Sunday, December 30, 2007
The clue we have been unable to break is her name. We've pondered Tesla (master of the lightning bolt) or Yazhi (a Navaho "little one.") But the only name that suits her right now is "Peesalot."
Clyde and Cecile
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Friday, December 07, 2007
Saturday, December 01, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Anyway, it got me thinking. It takes a real knack, some creative ingenuity, or a heck of a lot of planning and searching for that perfect hidey hole to plant boxes in the big metro area parks that survive . The large number of non-boxing person snooping about all year, the limited number of decent covering stones and natural hiding spots, and constant upkeep by mowers and gardeners all greatly increase the likelihood of accidental muggle discovery. My own first attempt in a K.C. park didn't even make it 9 months before it was snatched.
I was thinking of placing a box or two in St. Louis, so I was wondering if any veteran planters had any suggestions or good rules to follow.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Saturday, November 10, 2007
BTW- Be looking for three new boxes (5 stamps) from ABS Family to be posted by Turkey Day. Lbing after the meal instead of a nap, priceless.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Well, way to go you guys, you have me perplexed. I have wracked my brain and explored a few literal and figurative possibilities to no avail.
From C2B2 after "dramatically" editing the clue.
Hallelujah! Guess that clue was just too deep for you. Silly Shere, my friends from Chapel Hill would have guessed at least part of the puzzle.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Following the lead of those before me, like Lnd-Crzr, I have released a new series to commemorate my first year of LBing along with surpassing 50 plants. Since I put a lot of extra work into these boxes, I will not be listing them, so this may be the only electronic record of their existence.
Currently I only have 5 clues, but do plan to make more soon. I have handed out four of them but the fifth is still up for grabs. If anyone has a free day and feels up for some adventure, let me know and I will make sure you get a clue. Be prepared to hike one of Mid-MO's toughest trails and to use your logic and creativity to tackle a different sort of cipher both at home and on the trail. I hope you guys enjoy them.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Saturday October 20th 2:30pm til ?
Wear a costume!
Pumpkin carving (BYOP- I have carving supplies)
Ghost stories and Glow Sticks after dark!
Bring a guitar if you play!
I'm also sure that there will be boxes as well. ;)
And of course. POTLUCK! (No nuts, please)
There are a couple of contests also. Check out previous posts for AJMonkeyMan's contest for Halloween tales. Bring a story to share.
Create a Haunted Hitchhiker if you dare. Let's let some new blood loose! (Pun intended)
Please note the NEW TIME! We moved the start time to maximize daylight. We will begin around 2:30 pm.
Email Mcmonkeymom@gmail.com if you need directions.
So far it looks like about 20 or so LBers will be tricking and treating together. Let me know if you can come. We would be happy to see you. This is going to be a great time!
Saturday, October 06, 2007
I'll have them re-lost by the end of October. I must say this series has had an excellent run considering how long it's been active and the number of folks who have found it. Thanks to everyone who did their part in properly re-hiding this series.
Viva Proper Re-Hideation!
Friday, October 05, 2007
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
the one to the left is a rather dark image of the hole in the bottom of my backpack...you might be able to make out two smaller holes also, one on either side....
and the one on the right is, of course, the can of Off spray with the blue sticky substance in view at the top and bottom of the can.
I don't know if the poor quality of these pictures is the result of an inferior camera or the inadequate skills of the user...but I'm blaming it on the camera. :)
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
I'd like to get your opinions about what it might be...
My first clue was a blue sticky substance on my fingers as I got near the bottom of the main portion of my backpack. I then noticed this substance on some of the contents I had just pulled out. Oddly, it wouldn't come off when I tried to wash my hands...it just spread out as it was smeared around. I went back to the backpack and continued to empty it, and one of the last items to surface was my can of Off bug repellent. That's when I noticed the second clue...a sickly smell accompanying the stickiness on the can. My assumption was that the can of Off had leaked, although that didn't explain the blue color.
As I tried to clean the stickiness off my backpack with baby wipes (unscented, of course), I discovered it wouldn't come off, just as it hadn't come off my fingers. I got a sponge and a bottle of Soft Scrub and started scrubbing, and that's when I noticed the third clue...there appears to be a hole in the top layer of material in the bottom of my backpack, about 2 inches in diameter.
My theory is that the Off leaked out of the can and ate a hole through the blue backpack material, which created the sticky blue substance I encountered. If my theory is correct, the potency of this chemical boggles the mind!
I'm curious to know what you all think about this.
Friday, September 21, 2007
The box title is "Just What The Doctor Ordered."
Larry of the 5-B's.
For those of you that have already gotten your rum, the stamp has been updated and version 2.0 is aged much better.
L of the 5-B's
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
The party will be held at our house. I do not want to post directions here and need a head count. Please email me at McMonkeyMom@gmail.com for directions. I REALLY want to see you all there. We have a HUGE backyard and plenty of room for everyone. If you have ideas or prizes to share let me know.
Monday, September 17, 2007
There was plenty of good food and great stories to go around. Over 20 temporary boxes were planted just for the event so there was plenty of finding and stamping to go around. There were so many boxes even I did not have time to find them all. And for those of you who think urban boxing not comparable to a walk in the woods, do I have a story for you for we had quite an exciting time on one hunt in particular.
McMonkey Mom and I were hunting a single box hidden right at one corner of the park. We were looking over one of Lnd-Crzr's wonderful picture renditions trying to determine exactly where the arrow was pointing when I notices a truck turning the corner shooting what appeared to be flames out from under it. Now being used to the city, I expected the car to be souped up with some special flame shooting exhaust so I nudged McMonkey Mom with my elbow so she could take a look. As the truck cornered and came closer, it became apparent to our horror that this car was not rigged to produce these flames but was rather spewing gas directly from the engine and leaving behind a fiery trail in its wake.
