Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Yule Log Gathering Pics

I did manage to snap a few pictures between fending off the cooties.

Thanks to Mamaroots for setting up a time designed for chatting and log browsing (snicker).

Click HERE to see more pictures.

Best wishes for the new year!


Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Mid-MO Winter Gathering Date

Hello all. I hope you're all coming through this holiday season in fine shape, minus the cooties plague that has hit all us poor souls who attended the excellent Yule Log Gathering.

I'm pleased to announce the date is indeed set for the 2007 winter gathering for February 3rd 10 AM to 4 PM (flexible) at the Columboia public library in the 'Friends Room'.

This event is a potluck, so please bring a dish, but please be aware that there will be some folks attending who have serious allergies to nuts. So please, NO NUT items.

I believe all those who have found boxes connected to C2B2's contest of 'Now You See It, Now You Don't' will be voting on their favorite entries.

Another contest is also currently running regarding 'Fvaorite Games' LBs. Just below you'll find a full description of it, but in brief, create a LB based on one of your favorite games. Bring the box and the game to the gathering on the 3rd. Attendees can earn the right to stamp in to your box by playing the game (just enough to get a good feel for it). After the gathering everyone takes their FG LBs and plants them as usual. Near the end of the gtahering we'll take a vote to see which FG LB is considered the favorite and the winner will walk away with a fabulous prize.


Saturday, December 23, 2006

Did You Catch Any Cooties?

Did You Catch Any Cooties?
Thanks to MamaRoots for hosting what turned out to be yet another fine Letterbox Gathering. Her idea of sharing Yule Logs (i.e. logbooks) in an informal social setting sparked the sharing not just of many stories and tales of letterbox adventures (thanks everyone), but also a few other surprises. While gathered around the couches and coffee tables of the Cherry Street Artisan, we were also treated to chocolates (thanks Mama Roots), baked goods (thanks, Grace to You), holiday stamps (thanks Mama Roots, Surly Mama, Ahistory and One Mean Green Bean), and sharing of personal travelers (names not revealed to protect the, um, innocent?)

Of courses, winter is also often the season of sharing colds and flus and other such diseases, and this Gathering was no exception. The disease that escaped into the letterboxing community, however, was neither germ-based nor a virus. Instead, it was an influx of cooties. Yes, cooties. No, this is not the kind of cootie you were warned about in junior high. Instead, cooties are a fairly new form of traveling letterbox.

Unlike hitchhikers, which are moved from from letterbox to letterbox, cooties travel from person to person, often by being left by the infected person in an open backpack or coat pocket of an unsuspecting victim, er, healthy person who only later discovers that he or she has been infected. At least 14 strains of cooties are currently floating about Mid-Missouri, and at least of dozen of them were present at the gathering. I have it on good authority that EVERY PERSON OR TEAM WITH A TRAIL NAME WAS INFECTED AT LEAST ONCE. Several people who discovered they were infected managed to pass along the outbreak before the end of the evening, only to find that in some cases, they had quickly become re-infected. If you don't think you were infected, check your pockets, bags and backpacks. You may find something that you did not expect.
How do you know if you were infected? Like regualar letterboxes, cooties usually possess both a stamp and a logbook, though some varieties are stamp-only. Most are clearly marked "Cootie" in some fashion. Cooties can come in all shapes or sizes. Most are generally small (perhaps an evolutionary advantage to be able to infect someone quickly and without detection). Unlike regular letterboxes and hitchhikerswhich must survive rain, snow, and cold, many cooties are not waterproof due to their tendency to seek more protected niches (i.e. indoor settings). Some varieties have developed special features, such as carabiners and clips, to more easily infect an unsuspecting victim, or have developed outer shells that looks like ordinary household objects--perhaps to be able to blend in better). Some varieits are actually megacooties, and may actually be larger than some regular letterboxes and hitchhikers.
What do you do when you find a cootie?
Like any letterbox, stamp the cootie stamp into your personal logbook. Since cooties tend to be small, it is customary to leave a thumb doodle in the cootie logbook instead of your signature stamp, especially if your signature stamp is too large for the logbook (though feel free to leave both). Leave a brief note with your trailname and hometown then carefully sneak the cootie onto the next letterboxer you meet. Please contact the placer to update them on the status of the cootie so that the Letterboxing Center for Disease Control can monitor any epidemics. If a personal e-mail address is not listed, you may search the travelers's page on and look up the "Other" category. The site also lists cooties.

Lastly, be aware that cooties, like any form of Letterboxing, can be highly contagious. The Letterboxing Surgeon General warns that frequently attending Gatherings may be detrimental to your health. Also, although ink stains on the thumb may be an indication that a person is infected, there are many strains of cooties for which a person carrying the disease may show no visible symptoms.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Favorite Games LB Contest

Before C2B2 departed on their epic adventure, they left the Mid-MO LB community a challenge. The entries I have had the pleasure of finding have been absolutely fabulous. If I’m not mistaken, the winner of this contest will be announced at the up-coming Winter Gathering.

I’m throwing out another contest to this fabulous community. It will not only generate more boxes, but also tap into one of my favorite aspects of LB which is being introduced to new things, in this instance, games.

Create a LB based on one of your favorite table games and bring not only the LB, but also the game (here’s the catch). At the gathering (date still yet to be determined as of this writting), everyone must earn the right to stamp in. How do you ‘earn’ the right? Simple…gotta play the game. Of course we don’t intend to play for hours and hours as some games can, but rather a few short minutes or long enough to get a good taste of the game. After the stamping/gaming has concluded, we’ll take a vote and the winner will receive a fabulous prize (as always, don’t think new car fabulous).

Duplicate FG (Favorite Games) LBs are fine as each person will make it with their own artistic flair.

To help spark the game themed boxes, take a look at the picture. There are at least 14 games here. Can you name all 14? Anyone who e-mails me with at least 10 gets a prize. Bonus points for all 14. Think now.


Friday, December 15, 2006

Mid-MO Winter Gathering

Greetings all. It appears there is going to be a grand crowd at the Artisan on the 22nd...and lots of surprises!

I'm looking ahead and wanted to throw out a date of February 3rd (Saturday) for the Winter Gathering.

We'll celebrate the return of C2B2 and a few milestones. Potluck of course (wouldn't pass up an opportunity for a Mid-MO feast!). Lots of browsing logbooks, sharing of stories and certainly a few surprises. It should help get us through the winter and eager for spring.

Fox-Fyr has done a bit of leg work and has a big room at the Columbia Library reserved for us, I believe from 10-4, though we might not use it the whole time.

After I get some confirmations on the date I will set it in stone and let everyone know for sure.

See you on the 22nd.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

reminder for yule logs and some retiring boxes

Just a reminder for a very informal gathering next week at the Artisan in Columbia on Friday Dec 22 at 7:00 for some chai, or other libation of choice (I heard the chocolate martini's are pretty good!) and to share of the logs! My sons will be snoozing in their beds hopefully so this mama will be solo and hope some LB folks come by! No secret passwords needed, just look for the carving tool injured or inky fingers. Of course there is also that certain look in an LB'ers eyes, some say it is from being around the plastic tupperware too long- the PVC toxins eeking into our system, or maybe just the countless hours solving decryptions, or maybe justing thinking up fun and clever ways to send other folks out in the woods in search of the sacred lock n lock! Either way if you are new to the group I think you will find us! Remember to do some research on personal travelers- maybe there will be some LB action to boot!

Also I wanted to remind folks that I am retiring my 3 boxes for the "now you see it now you don't challenge" - Use Your Noodle, and Nancy will officially retire by 4:00 on Thursday Dec 21- maybe they will travel a bit, maybe not, that is left to be seen, but if you want to get these boxes before they are gone- time is ticking . . . tick . . .tick


Thursday, December 07, 2006

Just a reminder

I know there is still some snow on the ground which may deter many a Mid-Mo letterboxer, but in case cabin fever has struck you hard and you are planning to get out and try and find a box or two this weekend, please keep this in mind.

A half-dozen state parks will be closed this weekend for special deer hunts. Locally I know Rock Bridge and Three Creeks will be closed, but there may be others I missed. So, if you plan on doing some non-deer hunting this weekend, be sure and double check before heading out.


Saturday, December 02, 2006

A Rockstar in our Midst!

As those of you who attended the fantastic fall arts and crafts gathering may recall, I posed a slight challenge - mostly in jest - to two of our fellow letterboxers. That challenge was simply to locate a box, which had been planted in a park, with no clues. Though I told them which park the box had been planted in, I told them no more. I'm happy to report that, though I had my doubts, this feat has been accomplished! The box was found -sans clues- by a 'rockstar' fact, an entire family of rockstar letterboxers! A great big pat on the back and a very loud "rock on!" goes out to GraceToYou for doing the impossible!

