Monday, May 28, 2007

Columbia in a day

Hi all,

We just had some friends move from St. Louis to Columbia, so we'll be taking them up on their offer to stay in about 2 weeks. We can only get away for a day and wanted to hit as many boxes as possible in a one day setting. Since we are not from there, would any of you like to speak out and help us out. Which areas are near by each other and provide maximum boxing opportunities? We'd love to complete a few series and get boxes from several different carvers. IF you have any advice. Please let us know. The B Hunters


Lnd-Crzr said...

I just whipped up a similar request for folks coming in from Ill. I'd be glad to zip it your way tomrrow.


Fox-fyr said...

I have been working on a little project tentatively titled "Out-of-Towner's Guide to Letterboxing in Mid-Missouri."

My intent is to be able to suggest some one and two-day hikes with 10-20 boxes per list without giving away any spoilers. The guide would also include instructions for decoding some common ciphers used in the area.
I also thought about listing some factors such as length of hike, difficulty of terrain, indoor/outdoor, and to list by boxes by general location, etc.
In addition, I thought it helpful to list some general information and links (such as websites for state/city parks, conservation areas, and cities so that they could download maps, etc ).
This has became a larger project than I anticipated in large part because Boone County alone has about 117 listings (and some listings have more than one box).

My current dilemma is how to decide which boxes to include in a suggested day hike, and which to leave out. I think every box out there is worthy to be inluded on such a list but some are either more time-consuming than others, or are harder to get because of circumstances such as being in a high traffic area or needing to know something about local history/geography/culture to understand the clue.

Also, while it makes sense to not give away the general location of Mystery Boxes, what about those boxes that are simply cryptic as to the starting location (such as Touh trek's Promenade LB or my Home Tweet Home box).

I'd appreciate any comments.

ahistory said...

For my box recently planted in Ohio, I send a map to all finders that was created by Safari Man. It is basically a trail map for one large nature area, but it includes graphical markers that generally show the name and location of all of the letterboxes in the park. this map is NOT available online and must be requested. Since it is not to scale the markers only serve as visual cues as to where to head and finders must still rely heavily on the clues. So I do not really consider it a spoiler. Safari man created this and got permission from all LB owners listed on the map.
Creating a similar map for all non-mystery boxes might be a good tool to give visitors. It would allow them to visually see generally where boxes are located around town and plan their own trip. Letting us not worry about what to include. Such a map coupled with a very basic listing (name, owner/placer, hike length, etc) would provide everything one needs to plan a Mid-MO outing all in one place.
Mystery boxes could be included at the owners discretion. Depending on how detailed the scale is, I would probably allow many of my less obvious boxes (like Charlotte) on the map. If you keep the scale pretty large, then even seeing an icon for a general location of a box doesn't tell you much.
Fox-fyr, I'll send you a copy of the Ohio map when I get home.

Lnd-Crzr said...

Fox-Fyr and I have talked briefly about this topic and I think a group project would be grand.

I've just whipped up something for our vistors coming in Saturday. I divided Columbia into five regions and listed all the boxes within that area. I believe the regions were Cosmo, Downtown, Rock Bridge, Capen/Grindstone, Kiwanas Park, Stepehns Park. This seems like a good way to cover individual areas without a lot of running around. It does not address the series that are scattered about the area. But it does provide all the boxes listed in the particular area. Along with it I provided links to all maps I felt were pertenant to the hunt. I believe on some I did give an indication to length of hikes.

For boxes with encrypted starting locations I just give the general area, thus not giving anything away.

I also tried to avoid giving a specific list of 'must sees'. I'm not a fan of AQ's Blue Diamonds, because I feel it directs to specific boxes and steals part of the 'Ah-Ha!' affect. All boxes are good boxes. When someone runs across one that blows their socks off, great. I don't want to send them to only such boxes. Now if someone were to ask specificly which to hit if they only have one day, I might suggest a short list, but they've asked for it. So if surprise has been ruined, they're responsoble for it.

I like the dialouge happening here. Anyone else have suggestions or comments?


Lnd-Crzr said...

Oh let me add, Columbia in a day? not possible. I believe the record for finds within one day is 17 held by OneMeanGreenBean and Drag-Along-for-Fun. Correct me if I'm wrong. Of course if someone were to beat 17...


ahistory said...

Lnd-Crzr, your approach sounds sensible to me and I'm game to help out on a "project", though when you use that I get a little scared of what you have in store. The depths of your imagination and creativity never cease to amaze me.