As you can imagine, we were both somewhat taken aback at first, but after a second I was able to yell "HEY MAN, YOU CAR IS ON FIRE!" (A definite first, and hopefully last for any gatherings). Luckily they heard me and pulled over very quickly and ran from the car. They looked dressed to the nines (perhaps for one of the many weddings being held in the gorgeous park). The fire department was quickly called in and dispatched the flames soon enough, but Lnd-Crzr who didn't see it all unfold quickly came rushing down to make sure that everyone had made it out of the car safely, a true sign of his selfless commitment and rescue training. Just another reason, we are lucky to have him in our midst. As the fire was being put we were even able to use the distraction to obtain the box of choice. (Afterall remember the LB credo, neither snow, nor rain , nor gloom of night, nor flaming vehicles shall keep a boxer from their targeted letterbox.)
All in all it was a good time. I had to leave early but I hear the gang hit the Crown Center area and had even more good food and fun including dinner by train.
For all of you who contributed boxes, thanks so much for making this event a success. I have returned with them all, so please contact me to arrange a drop off. We had so many contributions (including an 11 box series that Lnd-Crzr just had lying around his house) that a few of the larger boxes did not even get hidden due to the nature of the park. Thanks again to everyone who helped out and I hope to see some of you next week in St. Louis. Hopefully there will be nothing on fire this weekend.
My camera batteries were dead so I didn't get any pictures, but if anyone would like to post a link to theirs that would be great.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
I am looking for assistance with two aspects of the program:
One, I would like to borrow carving tools for that day (they will be returned to you). Since letterboxing is first and foremost an art, the girls will be carving simple home-made stamps as part of the program.
Two, pending approval from the Girl Scout leaders, I need several volunteers willing to go with a small group of girls when we split up to do hunting, so that they have an experienced letterboxer with them. If you are not already a park volunteer, you wouldneed to fill out some paperwork in order to volunteer.
Our general agenda for the day is to introduce letterboxing and explain whatit is, why people do it and how it has evolved. We will go over etiquette include the art of stealth and discretion, proper re-hiedeation, how to sign a logbook and contact the placer, what hitchhikers are and whatto do with them, how to solve clues and how to use a compass. We will then split into five or so groups and look for temporary boxes planted in Rock Bridge State Park. Our goal is to fulfill come of the requirements on the High-Tech Hide-and-Seek Special Interest Badge. If interested in loaning tools or helping with the event, please contact me at difoxfire (at) hotmail (dot) com. I will be doingthis program again in March for upper elementary aged Girl Scouts.
Friday, September 14, 2007
Thursday, September 13, 2007
We’ll try to meet at the picnic table next to the large stone fireplace at the north end of the park near the playground. There is parking on the semi-circle drive and there is parking along West 51st Street near the playground. As these picnic tables are non-moveable and are available on a first come first serve basis, I ask that everyone who can, bring tables and chairs. The more the better as some of us driving in from out of town might not have the space to haul such furniture.
Liz has included driving direction, so if you need them, please let me know.
Also she has included this suggestion for additional fun. For those coming in with kids and plan to stay through dinner, there is a great place at Crown Center called Fritz’s. A train delivers your greasy cheeseburger to your table. It is a fun place for kids! There also is a Crayola Café there at Crown Center. I believe Ethan and I will be heading over to Fritz’s for a root beer when the festivities are over. Anyone and everyone are invited to join us!
I’ll attempt to get there early and snag the table for us. Look for the pirate flag, but if it’s not there yet, don’t worry. Just go ahead and grab a table. You’ll know a fellow Letterboxer by their conspicuously full backpack.
Looks like we’ll have beautiful weather!
Please feel free and e-mail any questions.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
After 24 hours of driving with a three year old, we arrived in Maine on August 19 with most of our sanity intact. We were immediately welcomed by beautiful cool weather, friendly neighbors, no internet connection and no cell phone reception. We’ve since gotten connected to the web, but finding a cell phone that picks up a signal inside our house is an ongoing saga. However, there has been plenty to do to take our minds off the phone calls and messages we’ve been missing….I’ve finished the unpacking but am still trying to find a place for everything in the house, and the garage is overflowing with the overflow. We’re having a garage sale later this month….road trip, anyone? You’ll be just in time for a New England Fall….some of the trees are already starting to be tinged with color. I could make a special letterbox for the event….anyone?
We haven’t been out to letterbox yet, but we did manage to find a box on our roadtrip here….Goat Island, hidden at Niagara Falls. It was fun searching in the midst of such a huge tourist attraction, and we were impressed that the box was still in place. However, those of you who have had the dubious pleasure of letterboxing with us will understand the horror I felt at discovering my camera battery was dead as I was trying to take pictures of our quest. No record for posterity! If you have no pictures, does it still count as a find??
I’m looking forward to sharing our letterboxing adventures with you all when we start having them…in the meantime, I’d love to hear a report from the Tolkien contest/gathering. Pictures would be even better!
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
With that in mind, we are assuming that the event probably won't go off as she had originally planned in her blog and she just has not had time to update any information or cancel the event on AQ. But without hearing anything there still is some chance that she may have everything set up.
There are 22 people who have signed up and after some discussion with many of them we have decided to set a backup event plan in motion just in case. Lnd-Crzr will be creating a seperate event sign-up and will be contacting everyone who signed up for the original. I don't think Perdu had anything reserved at Loose Park but I am looking into this and will update attendees on Thursday or Friday.
If you do plan to attend, please let me or Lnd-Czrz know. I am not sure if Perdu will have a chance to release the clues to the boxes she had planted for this event, so we are looking for boxes to take and plant either temporarily or permanently. Even if you are not attending, if you have a box that we could use and return to you after the event, please let me know and I will make arrangements to pick them up.
Please check back here on Friday night as we should know more then. Thanks for your help.
Thursday, September 06, 2007
Dear Clyde -
We have met a couple of times through my husband, Charles Davis.
I believe you are involved in "letterboxing" and I need some help. I am looking for someone (on short notice!!!) who could tell my daughter's girl scout troop a bit about this hobby. The short notice: the meeting is Sept. 12 from 3:45 - 5:00!
We are hoping to find someone who could also guide them through making their own stamps. Our plan is to make stamps & decorate journals at the first meeting. At the following meeting we will go hunt a couple of boxes located near our meeting place. (We meet at Grant Elementary School next to the Columbia Public Library.)
