Wanda and Pete's Letterboxes - Texas
BEFORE YOU SET OUT, PLEASE READ THE
WAIVER OF RESPONSIBILITY AND DISCLAIMER.
|110. LONE STAR START||A very easy box in Sam Houston Forest of Texas.|
Gone - Toasted by a forest fire!
|111. DALLAS COWBOYS||An easy box in Dallas, Texas. Stamp by RTRW.|
Gone as of Nov 5, 2006 - This box was found laying on the ground, empty. so it is destroyed.
Located in a park in Richardson, near Dallas, Texas. From Arapaho Rd, running west from a FLOCK-it-to-ME #4 placed by Celtic Lions, go north on Woodland Way to Woodland Park on your right.
Walk due south to the playground (not the elementary school playground). Begin walking on sidewalk between playground bench and tree towards restrooms on right, about 30 steps. Leave sidewalk and proceed 120 degrees SE diagonally across the field to opposite corner. The alley driveway with a gas meter box will be on your right. From edge of alley take about 28 steps back towards the school along the tree line and enter bushes on your right. Take 8 steps towards barbed wire fence. Note the fence pole straight ahead of you. On your right is a two-trunked tree with larger trunk leaning slightly forward towards field. Camouflage microbox is attached by camo Velcro to tree limb at bottom of smaller trunk. Please replace exactly where you found it, with Velcro secured!
Note: Placed in this new, safer home by the Celtic Lions in May 2005.
|169. TRIFOLIATE ORANGE||A lovely little flower carved by RTRW of CT and planted on our fall 2006 trip to Texas.|
Where else to plant a flower than in an arboretum, right? So, after we flew into Houston in the pouring rain and realized that many of the trails we had hoped to hike to the northeast of there would be flooded, off we headed to Mercer Arboretum, just north of the airport on Aldine Westfield Rd. Even there, some of the trails were flooded, but walking along on a dry section of the West Oxbow loop, suddenly we were surprised to find ourselves stepping on little golfball sized yellow-orange orbs that spurted out what looked like kernels of corn!
What were those things we wondered? Well, it wasn't long before we had our answer! Rounding the corner, we just barely noticed the remnants of a sign on a post marked #11. "Trifoliate Orange" it read. "How perfect", we said - "we have a little box with an orange lid!" So, about 15 steps away from that sign at a bearing of 110, we left that little orange box with its RTRW flower in the right side of a rotting log, well tucked into the pithy middle. We hope that folks will replant it carefully in that spot for a year or so, and then, when the log becomes too rotten, perhaps transport it to a sunny new location! Thanks.
|170. LONE STAR SURPRISE||A sunny little carving by RTRW of CT meant to be a carrot to get folks out hiking the LSHT to "get the cheese"!|
Well, imagine our surprise to hear that the "Lone Star Start" letterbox that we had planted in March of 2005 had melted due to a fire near the beginning of that trail in the Sam Houston National Forest in 2006! "No problem", we said. "We'll just plant another, but this time we'll add a surprise twist". So, on our 2006 Texas trip we planted a microbox very close to the western trailhead terminus of the LSHT about 4 miles east of Richards and just south on forest road 219. However - here's the important part - we hope the box won't stay there! We're actually hoping that all those Texas letterboxers we met, as well as those we didn't, will little by little walk it the 126 miles or so east, so that by the time we get back out there to hike the rest of the trail ourselves, our little black film container will have already covered the whole distance!
So, here's the deal: it's like a relay! Each person who goes to find the box can carry it further along the trail as far as he or she wishes: a quarter mile, a mile, 5 miles, or whatever, as long as it's all done on foot! (No fair taking the box and driving it around to the next trailhead, although creating "shuttles" to hike through to the next road crossing and meet another car there would be heartily encouraged!) Anyway, after the box gets planted in its next temporary "camping spot", we will update the clues here so that the next searcher will know where to pick it up to carry it along on the next leg of its journey. Hopefully, no two groups will decide to do the same leg on the very same day, but to help that not happen, we'll be happy to keep a projected schedule here, as well as listing each hiker's completed walk, and where to find the box next. (Please feel free to take that piece of concrete along to cover the box, too!) Hope this works, and everyone gets a piece of the "cheese"!
