from RI
P103 F6051 X767
Wed Oct 20, 2004 1:53 pm
3 Great Gatherings and new sigs, too!
The East Coast has certainly been swept by a gust of great fall gatherings lately - 3 weekends in a row, each hosting its own very distinctive and remarkable event! ( and the tripod is still standing in NJ, too!;-)
First, of course, we were all blown away by Chuck's gang's mind- boggling Monster Mash in northeastern CT, with its whirlwind of monsters, activities, hotdogs and many other types of dogs, including those "monster dogs" unleashed down on Dog Lane!
Next, the following weekend, we were gently scattered to the four winds on those old AT paths, "narrow for chosen company", at Koyote and the Dawnlanders' well-crafted, Native American-themed "Four Directions" gathering in northwestern CT, where we were most impresed to see Rush Gatherer turning fry bread in hot oil with small sticks, and to find a fine feathered "friend" from Cactus Licker of Texas!
Finally, just this past weekend, we caught a sweet breeze down to Palmyra Bridge for the 2nd annual NJ Gathering, where we were treated not only to letterboxingbee's nicely carved turkey sandwiches, but to many fine examples of her stamp carving as well, including a lovely pair of "Palmyra Palms" that she graciously gifted us with to replace our little old store-bought "signature stamps"!
Actually, last weekend letterboxingbee's husband Rob and I were both suffering from having just recently had root canals with infection complications, so it was probably good to get our minds off that onto other activities. However, my mind must have wandered off just a little too far, because I suffered some additional panic worrying that I'd somehow managed to lose both my old and new sigs in one fell swoop! Fortunately they turned up shortly, lying on the grass at Hickory Dickory Dock, so now I'm happy to report that those new sig stamps of ours can already be seen at some 40 letterboxes around NJ, as well as in 4 hitchers, 20 logbooks, and even a couple of postal boxes that showed up for the occasion! We're still hoping that carvers from ME, WA and CT will come through for us with new sig stamps, too, but meanwhile you can expect to see those "Palmyra Palms" carved for us by letterboxingbee Bev wherever we go!( and that second "colorful set" will probably end up getting planted near the place where Pete and I first met! ;-)
Thanks, Bev, for a fantastic job on everything, and thanks again to the many other folks all around the country who have so warmly and generously given of their time, talents, energy and resources to make these wonderful events happen! Now it seems we have a little "break in the wind", so to speak, but you can be sure we'll be looking forward to many more welcoming gathering breezes in the months and years to come - as long as they don't fall on the same day or conflict with other things!
Many thanks for all the great gatherings!!!
Wanda and Pete
P102 F5740 X736
Wed Oct 6, 2004 5:53 pm
Monsters galore - all hunted down!
Yup, I finished my "monster countdown" just last night, after five fantastic days of monster hunting, mashing, knoshing and partying! It was phenomenal - got nearly a hundred new exchanges (not counting the extra people for those who use one stamp as couples or families!), and over 130 new monsters!!! Over half a dozen Frankensteins alone, with similar numbers of vampires, werewolves and various others, and many unique "beauties" as well!
Anyway, I was getting down to my last few monster hunting locations yesterday when I realized that I could quite possibly "finish them all off" and not have to make another "commute" up from RI! Monday Pete had been a bit concerned about me hiking alone late in the day (and being late with dinner!:-) because he knows that I don't see well, especially at night. That evening I'd had some trouble spotting Grendel's chair, even though it's huge and I knew where it was from having had my picture taken there many years ago! I ended up spending a lot of time going back and forth bewildered in the dark, so he made me promise not to go 'boxing alone after dusk again.
Well, yesterday (since I still always take the time to stamp in and write something personal in every logbook) I found myself finishing up my last MMM series - Phynstar's "Dr. Who" - just around dusk, and had only one single monster left to hunt down: the "Wendigo". This was actually the first monster I was going to look for on Friday, after we got back from New Mexico, but it seemed like there had been a lot of rain in the area, swelling the local streams, so I thought I'd hold off on that one till the end. Now, here it was - dark - but I wanted just that one more monster, so what was I to do? I went to ask Carolyn, Leader of the Pack and initial creator of the "Mansfield letterboxing mecca", who lives down the street, if she would join me in tracking down that last monster!
So, after chatting, eating, and sending homeschooling kids off with their parents, off we headed into the chill night air - only to find police cars with search lights on patrolling the area we wanted to go into! Hmmm...we didn't want them to get suspicious and think we were doing a "Shady Deal in Sunny Acres" (no, just looking for a wendigo, really!), so we pretended we were walking laps around the park. Around and around we went until finally the police cars turned around to focus on the house across the street. Then off we went into the woods!
Minutes later, we reached the still somewhat swollen stream with a small rock in the middle balanced on another that was submerged. I tried to step carefully onto a stable spot, but the rock wiggled, and down I tumbled into the water! Somehow I didn't get hurt, though - only got one leg soaked, so we squished on up to the "Wendigo", and had our own little stamp-in celebration. What a great finale for my monster hunting expeditions!
