Sunday, August 27, 2006

Mid Missouri Letterboxers

An Alarming Trend

I’ve noticed something rather alarming recently….boxes which are visible in their hiding places. It’s nothing new that occasionally a box will be uncovered, but the last few weeks we’ve found naked boxes almost every time we’ve been out…either clearly visible, or visible from an angle other than the direction we came from (i.e., the back or side of a hollow tree, etc.).

I’m assuming that animals are the ones responsible for this mischief, and I’m not sure what the solution is, except to be extra-vigilant when re-hiding a box, including looking around the hiding place from every angle to make sure it is completely concealed and covering it as much as possible. It would be a real loss for any of the boxes we’ve found to go missing!


ahistory said...

Only been LBing for a few weeks now but I've noticed this too, though in many cases it is an animal. Found one box 50 feet away at the foot of a tree with obvious toothmarks. Always remeber to cover any boxes even ones deep in trees with rocks if possible to deter the little critters. I assumes some people may use leaves and sticks to cover and these often get blown or washed away in storms.
I always try to walk around the box when I'm done to make sure it is well hidden.
Do any of you veterans have rehideation tips for those starting out?

Jenny J said...

My feeling is that critters are largely responsible. LBs are strange-smelling foreign objects in the animals' familiar environment - and critters, like people are curious. On one box that I pulled for maintenance, there were lots of claw-like scratches all over the lid. Our local group of regulars are very conscientious about rehiding. Rocks and large bits of wood can help anchor boxes but even those may not foil a determined animal.

Clyde Bentley said...

If you were a raccoon and found a thin plastic bag full of lumpy things, would you say "Don't touch, it's a letterbox" or "Wow, someone left their lunch out for me again"?

Fox-fyr said...

At one point I wanted to be a schoolteacher. I may still someday follow that path, as you can see by the next part of my post. Given the recent amount of poor re-hideation, I recently checked on some of the Wallace and Gromit boxes in Rock Bridge State Park. All of them that I checked had been last found on 8/26/06 by a variety of people.
I graded the quality of re-hideation based on the criteria below. Out of seven boxes, three I rated A+, one A, but the other three got a grade of C. All were sealed and dry but I could tell from the logbooks and other clues, that some previous finders had found the boxes in less than ideal conditions (soggy, dragged away 20 paces, Ziplocs torn, etc.) Thanks to those who "nursed" those LBs back to health.

Here's my criteria. Let me know what you think of it.
A+ The planter (or someone who's already visited the box) cannot tell immediately whether or not it's still there. All Ziplocs are sealed (logbook not on bottom of container if possible).
A- = Well hidden. No part of the box is visible but something suggests that a box MAY be there (i.e. rocks or sticks piled unaturally). Still, only someone who knows where to look will likely find it. All Ziplocs completely sealed and logbook not on bottom of container if possible.
B = Well hidden but some part of the box is visible (e.g., part of a plastic bag sticking out or part of the container exposed). Still Muggles would likely not find it unless they looked right at it.
C= Box is hidden where it is supposed to be (such as a hollow log) but is clearly visible to anyone who happens to look in that direction. (Box is not camouflaged, covered or given any extra protection other than the log).
D = Box is hidden at or very near exactly location but left completely visible and unprotected from elements (such as outside a hollow log that it is meant to be inside)
F= Box has been left open, Ziplocs not sealed properly, and/or in such a state that it has been drug away from its hiding spot.