Saturday, April 22, 2006

Mid-MO Spring LB Gathering Up-Date

Time is drawing near for the spring gathering and I thought it wise to post an update to ensure that everyone has the needed information. Let me begin by saying that the interest shown in this spring’s gathering has been tremendous. Of course it is impossible to say how many will be attending until the day of the event, but suffice it to say that I believe we will most likely double our numbers from any previous gathering and we’ve had many who wished they could come but had previous obligations. On to the details.

Date, time, location and theme should be known by you all, but I’d like to make certain everyone has a few details.

There are currently two contests running (both purely voluntary, don’t feel obligated to participate). The first is to make a HH (Hitchhiker) based on your favorite fantasy character (this is spoken of on the invitations). This can be from any book, movie, game, etc… When making a HH please keep in mind that it will be sharing space with host LBs so keep them relatively compact. The second contest is to create a LB, any theme, which fits inside a Ziploc Twist ‘n Loc, 2 cup container. Bring your entries to the gathering as we will put them in a pile a vote on our favorites. Winners take home fabulous prizes.

And now a few words about the location and the event itself. The location is rather remote, so I suggest coming well supplied for a day of LB; plenty of fluids, bug spray and so on. The site does have running water and a pit latrine. This series is rather spread out and will require driving to several different trailheads. I’d like to ask that if you have a vehicle conducive to carpooling, plan on using it to drive you and a few others to each location. In the past we have broken up into small groups and searched for different LB then returned, shuffled groups and gone questing for another. This seems to work very well and allows everyone to spend some time on the trail getting to know lots of different folks. Lunch is pot-luck so please plan on bringing something to share.

I have been asked to do two workshops, one on using a compass and another on carving. I have several compasses, but if you have one, and are interested in the class, bring it. In fact, if you have a compass, bring it anyway as you will need it. If you’re interested in the carving workshop, bring your carving tools and some carving material. This will be as short or as long as folks want it to be.

If you have not already, I suggest doing a bit of pre-gathering reading. The theme will hold more meaning and fun if you’re fresh on the story. I’d also suggest bringing several pens/pencils and a notebook and as I said before a compass capable of taking bearings.

In the event of rain, and I mean an all day long down pour, I may bump the event to the next day, Sunday the 7th. If I do so I will send out an e-mail around 8 AM that day and post a message on the blog at around 9 AM.

Looking forward with great anticipation to seeing everyone!


Monday, April 17, 2006

Letterboxing/Storm Chasing Adventure

ABS Family

Though we have only been letterboxing a short time, we have already had some different experiences. I will tell you about one of our adventures. On March 11, 2006, we decided we would take the children and go LBing. We had an appointment that morning to go look at a piano, so we wanted to make a day out of it. We had a gameplan of trying to get as many letterboxes as we could that day. It did not work out that way. The day started out perfect. It was sunny and though there was a chance of rain, we were not going to let that stop us. After lunch, our first stop was "The Higbee Country Challenge". This is a great location and a letterbox someone will not just stumble upon. It has been there for a year and has had two visitors. I would encourage anyone to go get this one. It would be a rare addition to your log book. The weather is still nice and clear at this point. Next stop, "Grindstone". There is something about this LB that just causes it to rain. We tried this one once before and we no sooner stepped out of the van and it started to pour. This day was different, right?? We took the short strole out to the LB, found the LB and started to head back when it started to sprinkle. Now you must remember, we LB with a 7 year old, a 4 year old and an 18 month old so there is no hurry back to the van with this entrouge. Luckily it held off the REAL rain until after we were back to the bridge. We made it. We were a little wet but who cares. It rained hard for about ten minutes and then it brightened back up. That was our "chance of rain" right? In the mean time, we headed to "Capen" where we were planning to take another hike. Well without giving up to much info, I went and found the "Capen" LB and brought it back to the van. Noone was around so the plan was to stamp the book, look it over and put it back. Yuh Plan B!!!! It started raining so hard, I thought we were in the carwash. The wipers could not keep up with the amount of rain that was falling. Of course this brought everyone back to their cars in a hurry. When it started hailing (pea size) we thought maybe letterboxing was not such a wise chioce today. We moved to where we had some cover from the elements and waited. After thirty minutes, everyone had left except for one car. My wife and daughter had to use the restroom so we left with the LB with us and headed to the service station. We then went back to Capen and HEY the car had left, BUT was replaced by a Columbia Patrol Car. OH the luck! We drove around for another 20 minutes and then returned to the scene of the crime. "Grand Theft Letterbox". The parking lot was empty!!! It was still raining some, but I jumped out and replaced the LB to it's home. So did I actually steal it or just borrow it? Let the courts decide! You would have thought after all of this we would give up and call it a day, but we figured after what had happened it could not get any worse. Famous Last Words! We headed to "Higher Eduction". Now without giving anything away about C2B2's letterbox, there is a shelter near where the letterbox was hidden. We retrieved the letterbox, snapped a couple of photos, stamped the log books and replaced it. Remember earlier when I said it rained hard while we were at Capen. I lied because if the first rain strom was hard then this was a monsoon. And alot more hail (Quarter size). If you have been to "Higher Ed" you know of the protection that I am speaking of. We sat there for another 30 minutes or so. The children were having a great time by this point. They had watched an entire DVD and were starting on another. Thank You Lord for DVD players. They thought the hail was cool. The van did not! Once the rain had slowed and the weather man said the worst was past us, we headed to Cici's for supper before heading north towards home. All in all, we stamped four letterboxes and chased three storms all over Columbia. Amazingly enough, we had the greatest time because it got to be funny all the different situations we had ourselves in that day. See you at the LB Gathering and until then, don't let your inkpad dry up.