The origin of this strange challenge came on an early fall day that found me out strolling through a small neighborhood park looking for the perfect place to plant a box of my own. When I thought I had spotted the ideal location, I moved some debris and found - much to my surprise- a letterbox already inhabiting the spot! It was an unposted box planted by none other than GraceToYou! Word spread that I had literally stumbled upon an unposted box and Foxfyr began a quest to find this most mysterious of mystery boxes. When I heard that she too found the box without clues, I was astounded by her extreme dedication and incredible sleuthiness (we'll just pretend thats a word)! Now I know that we've got world-class letterboxers around these parts, but letterboxers who can find boxes even without clues? Wow!
I wanted to see if this incredible feat could be done again, so I planted a box and withheld the clues. At the fall gathering, I slipped a piece of paper with the name of a park written on it to Foxfyr and GraceToYou. With nothing more to go on than a few irritatingly ambiguous answers to their questions, they were off!

I'm happy to report that GraceToYou deserves a hot chocolate - because thats what rockstars drink!

Winter Letterboxing

Ten hours of shoveling snow (oh my aching back) just to clear a path wide enough for my car to get out of the driveway, (it's a long driveway), and I got the car stuck three times, and had to get out a rear passenger side window because the doors were either frozen shut (as was thedriver's side window) or blocked by thesnow bank I drove it into, and I still can't go anywhere because my CR-V rides too low to clear the fiften inches of snow in the road. The snowplow is just now coming through at 5 p.m. on Saturday so maybe the adventures of the last two days will not be repeated tomorrow. Still, I learned some valuable lessons.

Lesson One: When snow is in the forecast, park the car closer to the mailbox rather than closer to the house
Lesson Two: Don't assume your car will back straight backwards just because you want it to.
Lesson Three: Keep the snow shovel in the vehicle so you don't have to hike back for it each time you get stuck
Lesson Four: Always time your road blockages at about the same time your neighbors are returning home so that they had help dig out your car and push it back in your driveway
Lesson Five: Stay at home and carve stamps and make logbooks anddecrypt clues. It's much safer than trying to go out and get to work.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Mid Missouri Letterboxers

Missouri Forestkeepers Network

I was reading the December issue of Rural Missouri yesterday when I came across an advertisement for the Missouri Forestkeepers Network. It's a program where individuals/groups/families volunteer to be responsible for checking on the condition of trees in an area of their choosing, and then report their findings to the network just once a year (or more often if desired). Sounds like a great service to combine with letterboxing! Here's the link:

Grace to You

Monday, November 20, 2006

Un boxing in London

I've been waiting to send you a note about letterboxing in London until I actually found a box. But it hasn't happened.

Another "box" always gets there first.

Letterboxing and geocaching are for all intents and purposes dead in London. The problem started with terrorist bombers who liked to hide small plastic packages in discreet places. But the ax fell with the mass installation of crime-fighting CCTV.

London is blanketed with closed circuit television cameras. They are on street corners, buildings, in parks and in hallways. A recent newspaper story said that the average person is captured on CCTV in London once every five minutes daily. You can read more about the phenomenon at, a site where my student papers are housed.

To be fair, not all of the cameras have someone on the other end watching. Most just record the scene and are checked when an incident is reported. But many can be remotely turned and zoomed and are equipped with a loudspeaker from which police constable's voice booms warnings. No one can prove they actually prevent crime, but they know they help catch those who are trying to get away. Including letterboxers.

We even tried one box we thought would never have a CCTV camera. It was located on the grounds of St. Augustine's Anglo-Catholic Church. I'm not sure whether he had a camera or a tip from a higher source, but within minutes of our entering the churchyard a vicar was at our side.

We've made some great excursions, though. We found an empty container near an East London bridge that was supposed to be a site. And poked around under a fence next to a pub nearly 500 years old. No stamps in the book, however.

Our only success was in Prague, where we found one box high on a hilltop across from the castle. I doubt it will survive, however. The only residence on that hilltop is the president's house and we were greeted on the trail out by a friendly soldier -- carrying a machine gun.

British letterboxing thrives only in the rough and wild moors. Dartmoor is famous, but the Yorkshire moors are coming on strong. But you have to plan a day-long train trip from London and then another day of trekking through the heath.

Moors make great holiday excursions, but forget about urban letterboxing.

To be sure, I have changed my mind about hiding boxes in the city. I think special care must be taken to assure people that a letterbox is not a precursor to violence. All it will take is one nut who plants a bomb disguised as a letterbox and the sport will be over.

And look around. CCTV cameras are looking at you all over Columbia now.

So what do you think? Should letterboxes be restricted to the great outdoors?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Mid Missouri Letterboxers

Letterboxing with Aloha

We had the pleasure of letterboxing last week on the island of Oahu...thanks to the ‘boxers who planted their treasures for us, we got to see some of the natural treasures of this island that we would surely have missed otherwise. We found 5 boxes and a hitchhiker, with only two unsuccessful attempts; the ones we didn’t find were hidden in a rainforest with a 150-foot waterfall at the end of an hour and a half hike…incredibly worth the attempt! Visit our flickr account to see pictures of our adventures:

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Fall Gathering Wrap Up

Here's a little information to go with Lnd Crzr's pictures.

The Mid MO Letterboxers are crafting a tradition of well-attended, activity-packed events. About 31 folks turned out for our Fall Gathering on Nov. 4. During the flurry of stamp exchanging, LBers reconnected with "old timers" and put faces to trail names of newer members. We even had guest LBers from Kansas City and St. Louis to enliven the event.

After the exchange, the group broke into two smaller groups, and Lnd Crzr led a workshop on his signature logbooks, while Foxfyr gave a workshop on her tricky piano-hinge logbooks.

All the enthusiasm and craft activities of the morning worked up a mighty appetite in the group, so the potluck lunch was set out and folks set to it. What a feast! Soup, chili, wasabi-devilled eggs, Ahistory's marvelous morels, pies, oh my! and much more. Everything was delicious, no one could have walked away hungry.

We let our lunch digest a bit by enjoying the show and tell of letterbox memorabilia brought by some members. Young LBer Jaws proudly shared the contents of his mystery package, left on his doorstep by pirates - or was it Lnd Crzr?

In the afternoon there was just time for a workshop on aging paper, again led by Lnd Crzr. To our amazement, the day had slipped away, so folks made their goodbyes, already looking forward to the midwinter gathering. The LBers from the "far sides" of the state took advantage of the remaining daylight to hunt for some boxes, accompanied by some of the local group.

What a fantastic event - here's to many more!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Mid-MO Fall Arts & Crafts Gathering Pics

Greetings all. I've gathered some great pictures from folks at the gathering and have them at my flickr account. To browse them, and other LB related pics just click HERE.



Sunday, November 12, 2006

gathering of yule I mean your logs!

I had alot of fun seeing new and old faces at the last gathering and I am approaching my 1 year anniversary of letterboxing thanks to my good friend surlymama and was thinking I didn't get near as much time to peek at folks log books so I wanted to throw out an option, how about a casual gathering of folks at the Cherry Street Artisan on Dec 22- Yule and share of the logs!! I will plan on being there solo at 7:00 and hope to see some other boxers- and here is an intriguing thought I am really interested in the personal traveler idea- this might be a good time to introduce some personal travelers if they were to exist by then- that should give enough time to either make and/or research. Heck I will even carve an event stamp and maybe have a little treat for you if you come. Give a shout if you are interested in coming-


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Tae the Weaver's Gin Ye Go!

Jenny J had a mighty time at the Fall Gathering of the Mid Mo Letterboxers this past weekend - great folks, excellent eats and nifty workshops. This coming weekend she'll be at a gathering of a different cloth. However, she'll still have you stalwart letterboxers in mind. On Saturday, Nov. 11, 9 to 4, and Sunday, Nov. 12, 11 to 4, she invites all interested letterboxers to a little adventure.
It's simple. Find Jenny J at this gathering and say hello. If, in the course of your conversation, you declare "You have to be warped to weave!", she may send you on a brief quest. Upon completing your quest, you will be rewarded in true letterbox fashion.
Here's a hint on where to find this other gathering: Remember, this quest is only available this coming Saturday and Sunday. Good 'Boxing!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Cipher Lesson Plan


At the Fall 2006 Gathering I gave out some handouts of the "Letterboxing with Codes and Ciphers" lesson plan. If you want to receive a copy by e-mail, whether or not you made it to the Gathring, please contact me at to request a copy. There is one section that includes some practice ciphers, but I did not include the answers. So if you picked up a hard copy and want a copy of the answers, please also let me know.

Other sections in the document include the following:
Reasons for using (or not using) encrpytions
The difference between a code and a cipher
Explantion of the two main categories of ciphers
(i.e., Substitution vs. Transposition)
Tips for Solving Simple Substitution Ciphers
List of 100+ words common in letterboxing clues
Examples and explanations of various ciphers



Monday, October 30, 2006

Fall Gathering - Parking

Here are some tips for parking at Access Arts. There is a small parking lot on the north side of the weaving/pottery studio. Parking space in the lot may be limited due to children's pottery classes downstairs. You may park on both sides of McAlester Street. Parking is allowed on the west side of Moss Street (entrance to the weaving studio faces Moss), but please do not park on the east side of Moss. You may also park farther down the block (north) on Moss Street in the Baptist Church parking lot.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Letterboxes near Fall Gathering

If you plan on doing some letterboxing before or after the Gathering this weekend (Nov. 4), below are boxes that are located within a mile or two of the Gathering Site. (Let me know if I forgot any). Please note that the starred boxes may require that special circumstances apply (i.e., cover of darkness, business hours, etc.) above and beyond normal circumstances (no one present, etc.) in order to obtain the box.