Dec 25, 2006 Will's World
'Twas the day of Christmas
Along the Lone Star Trail
Not a creature was stirring
Not even a snail
Well, now that I say it
That's not quite right
'Cause me and my family
Made quite a sight
We sloshed and we stomped
Through the forest with care
Wondering where the end was
And when would we get there
It had rained the day before
And the day before that
The ground was soggy
And mom wore a hat
Lone Star Surprise,
It's journey begun,
Hitched a ride with us
To join in the fun
3 miles we went
Or maybe some more
At the end of our travels
We were quite sore
Soon the December sun
Down Texas way
Dipped below the horizon
To end a very good day.
The new location of Lone Star Surprise is at the trail head of the Little Lake Creek Wilderness section of the Lone Star Hiking Trail. The parking lot for that section is 2 miles south of the junction of FM 149 and FM 1791 on FS 211 (also called Bethel Rd). After you go through the hiker's gate at the trail head walk along the path for 12 steps toward a rise in the trail. Turn left and look for a large Loblolly Pine with two white metal trail markers attached to it 18 steps off the trail. The microbox is located between the pine and a smaller oak tree behind it. The small slab of concrete also made the journey and is proudly sitting on top of the box.
Jan 15, 2007 Catitude
The last we saw Lonestar Surprise
It was doing well
To tag along on the trail
Along we came
Me and Catitude
To leave it behind
Would have been rude
The day was cold
The day was wet
But when you are racing an arctic front
That is just what you get
We rambled on
Along the muddy track
Slipping and falling and knee twisting
Till mud covered my back
We finished the trip
Just before the rain
And parted company
With just a little knee pain
Lonestar Surprise is now near the North Wilderness Parking Lot located on FM 149, 9 miles north of the junction of FM 149 and TX 105 in Montgomery County. The parking lot is on the west side of the road. You will have to back track a little. From the trail head in the parking lot follow the trail for 125 feet. You will see a tree on the right with a trail marker on it. Look to the right of the trail and you will see an isolated burnt stump that stands about two and a half feet high. Lonestar Surprise is located at the base of the stump underneath the well traveled concrete slab. To send Lonestar Surprise on it's way, you will have to return to the parking lot and cross over FM 149 onto the Kelly section of the LSHT.
Aug 31, 2008 2Grls1Guy
Park at North Wilderness Lot. Carefully crossover FM 149. At trail sign travel approximately 150 steps until trail meets Forestry Access Road. Starting at the corner post count 100 steps to the right (trail splits left after 25 steps) underbrush is real thick. You will find a small log on the left side of the trail. The well traveled concrete slab is on top of the micro box behind log
Apr 4, 2009 2Grls1Guy
We have moved it again, this is a very long trail!! From 149 North, Montgomery, approximately 8 miles to Osburn Rd., turn right approximately 1 mile parking lot on the left. Hint: Facing the trail from the 7 parking poles. Walk 200 steps look for a small oak stump next to a large pine (you are in the middle of a pine forest). Microbox is covered by the well traveled concrete slab.
Jan 2, 2010
Directions to nearest LST Trail head: From I45 in New Waverly, go west on FM 1375 for about 9 miles to just past the sign for Montgomery County. Turn right on the dirt road, go about 100 yards and park near LST trail head.
Clues: From kiosk, walk south about 50 yards to LST jct. Go left (east) for about .7 mile to Lake Conroe. Turn left (north) and follow the trail for 210 steps to a 7 foot charred stump on the right. The microbox is behind under bark and leaves.
Happy New Year! Silver Eagle
Aug 14, 2010
New location of Lone Star Surprise:
From the intersection of I-45 and FM 1375 at New Waverly, drive west 9.5 miles to FS 215 (Forest Road 215). Watch for the sign directing you to Stubblefield Lake and Campground. Turn right and set your odometer to zero. At .6 miles, keep right on Stubblefield Lake Road. At 2.8 miles you'll come to Stubblefield Lake Campground, which is a National Forest Recreation Area. If you go into the campground, be aware that there is a day-use fee. Drive past the entrance to the campground and cross the bridge over the lake. Just across the bridge, at 3.1 miles, you'll see a sign on the left "Overflow Camping" and on the right a sign for the "Hiker Trail". Drive into the overflow camping area, which is also a parking area for the Lone Star Trail.