Can you put me in touch with anyone who might be willing to do this?
I teach a class at exactly that time, I’m afraid. Let me see who else might be available, but I’m afraid most of them work at that time. I will post a note on our Web site, http://midmoletterboxing.blogspot.com/, which also has a good set of informational articles on the right-hand side.
Do you have stamp carving material? Most carvers use the gray or pink stuff sold at craft stores but you can also cut out stamp shapes from thin craft foam and glue them to a block. I suggest that you carve only the personal stamps the girls will use to identify themselves. We recommend that you wait until you have found four or five boxes (on separate outings) before you try hiding one yourself. Finders all have a trail name or a name that they share with their family or group. I use C2B2 with my wife, Cecile, because we share the initials “CB.” We like groups to stamp onto a single page of the box logbook so it doesn’t quickly use up the paper. I saw a Girl Scout troop stamp in near Kansas City in a neat way — their combined stamps formed a picture on the page. I have seen families that do that, also.
The major challenge of letterboxing with Girl Scouts or any group is the stealth aspect. The prime rule of letterboxing is to not let “muggles” see what you are doing or to find a trail to the box. So a group cannot troop to the same box without being obvious. Worse is when someone shouts with excitement at finding the box. However, the hobby can also be both a great lesson and a fun activity for young people. Many of our boxes are focused on history and ask you to ponder the surroundings. Others have mathematical codes that require real problem solving. And many, many of the local stamps are pure art. It is the art of the stamp carver that makes letterboxers so nervous about having unappreciative people look for boxes.
There are many boxes in Columbia, including several in the downtown area, as you will find at http://letterboxing.org. But I would suggest a weekend outing to look for the “FB” series of about a 20 boxes That is the Favorite Book series of boxes planted by Lnd-Crzr. He and his son found their favorite young-people’s boxes and created clues that relate to the stories in the books. Ron is an incredible artist with a carving knife and so his stamps are worth finding. The fun here might be to have the girls pick their favorite books from his list. The easy way to find the whole list is to go to Letterboxing.org and the search for boxes page. Enter Missouri and Boone and then (in the clue name slot) “FB”. It will give you the full list.
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
We will be meeting at Castlewood Park in Ballwin, MO on Saturday Sept 22nd at 10Am. You will be looking for the picnic area right after the horse/biking areas (look for balloons) on the left. There are bathrooms nearby, a playground, and the river. At the end of the street is a beach where you can float, sit or swim in the Meramac river, so if you want to cool off after hiking, bring your swimsuit, chairs and floaties.
There are four classes scheduled (piano hinged logbooks, regular logbooks, intro to letterboxing, and a cypher/code class). Through out the day you can participate in our match up the invention with the inventor game and the first one with all the matches correct will win the trophy basket. There will be several other prizes given so come prepared to play hard, have fun and meet new people. There are also 4 KIDS ONLY boxes with prizes for the kids that find them as well. Clues to all boxes will be made available at the event.
This is a potluck so bring your favorite food item to share. (along with your plates, silverwear, and drinks) The hotdog bun is associated with the Worlds Fair held in St. Louis so it is only fitting that BBQ hotdogs will be served. We’ll eat around 11:30/12:00.
We hope to see you there!
(If you would like to donate towards the prize basket, please contact me at TheBHunters@atlsquest.net. Also if you had planned on carving a box for the event, I need them to reach me by Sept 16th so they can be planted in time for the games.)
Directions: From I-44 westbound, head north on 141. Turn left on Big Bend and then LEft again on Ries Road. When it dead ends at Keifer Creek, turn left into park and drive until you see the picnic area on your left, tucked into trees by the river. There is parking across the street or in the next lot up.
From Columbia, head east on 40/64 then South on 141. (You'll go quite a ways on 141) Turn Right on Big Bend then Left at Ries Road. Turn left into the park on Keifer Creek and drive until you see the picnic area on your left. Look for the balloons and a white pop up pavillion. Park across the street or in the next lot.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Have I got a box for you. A new box name Missouri Skies has been placed in Columbia for a limited time only. After Aug. 31st it will be re-located, and probably not in Boone County. I just wanted to give everyone a heads up in case your itchin to go somewhere close.
Larry of the 5-B's
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
So what happens at a dwarven send off party? Well, everyone who attends, and brings a FF prize will be entitled to stamp the stamps I’ll be sending to CO. Just how many? If you know the story of There and Back Again you’d know that it is at least…wait! I sense a contest here. The first 3 folks who send me the correct guess of AT LEAST how many stamps will receive a special prize. Can you claim these stamps as finds? Hmmm…I’ll leave that up to each individual, though you won’t see any of the logbooks at this point, which we all know can be half the fun. We’ll also do a quick vote and prize awarding for the contest.
Time, date and location have been confirmed, though the out of town visitors we thought might make it, won’t. Date is Saturday September 1st at 11 AM in the Columbia Library, Conference Room B.
If you can’t attend, but the thought of stamps of short fellows with beards has you salivating, don’t worry! I’m willing to open this up even to mail in entries. So if you can’t make it, go ahead and make you FF bonus for the contest (remember, these will be sent along to CO and must pertain to The Hobbit), send them to me (or make arrangements for delivery)and in return I’ll enter them into the contest and stamp the stamps and send them to you. How easy am I?
In a Nut Shell
Saturday September 1st 11 AM Columbia Library
Dwarven Send Off Party
Want stamps? Enter contest.
What Contest? Create FF prize related to J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’.
We’ll vote on the FF prizes. Winner receives something groovy.
ALL FF prizes will be shipped to CO along with the dwarfs, so be prepared to part with it.
Potluck! Dwarfs like good grub.
Got a clue regarding how many stamps? E-mail me.
Time is short!
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Limits on duration
The Missouri State Park system currently has a one-year limit on the permit before a permitted letterbox or geocache has to be relocated or removed.