Mud, Strings, and Artful Things
Looney Tunes #2: Greetings Earthling
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble
Looney Tunes #1: What’s Up Doc
Da Vinci in the Park
Sun, Sea and Sky*
The Architect’s Series #1
Mr. Owl
Rocking the Bench
Rocking the Rock
Rocking with Clyde
Rocking with Ron
Rocking with Love
Higher Education
Creek Crossings
Ode to Charlotte*
Mid-Mo Letterboxers*
Alley Cat*

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Hartsburg Pumpkin Festival

Though this is terribly late notice (I wasn't sure until just this moment I would be heading out)...I am headed to the Pumkin Festival in Hartsburg this afternoon. I will be there from approximately 1pm to 4pm. Should any of you be in the area, perhaps hunting new boxes, here's a reason to wade through the crowd: should you be able to locate me amongst the throngs of festi-goers, identify yourself as a letterboxer and I might have special surprise to add to your collection. If we've not met, you can locate a picture of me in Lnd-Crzr's post April 2006: Pictures from the Spring Gathering. In the pictures, I'm the one in the bright orange (pumpkin colored!) hat. Today, as my name suggests, I'll be dressed almost entirely head to toe in green and carrying my orange and grey Osprey backpack that is more an extension of my body than an accessory. Again, sorry for the late notice, but hope to run into some fellow boxers on this beautiful fall day!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Fall Gatheirng Project

Some time ago our esteemed JennyJ put forth the idea for our little (at the time) community to do some kind of collection for a not for profit agency such as the Rainbow House. We all agreed it was a grand idea, but as of yet, we’ve taken no action on it. That’s about to change. This is by no means mandatory, but we’d like to present the opportunity for everyone to bring something the Rainbow House needs to the Fall Gathering. We’ll bundle them up and make an anonymous donation. No need to go overboard, but if everyone picks up one or two small items, I’m certain it would be greatly appreciated and there will be a little bonus for those who choose to bring something.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Rainbow House, here’s a brief explination taken from their website. Rainbow House is a children’s emergency shelter and a regional child advocacy center. They serve abused and neglected children, as well as families in crises. The Shelter houses children that are in foster care; and assists parents who need placement for their children during a family crisis. At the Child Advocacy Center (CAC), we serve children who have been sexually abused and/or severely physically abused.

Here is a condensed list of items they’re in constant need of. At the bottom of this article is a link The Rainbow House and a link to the complete list.

Copier paper
AA & AAA Batteries (Regular & Rechargeable), C and 9-volt batteries
Large salt and pepper shakers
Educational games (especially for literacy skills and math)
Wooden puzzles
Role play/dress-up toys for boys and girls
Activity Passes
Art/Craft class
Craft Materials
Blank Journals
Juice boxes
Bottled water
Ranch dressing
Grape jelly
“Sippy” cups w/ lids

Thanks in advance to everyone who participates.


Friday, October 06, 2006

a little reading

if you haven't seen the article yet, there is a fun article about letterboxing in Nov. issue of Games- we carry it at MU bookstore if you are out in about this way FYI-


Thursday, October 05, 2006

Mid-MO Fall Arts & Crafts Gathering Update

As promised, here is a list of supplies suggested for the upcoming gathering. Please note, you are not required to bring anything except something for the pot-luck lunch. However, as with most learning experiences, we feel the workshops will be much richer if you jump in and learn ‘hands-on’. As we won’t be providing materials for everyone (cost prohibits) we ask that if you wish to participate ‘hands-on’ style, please bring what you’ll need. If you simply want to watch and learn, we simply suggest bringing a notebook to jot down ideas.

Here’s the most current list of workshops and their materials lists.

Book Binding
Scrapbooking paper (8.5” x 11” or 12” x 12”, three to four sheets)
-for book covers
Cardstock paper (8.5” x 11” or 12” x 12”, three to four sheets)
-for book covers
Heavyweight construction paper, white (I buy the big 12” x 18”)
-for pages
Acid free glue (I strongly suggest Aleene’s Tacky Glue)

Aging Paper
-nothing fancy: 1” to 2”
-cheap hardware store brushes work fine
Several small (1 cup or so) containers
-to protect tables
Something to age
-feel free to bring something to work on
-a photocopy of anything will work well

Carving Workshop
Carving material
-Fox-Fyr is making a run to Dick-Blick if anyone wants to put in an order for their
gray carving material
Carving tools
-a handle, No. 1 ‘V’, No. 4 ‘U’ and an X-acto knife is plenty
An idea

Codes and Ciphers
Full sized notebook
Blank white paper

General items
Please lable all your tools.
Cutting mat
Cutting knife

Potluck Items
Please bring your own plates, utensils, cups and serving items needed to serve up your delicious dishes.

Of course don’t forget to bring your logbook and personal stamp as browsing through well worn logs is always a fun way to gain insight into those mysterious trail names. Also feel free any itmes you wish to show-and-tell. We all love seeing artifacts and momentos related to Letterboxing.

Please feel free to send any questions my way.


Saturday, September 30, 2006

Mid-MO Fall Arts & Crafts LB Gathering

This is to follow up on a previous post. The date has been set for the Mid-MO Fall Arts & Crafts LB Gathering. This gathering has been requested for some time by the local LB community to explore and share all the arts and crafts that have gone into some wonderful LBs scattered about central MO.

The date will be November 4th from 10 AM – 4 PM with a potluck thrown in between. Each attendee is asked to bring a dish to share. As some of you may have read, or recall from being there, the Mid-MO LB community set the bar high by the fantastic fare they brought to the ’06 ‘There and Back Again’ gathering. Oh, how I love a good potluck!

If this is your first gathering, let me say, this is not a typical, meet-and-go-hunt gathering. This event will be more focused on workshops teaching skills folks have asked for. The workshops will be bookbinding (including Fox-Fyr’s famous piano-hinge), paper aging, codes and ciphers and stamp carving. There may be time for a few small impromptu classes if anyone has anything else they feel they need.

I hope to leave ample time for folks to get friendly and share tales of their adventures and have a bit of show and tell. So if you have some fabulous FF bonus, bring it along and let the others droll over your good fortune.

To receive the location (it will be held in Columbia) you must send me an RSVP. I ask that everyone do this so I can have a rough idea of how many to expect. If you’re not on a mailing list that just recently received an e-mailing similar to this posting, and you’d like t be added to THE list, simply contact me through LBNA and I’ll be glad to add you.

Looking forward to meeting all the new faces and seeing old friends.


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Mid Missouri Letterboxers

I will be teaching a map and compass course at Rock Bridge Memorial State Park on Oct. 7 from 1-4 p.m. The course title is "Lost in the Woods."

During the course, I will provide instruction on how to read a map, how to use a compass, and tips for bushwacking off-trail with map and compass. Then the group will go on a (somewhat) guided 2-mile hike mostly OFF-TRAIL. Along the way we will search for items including several hand-carved STAMPS and inkpads I will have hidden along the way.

Due to the fact that previous advertising about letterboxing has resulted in negative responses (i.e. boxes going missing), I am NOT advertising this event as letterboxing and ask that any of you who sign up do not mention or discuss the concept of letterboxing as well (or keep it to a low key discussion if someone from the general public inquires about it).

The course is free but registration is required. Call 573-449-7402 to register. If you wish to participate I recommend you collect the stamps the same way everyone else does and then paste them into your own logbook later to avoid discussion of letterboxing.


Saturday, September 23, 2006

Nancy and Noodles

Hi contestants- just wanted to add a note that I forgot to put in the clues for the "now you see it now you don't contest"- due to the nature of the placement of these boxes, these boxes are on a borrowed time- for those who have found them you know what I mean- though I am not sure the exact date, probably after October, I will be moving these boxes - though it will not affect the clues (tricky!!) but I will plan on retiring these boxes at the end of the semester oops- I mean the end of the contest!! Get 'em while you can.


Friday, September 22, 2006

The BIG 200 Contest

As most of you are aware, our region is fast approaching 200 listings. Of course this doesn’t mean 200 boxes as we all know there are a good many LBs with unpublished clues (wink, wink). I feel this is a milestone which should not pass without some form of acknowledgement; there fore I give you The Big 200 contest.

The Big 200 contest is simple. Whoever plants the 200th LB in Mid-MO wins a fabulous prize (as always don’t think new car fabulous). In the event the 200th LB is planted outside of Mid-MO, that is Boone or Callaway for this purpose, I will award the closest box posted after the 200th for the region. I’ll make the judgment by counting up from the bottom of the listings page sorted by placement date.