ABS Family

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Second Annual Mid-MO Spring LB Gathering

As the sound of peepers fill the air and the morels begin to appear, nature signals that it is time once again for the Mid-MO Spring LB Gathering! This will be the second annual gathering for the Mid-Missouri Letterboxing community. Last year saw the courageous efforts of a dozen local, and not so local, Letterboxes search Rock Bridge Memorial State Park for the lost duo of Wallace & Gromit. The end of that day saw the rescue of the pair by the Goddess and the Gardner of Kansas City.

If you’ve never been to a LB Gathering you might be wondering, what happens. If two years in a row can be called tradition, tradition says that a theme will be chosen and a series of LBs planted revolving around it. Contests are prearranged and those who choose to bring certain items (usually a LB or Micro-box which fall into the given guidelines) and everyone votes on a favorite. Winners walk away with FABULOUS prizes (think hand made log books or cold root-beer fabulous, not new car fabulous). Possibly the most alluring aspect of a Gathering is a chance to meet the fabulous folks which make up the Letterboxing community. I was thrilled to finally meet the people behind the stamps I continually see in the logbooks. This leads to the ‘Exchange’. This simply means you exchange personal stamps with everyone who attends and tends to lead to a frenzied passing of logbooks, which leads us to another grand aspect of a LB Gathering, getting to see other’s logbooks. This is one of my favorite parts. Thumbing through well worn logbooks is like looking through a well traveled journal and scrapbook. We also do a bit of learning. This year I’ve been asked to host a class on compass useage and a carving class. Did I mention the LBs? If you’re looking for snatching up a good number of LB in a single day, a Gathering is the place to do it. This year’s theme is generating a lot of excitement amongst those who have received their invites. If you’re curious, take a look at what they’ve received.

The second annual Mid-MO Spring LB Gathering will be held on May 6th, 2006, beginning at 10 AM and running all day. For those adventurous/outdoorsy types, a few intrepid folks will be camping out. Lunch is a pot-luck so I ask everyone who attends to bring something to share. Staying all day is not a requirement. Dropping in for a few hours is fine, but I encourage trying to be there at the opening. If you’d like more information, such as the location or the current contests, you gotta drop me an e-mail. To find it, track me down through LBNA.


Greetings From Jenny J

When I'm not tromping in the woods in pursuit of LBs, I'm a fiber artist and fiber arts teacher at Access Arts in Columbia. I have two children in their mid-twenties. My daughter joins me on letterbox excursions occasionally - my son just rolls his eyes at the mention of it. My husband shares my love of fiber arts, especially knitting, but, alas, has no interest in letterboxing.

I started letterboxing in the summer of 2002 after learning about it from my sisters in Massachusetts. They urged me to start hiding boxes, assuring me that eventually a local group would sprout up. Well, it took a while but they were right. Late in 2004 Lnd Crzr came on the scene and jumped into letterboxing with both feet. Since then, our local group has been growing steadily, and Mid MO is now rich in letterboxes, really nice ones, I might add.