Thanks again to everyone who helped make the Monster Mash such a huge roaring success, and especially to Chuck who did the lion's share of the planning and planting to make it all come together! He did a terrific job of showing off many of Mansfield's bountiful trails, and the weather complied beautifully, too! Hope the great fall weather continues for all those who plan to keep searching for these magnificent monsters in the weeks to come!
Wanda from RI
P102 F5639 X709
Fri Sep 10, 2004 10:20 am
Trip up North
Just back recently from another trip up to northern New England with another whole bunch of stamps to show for my letterboxing efforts! I know, I'd said earlier that once I reached F5000 I'd try to cut back and only do those hikes and climbs that really appealed to me, but with all the boxes cropping up along the way nowadays, what's a gal to do? Too hard not to stop as I'm driving by, right?
Anyway, I passed the F100 mark for both Vermont and New Hampshire a while back, but picked up a few more boxes this trip with a day in the Northeast Kingdom, a day in the Whites, and a weekend with Pete on Mount Monadnock, recreating one of our earliest dates! Then I headed back north to plant a couple of the Dawnlanders' "CT Symbols" boxes in an area that I'd been wanting to get to for the longest time. It was well worth the trip, and at the time there probably wasn't another letterbox around for 100 miles using paved roads, although there may now be some closer if you go as the crow flies!
After a quick drive through Canada, I headed back to Maine for the National Folk Festival in Bangor. What fun! - 3 days of music to which I did authentic Gypsy, Romanian, Hungarian, African, Armenian, and other types of dancing, and nearly passed out in the 90* heat!
Rain cooled things off by the end of the weekend, so I took one day to do the drive-ups in Aroostook County, one day for the Katahdin area, one day for MDI, and one day for the Midcoast on my way home. I ended up with a grand total of 349 boxes for Maine, which has now ousted Ohio from 4th position in our personal state-by-state counts! (And that certainly doesn't include any WOM's either, because the only WOM's WE've ever gotten were for a couple of series in CT!!) Who would have guessed there were so many boxes up in Maine? It really is a treasure trove if you just get out there and search! I couldn't possibly list all the boxes I found without annoying someone, I'm sure, so I'll just name a few of my favorites for this trip: Mepanj's "Muhammad Ali Series" for one of the best collections of mushrooms that I've ever seen in a small area - especially between boxes 2 and 3; Ben and Lora's "Great Pond Mountain" for a nice climb; Hockamock's "Brady Gang" for a bit more adventure than I had originally anticipated; Amymisha's "Mr/Ms Potato Head for pure whimsy; and the big surprise, "Just Opus" for just cracking me up! Wonderful job up there, all you planters both old and new! Thanks for a terrific vacation!
Wanda from RI
P101 F5395 X608
Sat May 22, 2004 1:26 pm
PFX 5000 and other adventures
Hi,all! Haven't been posting or lurking in ages, so hope those of you who might have some passing interest in "statistics" won't mind if I expound upon a few of my more recent adventures. After the wonderful May Day Gathering a couple of weeks ago at Quaddick State Park in CT, I did a quick update of my box count and found that I was only about 75 boxes away from reaching PFX 5000! I also noted in looking back through my "done lists" that on June 1st of last year I was just reaching F2500 at "Universal Language" in VA, so then I started thinking about how cool it would be to find 2000 boxes in one year! So there I was suddenly with 2 new "personal goals" (and, as anyone who knows me knows, I much prefer those over "competitive" ones!:-)
Anyway, I'm happy to report that I managed to complete both my goals in "record time" - that is, well ahead of my planned "schedule", since at first I was thinking that maybe I could reach them by the end of this month, and here it turns out that I reached them both, not only on the very same day (May 10th), but at the very same box!!! That box was "His Growth", a RI mystery, which also seemed especially appropriate since Pete and I have always used 3 trees and a sun as our signature stamp, and that was almost the only clue to that particular mystery! (even though it has nothing to do with us!) Anyhow, here are a couple of the adventures I had along the way...
Shortly after the May Day Gathering, I decided to make a letterboxing run over to western CT to pick up a few of the more recent boxes and add-ons out there. With over 2000 boxes that I've found in that one state alone, you can imagine that there are just not that many boxes left in CT for me to go looking for, but they do miraculously keep coming out! I'd just gone back for yet another jaunt through Brooksvale Park near the Sleeping Giant, and was about to stamp into "Secret Agent Man", when suddenly Pete's little "Mr. Sunshine" stamp slipped out of my fingers. No problem, I thought - our stamps are so tiny that's happened lots of times before, and I saw right where it rolled into the stone wall. So I finished signing in, then went to retrieve the stamp, but it turned out there was a hole right under that particular spot in the wall that went way down! (Now what were the chances of that!?!) Poking, prodding, reaching, and trying to budge any ot the surrounding rocks were all to no avail, so what could I do? I just sat there in the woods and cried! It felt like losing your wedding ring down the sink or something - our little symbol of 3 years of happy letterboxing together down the tubes! Fortunately, first thing the following weekend, Pete went back to Brooksvale with me and a giant crowbar. With one quick, well-aimed pry, he had "Mr. Sunshine" shining back up the sky! Hurray - a happy ending for that story!