As if we need any more incentive other than the addiction. Ready…Set…Go!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Mid-MO LB E-Mail Test

Hello all. I hope everyone has had a chance to get out and enjoy the wonderful weather and all the fantastic new LBs in Mid-MO. Holy cow!

I keep a list of e-mails that I use to send out announcements to Mid-MO Gatherings and such. Most of you should receive a test e-mail today. If you do not receive this test e-mail and wish to be added to this list, please contact me through LBNA and I will add your name.

I keep this list confidential and will never use it to send SPAM and such. It is strictly for LB purposes.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Rock Bridge State Park Question

This is not a LB question but I know that some of our bloggers are in the know. Has anyone ever went on one of RBSP cave tours? I have wanted to for several years and we are thinking of taking a group of guys from our church. I have checked it out on the web, but just wondered if anyone had an experience that they could share.

Mid MO Bike-Friendly Letterboxes

Here's a revised list of the letterboxes in the Mid Missouri area that are accessible from the various bike trails.


Saturday, September 16, 2006

Changes for Two Old Boxes

If you are thinking of seeking either Three Creeks or Gone Fishin' letterboxes in the near future, you might want to print out the clues. These are the oldest boxes in mid Missouri and when I planted them, you could not post your boxes directly on the LBNA site. Instead you had to put them somewhere else and make a link. One of my sisters put all our clues on her letterbox page with her server. That is why the clues look different for those two boxes. Isn't it great what we can do at the LBNA site these days? Anyhow, she is changing to DSL and will no longer use that server, so those LB links won't work anymore. I'll start putting those clues into the new format in a few days or so.

You might want to wait a bit to hunt those boxes anyway, if you haven't already. I have both of the logbooks at home to scan the entries, so there are temporary logbooks out in the boxes till I get back to them. The Three Creeks logbook in particular has many entries going back to September 2002 - it's fun to look through.

So have fun 'boxing on these fine September days.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Since there are quite a few Hitchhikers tagging along in Mid-Missouri, I thought I'd take this opportunity to briefly remind people to remember to stamp and sign everything. I keep finding Hitchhikers that did not get stamped with the host letterbox stamp or which did not get stamped into the host letterbox. A good rule of thumb is to do everything twice. Consider the Hitchhiker as a logbook and stamp belonging to an invisible friend. Whatever you do, you should do for the HH also (i.e., stamp both the host LB stamp into both your logbook and the HH logbook, stamp both your signature stamp and the HH stamp into the host logbook, sign and date your name and leave a brief message in both the host logbook and the HH logbook). For more details, please see the HH article in the July 2006 archives.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Boxing With KATY

OK, I'll admit it. Letterboxing is not my only addiction. Way before letterboxing came on the scene, bicycling was my favorite outdoor activity, and when the KATY Trail opened, I began pedaling there frequently. Since becoming a letterboxer, I've often thought about how much fun it would be to pair up LBs and bikes. Finally last Friday, these two addictions came together. I loaded my bike onto the car, selected a few LB essentials, including the clue for Surlymama's Pride LB, and headed out for the KATY Trail.
Without giving anything away, I'll just tell you that finding this box by bike is great. If your bike has off-road tires, you can continue pedaling along after you leave the KATY. You need a little muscle and a few gears - and you can just dismount to walk now and then, as I did. However, once you've found the Pride box and logged in, you can hop back in the saddle and coast back to the KATY. After finding this LB, I continued my ride, musing about LBs and bicycles. I thought it might be interesting, as well as helpful to nonlocal LB/bicycling enthusiasts, to compile a list of our local bike-friendly letterboxes.
Here's what I came up with. Without revealing any details and in no particular order, here are local letterboxes that are accessible from the KATY Trail, the MKT Fitness Trail and the Columbia Spur. Let me know if I've missed any.


One last thing - if, like me, you're thinking of hiding bike-accessible LBs, please be aware of where the trail/park property ends, so that you don't hide boxes on private property.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Mid-MO Fall LB Gathering Announcment

Greetings all. As many of you will know, I'm looking ahead and beginning to plan a Fall Gatheirng. This will be the long awaited arts and crafts gathering many of us have discussed. This gathering will have two main purposes.

The first is for everyone to share thier skills and techniques related to LB. Already we've had requests for workshops on carving, book making, paper alteration and ciphers. If there is something else you're interested in let me know and I'll make arrangements with the proper folks and try to have something set up.

The second goal is to meet the local LB community (with the excecption of our dear C2B2). At previous gatherings the majority of the time has been spent running down LBs and the only opportunity to visit has been on the trail or between events. This gathering should make up for it as there will be plenty of time to browse through logbooks (my favorite part) and get to know everyone.

While this won't be a GRAND LB adventure as previous gatherings have been, there may be a few LB surprises.

It appears the date will be November 4th, though the final decision has yet to be made.

If you're interested in attending this, or future gatherings, drop me a line and I will add you to the mailing list.


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Brief introduction

Hello all, I thought I would introduce myself to you all before I meet some of you folks on the trail. I ran into Jenny J today and was so surprised meeting my first LBer in person that I completely forgot to ask for an exchange (rookie mistake). lol
Anyway, here is a little information on me. I am a health policy analyst at the Center for Health policy at MU. I have been residing in Columbia now for over 15 years and live out near Midway just west of town. I have been happily married going on ten years and have 22 month old twins (a boy and a girl) which keep me pretty busy when I am not working. My main hobbies include rock climbing, mushroom hunting, mountain biking, canoeing, and skiing when I can get to the mountains.
I have only been letterboxing since early August when I stumbled upon the Great Spirit box completely by accident while mushroom hunting. I opened the box looked inside and was intrigued by what I found. I couldn't beleive that such a hobby existed combining my love for hiking, puzzle solving and creative expression. After seeking out a few boxes I was hooked and after placing my first box there was no turning back.
I have spoken with many of you through email and I appreciate all of your help and guidance in answering some of my newbie questions. And I appreciate all of you who were able to find my first box despite my error-ridden first attempt at cyphering. I look forward to running into more of you on the trails and meeting the rest at upcoming gatherings.


"See You On The Trail"

That saying took a new meaning last weekend. Hannah was going for a walk at our local park in the evening and a man walked by. They passed each other with a friendly Mid MO "Hello". She knew the fellow but was not completely sure. Later in the walk, she spotted this man again, but this time he had a companion. Both had backpacks. They were coming back on the trail at an unusual spot. Unusual because we have one of our LB hid up in that area. Low and behold, the next day, I recieved email conformation that LND-CRZR and FOX-FYR had found the box. And they left a HH. So be aware, the next person you pass on the trail might have the same addiction that you have. We hope we can go for a walk and, " See You On The Trail"

ABS Family

Monday, August 28, 2006


I'm gearing up for our first weekend of letterboxing in the Columbia this weekend. There are so many on LbNA that its a little daunting. Any suggestions for where to start? Which boxes are your favorites? I also need maybe 3 or 4 on campus boxes to do between classes Friday. Thanks for any help, and see you on the trails!

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Art(isan) of Letterboxing -- a group box

Although letterboxing in Mid Missouri didn't start at the Cherry Street Artisan, many of us consider the coffee shop our "home."

Our first group meeting was an adventure in Rock Bridge State Park May 7, 2005 -- organized single-handledly by Lnd-Crzr. We had such fun that the next fall those of us who met at Rock Bridge decided to come together a bit more formally. Cherry Street Artisan was a central place to escape the weather, enjoy good food and share our season's scavenging the few boxes then available in Boone County. So on Oct. 22, a handful of us met again to form the germ of the Mid Missouri Letterboxers.

While we were displaying the Halloween microboxes we had made for the gathering, Artisan owner Tom Baird came over to the table. We explained letterboxing and the appeal of hiding objects to be found later. He was very enthusiastic and showed us a secret-but-public spot in the cafe where no one would ever guess a box would hide.

And that's how the Mid Missouri Letterboxers box came to be. Last Saturday, Jenny J, Grace to You and both halves of C2B2 (Lnd-Crzr couldn't make it) met Baird at the Artisan to plant the box. Jenny wrote the clues, Sandi made the book, Clyde built the box and Ron carved the stamp.

Jenny will post the clues on LBNA, but the hints I gave you in this post will be of minor help only. To find this special group box, you will have to study the clues carefully, take your time to really understand the restaurant and -- above all -- employ extreme stealth. This is, after all, a busy public establishment. Actually getting to the box will take a bit of legerdemain and perhaps some special timing. Don't try it at lunch or during busy weekend evenings.

One other request -- say thanks to Tom, his manager Jeremy and the rest of the crew. If you and your diet are really daring, try one of the whole-apple dumplings.

Lift your cup to your letterboxing friends, here and tucked away in the boxing world.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Put a penny in the box ...

I'm about to violate a good fellow's privacy for a good cause. All of you suffered through LBNA's recent computer troubles. And quite a few of you said if you had only known, you would have helped pay for the new computer resources.

Say no more. Just send a check to Choi the LBNA webmaster. His real name and address is:

John Chapman, 28 Birch Road, Andover, MA 01810.