Two main reasons for the time limit on the permit:
a) to help limit or prevent damage or other negative impact to the area (erosion, new trails being made, etc) by not allowing boxes to remain long-term.
b) If boxes were allowed to remain permanently, then once a park reached its limit of permits allowed, then no new boxes (or geocaches) would be allowed until someone decides to retire their permit.
Limits on quantity.
Currently the limits on the number of permits is one permit for every 200 acres. For example, Rock Bridge State Park has 2273 acres, and can issue a maximum of 11 permits. Please note that this maximum is the combined total of letterboxes and geocaches. One person is limited to two permits at a time.
Reasons for limits on quantity:
1) National parks won’t allow any. Missouri state parks decided to allow some, but impose a limit as when the policy was written, both letterboxing and geocaching were fairly new in the area and no one knew the potential impact.
2) Letterboxing and geocaching essentially violate the “Leave No Trace” philosophy. Containers, even when hidden so no part is visible, are still left behind in the parks and can becomes litter, especially when they not maintained or are dragged out of their hiding spot by animals, vandals or forces of nature.
3) Three state parks already have an incredible amount of paperwork, and not having a limit on the number of permits would be a huge headache.
4) Imposing a two-pemits-per-person limit allows for variety in boxes placed.
POLL (FOUR QUESTIONS):
If you could re-write the state parks letterboxing / geocaching policy:
1) How long would you allow a box to remain in place? One year, two years, two years with option to renew each year thereafter, five years, permanently, or other?
2) Would you rather see boxes and geocaches remain long-term, even if it meant not having new ones in the area for a long time, or would you rather have boxes forced to retire after a certain period of time so that new ones can move in?
3) What would you see as a fair number of permits allowed in an area so that a) the area does not become over-saturated and b) so that the state agency is not overwhelmed with paperwork?
4) How many permits / boxes should one person be allowed to have in any state park?
These are seemingly simple questions, but keep in mind that there are 83 Missouri State parks and historic sites which represents an incredible variety of resources, and the policy has to be able to be fair and applicable throughout the entire state park system for both letterboxes and geocaches.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Only six boxers dared to answer the question "How often have you "cheated" (by your definition(on a letterbox) clue. Two said never, one said once and three said five times.
It's worth discussion what constitutes "cheating" and whether it is a function of the way clues are written or the goals of the boxer. By some measures, I cheat on almost every box -- I very seldom pace off the distance and find I usually can find the box by just looking for landmarks (or a flash of Rubbermaid blue). I also never decode a cipher -- I either let Cecile do that, just figure it out from other parts of the clue or find another box.
My other main shortcut is to look at a map and determine the shortcut that the placer probably took. I only do this if the hike to the box looks unappealing, as the walk into the unfamiliar is the best part of letterboxing to me.
So what do you think? Is it fair game to take shortcuts?
The next poll, by the way, is about how frequently you letterbox.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Ahistory and I (and anyone else who is interested) are working on submitting suggested revisions to the policy. I have spoken with Barb Wilson who is on the Division of State Parks policy committee and is the primary contact for any revisions to this policy. She is willing to sit down and re-examine the policy, but given the nature and speed of state agencies I doubt if any changes will become effective before the permits on the above-mentioned boxes expire. Please let me know if you are wanting to work with us on suggested policy revisions. I hope to have something available to submit by September. Let me also know if any of you are willing to rite letters, and we can discuss letter-writing tips and suggestions.
Friday, August 10, 2007
Monday, August 06, 2007
Friday, August 03, 2007
Sunday, July 29, 2007
If you are on the list, be sure to be thinking about getting the gear needed (headlamp, two other lights, cleats or other shoes with ankle support and excellent traction, non-cotton clothing, a small pack, gloves, kneepads, etc.). Time flies fast and you don't want to be caught unprepared. Equipment information and other details can be found at www.mostateparks.com/rockbridge/cave.htm
I currently have the following people on the roster (did I forget anyone?):
One Mean Green Bean (paid)
I can take up to four more people.
If this is the first time you've heard of this trip, please check out the information about the tour before requesting a slot as it is a strenous all-day tour requiring special gear and special equipment. You have to be able to carry a 65-pound boat 1/4 mile over gravel and up or down stairs and travel 3.5 miles from start to finish, most of it on rocky, uneven and wet terrain, sometimes on your hands and knees. Fee is $25 per person. Minimum age is 14.
Monday, July 23, 2007
Before we began, the City of Columbia Parks and Rec (CPR) shared that their policy was written about a year ago, and that they had worked with state officials to draft it after their park staff found several geocaches that gave them cause for concern (such as in landscaped flower beds where people were trampling flowers to get to the box). To write the policy they did consult with geocachers but not with letterboxers. One of the reasons they may have failed to find letterboxers to include in their discussion is that the policy lists www.letterboxing.com as the website (instead of "dot org"). Also, in the post-911 climate, ammo boxes anywhere might be cause for concern. They city did say that more and more geocachers are now using plastic containers instead of ammo boxes.
The other main concern CPR had was knowing the location of the various boxes, and making sure that they were not being too saturated within any given park. The city has about 2400 acres throughout their park system which is roughly the same size as Rock Bridge State Park (2275 acres). Consequently, they had already removed the state park's restriction of one box per 200 acres as they would be able to grant few permits if that restriction were left in place.
The main concerns Ahistory and I had can be summarized as follows: 1) Letterboxing and geocaching are both treasure hunt activities but it is important to note that there are significant differences. If one policy is going to address both activities, it needs to clearly define the difference between the activities and create rules that are fair to both. A lot of the city's policy language was written specifically for geocaching and mentioned letterboxing almost as an afterthought (in part because it was modeled on the state policy which does exactly the same thing)
2) I wanted to re-examine and clarify the restrictions placed on the number of boxes allowed per person, the areas in which they could be placed, and the length they would be allowed to remain. The restrictions are in place for safety and to minimize panic from poorly placed boxes (e.g., an ammo box near a highway bridge or playground might raise cause for alarm).
To achieve these goals, I drafted a revised policy including with it all the changes we'd like to see to the language to make it more user-friendly. CPR agreed to review it and post the changes to the website.