Meanwhile, I was going around letterboxing closer to home, doing some of the bigger loops in MA and RI, when what should befall me but an even stranger adventure - attack by giant bird! No kidding, it was straight out of Hitchcock! I was about 1/2 way through the 8-mile loop north of Beach Pond on the RI/CT border where Mike and Christine's delightful "12 Animals of Chinese Mythology #2" series is, and was just finishing up signing in (still stampless) at the "Monkey", when I felt a swoosh go by right over my head. I didn't think much of it, as there are plenty of hawks and owls in this part of Pachaug Forest, but then just as I was walking away from the letterbox site, I heard a high-pitched scream and got knocked down flat to the ground by a heavy blow to the back of my head! Just to give some idea of the impact, my hat which was attached by its chinstrap, got thrown off my head some 25 feet forward to the right, and my logbook, which was in my left hand, went flying a dozen or so feet out in the other direction! I looked up from the ground to see one of the biggest birds I've ever seen - more like an eagle than a turkey vulture, although Laurette thinks it may have been an osprey, since she once got "dive-bombed" by one near a nesting site, too! Anyway, over the years I've been the victim of quite a few vicious attacks, both emotional and physical, by humans (including a brutal attack by a woman who started screaming and pulling my hair in a jealous rage over Pete just 2 years ago today!), but never did I expect to get attacked by a bird! Fortunately, I was able to get away mostly just rather shaken, so it certainly seems easier to understand the bird's actions as a natural instinct to protect its offspring, rather than the relentless, demented need to hurt or harm seen in some humans! However, I would still recommend taking a big stick for anyone going through this area, just in case!
So, shortly after that, with only a slight headache from the concussion, I got to do my "Happy Hunter Dance" (just a little hint for those still working on my CIA code name!) at my 2000th box in one year and my PFX 5000 all in one fell swoop! My F-count at that box was 4393, and when I compared that to when I reached 2393, it just happened to be at "Time Travels" in MA exactly one year earlier! So, it's been quite a year - and to think I hadn't even been trying to just accumulate "numbers" (as only some people mistakenly think!:-) I had, in fact, spent several months doing trail work, theater productions, etc. with hardly any letterboxing at all! And, as anyone who has boxed with us can attest, we're pretty laid back when we letterbox and just seem to go with the flow ("rapid" perhaps sometimes, but never "rabid"!;-) At any rate, the "numbers" come for us only as a natural outgrowth of our love for the hobby, so I certainly hope no one will begrudge us the simple pleasure we sometimes take in adding up and recounting our various adventures! Thanks to all who make it possible!
Wanda (and Pete)
P75 F4504 X533
P.S. New personal goals? Well, P100 and F5000 in a few months, I hope! Then hopefully some more trail work trips out west, but this year I'll have to try to make it back for Chuck's Monster Bash on Oct. 2nd - that promises to be quite the event of the season, and we'll be looking forward to seeing a lot of you letterboxers there!
Thu Mar 18, 2004 6:33 pm
Just back from a short letterboxing trip to southern California, and have to say we really enjoyed those few days of glorious warm sunshine before having to head back to the ice and snow of New England! We only had enough time to visit a couple of places, namely Pasadena, San Luis Obispo and Kernville, but that was sufficient to give us a good sampling of what's out there - some very beautiful areas indeed! We particularly enjoyed camping at Monta–a de Oro near SLO, and visiting some of the other local "haunts", but most of all, we loved getting to visit with Don and Gwen on our side trip to Kernville. Not only have they done a wonderful job covering the whole area with letterboxes, but they cook some fantastic barbeque and tell some great stories, too! (Ask them about "the groover!")
Anyone who possibly can, should really try to get to Kernville for that gathering they're hosting next month. Wish we could be there, too, but since we can't, maybe the few hitchers we left behind can represent us "in spirit"!
The gathering is April 24th and details including the free whitewater raft trip and Saturday night BBQ may be found at
Cheers and many thanks,
Wanda and Pete
P65 F3992 X487
Thu Oct 16, 2003 1:37 pm
Daring Box Save in CT
Wanda finally got back from her trail work trips out on the CDT in CO and NM just in time for us to have another great annual "Walking Weekend" in northeastern CT. We attended interesting walks and talks by state geologists, historians and naturalists, but one of the more amusing moments of the weekend came when Wanda literally snatched a letterbox out of a tree hollow just seconds before the Conn College botany professor leading the tree identification walk started pointing it out as a great "wildlife habitat hole"! Some 60 people had gathered for the walk at the Nathan Hale Homestead in Coventry, CT and were headed down the leafy lane behind it when we began to worry that "Uncle Sam's Nephew" might be located in a somewhat precarious position for this type of event. Sure enough, as we approached, several of the "front walkers" in the group started pointing out the curiously rocky hollow in that particular ash tree! Fortunately, the professor stopped just long enough to divert attention to an adjacent tulip tree for Wanda to slip in and remove the letterbox. It was all we could do to refrain from chuckling as the professor then turned to go poking into that ash tree's hole while describing all the things that might possibly have made their home in there, while Wanda clutched the box to her chest with a feeling of having saved "Planet Earth"! (If you get there soon, you'll know what we mean :-) ) We put the box back in its hole after everyone had finished the tour and tried to leave it looking a little more natural by sprinkling a few leaves on it. Hope it lasts a while yet without attracting too much attention!