John created and runs the site as a nonprofit. That was fine when it was a small hobby that could get by on a free site like this one. But popularity is expensive.

I'm a computer kind of guy, so I appreciate the hell he goes through just so I can have a good time. I'm sending my check. I suggest each of us send at least $1 for each box we have planted -- or better yet $1 for each box we have found. Many of us gladly spend that much on gas just driving around looking for carving material. Or looking for one of Lnd-Crzr's wild country boxes.

My students are always shocked when I explain that the Internet is not free. Operating it costs more and more daily. Most of us ride on the broad shoulders and pocketbooks of volunteers like Choi.

But there are limits to altruism. Give as you have received.


Dog Walk 1

This is the first in a possible series of letterboxes found on great Mid-Missouri dog walks. Your hosts for this box are Jasper and two canine kin, and constant letterboxing companions. Jasper is the older, if still waters run deep...he is about 2 fathoms. Nika is the younger and more gregarious of the two...she has an opinion about everything. They will critique the walk, and provide your clues. It is highly suggested that you bring a pal of the pup persuasion with. If you can't find one, contact Jasper and Nika...they are always interested. First...dogs rate the walk on a 5 biscuit scale:

Nika: "This walk has everything!!! Proximity to other great walks, gathering spots, and swim holes make this a great choice. Lots of room to run, without those pesky leash signs and poo bags! I give it 4 out of 5 biscuits!

Jasper: "Yeah...poo bags." 4 biscuits.

Now...the clues:

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Letterboxing Gods

yeah- the LBNA site is back up!!- anxious to get back out in the woods for a battle with ticks and stinging nettle in hopes of a victorious tupperware prize!!

I recently went to Opryland in Nashville on a book buying excursion for work and had to opportunity to letterbox in the hotel- yes in the hotel, this place is nutty, like a little city under glass. I attempted 5 boxes and found 1 missing, 2 just could not find but the 1 box I did find was so funny I thought I would share. Upon arrival and on my way to the conference area I had noticed a piece of the clues (oh course I studied these on the way down on the road) and made note to come back to that spot. It is easy to get lost and turned around in this massive place. After a few hours of book buying, some dinner, hot tub and drinks, the tourist started to fade and it was time to letterbox. A work companion and LB recruit and myself took off on the hunt, and went back to the spot I had seen, we were in hot pursuit as the clues started to fall in place (i love it when that happens) and as we came to the final clue we were so busy finding the clues that once we found the box, my friend looked up and the resting spot for this box was right outside our room!! Mind you there are close to 3,000 rooms in this place and the room that I got was right across from a letterbox!!!! Maybe it was the hot tub, maybe the mojitos, but it was so hilarious and I had a cozy place to stamp up! So the letterbox gods were smiling at me last week! So kudos to "she who plants" for some fun boxes at Opryland- I hope to find the other boxes I attempted the next time I go- definitely worth the stop if you are passing through Nashville.

I also recently got a pretty fun book called "carve your own itch" by Bob Clark that is really fun that I will try and bring to the next gathering, fun gallery to look at in the book-

I am just finishing up my eldest son's 5th b-day box series to be released in September and am ready for C2B2's challenge- game on

see you on the trail-mamaroots

Monday, August 07, 2006

Moving to Central Missouri

Hello all, my name is Rachel, and as I said in my comment earlier, my fiance and I have been letterboxing for over a year now. Unfortunately, last summer he left for Marine Corps boot camp, and I went to college at Ohio University, so the letterboxing we have done is scattered between Kansas City, where we both call home, and what we could do visiting in Ohio and in Washington D.C. where he is stationed. I would say we have found about 25 boxes. Another result of our not seeing each other very often is that we haven't been able to find a place to plant our first box. It's put together, and ready to go, so it will most likely be placed the end of this month when he visits me at Mizzou, since I am transferring. I'll be sure to let everyone know when that is.

Letterboxing was actually a birthday present I gave Sean. He said he wanted something we could do together. I searched for weeks trying to find something unique and interesting that would keep us busy for a long time when I stumbled across an article in Travel and Leisure magazine about a fun "2 hour vacation". I was intrigued, and did some research (I think I read the entire LbNA website) and went out and bought all the materials we needed and printed off several sets of clues. That's how we spent the entire day of his birthday. The more boxes we find, the more we love it. We even had a romantic picnic one day at the place we first met, topped off by finding a letterbox that was on the grounds. We're always very careful about replacing the boxes just as we found them. I think my favorite part is reading through the logbooks and seeing the stamps and comments of the visitors before. I'm excited to be a part of this group since it has seemed like letterboxing is a sort of secret society (which it is) that the members never see each other. So thank you so much for being here, and I can't wait to meet you!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

LBNA Website

Mid Missouri Letterboxers
According to postings on the yahoo groups letterboxing board, the LbNA website will be down until they find a new server to host the site. They have outgrown the current server (good news/bad news I guess).
As for other sites...Atlas Quest is the only one that has some local clues that I have found. I will be checking there and here and hoping to control the tremors until I get access to more clues. Take care all! Touchtrek

Friday, July 28, 2006

A Challenge: Now you see me, now you don’t

The recent talk about lost boxes combined with my own thrill at finding Fox Fyr’s downtown mystery got me thinking about “camouflaged” boxes. There is a sub-specialty in letterboxing in which people craft boxes with such cunning they can hide them practically in the middle of the road.

I’m leaving Mid Missouri for a few months to teach in our program in London. Tough duty, but someone has to do it. So before I go, I thought I would throw a challenge to you (and even offer a special prize).

Season of the Unseen

This contest will run from now until Dec. 30, 2006. The prize will be hand-crafted box for your letterboxing supplies. You can look here for a sample of the other boxes I have made.

The aim is to develop the skills that conceal our letterboxes from all but those who have the clues. Boxes will be hidden in heavily frequented places and as we are still learning this art, may indeed be stolen. The key to success will not only entail camouflage, but clues that only a real letterboxer can break and clear instructions on how to retrieve and replace the box with stealth.

Here are the rules:

--All boxes must be placed by Sept. 1 to take advantage of the fall boxing season. But no one will argue if you fudge a little.
-- All boxes must be placed within 10 feet of a trail, pathway or thoroughfare. That doesn’t necessarily mean a hiking trail – it could be a sidewalk, parking lot or even a very public building. Just somewhere where the untutored might stumble upon it.
-- At least 7 people per week must pass the letterbox. The more the merrier. The intent is to test your hiding skills.
-- The box, its covering or camouflage must be visible from the trail (no hiding behind a tree or other barrier). It could be under a rock, etc, but not in a place that you would have to leave the pathway to retrieve it. Again, the intent is to hide the box in the most obvious place possible.
-- Boxes can be camouflaged in any way including outer boxes, fake rocks, camo paint, Klingon cloaking devices, invisibility cloaks, etc.
-- All boxes must be listed on LBNA. Mention something about the contest in your clues. All finders should log their finds.
-- All placers must assume that there is a reasonable chance that box will be stolen or vandalized in the period of the contest. Don’t get so attached to your stamp that you cry when it is gone. Push the envelope – or the box.
-- Take a picture of your box and a picture of its setting in case the above happens.
-- If you lose a box, post a note to the Mid Missouri Letterboxers site.

Of course, the main criterion for judging is that the box survived the test period. But you also get credit for the size of the box, the actual amount of activity on the trail and the creativity of the camo job. Chutzpah and daring will pay. We will vote on the winner at our winter gathering.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Well, it may not surprise you to know that I have other obsessions besides letterboxing- I know it is crazy but besides letterboxing I am passionate about birth (namely homebirth) my children and hubby, books, pottery, and way too many other things to mention here. I finally made the jump out of Boone county and planted a box and a bonus box in Cooper County where I grew up that highlights another couple of addictions/obsessions- old houses and cemeteries. If you are up for a little jaunt check out the Ravenswood LB-

hope you enjoy- know of any good old house I should see???-

Saturday, July 22, 2006

South East Missouri LB Tour 2006

How addictive is letterboxing? Read all about Lnd-Crzr’s and Fox-Fyr’s 2006 whirlwind letterboxing tour of Southeast Missouri (and southwestern Illinois), and judge for yourself. Despite the heat index of 102 degrees or higher, and no chance of rain, we set out Saturday morning July 15, 2006, with camping equipment, extra clothes, letterboxing gear, two road maps, a full tank of gas and clues to about 15 boxes scattered throughout southeastern Missouri and southwestern Illinois.

Our first stop was actually not letterboxing-related. We stopped by Hermann, Missouri (which has two LBs we visited last fall) to begin our adventure with a visit to the excellent Hermanoff Winery for a basket lunch of bread and cheese and sausage. A short detour to Deutschheim State Historic Site and a visit with its superintendent revealed an excellent opportunity to check out the town’s German heritage (and, of course, scope out some possibilities for additional LB hiding places).

