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Saturday, July 5, 2008

Letterboxing

My friend Crispy introduced us to letterboxing via her blog. I've explained what it is soooo many times over the past few days, but somehow it always sounds way more lame than it is :-).

The general gist goes like this...

(and I borrowed this straight from Atlas Quest because they word it WAY better than I do)

Letterboxing is an intriguing pastime combining artistic ability with "treasure-hunts" in parks, forests, and cities around the world. Participants seek out hidden letterboxes by cracking codes and following clues. The prize: a miniature piece of art known as a rubber stamp—usually unique, hand-carved creations.

Letterboxers stamp their discoveries in a personal journal, then use their own rubber stamp, called a signature stamp, by stamping it into the logbook found with the letterbox, perhaps writing a note about the weather or their adventures in finding the letterbox.

You go to either this web site or this one to search for letterboxes that have been hidden for you to find. They are search-able by location. Then you print out the clues and go to that location and try to find the letterbox. Someone in the small town we traveled to in NY has been very busy and has hidden many (maybe 15) in that town alone. While my intention had been to do this with the kids, on Sunday night the oldest of my two boy cousins, my mom, my brother and his fiance, my husband and I all sneaked out for ice cream. Since I knew there was a letterbox hidden there (and since I didn't want to go back the next day and fork out the money for ice cream all around-it was one of those expensive places) we adults decided to find it. The gang had so much fun, they wanted to go across the street and try our luck at the cemetery where another one was hidden. By then, the other adults and my cousin were hooked too.

The next day, my Uncle, his wife, my mom, my other cousin, and our clan went letterboxing down a hiking trail. The trail was 7 miles long, and needless to say we did not do the whole thing. In fact, two loose, scary looking dogs ended our quest for the 3rd of the 7 boxes, so we got in the car and drove closer to the 4th one (which we found) and then called it quits as it was lunch time and a storm was rolling in.

Later that afternoon, just my family went in search of a few more boxes, finding one at a local flea market which is only open on Saturday (it was MONDAY). We had been to the market, but forgotten to look on Saturday, so it was a bit clandestine, and made my husband squirrel-y (he hates even the smallest suggestion of impropriety or illegal activity). We found it though, and only encountered one other living soul-a man there to fill fuel tanks. We took some "tourist" pics as a cover, LOL.

Here are some pictures:

Intreped letterboxers...and a dawdling Sari

Maybe she'll walk a little faster if we hold her hand? Maybe? Or not!
Letterboxing at the very-much-not-open market. Since this area is a big Amish/Mennonite area, taking the buggy picture seemed fitting...and a good cover for our activities.

I have to say that the person who made and hid these stamps did a great job,. They are very original and intricate and really were a treasure to find.

So get out there and give it a try. Become a tourist in your own town or while you travel and have fun!

obm
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5 comments:

Steph said...

Got it. Kinda like my wanting to find all the quilt barns!
Cool.

SJS said...

It was lots of fun to tag along on a couple letterboxing adventures - thanks!

Emily said...

That really sounds like fun. I'm glad I didn't know about it before our trip to AZ though. It would have been one more thing that I would have to feel guilty about not doing while we were there.

Tiffany said...

I really do want to start this, I'll have to see if there are any on that island we are going to in Wisconsin. That would be a fun start.

Randi Sue said...

Sounds fun. How many did you find?