Pete F2407 (and Wanda F3450)
PS: You can find more information about this year's Walking Weekends walks which continue next weekend (Oct 17-19) at www.thelastgreenvalley.org
Thu Jul 17, 2003 5:50 pm
Prayer Rock, VT
Just wanted to say what a special trip we had going up to Prayer Rock in VT last weekend. It actually felt like we were making a pilgrimage going up there to Bristol, VT to visit the first official LbNA letterbox in North America planted by LbNA co-founder Erik Davis back in April of 1998! We were all saddened by his recent passing, but he has truly left a remarkable legacy. It was wonderful to meet his children, Anna and Ben, and his wife, Susan, who was carving an incredible on-the-spot commemorative stamp with some of Erik's special symbols right there at the picnic table as we arrived! It was also a big surprise to meet Chris, author of that now famous Smithsonian article on letterboxing that got everything started over here in North America! Team Green Dragon made it from MA, and Rich and friend came from NH, so we had a nice little group. Susan showed us the beautiful nearby waterfalls just before the heavens opened up for some heavy rain showers, but we were still able to find several other of their early boxes in the area afterwards, including some that hadn't been visited for nearly a year! We really enjoyed the warm welcoming spirit of letterboxing, as started out by the Davises, and we hope that many more letterboxers will have a chance to make a special trip up to Vermont, too.
Wanda and Pete
Thu Jul 3, 2003 6:19 pm
Back from OH/PA
And what a great trip it's been! Best part was meeting the wonderful letterboxing people, like Scoutdogs, Franzsolo, Ed, Ace, and all the other fine folks who make us feel like "family" wherever we go! And the letterboxing was pretty impressive, too! In spite of many boxes being washed away in the recent floods and mud slides, plus some being inaccessible to me because of excessive overgrowth, poison ivy, work projects, weddings, and other factors, I still managed to find nearly 200 boxes in Ohio, and passed the 100 mark in PA as well! Most interesting to me were the "camo-boxes" and "non-traditional hides". With well over 2500 traditional finds following the basic formula of "look under rocks, behind tree, or at end of log", it was really a blast for me to find boxes like Buckeye Furnace, Metamora Mill, Yoctangee Baden, Loffelstein Challenge, and Pigs Can't Fly in some rather unusual hiding spots! Thanks for this delightful burst of creativity and some great stamps, too!
Speaking of stamps, though, here's a funny story. The night before I left Scoutdogs' home in Indiana, Chris finally got me to try my hand at carving some PZ-cut under her magnifying glass setup - how cool! I carved a little oaken clip art image and placed it in western Ohio the following morning. Then the next day as I was heading back east to Eastfork, I came upon that very same carving, only slightly larger, in one of Franzsolo's boxes, Up the Tree! Now, what are the chances of that happening? My very first carved clip art stamp image and it ends up being a "clone"!!! Anyway, for anyone who might want to find my "smaller version", clues will be available soon on our webpage. I also brought back a couple of hitchers and an example of Scoutdogs' fantastic carving called "The Warrior" to be placed soon in RI. I actually had a place in mind, and it just happened that someone else recently put a box there, so stay tuned for another! And have a safe 4th of July weekend, happy letterboxers everywhere!
Wanda from RI
P53 F2831 X374 = PFX 3258
P.S. Just for the record (for the new folks out there or others that don't know us, or need to somehow think that our count is inflated), please be assured that our count is actually considerably LOWER than what it would be if we counted the way we've heard some folks do! For example, when we find a box with multiple stamps, we still only count it as ONE FIND, even if there are a half dozen or more different stamps in it! Secondly, we do not count stamps relocated to different areas or most types of replacements. Thirdly, we wouldn't DREAM of counting the same hitchers (or boxes or persons) again if we came across them more than once! And, finally, Pete and I do keep separate counts, so his count contains quite a few boxes that I haven't yet gotten to, and vice versa. If we did the "composite thing", I'd probably have well over F3000 by now, but hopefully I'll get there soon enough as it is - especially with all the new boxes popping up like crazy lately!
P.P.S. And looks like I'll be getting a golden crown after all, for that broken tooth of mine! It broke while Chris and I were eating salad at our last night celebration dinner at the Olive Garden in Cincinnati (the very same one that Pete and I ate at on our way out west about 10 years ago!) Anyway, here I was thinking that I'd bitten into an olive pit or something, and suddenly there's this hole in the back of my mouth! Amazingly, I was able to get all the way back home without pain and my dentist just took care of it right away. Thank God for little mercies - and big ones, too!!!