Next it was down Highway 19 through Cuba, MO (home of the excellent Missouri Hick BBQ, though it was too early for dinner so we didn’t stop) and then south past Dillard’s Mill to Elephant Rocks State Park. Though the clue for the Elephant Rocks box (placed sometime in 2004 by Know Future) has disappeared from LBNA, we were lucky enough that Lnd-Crzr had visited it on his 2005 tour of the Southeast. The black 35mm film canister was exactly where he remembered it to be, and still in excellent condition, though the entries numbered only about a half dozen. Elephant Rocks State Park is Missouri’s only state park with a Braille trail, designed with guide ropes, textured walkways and Braille signage specifically for the blind visitor. Thankfully, the Braille is translated so the rest of us can enjoy reading about the giant glacial erratics. We hoped t hike its newest trail to a historic ruin, but perhaps one had to be blind to see it.

Next it was off to a remote section of the Ozark Trail near Ironton to look for the “Price’s Invasion of 1864: Pilot Knob” LB. This is another Wyld Blueberries special with a Civil War design homemade logbook and homemade stamp. This Kansas City due also planted the “Prices Invasion of 1864: Hermann” LB which we visited last fall. The Pilot Knob LB had lay quietly undisturbed in the area for about a year. We were the first finders, and Lnd-Crzr collected a nice first finder’s bonus to add to his logbook.

Since we were so close to Taum Sauk State Park, we decided to check on Lnd-Crzr’s box at Missouri’s highest point. Despite that fact that no one had used LBNA’s “Contact the Placer” link to report the box as found, there were several entries in the logbook, including an Oct.., 2005 entry from a family from Columbia, MO (Maddie, Zack and Stuart) though neither Lnd-Crzr or Fox-Fyr recalled ever seeing those names in any Columbia-area LB. Has any one seen these folks in any mid-Missouri LBs?

Fox-Fyr discovered an unexpected surprise in the Taum Sauk box: the Banana Hitchhiker (released 2004) which will soon be making its way to a box somewhere in Mid-Missouri. We didn’t have the time to checkout the other two boxes on that trail (Mina Sauk Falls and Missouri’s Hardest LB) as we were running out of daylight and wanted to reach Hawn State Park (our camping destination) before too dark. Hot and exhausted, we were fortunate enough to find a vacant campsite in the beautiful and popular Hawn State Park (which is twice the size of Rock Bridge State Park and donated to the state park system by a schoolteachrer). We set up camp and enjoyed a long shower, a quick meal, and a pleasant sleep.

Daybreak saw us up and about on the two-mile Pickle Creek Trail In Hawn which is without doubt the most popular trail in the park (since the other two main trails are four and ten mile loops). The scenery along Pickle Creek was lovely and nicely shaded with mini shut-ins, similar to Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park but on a much smaller scale. We saw a water snake, red sunfish, a few other fish, and lots of potential for a LB series.

Our true quest, however, lay about 10 miles down the road in Pickle Spring Natural Area, an area of such incredible natural features that the area is nationally recognized. On the Trail Through Time (what a great name for a trail), we learned a new word—hoodoo—which is a term for sandstone formations which nature has shaped into fantastic forms resembling such things as such as turtles, beehives, mushrooms and giant cauliflower heads. The trail was well marked, and dunking our heads in periodic waterfalls helped keep us cool.

The box placer, Know Future, had the Pickle Springs LB listed as missing but the hike sounded worth the trip anyway, and lo and behold, when we got to the box location, the LB was exactly where we expected it to be. Another 35 mm film canister, this one had suffered water damage, and the logbook was beyond repair. It appeared to have about six entries (including that same family from Columbia, MO who had stampedinto the Taum Sauk box). We replaced the logbook with a few sheets of paper from our own logbook, then resealed and replaced the LB for the next finder. We would have enjoyed this hike even if the box had been missing, but we were glad to have found it.

Our next jaunt took us over the border into Chester, Illinois, home of Popeye the Sailor Man (or at least of his creator). A quick stop at the Popeye Statue, which is visible as soon as you cross the Mississippi River into town, would have saved us some time as the area also contained a map of the city. Instead, we saw quite a bit of Chester as we meandered about looking for the town’s only city park. This series of six boxes was planted by the duo of Leaping Lizards from Wisconsin (who visited about 20 mid-Missouri boxes last winter). Here we ran into a bit of a struggle as east was sometimes west, and left was sometimes right, and all the trails look like game paths, some quite faint. Still, with excellent letterboxing detective work, we found four of six boxes. One was reported missing by several other finders, and the other, well who knows? Four of out six, all excellently hand-carved, was a good haul.

From Chester, we crossed back into Missouri and headed south to the middle of nowhere, aka Altenburg, to Tower Rock Conservation Area along the Mississippi. Here’s another box that even if the box is missing, the view is worth the drive. The clues led us to an overlook of Tower Rock, one of two such places named by Lewis and Clark (the other being in Montana, which is the home state of the placer, Chickenman, yet another out-of-the-region placer). (Does anyone who plants boxes in Southeast Missouri actually live in that portion of the state?) We were amazed that the box was still there, given that it was clearly visible to the casual onlooker. Perhaps not many people had ventured up to the overlook since the box was planted last April. We claimed another first finders on this box (though the main prize was the view and the photos we took). We re-hid the box so that no part of it was visible, and set off for one more for the day.

Our last and seventh box of the day took us south to Trail of Tears State Park. It’s a good thing Lnd-Crzr is not allergic to poison ivy or there was no way we were getting this one. He braved about 150 feet of thick, waist-high poison ivy to recover this box (and had to venture back through it to replace it). It’s a good bet that a Muggle is not going to accidentally run into this LB and steal it anytime soon. It’s a good thing we planned on camping that night so Lnd-Crzr could avail himself of the showers. As it was Sunday night, the campground was just about deserted except for the few hundred mosquitoes zeroing in on the few remaining campers.
Monday morning began with a visit to the Trail of Tears visitor center to learn about the Native American tribes who passed through the area on their forced march to Oklahoma (hence the name Trail of Tears). Fox-fyr had a pleasant chat with one of the state park staff members who plans on planting a letterbox in her park as soon as she finds a good location and carves her first stamp.

Next it was off to Jackson, Missouri, to search for yet another of Chickenman’s boxes (he also planted Trail of Tears). The hunt led us to old McKendree Chapel, a remarkable building built in 1800 a few years before Lewis and Clark passed through the area, and when the region was still governed by Spain. This was yet another location we would likely have never visited had not been for the fact that a letterbox had been planted there. While it took us awhile to find the signs directing us to the chapel, we were well rewarded by the quality of the site. The chapel was unlocked and open to the public and judging by the guest book, a popular place for weddings. The site is also home to two of the state’s champion trees.and an old log cabin, whose story was preserved in a brass plaque. Again, our luck held out, and the box was exactly where it was supposed to be, guarded by a few spiders and webs. Our fourth first finders this trip.

Though it was late morning, and our bellies were reminding us we hadn’t yet had much breakfast or any lunch, we set off for Bollinger Mill and Bufordville Covered Bridge State Historic Sites to search for another box planted by Chckenman. We got a personal tour of the four-story Bollinger Mill (took advantage of the July special: buy-one-tour, get-one-free) and went back in time to days when the industrial revolution was young, and the machinery surprisingly advanced. We learned the origin of the phrase “show your mettle” (people who “dressed” or shaped grinding stones often received small chips of stones in their hands. A “dresser” looking for work would often be asked to “show his metal” to indicate how much experience he had.).
While the tour of the mill was excellent, our luck in finding the box was not so good. We searched some likely hiding places for about 30 minutes before concluding that it was probably missing.

Still we had some daylight left, so off to Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park (with a quick side trip for pork tenderloin sandwiches, fried clams, friend mushrooms and ice cream and yet another black cherry vanilla coke from the cooler). Black Cherry Vanilla may replace Rootbeer as the drink of choice judging by the amounts we consumed in three days.

No letterboxes hidden at JSI, but lots of memories and the awesome view of the destructive power of billions of gallons of water harnessed for power but breaking free from its artificial enclosure. When the AmerenUE dam broke last December, it sent a flood of water rushing down the mountainside into the park, leaving a swath of destruction in its path. We both had visited the park prior to the dam breaking, and the difference was amazing. Of particular interest were the yellow bands park staff had placed in the trees to show the height of water in the park during the flood,andthesheer amount of trees missing. What was once forest was now stripped to basically bare rock.

We left Johnson’s Shut-Ins in the late afternoon, with Fox-Fyr vainly attempting to steal back her carkeys from Lnd-Crzr who had apparently had enough of Fox-Fyr’s inability to drive smoothly around the winding, twisting backroads of the southeast. With Lnd-Crzr now at the wheel, we set off for one last letterbox at Beaver Creek Conservation Area. As we neared the area, Lnd-Crzr recalled that he had actually visited this box before almost exactly a year ago. Perhaps he will make this an annual pilgrimage. A pretty easy find, with only about half a dozen entries, the last being from a pair of Muggles out walking their dog who happened accidentally upon the box.