Here are some of the points we agreed on:
--CPR agreed to modify the language of the policy to expand and clarify the definition of geocaching and letterboxing and some of the terms related to the two activities. I suggested the use of the word "treasure container" instead of cache as a more neutral term that covers both activities.
--CPR requested that each box with labeled with the name of the box and the name of the placer and include some sort of text about what letterboxing is and what people should do with the box once they find it. This way, it would make it easier for them to identify which box is which and easier to contact the placer if the box needs to be pulled for maintenance, or if it found by the unsuspecting person or animal who may have moved it from its original location. To help officials locate the box, they would like a photo (preferably digital) included with the permit application that shows the hiding place of the box. We agreed these were all reasonable and appropriate requests. The text to be included can be different from person to person but we will submit an example that other letterboxers can use as a model.
--The current language limits people to two permits per person per park. CPR agreed to grandfather in exisiting boxes as long as they were permitted. To simplify the process, they agreed that each person with one or more boxes already in place could fill out one permit listing all of the boxes in whatever parks they currently have, and all of those boxes would be up for renewal by this time next year.
--They also agreed to review the 2 permit per person per park rule since there is some conflict with boxes that are placed in series. The current language allows a person to put a "multi-cache' of up to five boxes on one permit. This would mean that one person could potentially put out two series each with five boxes whereas another person who might like to place three separate boxes on separate permits would only be permitted to place two of those three. While we did not agree on specific language for this policy, they are open to suggestions.
--Lastly, our last major accomplishment (and the most important in my opinon) is the following: The current language requires that boxes be removed or re-located after 12 months. For a letterboxer in which the clue and the route to the box is an essential part of the box, this policy is quite disconcerting, especially if we have already placed a box in an area that should casue minimal or no impact. We agreed with CPR that permits should be renewed on a yearly basis so that they know the box is still active. CPR also agreed that box could remain in place as long as no damage was being caused (such as trampled vegetation or new trails).
There were also a few other minor discussion points, but more on that later. Also, more later on my meeting results with Jeff City Parks and Rec. If anyone would like to review my draft and recommendations, please shoot me an e-mail at difoxfire (at) hotmail (dot) com.
I am hoping that if the city agrees to our recommendations, it will give us more weight when we go to try and convince the state and federal agencies.
I would also be happy to address any questions.
It started out as a small mini-meet just to hook up with a few poeple, but it got placed on AQ and now it seems quite a few may show up (I have even heard rumor that Perdu may try and come). I will be sharing some exmaples of the fine boxing in Mid-MO by showing off some of my groovy FF prizes, Lnd-crzr's incredible hand printed clues, and of course my logbooks. They have even asked that I show them how I make my logbooks, so I will be passing on what I learned from Fox-fyr, Lnd-crzr and everyone else. The LB community ion Tulsa is much smaller than ours and most of the boxes that are not missing are placed by out-of-towners, like myself and SafariMan, who frequent Tulsa often during the year. But they are beginning to grow along with the rise in popularity of boxing.
Anyway, I don't expect any of you to come and I will be sure to share my time when I return, but I thought I would extend an invitation for any of you die hards who have the extra money to pay for gas and the extra time to travel.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Sunday, July 15, 2007
I was not aware that now the city of Columbia Parks & Rec are wanting all boxes registered with the system. If the park staff finds a box and it's unregistered, it will be pulled and held for 30 days while they try to contact the placer.
There is not a charge for a permit from what I can tell, and permits are issued for a 12 month period. They have some official blurb to put in approved boxes. The official blurb works great for geocaching but not for letterboxing. I am sure if the line approved by parks and rec is included it would work fine.
So my honer y side says ... time to send the parks & rec some serious paperwork! Also, I do not know if they are aware of our little blog as a way to connect with the Mid-Mo LB community. Sorry if this is old info to anyone, but I did not see it on the blog here and the link said 'new' & I hadn't noticed it earlier.
Happy boxin' & form filling!
Friday, July 13, 2007
Watch out for muggles of both worlds, and when you happen to see a witch named Artemisia Lufkin- ask her if she has a frog in her pocket and poof apprio boxio!!
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
This was my reaction to the find. Oh yes, this box is worth every bit of the reaction!
So to celebrate the love and care he took in placing this box, we will not be posting the clues live for a month. If you would be interested in a box that has A LOT of ciphering - in a high traffic - ultra sensitive location. Then email us at lady.busick at gmail dot com, we will send you the clues.
The safety of this box is of great importance due to the location. I hope to keep this box in mid-MO for a long time since it's located at a mid-MO treasure!
Keep on boxin'!
Friday, July 06, 2007
The creek behind our house provided a great jungle in which to hide the loot. Take a look at the photos of the Treasure of the Dread Pirate Big Gus...
Thursday, July 05, 2007
But here is a photo of the merry bunch before everyone split up for their adventures.
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Letterboxing is first and foremost an art whether it’s the stamp itself, the handmade logbook, a clever container, the choice of hiding spot, or even the clue itself. For me, there’s something very satisfying when I’m struggling with a clue, and I look around, and “Aha,” all of a sudden it makes sense. While Mid-Missouri letterboxes have a wide variety of clues, it can be a real challenge to write a SHORT clue that is SWEET enough to lead people to the box yet SASSY enough that it still sparks that “Aha!” moment. So welcome to the “Aha! Short, Sweet and Sassy” clue contest.
The challenge is to plant a box in mid-Missouri with a short, sweet and sassy clue.
Here’s the kicker: Clues must be no longer than three sentences long. Each sentence can be as long as you like, although extending sentence length with repeated use of the word “AND” will be frowned upon. Though pictures (and drawings) are worth a thousand words, they will be considered one ”sentence” each, if used. The aim, after all, is to write a clue that sounds simple on the outside but which requires some critical and/or creative thinking once you’re actually “on the hunt.”
Here are the rest of the rules:
● Clues must be posted on LBNA. The description must mention that the box is part of the “AHA: Short, Sweet and Sassy ” clue contest. This description does not count as part of the three-sentence limit. ANYTHING that gives a hint to the box’s location MUST be part of the three-sentence limit.
