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.


rozebud said...

Wow - extremely cool idea! I looked at the three pix you had linked to - how did the rock box open?

Lnd-Crzr said...

Another great idea from C2B2. I can alraeday hear the local LBers shops all abuzz creating all kinds of ingenious boxes.

Rachel said...

Hi my name's Rachel, and my fiance and I have been letterboxing around the Kansas City area where we're both from, and in Ohio and Washington D.C. where we've respectively been living the past year. Now I'm moving to go to school at MU and I'm very interested in meeting with other letterboxers, and maybe becoming a little more serious about learning all I can about it. We love doing it, we have found some of the most extraordinary places! So if there is additional information, I'd love to hear from everyone, and anyone. My e-mail is
P.S. What's going on with the LbNA site? We haven't been able to get it to load for several days now.

Fox-fyr said...

Wow...niceto hear you liked the Alleycat box, and that it helped inspire the contest. I have a spot pickedout for the log box i won at the last Gathering, but am still working on the stamp and logbook. many boxes, so little time.

Fox-fyr said...

Your "Fallen Leaf" LB is another great example of a box in plain sight. I had to stare for about five minutes at the spot before I finally saw IT.

touchtrek said...

Well...(gulp) I have placed my first attempt. The clues are on LbNA...the box name is "Promenade". A second effort is under way. Happy Hunting!

touchtrek said...

Gulp again!!! My second effort is out there. The box is titled Oracle. I haven't yet snaped a pic (of either entry). I'm hoping that it will be there long enough for someone to find it (SO HURRY). Grins

Bender said...

I found Oracle at 3:15am and a cop found me! I had to explain the hobby of letterboxing to him as a drunk sat locked up in the back of his car. He was fasinated by the concept and was eager to tell his wife about the website!
I only stared at the box for about 5 minutes before realizing it was RIGHT THERE! GRIN Love the camoflauge boxes!

ahistory said...

Visited the Oracle yesterday just after 8:00 am. The steady hard rain covered my activities well. Only saw one other person and they had their head too far under their umbrella to notice me.
Excellent placement, that is going to be hard to beat.