Wed Jun 4, 2003 8:57 pm
Wonderful trip to VA & F2500
Just back from VA and want to add my "thank-you" to everyone who came to "gather by the river" on Saturday, and made that event such a huge success! So many creative people and great cooks ,too! (Friendly folks, fabulous food, fantastic flowers and fun finds - how's that for an "F count"? :-) I actually got 35 exchanges, 5 personal travellers, 5 hitchers, 3 event stamps,and a whole bunch of boxes, including "Universal Language" on Sunday as my #2500! (very appropriate since I had studied about a dozen languages many years ago, but if I tried to speak any of them now, it would probably come out sounding pretty much like the clues to that letterbox - 2 words from one language, 3 from another, etc.! :-)
Special thanks for everything go to the "Doubtful Guests". Our little New England contingent (Sarah, Russ and myself) was extremely fortunate to have them take us under their wing for an incredible dinner Saturday evening, followed by letterboxing practically in their backyard! (Scarab even wrote up some clues for me to find a certain remarkable "hobbit hole" where I got to crawl in and spend the night - pure magic!) The predicted rains didn't come until I was on my way home yesterday, so we got in plenty of nice boxing Sunday afternoon and Monday, mostly in the Leesburg, Herndon, and Vienna areas, with a lovely trip up to Hemlock Overlook that evening so that Scarab could get his 100th find! (and I even ran into an old "thru- hiker" friend of mine up there at the same time - talk about synchronicity!) Did some boxing in the rain on my way home (VA8,MD3,PA5), and overall had a really great time! Thanks so much, muchas gracias, vielen Dank, hvala lepo, etc.etc.etc.!
Wanda from RI
P52 F2541 X335
Wed May 28, 2003 7:39 pm
Rainy weekend in Maine
Well, it just turns out that we happened to be up in Maine this past weekend, too! We had actually hoped to get up there earlier and join TGD and RIBNAG for some letterboxing sunshine, but we stalled too long in getting started, so mostly just got the rain! A belated foray up Cadillac Mt. put us within minutes into some mind-bogglingly brutal weather conditions, so we quickly decided it wasn't worth risking hypothermia for any more boxes on the "Cold Coast" and left for the "Bold Coast"! In spite of the continued rain and sloshing up to our ankles along the swamped floating bog bridges there, we found that area to be absolutely magnificent! Pete fell and sprained his hand again on a stream crossing near the letterbox at the far end of the 6-mile loop, but at least we managed to avoid getting sucked into any Psychomommy-type mud adventures out there so many miles from nowhere! That evening we did Martian Maggot's other wonderful letterbox hike up that way on Campobello Island, where a nice Canadian ranger was just about to come looking for us because he thought we'd gotten hurt or lost in the dark! One short rain-free window of opportunity on the way home the next day gave us a chance to visit a fine eagle cliff near Bangor, and then, of course, both coming and going we managed to pick up several more boxes at other interesting spots in Maine, like Pemaquid Point, Fort Frederick, Fort Halifax, etc. so, the long drive was definitely not a "washout"! We still managed to do our usual 20-box weekend - just this time not including 8 or 10 legerdemaine boxes as had been the case on a couple of our previous Maine letterboxing weekends! At any rate, it's great to see that there are now some new players up there in Maine who have already found the hitchers we left behind, and several others now putting in boxes all over the place! Thanks to all of you!
Wanda and Pete
P52 F2451 X300
Thu Apr 24, 2003 10:11 am
Big Trails Overview
Just found out last week at the Molly Day Gathering that a West Coast letterboxer named Ryan is just starting out on his first attempt to hike the Appalachian Trail, and another one named Patrick is currently heading out on the Pacific Crest Trail! Hurray for them! As a veteran multiple-time "thru-hiker" of both those trails (5+ AT's and 3+ PCT's) plus the CDT, thus making me a multi-tiered "triple crowner" and one of that still relatively rare breed of "Radical Repeaters" featured in an article by that name in Backpacker magazine about a dozen or so years ago, I thought I'd write a few words about long-distance backpacking, just in case a few folks might have some misconceptions!