Park your car and walk back to the road and cross it to the sign for the hiker trail. There is a hikers gate, which is grown over but you can walk around it. Walk along the trail for 115 steps to a "Y" and follow the trail markers to the left. (You should familiarize yourself with the trail marker system before walking the trail). From the "Y" walk 150 steps to a 4 foot tall stump just off the trail to the right. The box is in the top of the stump covered with pieces of bark. Your mission is to move it on along the Lone Star Trail. This will require some planning. Here is a link to an excellent website with printable maps: Map
|Planter/Hiker||Minibox "campsite"||Distance from
|1. Wanda and Pete||2nd big pine on L, c. 30 steps from TH sign||0.05 mile||0.05 mile|
|2. Will's World||near trail head of the Little Lake Creek Wilderness section||30 steps||3 miles|
|3. Catitude||near North Wilderness Parking Lot on FM 149||125 feet||8.5 miles|
|4. 2Grls1Guy||near North Wilderness Parking Lot on FM 149||250 steps||8.6 miles|
|5. 2Grls1Guy||near Osborn Rd Parking Lot||200 steps||11.3 miles|
|6. Silver Eagle||near Lake Conroe||.8 mile||16.6 miles|
|7. Boots Tex||near Stubblefield Lake Rd||265 steps||20.3 miles|
|289-290. "MEN OF WINTER" BITE THE DUST IN TEXAS!||Two men carved by T2 of MA and left along a trail in a forest named for David Stern Crockett.|
Well, as we were getting ready for our last letterboxing trips out west in the late winter of early 2009, we asked the Travelers 4 of MA if they had anything carved up that they'd like for us to take out there with us. Turns out that T2 had a couple of fellows who were done tired of hanging 'round the Christmas tree in several feet of snow and the single digit temperatures of New England, so they graciously got "volunteered" to accompany us on our western journeys. Since they weren't quite prepared for our short jaunt through CalNevAri, though, it looked like they'd be joining us in Texas instead!
Actually, we weren't sure that Texas would be the best type of adventure on which to be taking these "men of winter" either. After all, we were planning mostly on hiking, NOT the "4 Seasons Trail", but the "4C Trail": a flat, hot, 20 miler in a different type of piney woods from what these guys were used to back in New England, and with a very limited "season" indeed! From November to January the trail and forest apparently gets overrun with "hunters" quite unlike the ones these guys usually expected, and for much of the rest of the year, it would probably be just too hot for guys like these accustomed to colder weather!
These, however, were "men on a mission", so they decided to march out with us during our "small window of late winter opportunity" to the site of the first "Mission Tejas" established in 1680 along "El Camino Real de Tejas". They seriously considered stopping there for a while by the old wagon ruts which supposedly marked the only place left in over a thousand miles where they could walk in those particular "actual footsteps of history", but apparently several other folks had recently had the same idea, so, not wanting to cause overcrowding in the big state of Texas, they decided to move along a bit further with us in search of quieter quarters.
So, after a quick peek at the "3C" baths and an old pepper tree that surprisingly contained some extra provisions, we headed down the road a short distance east, then south, then east again to finally hit the trailhead for the "4C" trail at its northern end near Neches Overlook. Making one last pit stop and checking for any tidbits that might be left hidden in the eaves, the men of winter followed us and the harvester ants along the scorched path south, finding but little evidence of former planting or habitation among the blackened tree trunks.
Onward we trod for several miles, first overlooking the river then following along under power lines, crossing a road with a subsequent horseshoe crab-shaped pond, another road with pond shortly thereafter, and numerous boardwalk bridges. By now the first man literally felt like he was "melting", and by the time we crossed the third road, he simply could not contain himself further! Off he dashed down the trail to plunge into the next available mudhole pond on the right, and quickly disappeared into the dank, dark waters! Not a trace of him could be found, so, in the end, all we could do was leave a memento of what he used to look like in a slender three foot stump on the left side of the trail about 46 steps south of mile marker 15 just south of the nearby bridge. There were actually a couple of violets blooming atop this natural pedestal at the time we placed his image there to rest, and we hope that they might still be blooming there in his memory for many springs to come!
We continued south along the trail then with just the second man, who soon began moaning that he was getting "burnt to a crisp"! It was just a few more miles to shelter, so we thought he might be OK if we could just get him there and give him some omega-3s at the nearby creek. When we got there, however, after following the dry, snaking creek bed for quite awhile, we found the ground around it all torn up with diced up trees and no water in immediate sight, and we guess this second man must have just panicked or gone nuts, too, because he went tearing down the trail towards the bridge to the south, shouting "catch me if you can!", then crumbled to the ground just 46 steps before he got to the stream crossing! More in view of his fear of getting burnt rather than crumbling away from dehydration, we tucked a memento for him into the top of a thin 2 foot tall natural pedestal just a few feet left of the trail, similar to that of his friend back at the pond, but with a crumbly ginger-colored rock at the top in lieu of the blooming violets.
