Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Letterboxing in the USA

Again, I'm way late to the party on this one but in this case it's really a better late than never! Have you ever heard of Letterboxing? It's a super fun secret outdoor activity that takes you to neat places where you learn a little bit of history and/or geography while following clues in a little treasure hunt.

Here's the gist - Go the Letterboxing website to get started and you can peruse the clues in your home state or anywhere in North America that you might be visiting. People have hidden little waterproof containers or ziploc bags and will leave you clues how to find them. They are well hidden and most likely not be found unless you have the clues and are looking for them! The contents of the boxes you find will contain a rubber stamp and a log book.

What you will need to get started:
  • a team name that you will use to sign others' log books - Kayla dubbed ours the Irish Rovers - love it!
  • a rubber stamp of your own - the more interesting and impt to you, the better

  • your own letterboxing log book to collect your stamps and keep track of where you have been

A few other things you may want to bring along with you
  • water (some of these can be quite a hike through trails/parks etc)
  • good footwear
  • bug spray (we almost got eaten alive on one trip by mosquitoes)

  • a pen

A few notes about the stamps - some people really get into this!!! We rushed out to get started and Staples offered very little by way of fun stamps to use. It was either PAID or a smiley face. We chose the smiley face, he's cute but quite generic and not nearly special enough for the Irish Rovers ;) This Irish Claddagh is on the way to us!
So while we are on vacation in Williamsburg, Va we decided to see if any were hidden close by and lo and behold there are! We made a visit over to a local state park with lots of hiking paths and some great clues and instructions to find 3 hidden letterboxes!

It is so hot here, I was a little nervous to start our trek, but the kids were really excited to go and it was surprisingly much cooler along the heavily wooded paths of this park!

The boxes should be well hidden, like this.... see you would never know unless you were looking!

After removing some leaves and sticks we discover we are in the right place!

Jackpot!We stamp our book first with their enclosed stamp which is a frog, we mark the date and sign our names along with the town and state we found it in

Next we stamp their book with our stamp and sign our names

We found 2 more boxes (all hidden by the same team) which took us full circle through the park with a short walk back to our car in the parking lot

We had a great time searching, stamping, and logging in the books

Be sure to reseal everything tightly and put the box back where you found it, be secretive and make sure nobody else in the park sees you! Conceal the box well so only others looking for it will find it :)

Upon returning home, you can log in your "status" of the letterboxes you found or attempted. It's actually a good idea to check the latest stats on the box your are heading out to search for prior, some go missing and you may end up on a wild goose chase.

It's very easy to create your own letterbox and submit clues through their database. I can't wait to get home and hide some boxes of our own for others to find! It will be fun to check the log from time to time and see how many travelling letterboxers have discovered ours!

Definitely try this!!!!!!! xo, Brie


Seersucker Scrapper said...

Wow! That sounds like a lot of fun.

Kathi D said...

I'm even later than you, because this is new to me. Fascinating!

Kate said...

How fun!! A real life treasure hunt :)