I actually did get asked by a couple of people at "Molly Day" if Ryan could possibly get to CT in time for the May 17th "Gerbil Gathering"! I just kind of smiled and shook my head, but - truth be told - the only way he could reach CT in one month would be if he were backpacking an almost unheard-of average 50+ miles a day or doing an AWFUL lot of "yellow-blazing"!! (i.e. hitchhiking into towns, walking roads or getting rides to spots up the trail - something really frowned upon by "backpacking purists"!) If he stays on the trail and is an average hiker (15-20 miles per day), he will probably be just about crossing over into southern VA at Damascus around that time! Even to get to the very first town that is right on the trail (Wesser,NC at 140 miles) always took me almost a week, since I was a "purist" and never hitchhiked off-trail for supplies or amenities, and about 3 to 4 weeks to get to Damascus! (On my third time through, I did manage to backpack all the way to Damascus in less than 3 weeks, but that was averaging over 25 miles a day, and not many hikers can keep up that kind of pace over that type of terrain and in all kinds of weather!) Doing "big-mile days" on the PCT is slightly easier because the trail out there was built with more gradual grades, but then you have other things to contend with - long distances between water and resupply, extremes in weather and elevation, etc.- but, of course, the Continental Divide Trail is still by far the longest and hardest of all, with almost 1000 trail miles yet to be built so that hikers of the future won't have to cross-country "bushwhack" the way I had to when hiking that incredibly difficult "trail" years ago! (Pete and I still try to go back out as volunteers even now to help build a few new miles of CDT every summer just so that others might have an easier time of it!)
Anyway, Westerners are frequently surprised by just how rugged our eastern mountain trails can be, considering the relatively low elevations. Even some unprepared Easterners, using the AT as their intro-level long-distance backpacking experience, underestimate the difficulty of the trail. At least nowadays, with increased info, better equipment, and many more support services, most hikers who reach Damascus (or Wrightwood on the PCT) find that they are then able to successfully complete the rest of their hikes, so we'll just have to hope that both Ryan and Patrick's first few weeks on the trail go well for them! Of course, their experiences on the trails are apt to be quite different from what mine were like in the 80's. Back then, it seemed like most of us backpackers were focused on "getting away from civilization", communing with nature, and enjoying the hiking itself, only using trail towns for quick resupply to head back into the woods! Nowadays the focus seems to have shifted (just as to me it seems to have done recently in letterboxing from the "quality of the hike" to the "quality of the stamp"!) to viewing the trail as a mere inconvenience to be gotten through on the way to getting into town for fast food, showers, and computer access!!! (Last year, in fact, while completing my 5th AT, I was rather shocked to see cars lined up at formerly fairly remote Maine trail crossings, just waiting to take a steady stream of well-heeled "thru-hikers" to "B&B's" - good for local business, no doubt, but not something my generation of backpackers would have taken to, even if it had been available!) Ahhh... "the times they are a changin'", but we do wish this season's new crop of "first-timers" a wonderful adventure, and we'll certainly be interested to see what kind "mileage" they get out of their experiences in one way or another! (Even if they were to, say, pull a "Bill Bryson" on us - i.e. hike just 1000 miles or so and then write a funny book about it! - at least we should all be able to get some good stories and perhaps a few belly laughs out of it!) So, best of luck, you guys, and hope many more adventures await you out on the trails in the future , since, impressive as it may sound to average folks, just hiking one or two of the big trails these days won't even put you "on the map" in the real "backpacking world", which requires a minimum of at least one "triple crown" (i.e.1 AT (2100+ miles), 1PCT (2600+ miles) and 1 CDT(3100+ miles) even for "entry level" backpacking status, and generally the top packers have many, many more thousands of miles and multiple "thru-hikes" under their boots as well! So, here's wishing many happy trails to those folks just beginning their backpacking projects!
(whose trail name once was "The Breeze" and who backpacked over 20,000 miles of "big trails" and another 6000 miles of "lesser" long distance trails, mostly in the 1980s and '90's!)
Wed Mar 19, 2003 10:40 am
Great Mid-Atlantic Weekend
Just wanted to say what a great time we had in PA the other day - our first mid Atlantic letterboxing weekend in almost a year! Seems we went down with winter and came back with spring! Boxes we spent hours digging for in vain under piles of snow on our first day out began miraculously appearing during the next day or two under logs and rocks whose existence we would not even have previously surmised! In all we found about 2 dozen boxes, including a few more mapsurfers. They were all in good condition. We also dropped off a bunch of hitchers who had been traveling with us for a while. The high point of the trip, however, was meeting up with the mapsurfer again, and also making the acquaintance of a fun group of fellow mapsurfer box enthusiasts. The "Wasabi Gathering" featured not only fine cuisine, interesting conversation and 2 wonderful event stamps, but also a set of nested hitchers, including the cutest imaginable micro hitcher with cuckoo! Thanks again to the mapsurfer and everyone else who helped make the weekend so special!
