Letterboxing as a Means of Exploration
We took our annual Columbus Day weekend trip to the Catskills this past weekend and since my mobility is more limited these days (I have plantar fasciitis – very painful inflammation of a tendon in the bottom of my foot which has kept me off my feet a bit) I went to the North American Letterboxing website to look up area boxes we could search for without too much hiking. The result is that we discovered some new places, one of which turned out to be the most beautiful walk I’ve ever taken on the east coast… and I’m pretty sure we never would have discovered this incredible mountain meadow if we hadn’t been in search of a letterbox. When we started letterboxing a few years ago, I hadn’t considered this aspect of it – all the new places it would take you, or new features of places you already knew, but hadn’t discovered.
If you’re not at all familiar with letterboxing, it’s much like geocaching, but without the GPS. See the Letterboxing website for a full description (www.letterboxing.org), but the basic idea is finding clues (usually online, and there are many, many websites devoted toletterboxing) and searching out the box(es). The boxes contain a log book of some sort, and a rubber stamp (with or without ink pad) usually hand-carved and unique to the box. Carry around your own stamp (pre-made or hand-made), ink pad and journal/log book for recording the boxes you find. That’s pretty much it!
As I might have mentioned (once or twice) I love creating lists, so tallying up our box finds is always satisfying. But the real rewards are the intangibles… spending time outside with my family, and finding new places to treasure and re-visit.