Exception 1: You are permitted and encouraged to list the county and nearest city in the heading without counting it toward your three-sentence limit.
Exception 2: Other text such as background information, reminders to re-seal and properly re-hide all items, etc., is permitted as long as none of it gives any hints to the box’s location, box’s size/shape or anything else that would help someone find it.
● Boxes must be placed by September 1 (we won’t mind if you’re a few days late in planting). That gives you two months to plant and about four months to find all the entries with the winners to be voted on at the first Gathering of 2008. The prize will be a First Finders Tome ( a collection of clues that will not be published until one month after the winner receives the prize).
● Boxes must be placed anywhere within a one-hour traveling radius of Columbia, Missouri (that’s travel time by car, not plane, boat, bicycle, foot, equine or pogostick).
● The clue should be written in such a manner that someone from out-of-town can find the box about as well as anyone else. If they need to do some research, it should be the kind of research where they can look up the information on the internet or in a book or other similar media BEFORE they arrive, (i.e. they should not need to know anything about the placer or local oral history/folklore or have to find another box first, etc.).
● All finders must log their finds, and contact the placer after finding the box.
There’s an art to writing such clues. They should not be so simple as “Start here. Go there. Look under this.” There’s no real “Aha!” moment in such a clue, unless there’s something not immediately obvious about the clue until you’re at the actual location. On the other hand, they should not be so vague or mysterious that most people will find the hunt frustrating rather than rewarding. For some good examples of short, sweet and sassy clues, check out Team Gingko’s “Hidden Mickey” box in Mareceline, some of their CMRT: series in Macon, and Lady in Red’s “Hometown Spirit” boxes in Harrisburg. (You may not realize what is sassy about the clues until you find the boxes).
Winners will be judged on the cleverness, creativeness and challenge-factor of their clues, and the amount of “Aha!” sparked when finding the box. Extra points will be given for boxes where the containers, stamps and logbooks themselves are also “SHORT,” “SWEET” and/or “SASSY” (your definition). Remember, don’t outsmart yourself. If no one can find your box, the clues aren’t short, sweet and sassy.
Sunday, July 01, 2007
This Spring, I offered a special stamp to anyone who found morels and sent me a picture and information on their good fortune. Only one person, JennyJ, was fortunate to hunt down her own patch of the delightful treats and claim the reward. Congratulations, I knew there was a mushroom hunter or two among the letterboxing ranks.
Last month, I received this photo from the Happy Wanderer and decided to extend my offer of reward. If you think you see any of the mushrooms featured in my wild mushroom series, please take a photo and let me know where and what you think you have found. If you have made a proper identification, you will be rewarded in true letterboxing fashion. Include the appropriate insert (like Happy Wanderer did ) and impress me even more.
By the way, if you are out there Happy Wanderer, please email me to claim your reward. I had major computer problems in the middle of the June and lost all of my old email and addresses.
We are from the Harrisburg, Mo area so have hit a couple places close by. We have not made it to Lady In Red's box in Harrisburg yet...that is going to be a today thing. Woo hoo!
To date we have found three total boxes, and think we found a spot for another but it is missing (we e-mailed the box placer). We ride motorcycles, so we are already planning on road tripping to some locations. We rode to the Union Covered Bridge Sunday evening and found a prize. This was our most challenging trip so far since people seemed to come in droves. Okay, there were only 10 or 12 others that showed up, but it felt like more. We also have visited Shelter Gardens (our first since I work there - and my boss told me about LB'ing), and Five Star Drinks - Eight ounces (our second one - great adventure!).
My husband and I are of the outdoorsy variety. We like to be outside, which is why my housekeeping skills are lacking. :-) He enjoys hunting, we both enjoy fishing, camping, walks, canoeing and kayaking. My sister has some land with a great cave on it, so we have really enjoyed learning more about caves. There are a lot of crawl spaces to explore, which have tested my claustrophobic tendencies, but it has been worth it. There are so many natually beautiful things in our State to explore and appreciate. Wish there was more time in a day to do it all. In between that, we both enjoy reading and our favorite board game is Scrabble (can't wait to start looking for the Scrabble series).
We also have horses, burros, chickens, rabbits, guineas, dogs, a cat, a couple fish, and we are trying to hatch out some duck eggs that we found in our barn. We also have a garden that we are going to try to keep weed free this year. Is that possible? We have doubled the size of it, so between that and the critters, we stay very busy.
I am looking for to meeting you all.
Brian and Karen
Saturday, June 30, 2007
The new version also allows one to add video clips and create podcasts. That opens the door to some very interesting clues. But then you have to look at faces like this one:
It also allows us to publish the blog in other languages, so if you really want to read in Català , български or Hindi, let me know. Talk about a way to keep the muggles at bay...
Another feature that has been there for some time but most folks don't know about is the site meter. If you scroll down to the bottom of the "sidebar" at the right, you will see a Sitemeter logo. Click on it and it will take you to the latest readership statistics for the blog. For instance, as of 11 p.m. Saturday, the site had received 9,215 visits (since the counter was added a year or so ago). We average 59 visits per day, you usually stay on the site about 4 mintues and we had 25 visitors on Saturday.
Some of those visitors are "spiders" or other robots that haunt the Web looking for sites to index. But we now have enough traffic to be a notable local blog. As my job has focused more on blogs I find it wonderful to be part of something useful to a group of people (and not part of the university).
As long as I'm blog-talking, I'll ask for another favor. I'm trying to put together a list of interesting Mid Missouri blogs. If you write one, read one or just know of one, please send me the URL or post it as a comment to this message.
Friday, June 29, 2007
Thursday, June 28, 2007
I've been corresponding with Team Gingko (half of them anyway) and she'll be in town next week to run some errands before she has to head back to Florida. Therefore, I invited her to meet me at Rock Bridge State Park, Devil's Icebox parking lot at the kiosk at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 2 (after I get off work). I'd like to extend an invitation for anyone of you that happen to be free that afternoon may be able to join us for exchanging some stamps and a visiting the cave. I know it's a holiday week and some of you may already have plans, but if you can come, please let me know. We will meet at the kiosk (or the Rock Bridge Mills shelter if it's raining). I don't know if she'll be able to bring any of her letterboxing friends from Macon, but I hope so. Also, she that while they have an active community in Florida, she's never been to a Gathering before so it would be nice if some of you could attend.