Wanda and Pete
P50 F2112 X292 (after more days of spring-like boxing in CT)
Sat Dec 21, 2002 11:59 am
"Sunny Message" from Florida
Finally settling down to some "holiday spirits" back in RI after several weeks in sunny Florida - with a cruise to Mexico tossed in the middle! We found a "Sunny Message in a Bottle" on our port call to Key West, and thought it might make an interesting little hitcher that could travel either by post or by placement with another letterbox (totally up to the whim of the finder), so we've sent that message on its way and will be looking forward to seeing where it goes. Please keep us posted, since there's no logbook. Of course we also managed to take in some fascinating letterboxing along the way - looking at loggerheads at "Loggerhead", sharks' teeth at "Shark's Tooth", ants at "Ant Castle Tree", etc. One of our favorite adventures of the trip occurred near the Conch Republic box at the Wild Bird Care Center on Key Largo, where we hit the beach right at "feeding time" (c.3:30) and were literally surrounded by about a hundred flapping pelicans - quite an experience! We were also dazzled by the light displays at Disney and found Wilderness Lodge to be especially beautiful this time of year, but couldn't get to the letterbox at Caribbean Beach because that particular resort was undergoing repairs. We also couldn't get to visit "Sebastian" because it seems that the gate to his home is now being guarded all day long, but perhaps someday his owners will relocate him to a more accessible spot. The only other difficulty we ran into was being turned away halfway through our walk on the University of Richmond campus in VA by a security person who told us that, as a "private school", it was technically closed for Thanksgiving break! Oh, well... all the other box searches we were able to complete were just fine. It was nice to be back briefly in Maryland and Virginia for the first time since our early letterboxing days a year and a half ago, and to get a small sampling of the marvelous work being done by some of the fun-loving and talented folks down that way. (Hope to meet some of you someday!) We also enjoyed giving rides to quite a few hitchers, and finding our first boxes in other states like NC, SC,and GA where we hadn't letterboxed before. One of these days we'll probably post our state-by-state countdown on the bottom of our webpage - just for our own personal interest and the curiosity of those folks who often ask us how many boxes we've found in different states. Meanwhile, many thanks to all the wonderful, good-spirited letterbox planters out there and Happy Holidays to all!
Wanda and Pete
P42 F1836 X247
Fri Nov 1, 2002 10:49 am
Sweets and Treats in CT
October, it seems was a great month for letterboxing in our area - we found over 150 new boxes this month, and almost all were in CT! This was due in large part to all the boxes placed by relative newcomers to letterboxing in both eastern and western,CT (such as the planters of the Poindexter Preserve boxes that I got to meet the day after Pete was there - since he went while I was off dancing at the NOMAD folk festival on the weekend! - and the Lil' Banditos, whose hikes and handmade notebooks with little gold bangles we just adore!), as well as to the incredibly well-organized and prolific plantings of CT Kids' Day - the most mind-boggling array of boxes and sweet treats imaginable! We're also glad we got to recycle the Golden Teddy and the Human Pumpkin there - thanks to little Liam in his adorable pumpkin outfit! - but decided to keep another newer box in its original cushy home at Pasquiset Pond in RI, rather than digging it out just for the day, so, anyone who wants to find the box "1st", please check our webpage! I also put in a little add-on to Laurette's Tin Tin box in the Great Swamp of RI, but I'll have to get Pete to post that later. Meanwhile, we're off to CT for more woodland walks! (and maybe even other states if those CT planters ever give us a break!) Thanks again to everyone!
Wanda and Pete
P40 F1651 X246
Tue Oct 15, 2002 7:10 pm
CT "Walking Weekend"-Counting Ants,etc.
Glad to say that despite the wet weather, "Walking Weekend" in CT was definitely not a complete wash-out for us this year! We took in quite a few of the nature and history walks, slipped back to RI briefly for the mystery gathering, and even managed to squeeze in a bit of letterboxing between walks on Sunday and Monday! The most fun walk of all, though, was probably taking Pete on the trail of the "Ants Go Marching" yesterday in Hampton, CT. I'd gone up there a few days earlier and was just charmed by those cute little ant stamps! Now, Pete wants to count them as a series of 10 (instead of just 1), since we did manage to find all 10 ants, and it does seem sort of unfair that someone who might find just 1 or 2 of the ants and then sign the logbook at the end would get the same count (1) as someone who takes the time to find more or all of them! I maintain that just getting the whole stamp collection of the cute little fellows doing all those strange little things is its own reward, but I would also be curious to hear other people's opinions. At any rate, don't miss checking out those cool ants! I also have to say I got the biggest charge thinking about those revolutionary women baring arms for the cause of freedom at Irishtinker's great new series in Coventry, CT! We're certainly lucky to have so many talented carvers and planters in our neck of the woods! Thanks again, guys!
Wanda and Pete
P40 X200 F1536 (or 1545)
(depending on how you count ants!)
Fri Sep 20, 2002 3:34 pm
'packing in ME, 'boxing in CT
Well, over a month for me away from computers (and looks like I've missed well over 2000 messages!),but can't say as I much mind since in the meantime I've managed to get in several gorgeous weeks of backpacking and finally finish up my 5th AT in Maine!(Bigelows to Baxter) Pete met me in Monson for a short sidetrip to the National Folklife Festival in Bangor and a little local letterboxing, so I'm pleased to say that, 'packing through that final so-called "100-mile wilderness" section of the AT, I actually got to carry with me a couple of letterboxing trinkets left in some boxes up there by our dear friends, namely: a tiny harmonica/trail-necklace left by Floating Feather in one of her boxes, and a packet of Pez left by RIBNAG Ben in one of his! Thanks, guys, for that little extra boost that helped to get me through the "wilderness"! This was especially important to me since it was the 20th anniversary of my first backpack ever, which just happened to be that very same 100-mile section back in 1982 that set me off on my subsequent backpacking spree, but which I didn't think I was going to be able to finish this year due to some really nasty injuries!