One of my most memorable finds was the LB at the Norman Rockwell Museum in western Massachusetts. It's a "two-fer" if you like Rockwell - lots of his wonderful illustrations and a very nice hand-carved stamp within walking distance of the museum.

Over this past spring break we made a jaunt up to Galesburg, Illinois to visit Carl Sandburg's home. While browsing the local phone book, I realized - duh! - Galesburg is also the home of Dick Blick Art Supplies. I order Speedo blades and stamp carving material from DB so it was great fun to browse their offerings in person. And yes, my wallet was a tad thinner when we left.

I love every aspect of letterboxing, from carving a unique stamp to discovering what other folks do with their boxes. I also relish hiking in the woods to find little gems of nature's beauty. When I log into a box, I usually try to mention some of the cool things I've seen along the way. I have two bits of advice for new LBers: 1. Remember to be discreet about retrieving and replacing boxes. If there are people close by, take a little stroll and wait until they're gone. 2. Please rehide the boxes well. Even if people don't see them, sometimes animals do and will remove them.

So that's the scoop on Jenny J. Welcome to all of you who are just discovering the pleasures of letterboxing. Good 'Boxing to you all!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

A REAL letterbox survey

I think what I enjoy most about letterboxing is the surprise. Sometimes it is the unexpected joy of opening a box to find a true piece of art carved for my pleasure. Just as often it is following the clues to a wonderful place I knew nothing about and would have never discovered on my own.

As Cecile and I plant more boxes, that pleasure of the unexpected has taken a new turn. I try to check my boxes for maintenance periodically. Besides replacing the plastic bags, I love to sit on the ground at "my" site and read the log of finders. When I started in early 2005, I knew who would be in the book. Our corps of discoverers was friendly, but small. Then I started finding stamps from letterboxers who were just passing through. Those almost always came with a note about how they enjoyed the area and the boxes here.

This week I went to the Buried Jewells box, as a finder had reported it needed repair. Indeed, the plastic bag had torn, the lid to the box was ajar and the logbook ink was starting to run. I took it home and changed the status on LBNA to under repair. At home, I also found the logbook was down to its last page, so I started to create a "second edition" to put in the repaired box.

My first surprise was that the book was so full. I suppose that the easy access to Buried Jewells makes it popular with families, and the uniqueness of the Cecile clues attracts the adults. There are stamps I have never seen before, along with several penned entries --- one in Chinese.

But hands down, the best entry was the one pictured here. There is considerable construction activity around the Jewell Cemetery, with survey flags on every nearby lot. "RTM" and "DPH" found the box while conducting a survey. They not only treated it with respect, they logged in with a hand-drawn caricature of them doing their work.

How can you beat that for a pleasant surprise? RTM and DPH, my cap is off to you. I'll be watching every survey crew I see from now on to see who has that tell-tale "letterboxer's grin.


Monday, April 10, 2006

Blogging and boxing

With our spring gathering coming up May 6, this is probably a good time to revisit what we are doing with our letterboxing blog.

This site is the sounding board to a growing group of letterboxers who live and search in the heart of Missouri. It also is getting a rather impressive amount of traffic. It has a half dozen registered authors and has been read by a score or more others in the vicinity.

For authors, I need to know if any of you wish to be taken off the list of people who can contribute postings to the blog (you can always keep reading it) or whether any of you need your e-mail address updated. For the rest of you, I need to know if you want a computer-generated invitation to be on the authoring list. Send me a note at

Also, I would like to see a series of short profiles on our letterboxers. If you are registered with the site, you can do that by going to, clicking on this site and posting bit of information on why you started letterboxing, etc. Share with us some of your trail stories and tips on stamps, boxes, navigating, etc. And photos are very welcomed — either photos of yourself, of boxes (don’t give away secrets), stamps or vistas.

If you are not registered, just e-mail the material to me.

Remember the blog is also a good place to post notes about boxes out of the area that might be worth seeing when any of us are traveling. This makes even more sense as we approach the vacation season.

Last but certainly not least, let me know if there is anyone who should be invited to look at the blog or come to the gathering. LndCrzr will host the gathering and should soon post his invitation.

See you on the trail.

Clyde (half of C2B2)