Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What is letterboxing you say?

This post will be very long because it's the first one! I am sorry for anyone that reads this from AQ as this is basically mostly explaining what letterboxing is to anyone that might happen across my blog that isn't a letterboxer.

To me, letterboxing is a fantastic hobby. You go to and/or, enter the location you wish to "box" in, and then print off the clues. BUT first you must have a ink pad, writing utensil, compass (sometimes), signature stamp and a personal logbook before you can set out. A lot of people carve their stamps and make their logbooks. I bought a stamp and just a fancy little notebook for my first logbook (which I have filled up, and now have a nicer journal). The clue will take you to a container of some sort that is usually well hidden. The most popular container is lock & lock and knock off versions of them (which I use with no problems). Other people use rubbermaid containers or even camo taped zip lock bags. Anyway once you have your "a ha" moment and find the letterbox, inside there will be a stamp and a logbook. DO NOT TAKE THESE FROM THE BOX! You are going to stamp your signature stamp into the logbook that is in the letterbox and then you are going to use their stamp to stamp your logbook. Most people also write their handle (that you create on the two websites, the date, and where they are from in the logbook). Then you put everything back the way you found it. Some people carry washable markers with them instead of ink pads. It's a good idea when you find a really cool stamp that you don't want all one color. Sometimes there will be something extra in the letterbox. A hitchhiker is a sort of letterbox that is planted inside another letterbox. If you find one of those, you log it in your book, take it with you and plant it in another letterbox. Be sure to log your finds on the websites. The hitchhikers can usually be logged as well. Sometimes you might find a clue for a bonus box in the letterbox! For more information on the details please refer to the websites.

I first learned of letterboxing in July of 2007. The church I attend once in awhile held an "Amazing Race". Part of the race was finding letterboxes. Unfortunately for my team, we only found one because we got a late start. DO NOT GO LETTERBOXING IN THE DARK! Once I got back from the race, I went to the website that was included in our race packet. Letterboxing sounded really interesting to me. I found my area on the map only to discover Northern Michigan really didn't have too many boxes. I found about 7 or so in 2007 and then probably the same in 2008. One of the clues listed on LbNA (that's the site), took me to a clue that was listed on Atlas Quest! What is this strange place? There was a bunch of "stuff" on that website. It really didn't hold much interest to me at the time. I created an account there however and logged my finds. In the spring of 2009, I told my cousin, koalacat, about letterboxing. She thought it sounded cool because she had always wanted to try geocaching (which is very similar but more costly). She came up and I took her boxin! She loved it and she quickly made accounts on LbNA and AQ. She got involved with AQ more than I did and was brave enough to attend an event! I haven't worked up the courage for that yet.
I've had some interesting experiences with letterboxing. Some of them scary, some of them funny, some of them infuriating (like not finding a box or taking things too personally on the message boards at AQ). So far I've found 150 some boxes. That's not a lot but considering where I live, I'll take it.
Besides koalacat, I have met MI Girl from the SITE Sleuths, which I just did on this past Tuesday! I am not the most outgoing person on the planet, so it will probably be awhile before I meet that many people.
Oh and yes I love Atlas Quest now that I've gotten used to it. The community is pretty cool. I still like both sites though. Most people have a preference.

Well that's all I am going to spit out today.
~Ezmerelda aka Carrie

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