I have to be somewhere at 6:30, and I don't know what Team Gingko's time constraints are, but I suggested that if she had time she should hit several boxes in the area. I suggested Devil's Icebox, Connor's Cave, Home Tweet Home and Buried Jewells. I also gave her the names of some of the other boxes in the Providence corridor area.
Since it's such a short time frame, I don't suggest a potluck although I may bring a few treats to share. Hope to see you on Tuesday and plase RSVP via the "Comment" link.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
While we didn't have personalized plates or pagan stickers we still felt like we stuck out. I can't tell you how many times I tied my shoes today! Good thing I wore the ones with laces. The first box was somewhat of a challenge. Even though part of the clue went right over my head we were able to find it. Another excellent reason to print two sets of clues so both can read! We experienced the same phenomenon that Fox-fyr did of people appearing out of thin air at the moment we were replacing the box. Unbelievable! They were everywhere. Box two stumped us completely. We really thought we had it but kept coming up empty. The next time you see one of us ask about the evergreen escapade. Eyes were everywhere. A police car drove by slowly checking us out and then we were really nervous.
We made it through the rest of the series without drawing attention. (We hope) Finally...the Bonus. After reading Fox-fyr's post, we approached with trepidation. Victory! And what a bonus! We were fortunate enough to meet the local crew in Macon. Very friendly, enthusiastic people. They seem to be creative in all manners as we found through our discussion. Our biggest regret was that we did not have more time to spend with them. They were all fairly new boxers and treated us like Rock Star/ Celebrities. It's been a while since I felt that cool!
I must say for both of us that this is a series well worth the drive. We spent the better part of the day there. The minutes flew by. It was wonderful set of boxes with very well written clues that made our day most enjoyable. We were flushed with success on the ride home. We also had a number of great A-HA moments. To me this is one of the best parts of letterboxing. It makes me feel part pirate, part spy and all warm and fuzzy inside! Find the time before Team Gingko leaves the area if you can. You won't be sorry!
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
I wanted to share a couple interesting things from my letterboxing adventures in San Francisco. Like Fox-fyr mentioned in her recent post, letterboxing in the city is completely different from letterboxing in wooded areas and parks. I was completely out of my element in San Francisco and nabbing a box that is only feet from the road when you have no cover is really challenging. It's amazing that some of the boxes have lasted as long as they have, especially when you look at all the clues for which the boxes were known to be missing.
I wanted you all to see this stamp. It's a folding stamp. The strip of duct tape works like a hinge, so you can fold the stamp up to put it in the box but you can open it out to stamp with it.
This is an example of how a couple boxes I found were camouflaged. When hidden in patches of ivy, they blended in quite well. It made stamping in a bit easier too. You put the lid on the box and set in down in an area with some other plant and no one is going to notice it while they're passing by.
Hopefully I can get some more pictures out for you to see soon!
Lady in Red
Sorry if I am breaking confidence, Ron, but this is such an important subject I wanted to post it to the blog and invite people to use the comments to voice their own predictions and opinions.
Many letterboxers fear that the sudden recognition of the hobby will overwhelm us with new boxes, newbie searchers and semi-muggles who damage boxes or give the rest of us a bad name.
At the heart of this is the nagging irritation that an activity that made us special – and is special to us – is now not all that exclusive. What happens when a niche hobby gets so popular it has a section at Michael’s?
Right now, letterboxing doesn’t make it on the Harris list of top hobbies , but that is a moving target. Hobbies constantly walk the line between “fad” and “lifestyle.” Big chain hobby stores are actually pretty good indicators of what is in.
My prediction is that letterboxing will boom outrageously for a year or two, then take a big dive as the next fad kicks in. That’s both good and bad for those of us who enjoy it now. We will get plenty of supplies and boxes to find, but have to search in a crowded field. For a while.
Hobby fads have a definite life cycle. They start underground, leak out, boom, then fizzle. Sort of fizzle. Old hobbies never die, they just fade back to the realm of the diehards.
Think of the aisles hobby stores of recent yore. Remember tole painting? How about pogs? CB radio? Hackey sack? Slot cars? None are dead, but all were threatened by popularity at some time. Letterboxing, too, will survive. It may get commercial and less tasteful for a time, but then the folks who really aren’t up to the hunt will drop out. My guess is PLB will absorb much of the shock, as it is more of a carving craft than a search hobby.
Keep in mind that letterboxing is not at all new. James Perrott started it in 1854. But it was something of a secret in the U.S. until the Smithsonian article in April 1998. Most of us “found” letterboxing after reading or hearing a story – or through a friend who did the same.
Even if we wanted the slam the door on new folks, it is impossible. And in my mind, unfair. We have no right to letterboxing, only opportunity.
If you want to stick with it, teach the newbies how to keep out of trouble and plant challenging boxes. And wait patiently for the commotion to die down.
And if you don’t like the change? A new hobby is always just around the corner.
1) A small insert (half of an 8 1/2 by 11 sheet) to slip into our local boxes. It would contain useful LB info for new or accidental finders, and possibly useful websites. We didn’t go into detail on this. Anyone want to take it on as a project? Those of you who are newer (less than a year) to letterboxing may have good insight into what should be covered.
2) A standard handout for anyone to use when contacted by the media. Everyone seemed to agree that this was a good idea, but we didn’t delve into it. As Foxfyr pointed out earlier, we don’t need to reinvent the wheel on this.
3) Two group projects were discussed. The first one is a series of letterboxes, probably all in one park, that cover various aspects of letterboxing: etiquette, use of a compass, solving ciphers, etc.
The second project would be a series of boxes around downtown Columbia highlighting cultural/historical/interesting spots in the area. The possibility of somehow involving the businesses was mentioned. McMonkey Mom has a friend in the business community that she was going to contact. We all agreed that more discussion from all of the local LB community was needed.