Anyway, now I'm happy to be back home with Pete, celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary with a new round of letterboxing! Pete had a whole stack of new clues waiting for me to sort when I got home, and we've already managed to do several dozen of them, including Airmail (F1400), the delightful CT Quest: Hero's Journey on our anniversary, and quite a few new varieties of flora and fauna! Once we get caught up again locally, we'll try to head out to some of those "further" boxes - like NJ,PA,MA,etc, - that we've been wanting to get to for so long, but just haven't had the time. We'd also have loved to have been able to attend some of those gatherings Pete tells me folks are planning in VA,OH and NC, but probably the only one we'll be able to swing will be the Children's Gathering at Rocky Neck SP,CT on Oct.20 (maybe we'll pretend to be kids again and come as Wendy & Peter Pan!) Hope to see a lot of you there - old friends and new - and thanks again to all who have contributed to making letterboxing such a fun, vibrant and diverse hobby!
Wanda and Pete
P37 F1441 X181 (no geocaches or composites either!)
Wed Apr 10, 2002 2:47 pm
Valley Quest Fun(VT/NH)
Glad to see letterboxers getting interested in the Valley Quest boxes. These are such charming places to visit and it is so delightful to follow clues as seen mostly through the eyes of the children who wrote them! They have a peaceful, community-oriented spirit to them that seems to gently make time stand still. I've been known to stop for hours to notice all the different things mentioned, to read all the interesting historical facts often included in the boxes themselves, and even to do an occasional drawing - something well beyond my usual ability to focus these days, as memory slowly slips away!
Anyway, I wanted to mention here that I also have Valley Quest to credit for my original introduction to "letterboxing"! A couple of years ago, as I was working on my long-term project of hiking all the side trails to the Appalachian Trail (since I'd already backpacked the whole AT four times in the 1980's!),I dropped down the Hurricane Trail to Dartmouth Outing Club's Moosilauke Ravine Lodge in NH, where I found a pamphlet called Moosilauke Historical Quest in a rack in the downstairs library. I followed the clues, but the box was so well jammed-in that I didn't have enough interest at the time to work at prying it out! (little did I know!) Instead, that "box clamantis in deserto", which would have been my very first "letterbox", eventually became my 498th, and several other Valley Quest boxes that I stumbled onto while doing short nature walks in Southern Vermont (Springweather and North Springfield Bog ) became my actual first "letterboxes" - and are still among my favorites!
After happily finding a few more quests locally, I made a little quest in our backyard for my nephew and nieces, and then later Pete got me the Valley Quest book as a birthday surprise! Meanwhile, Pete had stumbled upon HIS first letterbox (one of Jay's left out in the open at Meadowwoods and long since gone missing), and only then did we make the connection with "letterboxing"! So, it seems we personally really do have to thank Valley Quest and Vital Communities for setting the stage and putting us on the right path! Hope many other letterboxers also get the chance to enjoy these wonderful quests!
Sounds like Wanda spent a little too much time with Dr Seuss at the Hanover, NH
library these past few days doing Valley Quests! Here's a poem she wrote up
there as she finished up her trip with "Old Man" and "Red Spotted Newt". (The
two she had hoped to get as number #499 and #500, Mt. Lafayette and Mt. Lincoln
on the 8 mile Franconia Ridge loop, have apparently already gone missing, so she
was really glad to have those other two short but sweet ones as backups!)
Meanwhile I've been busy looking for birds and bridges. I've got a few more to go to reach F500, but we both reached a combined PFX of 500 on August 1st. We know a few other folks are close or already there, so just let us know when you get there, and we'll be glad to list your name and date in the "LBNA 500 Club" at the bottom of our web page! We certainly hope that no one will feel resentful or compelled to adopt this particular goal if it doesn't suit them. We just both happened to be "compulsive collectors", whether it be of stamps, rocks, books, ancestors, trails, highpoints, or whatever, so its only natural that we would adopt this same "gungho" approach to letterboxing. We hope that our compulsive style doesn't offend anyone, and that we'll find at least a few "kindred spirits" out there.
Pete in still muggy RI
I just found my 500th box
under a little pile of rocks.
And just 'cause we had so much fun,
(me and my partner, "Mr Sun"),
we'd like to start a special club
for those with 500 or above.
And just to make sure that it's fair,
you can include three countings there:
Placed, found, exchanged all rolled in one,
so "box away" until you're done!
And then tell us the date you finished
(and if you had to eat much spinach!)
We'll write your name down on the list
to see that no one's effort's missed.
It's quite a goal for which to strive,
so have some fun and feel alive,
as clue by clue, your path comes clear
and soon the end will seem quite near!
Then "join the club" and help new folks
by giving hints and telling jokes -
but not too many, just a few,
so that new folks know what to do,
and spread the word about our quest -
that letterboxing is the best!
Home: Our Letterboxing Treasury