This week, I’ve been taking my kids letterboxing.
We go to a letterboxing site(either LBNA or Atlas Quest), choose a letterbox, then follow the clues. When we find the letterbox, we stamp our letterbox journal with the stamp we find there and stamp the book we find with our stamp.
It’s similar to geocaching, but without a gps.
Even as a grown-up, I get a bit of a tingle when we uncover the prize.
One of the clues we followed yesterday was this one:
To find this place, travel north with Hiawatha’s grandmother. She will bring you close to the spot. For the first part of the trip, the grandmother will become one with the number equal to the age of the oldest person Jerry Rubin trusted. On the north side of town, she will decide not to head toward the east, and she will become the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything. Make the change with her, and right away you will find yourself to the west of a Holiday. On the right side of the road will be a brown sign pointing you to your destination. Leave the Grandmother to travel north without you, and follow the directions on this sign. You want to find the place where the City lets you Park (at least from 8 am to 9:30 pm). If you avoid the Dead Ends, you will find a parking lot. Leave your vehicle, and walk toward the water. If you turn toward the place where Henry meets Agnes, you will walk past the swimming area, and come to the numbers in triangles. Just past the 7s, 8s, and 10s, you will reach your destination, and find the place where Close only Counts. In the middle of this place, there will be a two-trunked tree. Standing with your back to this tree, and facing the lake, you will see three trees at the shoreline. Walk to these trees, and look under the leaves, under one of the roots sticking out of the ground near the right-hand tree. That is where you will find the letterbox.
Unfortunately, the letterbox had been stolen, and a wasp nest left in its place. I’d never actually been attacked by wasps before.
We found a different letterbox hidden behind a loose stone surrounding a fire pit in a public park. Another was buried at the base of a tree a mile around a lake at a nature center near my house. A third was hidden in a hollow tree stump near a major intersection near my house.
Each one has been a different adventure, and each one has made my kids smile. Even the “I hate everything” 12 year old gets into it. The 4 and 5 year olds are asking if we can plant a letterbox.
To get started, you need a notebook to record your adventures, a $2 ink pad, and a slightly unique rubber stamp. That way, you can record your findings both in the letterbox and in the notebook you bring home.
For less than $10, you can get started, make some memories, and get some exercise.
Have you ever tried letterboxing or geocaching?