Anyway, that's the story of these two "men of winter" from MA who hit the dusty trail in Texas! They may have barely made it half way along the trail, but they did fulfill their mission: to leave a little piece of themselves behind for others to find on what might otherwise be a rather long and lonely journey! We would love to hear from anyone who might chose to follow in their footsteps, whether they hike the whole trail or even just a short segment. And we would especially love it if some folks would plant more boxes on the southern part of the trail to lure us back again in a few years to finish up the rest of the trail ourselves!
|291. DOLPHIN BONUS||Just a little something extra for those who look in the right place.|
We found this Dolphin stamp left by someone at the Old Pepper Tree as a bonus for the next finders. Not knowing quite what to do with it, we decided to leave it as an extra provision for the "The Men of Winter" as they started out their trek at mile marker 20 on the "4 C" trail. We figured that this spot, near the pit stop, would not be as subject to "prescribed burns" as some of the other areas nearby. So, if you care to find an extra stamp, just look up in the eaves nearest the path to see if the Dolphin still lurks there!
|528. Brrr Rabbit South||A vey short hop to this CCCCold Snowbunny on the Four C Trail in Weches, TX!|
Because we've somehow managed to spend a good part of the last couple of winters in
warmer climes, people have started to ask us if we've become "snowbirds". "No", I
always reply, "we're still snowbunnies, who enjoy our winter hikes, X-C ski trips and
such, just not quite so MUCH of that cold weather as when we were younger." Well,
wouldn't you know, the cold weather seems to be following us wherever we go anyway!
In the early winter of 2014, we headed down to Florida twice with ice storms nipping
at our tails each time, and sub-freezing temperatures just about every night we
camped along the Florida Trail! Then by the time we finally thought we were in the
clear with warm temps after our Caribbean cruises, wouldn't you know that temps in
Texas dropped from the high 70's to the low 20's in a single day just as soon as we
got back there!
Anyway, we'd hiked the northern half of the Four C Trail from Weches to Walnut Creek after TALE 6, so we were pretty determined to hike the southern half down to Ratcliff Lake after TALE 11, even if in the freezing rain! The following morning after finishing our hike and camping, however, we were so cold (22* with a wicked windchill!), that we didn't even feel like going to check on the boxes we had planted last time through, as we'd originally planned to do (figuring they'd probably gone missing by now anyway), and could barely manage to drive back out to the northern trailhead and hike just a little ways back down the trail to plant a stamp we just happened to have with us that seemed very appropriate for the occasion: a stamp I'd carved around Christmas time of a very long-eared "snowbunny" with a scarf around her neck!
So, to find this little snow bunny, simply find the northern terminus of the Four C Trail, which is near Neches Bluff Overlook, about 8 miles west of Alto, TX on Hwy 21, then .6m south on FS 511, and then .4m east on the Neches Bluff spur road. From the kiosk there on the right, proceed south on the white-blazed trail a scant tenth of a mile to near the edge of the bluff where the trail curves right. At this point, there should be a small tree with a white blaze on each side of it immediately off trail on your left and a log with two silver nails in it immediately off trail right. To the left of the silver nails, the log sports a long-eared "rabbit hole", and in the right side of the "rabbit hole", nestled under leaves, is a small (less than 2 inches long) gray rabbit-ear shaped stone. Turn it over to reveal that silly scarfed snow bunny perhaps still shivering from that CCCCold day in Texas!!!!
|585. Picnic Penguin Rounds the Bend!||One more of the Wrubel family birds from Dudley, MA that did a marathon all the way to Marathon, TX!|
No, this bird wasn't ready to hop out with the others we left behind in Boydton, VA towards the beginning of our most recent trip south. This was a penguin on a "Marathon Mission": Big Bend or Bust!!! So, we took him out with us across Texas and let him off at the last official picnic spot before reaching that particular national park - the last one of all the big mainland parks that we had left to visit as well! This roadside picnic area was on the west side of highway 385 just a few miles south of Marathon, and there we left him tucked in his little tiny pouch under the west side of the south-most rock, or at least that's what we seem to rememberů hope he's still there if anyone else comes around the bend to visit!
BEFORE YOU SET OUT, PLEASE READ THE
WAIVER OF RESPONSIBILITY AND DISCLAIMER.
You can find information about this hobby at Letterboxing North America (LbNA)
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