Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Letterboxing: Round 2

Earlier this summer, my friend Kate and I figured out that we both often had time on Friday afternoons for some local adventures. Our schedules finally aligned last week, and we decided to visit a nearby park for more letterboxing!

A refresher on letterboxing per Atlas Quest, a resource on the activity:
Letterboxing is an intriguing pastime combining artistic ability with delightful "treasure-hunts" in beautiful, scenic places that the whole family can enjoy. Participants seek out hidden letterboxes by following clues, and then record their discovery in their personal journal with the help of a rubber stamp that's part of the letterbox.
Kate introduced me to letterboxing last summer at Thompson County Park in West St. Paul, and this year she suggested a site that turned out to be practically adjacent to that park: Kaposia Park in South St. Paul, across a bridge from Thompson County Park.

I had it in my head that we were going to the same park as last year and got confused when the directions led me to a parking lot that I didn't recognize at all. I was googling search terms and actually figured out the difference when my own blog post recap from last year popped up in the search results to assist. (That was kind of strange!) At that moment, Kate also arrived and we got started.

Well, I'm leaving out some information. Kate arrived, yes, but our expedition was a group of three this year! Kate's family started letterboxing together when she was in high school, and I was thrilled to be part of her baby's first letterboxing adventure.

Last time we did this, we participated in what's called a series: a group of letterboxes connected to each other and in order. This time we decided to just find a few individual boxes. One got the best of us, so we switched gears and started down a long descent in search of another letterbox.

It truly was that green all over the park...

...with the exception of lots of blackberries:

One wonderful part of letterboxing is tromping (respectfully) through the woods, using everything from paved paths to deer trails to fallen trees as guides. Near the woods pictured above, we found a letterbox named "Night Fliers" that had been visited by another group just the day before. (The name corresponds to the hand-carved stamp that's in the little box you're trying to find.)

Here is the "Night Fliers" clue:
"Park in the lot of Kaposia Park. Cross the bridge to Thompson County Park. Shortly after the bridge, you will see two wide dirt paths that branch off from the paved path. Take the one on the right. The path will curve to the right and you will see cut limbs on the right side of the path. Just before the path curves to the left, stop. Look into the woods on the left. Take 17 steps to the fallen tree with an upright stump in the woods. Look at the base of the fallen tree and stump (under the trunk). You will find these night fliers under bark and leaves."
The bridge to Thompson County Park:

Everything I remember about last summer's letterboxing held true again this year: the fun activity to do with friends and family, the reason to visit a new local park, the neat challenge of observing and interacting with your surroundings closely enough to find the letterbox, and the great care the letterboxing community invests in this quiet hobby. I hope the second half of 2014 includes at least one more letterboxing adventure.

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