All-in-all, as we headed back to Mid-Missouri and the Land of Plenty, about 700 miles and two tanks of gas later, we marveled at our luck: we found 12 of the 15 boxes we’d searched for, many of them more than two years old, plus a Hitchhiker and four first finders. In addition, Fox-Fyr hit her 100th box found on this trip, and Lnd-Crzr reached about 106 finds. A thoroughly excellent adventure. Addicted? We certainly are.


Side Note: I (Lnd-Crzr) did a SE MO LB Tour 2005 and found only about half of the 8 or so LBs I looked for. SE MO is certainly one of Missouri's richest regions for historical and natural sites. I've spent a many days, over many years exploring this region and feel I have only scratched the surface of what it has to offer. Now it appears that it is also becoming a worth-while trip for die-hard LBers. If you're ever in search of an erea to explore, I highly reccommend south east Missouri. I'd be happy to point out some hightlights and must sees if anyone is interested.

Article written by Fox-Fyr with pictures and publishing by Lnd-Crzr.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Blueberry Vacation log

We got back from a vaction in June, and I thought it would be fun to share some of the letterboxing fun we had along the way. (It's not Mid-missouri, but hope you enjoy anyway.) We made it from KC to the tip of Wisconsin and back with no major disasters, unless you count getting drenched a few times.

On our first day we stopped in Britt, IA and visted the National Hobo Memorial. We wanted to go to the Hobo Museum but it was closed. On the way out we stashed one of our Hobo Signs boxes. This one was Nice Place to Catch a Train.

Next it was the land of 10,000 lakes, so of course we visited the natural beauty of the Mall of America. We did take the light rail to find some cool urban boxes in a total downpour while finding the Minnesota History boxes. We later placed the Hobo Signs:Telephone box in Duluth.

We also had a chance to bop over to River Falls, WI and place a box in honor of Chief's Training Camp.

We then headed North for camping in Wisconsin, and the weather was just beautiful for it. The letterboxing highlight of the trip was finding the Washburn Fire Tower box in Washburn, WI. While we were finding the box, we came across an entire hillside of
wild blueberries (see the picture). Until then our trail name had been a theory - but that day we earned it!

By the time we made it back we had placed boxes in four new states (counting a quick jaunt into Michigan for the Season for Everything box.

Getting to Know you... LB

I'm new to Letterboxing in the area, so for my first box, I thought I'd give the local letterboxing community a small introduction to who I the form of clues to this letterbox! This box is located on the University of Missouri-Columbia campus. If you find this and you have any tips for me, let me know!

Special thanks to MamaRoots...she "previewed" this LB for me before I posted it since it was my first.


You will use three websites to find clues for this box. I will give you the URL for two of the webpages you will use:

Go to the first website and find the staff member in the Honors College that enjoys “backpacking and rock climbing” (that’s me).
Now, go to and find the homepage for my undergrad (the name has since changed). With a little investigation, you should find the name of the mascot at my undergrad. It’s a “tall” order, but this clue should “point” you in the right direction.

Now, circle my place of employment (on the MU campus) until you come upon a landmark that shares the name of my undergraduate mascot.

LB is about three feet off the ground on the:

The LB is a micro in a mini-M&Ms container. It is in a high traffic area, so you may not want to attempt this between 7:30am and 5pm on a weekday unless you are in super-stealth mode. There are many nice shaded areas nearby where stamping and logging can take place.

I work VERY nearby (as you'll soon find out). Feel free to stop by my office, say hello, and tell me what you thought of this LB.

The stamp is very small and very delicate. Please contact me when you find it, log the find with LbNA.

Let me know how it's holding up!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Letterboxing Policies

Tuesday, August 8, 2006 is election day and on the ballot will be Amendment 1 which is the proposal to renew the state parksand soils1/10th of one percent (this would be the continuation of an exisiting tax currently set to expire in 2008 if it is not renewed). This tax provides the majority of the funding (75%) for the Missouri state park system.(for more infor visit

What doesthis have to do with letterboxing? Well with the election so close, state park official are paying particularly close attention to any comments they receive from the public. As mostof you know, state parks have a letterboxing policy which require all letterboxes to have an approved permit from the respective area managers. The current policy (whichwas written without public opinion from any letterboxers) limitstheboxes to one permit per every 200 acres. Each permit MAY have up to five boxes, though some park managers interpret this to mean (at the discretion of the park manager). Thus RockBridge State Park is currently allowed 11 permits and no more than 20 boxes total. This number also includes any geocaches within park boundaries.

Additionally, the policy states that the permit may be renewed after one year. After the2ndyear, the boxmust be removed, or relocated (anda new permit applied for) or allowed to stay in the same place if you re-apply and are approved.

While I have no problem with area managers requiring permits to ensure that boxes are not placed in sensitive or dangerous areas, and so that they can manage the area to prevent the creationof new trails, I personally believe that the policy of one permit per 200 acresis far too restrictive. Not only can some areas can accomodate a lot more than 1 box per 200 acres, it can be done so with minmal impact to the surrounding lands, especially if the visitation to the box is low (as it is in the majority of the state), or if the box is located close to an existing trail.

If you have the same or other concerns, please send an e-mail (preferably before August 8) to the Division of State Parks. The initial contact person for policy concerns is Angie Even, the state park web coordinator. Her e-mail is If you mention the state parks sales tax renewal somewhere in the letter, it will be sure to catch their attention (For example: As a voter and a supporter of the upcoming sales tax renewal, I would appreciate it if some consideration would be given to reviewing the stae park letterboxing policy, with respect to my concerns below . . . I would be happy to discuss the matter with you and can be reached at...".) Feel free to use any of the text above. If you would like a copy of the state park letterboxing policy, I can post it here or send it to you by e-mail.

I recently saw a survey put forth by the Missouri Department of Conservation asking, among other things, if readers of their monthly publication, The Conservationist, would be interested in seeeing an article on geocaching. The last time I checked (sixmonths ago), MDC did not have an official geocaching policy. The fact that they're considering publishing an article tells me they are likely to establish one soon (if they haven't already). Like state parks, they may simply lump letterboxing in with geocaching and may or may not seek opinions before creating such a policy. In any case, if they do publish an article, it's gonna impactletterboxing one way or another, as The Conservationist is one of the most widely read publications in the state of Missouri. By addressing concerns with MDCbefore they go to press, we may be able to influence their policy-making. I do not have an official contact person but you would be able to contactthem through their website which I believe is If that's not correct, you cansearch for them by typing Missouri Department Conservationin you web browser.

Lastly, on a slightly similar note, you may wish to check out the Connecticut Division of Forestry's Page. Connecticut is a hotbed of letterboxing and has hundreds (if not thousands)of active boxes in the state. The CtDiv. of Forestry has planted 30 letterboxes (one on each state forest) and sponsors a patchprogram for collecting at least five (and a walking stick if you collect all 30). I've sent them a letter to request information on what kind of impact letterboxing has had in CT after the implementation of thisprogram. their website is :

To respond to any of these issues on this blog, select the Post a Comment option.

Saturday, July 01, 2006


Since planting the Mid-Mo Hitchiker Hostel: Bed and Breakfast, I thought it prudent to include a few comments, tips, and etiquette about Hitchhikers (HH) and other travelers.

There are various kinds of Travelers, and the exact definition of a Traveler differs from person to person. Three common types of Travellers in the U.S are Hitchhikers (HH), personal travelers and postal letterboxes..

Hitchhikers (HH)

As most of you are aware, a HH has its own book and and its own stamp and sometimes its own container, all of which is usually inside a Ziploc bag. HHs are designed to fit inside a host letterbox. Once found, the HH is then carried to another letterbox (LB) and dropped of for another person to find. A few Hitchhikers come with their own waterproof box and are designed to be placed alongside a Host LB rather than in it.

Personal Travelers
Some people use the word Traveller to mean a traveling LB. These are sometimes called Personal Travellers. These travelers go with a specific person or group from place to place and you must find that person(s) to find the traveler. An example would be a LB that travels with theatre company, music group or military organization from town to town.

Postal Letterboxes and Postal Letterbox Rings
Postal letterboxes (PLBs) consist of one book and one stamp which are mailed from person to person, usually along a designated mailing list, before it finally returns to the sender. In a Postal letterbox ring, each person in the ring creates a book and stamp, and mails them to the next person on a designated list. Eventually and ideally, all the PLBs in the ring will be stamped by each person on the list before they returns to the senders.

Cuckoo Clues:
A Cuckoo Clue is a clue for one letterbox that’s been planted in another letterbox. Some cuckoo clues (like the clue for my Alley Cat box) are designed to move from box to box. Other Cuckoo clues (such as those written in the back of host LB logbooks) are designed to stay in the same box. Some Cuckoo Clues may be passed from person to person.

This question came up a few times at the Mid-Mo Spring 2006 LB Gathering. LBNA has a relatively new option of logging Hitchhikers and other Travelers.