That’s about it, as far as I can remember. C2B2 may have some additional items that he will post. Any of the group attending, please add anything I’ve omitted. Now everyone please jump in and express your feelings on any of this, or take on some small piece of it as a project. And as always, Good ‘Boxing to you!
Monday, June 25, 2007
Easy Level: Short distance. Easy terrain. Paved or smooth trails. Short time commitment. Very kid-friendly. Simple ciphers and codes, or none at all.
Intermediate: Longer distances and time commitments. Some terrain challenges or bushwhacking. Trickier clues. Harder ciphers.
Experienced/Challenging: More terrain challenges. Longer hikes. Obscure clues. Brain-tweaking or multiple ciphers. Probably not suitable for young children or for newbies just wanting to test the LB waters.
Again, the idea was to develop these levels and use them in our box clues with a link to the blog to see the specific criteria of the levels. Any of you at the get-together, please add anything I might have forgotten. Everyone here, give us your input please.
I thought it would be easier to break the ideas into several posts. Any of you with suggestions/refinements may post your comments to that topic. Then I will try to revise and repost each topic.
So here is the group’s first suggestion. Although everyone present agreed that a small sheet of helpful hints would be great to tuck into individual boxes, we felt that some hints might be useful before they even went out hunting. It was suggested that a brief blurb be added to the top of everyone’s clues - something concise and in capital letters -
BE DISCREET IN RETRIEVING THE BOX. COME BACK LATER IF THERE ARE OTHERS IN THE AREA.
IF POSSIBLE, TAKE THE BOX AWAY FROM ITS HIDING SPOT TO LOG IN.
PUT ALL COMPONENTS BACK TOGETHER AS YOU FOUND THEM AND BE SURE THE BOX IS SECURELY CLOSED.
REPLACE THE BOX EXACTLY WHERE YOU FOUND IT, MAKING CERTAIN IT IS INVISIBLE FROM ALL ANGLES.
AVOID TRAMPLING PLANTS AND LEAVE NO TRACES OF YOUR VISIT, EVEN FOOTPRINTS.
I think the plan is to decide on what we want to say in this little header, and then C2B2 will tuck it somewhere in the blog sidebar for anyone to make use of. In your comments feel free to add/subtract as you see fit, keeping in mind that this particular item should be succinct, in the hope that new LBers will actually read it before they head out.
Saturday, June 23, 2007
On a recent letterboxing trip to the northerly town of Macon, we had the grand adventure of severely testing our urban letterboxing skills, especially that of the skill of discretion, and solving clues in a very small and unfamiliar town where if we weren't careful, we'd really stand out as non-locals and endanger the boxes we were seeking to find. Truth to tell, I felt a bit like a fish out of water, being surrounded by buildings instead of trees and watching for cars instead of unsuspecting hikers.
Still, things started out simple enough. At first I thought we were visiting a sleepy town. No one was about, the clues were simple, and our first box was easy to find.
That was just the cosmos teasing us.
As soon as we decided to re-hide the box, there was a person around that corner, a car moving around that corner, a police patrolman cruising by the other corner, and even two horses being ridden double smack down the middle of a main street in town . But not a soul seemed to even own a cell phone. Since we could only walk around the block so many times without raising suspicion, we shook our heads in dsibelief, and took the box with us to return it later.
The next dilemma we faced involved whether we should walk or drive. I usually LOVE having personalized plates but cruising up and down small town streets with personalized plates and pagan-themed bumperstickers was not my idea of how to blend in, especially given some of the locations we ended up searching.
We did get to see some cool sights. Some of them led us absolutely nowhere--what does the clue say again?--and some we saw more times than we expected--the box really should be here...let's look again....and again...and yet again. Try to look casual. Really.
Is there a way to casually count paces and peer in nooks and crannies in a empty lot in full view of traffic? How many times can I search for my keys, drop my sunglasses and stoop to pick them up, and pose to get my picture taken in front of less-than-picturesque landscaping? All the while watching for people watching us, especially those sneaky ones in parked cars, or those that suddenly pour en masse out of buildings into what had been an empty street only moments earlier. Still after several hours, spread out over two different days, and some hunting under cover of darkness (What's our story again in case the police stop to investigate?"), we finally approached the last part of the clue which was to "say hello to the troll."
That was when we got our biggest shock.
Knowing that if we played our cards right we might have a chance to meet and exchange stamps with the people who had planted the boxes we found, we cautiously approached the troll. We hesitated, seeing the presence of Muggles (non-letterboxers) nearby. What could we do that would not draw undue attention to ourselves and what we were doing? Who could have predicted that our deliberately discreet question about costume designers from Florida would spark a conversation that began with an enthusiatic "Are you letterboxers? Hey, I'm a letterboxer," and then a second or two later, the speaker called excitely to another person, "Hey, there's letterboxers here!" A third person walking by who overheard the comment eagerly said to 4th onlooker, "Hey, do you know about letterboxing?" At her puzzled look, he said, "It's great. I'll tell you all about it later." I stood there in disbelief and shock as the Muggles looked puzzledly at each other and us before continuing on their way.
So much for discretion. After I picked my jaw up off the floor, and collected my wits, I had a chance to meet and chat with some very fine and enthusiastic folks, all of whom had just started letterboxing. I supposed I had become so accustmed to the mid-Missouri style of letterboxing where secrecy and discretion go hand-in-glove with letterboxing, that I had forgotten it's not that way everywhere.
The secrecy is one of the things I like best about letterboxing...e-volution joked that letterboxing is good for terrorist training: concealing boxes in plain sight, practicing under-cover techniques, decoding ciphers, etc. But in all seriousness, I like the fact that I can walk (or drive) by a box's location and delight in the fact that most people will pass unsuspectingly by it while I know it's there. I hope that all new letterboxers eventually experience the same feeling, and with any luck (and quite a bit of skill), the rest of you may also have a chance to meet and chat with some of the wonderful new aquaintances we made in Macon.
FYI, I did get to speak that evening with part of Team Gingko via cell phone. She happened to be in Columbia at the time. What irony.