To Record a Traveler You’ve Released:
If you’ve released a Traveler and want to log it into LBNA, go to the LBNA Homepage and select “Add a Traveler” or go to Member Services and select “Add a Traveler.” You will be asked to select the traveler type (Hitchhiker, Personal, Postal or Other). Add in the State and nearest City in which it was released and the release date. If you were at the Gathering and gave me a traveler for the Hitchhiker Hostel, the release date is May 6, 2006 and the nearest city is Columbia, MO. Since travelers move from box to box , you cannot put in an actual clue. However, you can add a description about the traveler (why you made it; what it represents; what’s special about it; what town or location you’d like to see it travel to, if any, etc). See my Purple Fox HH and Stargate SG-1 HH as examples.

To Record a Traveler You’ve Found:
On LBNA, from the Home Page select the Travelers Link. You can search for Travelers by name, type, date and/or placer. Once you’ve found it in the list, you can record it as found. Keep in mind that since this is a new feature, not all travelers are listed with LBNA. You can also try searching for them on
Be sure to copy down the name, address and e-mail of the placer before you release the HH in the next LB so you can at least let them know the progress of their HH.


Protect your HH.Hitchhikers often get much more wear and tear then regular letterboxes. If possible, use a strong Ziploc bag (freezer kinds work best). The thinner bags tend to tear as HHs are carried in backpacks and from place to place. If you find a HH with a poor Ziploc, it is usually good etiquette to replace it with a better bag.

When stamping in, follow the same routine in the same order each time. Variety is not the spice of life in this case: Be sure to stamp the HH stamp in the host LB and stamp the host LB stamp into the HH. Both stamps also need to make it into your own logbook and your stamp needs to make it in both logbooks. While you can do these steps in any order, it’s helpful to come up with a routine and stick with it each time you find a Hitchhiker to avoid leaving out any steps, especially if you have more than one HH you’re picking up or dropping off. Here’s an example.
Take care of the regular letterbox first:
1) Stamp the host LB stamp into your personal logbook
2) Stamp your signature stamp into the host LB.

Then, make sure whoever dropped off the Hitchhiker, also did the following two steps:
3) Stamp the host LB stamp into the HH logbook
4) Stamp the HH stamp into the host LB logbook.

Finally, add your input to the HH:
5) Stamp the HH stamp into your personal logbook.
6) Stamp your signature stamp into the HH.
7) Write down the contact information about the placer so you can let them know you found their Hitchhiker.

8) Be sure to leave a little note in each logbook. Since HH often go to places their creator may never get to visit, please share a bit about the location and box in which you found the HH. When you drop off the HH in a new location, don’t forget to follow steps 1-4 above.

► If you found a HH in a LB but do not plan on finding any more boxes in the near future, it may be best to leave the HH in the LB and let the next person take it.

If you find a HH that you do not plan on taking, should you collect the stamp and should you stamp into the HH? This dilemma occurs most often when finding Hitchhiker Hostels which may contain multiple Hitchhikers. If a HH logbook has many pages, it is probably okay to stamp into it even if you do not take it. If pages are limited, however, stamp only into the ones you actually take. This keeps the logbook from filling up with multiple signature stamps while the HH itself never actually moves.

I found a HH. Which box should I drop it off in? The main goal is to keep the HH moving as much as possible. Before dropping off a HH into a particular box, you may check to see what kind of activity the box receives. If the box is in an obscure location or has difficult clues that limit the number of finders or is an older box that no longer gets much traffic since all the local letterboxers have already found it, you may wish to select a different box in which to leave the HH unless it is your HH and you don’t care that it may sit in the box for a long while. Newer boxes with easier clues are often a good choice as you can expect that they’ll get some visits in the near future.

►How canI get Hitchhikers to show up in the boxes I planted? If you want a HH to show up in a box you plant, you can include in the description that your box is big enough to accommodate Hitchhikers. Converse, if your box is too small to accommodate a HH, you may wish to make that notice as well. Hitchhikers are often released in Hitchhiker Hostels (HHH) as well, but keep in mind that people like the surprise of finding HHs in regular boxes, so don’t release all of them in HHHs. As the owner of a HHH I plan to keep tabs on how long each HH has stayed in the hostel and move them myself if no one drops by to collect them

► How do PFX counts work with Hitchhikers? Rules for P(planted), F (found) and X(exchanged) vary. Here’s my philosophy (yours may differ): Count as Planted only the ones you’ve created and released. Do not count as planted when moving someone else’s HH. Count as Found only the HH you find and take (unless it’s your own). If you find a HH and do not take it, it may be acceptable to collect the stamp image but do not count these images in the F-count. Count each HH as found only once (even if you find it again in another box). Remember the joy of letterboxing is in the hiding and finding boxes and sharing artwork; it’s not a competitive sport.

Remember: Keep ‘Em Moving. Hitchhikers were designed to travel and when faced with various choices, choose the option that keeps em’ moving.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

English Letterboxing

I'm sure everyone knows that letterboxing started in England, so I was especially interested when offered the chance to teach at the MU London Program campus next fall. Cecile and I will spend September through December on the Sceptred Isle and plan try boxing on the old sod.

Searching the Web produced the email address of one particularly helpful British letterboxer, the Yorkshire Tortoise. My shelled friend responded with several links to clues, but also with the British Code of Ethics for Letterboxing and a translation of the UK names for boxes. I thought you might also enjoy them as both the code especially would be helpful. Some of our common practices here in Missouri don't quite conform with the English code. I would love to hear your comments.

Letterboxing in England
Code of Conduct
Courtesy of The Yorkshire Tortoise

This Code of Conduct is sent out with all cluelists from the UK letterboxing clubs.

1. Digging holes in the ground is illegal, and absolutely FORBIDDEN. No box should be placed in a hole in the ground, and the soil surface should not be disturbed when looking for a box.
2. No box should be placed in any animals earth, set or warren, even if it appears to be disused. (Offenders may be prosecuted)
3. If a box is placed in a hole in a dead tree, make sure that it is not likely to cause harm to rare lichen, moss, insects etc
4. Avoid putting a box on heathland where it may disturb a ground nesting bird
5. All boxes must have a contact address or telephone number
6. Do not place a box in any monument or stone wall, nor any site of historic or archaeological importance
7. Avoid public resort areas
8. Boxes should be as sturdy as possible and an unobtrusive colour, but NOT wrapped in plastic bags or sheeting – Animals eat it!
9. The grouse-shooting season starts on August 12th, and continues until December. If there is any sign of a shoot, or land management in progress, please letterbox in a different area in order to avoid attention being drawn to our activities
10. Respect other people’s property and privacy
11. Do not leave litter (aim to leave a site tidier than you found it)
12. Try not to disturb vegetation or wildlife when planting or looking for boxes
13. Be aware of the security issues of leaving boxes following recent bombings
14. Follow the country code (The country or "countryside code" is and established set of four guidelines: Be safe, leave gates and property as you found them, protect wildlife, control dogs and consider other people. )

We in journalism like to say The United States and the United Kingdom are two countries separated by a common language. Here is how the Yorkshire Tortoise describes our hobby:

Traditional letterboxes - same as with you

Cuckoos - (Not to be confused with your cuckoos which I believe are clues that move). Cuckoos here are like your Hitchhikers. It is a stamp and visitors book that is placed in a traditional box and the finder moves it on to the next letterbox they visit. You may find them more than once but they can only be counted as a find the first time. In most areas they do count towards your total find count - once.

Bonus boxes - a static box but the clue is only found in the back page of the nearest Traditional letterbox. So always check the back of Visitors Books. Count towards your total find count

Wanderers - same as bonus boxes but they can be moved by the owners from time to time. You may find them more than once but they can only be counted as a find the first time. They count towards your total find count - once

Personal Travellers - A stamp and visitors book carried by a Letterboxer. Mostly you just ask if they carry one, they don't often have conditions attached. In most areas count towards your total find count.

Parasites - not quite the same as your Cooties. These are a stamp and visitors book which are stamped into a personal traveller and the PT is stamped into the parasite book. They are not just left on a letterboxer or their belongings but stamped in properly, like a English Cuckoo but planted in personal travellers. You may find them more than once but can only be counted as a find the first time. In most areas they count towards your total find count.

Pub boxes are mainly only found on Dartmoor and do not count towards your total find count. There are a few other indoor boxes but as far as I know they do not count towards your total find count.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Rocking and Crocking

This letterboxing stuff is a crock.

Well, it's in the crock. At least at Columbia's Rockhill park. We have launched the Rocking and Crocking Series -- a set of four letterboxes hidden in small pottery crocks among the crags of one of Columbia's least known parks.

There will be at least one more crock in the series, but we are awaiting the completion of some work by city crews.

This is a special series for us as it is near our home and along trails we walk many evenings. By finding the series, you will discover a large sanctuary teeming with wildlife but practically withing hearing distance of the 9th street bistros. You can walk there from the university with ease.

We ask one small favor of our MidMoLBer friends: This park relies more on volunteers for maintenance than it does from city workers. Please pack along a plastic bag and pick up any litter you see along the trail. Some hikers are not nearly so polite as we are.

Please make sure your carefully reseal both the internal bags and the crocks themselves. Enjoy our neighborhood!