And it took me nearly 3 months to find all but two boxes in Boone County. With all the recent planting I've fallen way behind and have yet to find all the boxes around town.

Clyde Bentley said...

Rather than a map or a listing, what if we devise a set of "trips" for area boxes. This could be a simple list of boxes in the order to hunt them, with a milage and time estimate.

We could to a whole lot of these in all areas of MidMissouri (and it wouldn't matter if some boxes were duplicated). Someone could do a kids tour, an easy-walking tour, a bike tour, a bushwacker's tour, etc.

Once done, we could list them on the right-hand sidebar of the blog so visitors could easily find them.

Bean-Lover said...

I would be interested in helping as well. Since we live in Jefferson City and most of the boxes we have searched for are out of town, I do a lot of research before heading out.

I have created a list for my personal use that shows the location of each box. So when the family is planning a day, I print clues to all the boxes in one park or area. This really helps to make the most of our day, and gas tank.

We will be in St. Joseph this weekend, and I have mapped out a set of boxes with clues and highlighted them on a map etc. I could surely help you guys.

Lnd-Crzr said...

Green Tortuga (the guy who operates Atlas Quest {AQ}) just recently passed through St Jospeh. I'd be interested in what his sig stamp looks like. If you notice it, let me know.



ahistory said...

lnd-crzr, unless he has a new one, Green Tortuga, has his signature online in his AQ profile. It can be viewed at

McMonkey Mom said...

I could swear I heard someone at the gathering mention "18" as a record. I'm not sure though and would consider OMGB's 17 the "official" record. I would love to break it though!

I would like to offer up any help that might be needed. This could be pretty cool!

The B Hunters said...

loving the advice. I would love any and all maps and or advice. We will arrive around 9AM and box until 5PM. So as many boxes as we can hit would be great as we are not sure when we'll get back. Please contact me through AQ with any and all advice. Thanks so much, The B Hunters

Fox-fyr said...

Wow. What great suggestions.
I think it's great to be able to come up with a list of "day hikes" for mid-Missouri. My original thought was simply to do NW, NE, SE and SW and downtown Columbia using Providence Road and either Broadway or Stadium as the dividing lines, but I like Lnd-Crzr's ideas of little sub-regions
better, espeically since many boxes fall just on one side or the other of those lines.

Speaking of sub-regions, I was thinking of "Highway 63 corridor" as another Mid-Mo "region" that included boxes along either side of the Highway. These could include both north and south of town and include the boxes at Moberly, Harrisburg, Pinnacles, Rocky Forks, Ashland, Hartsburg, the new ones in Jeff City, etc. Obviously, these can't be all done in one day, but it would help narrow down the search for those traveling up and down the state. I was also thinking of a "Mark Twain National Forest region" (some of which might overlap with the Highway 63 corridor boxes), a Millersburg region, a Fulton region, a Katy Trail region (for those who like to bike and box).

I think its a good idea to get permission before publicly listing anyone's boxes on such lists.

I also agree with Lnd-Crzr that every box is a good box. I'm glad when I find it no matter the quality of the stamp (especially when its hand-carved) or the logbook. I didn't want to give a rating to anybox. I suppose it we ust created lists, then the user could read over the clues and decide for themselves how hard or easy the box may be.

I also like Ahistory's idea of a map with markers. I actually bought some large poster board sometime ago with the intent to do just that. The dilemma I ran into was that I could not reasonably fit Boone County all onto one map and still had the scale I needed to put markers. I think the better option would be to create maps of sections of the area (similar to Lnd-Crzr's little regions). Some of those regions may overlap, and that's okay.

Ahistory: is the map you mentioned something that can be e-mailed, or is hard-copy map that is mailed through the postal service?

I would love to create hand-drawm map of little regions and put little numbers or dots by the general location of the box (though I won't have them by Saturday).

Ahistory said it took hime nearly three months to find all but two boxes in Boone County? Now I know he is certifiably insane. At the end of 2006 I had found every box planted within the Columbia city limits at the time, as well as all the ones in Fulton, and most of the ones in Millersburg and Mark Twain National Forest but it took me a lot longer than three months (partially due to the fact that I had to wait for quite a few of them to be planted since there weren't nearly as many available when I started in Fall, 2005). I am so glad to see that there's so many new boxes out there. But three month...the words "dangerously addicted" comes to mind ;)

And 17 in one day? It takes me forever to stamp into and write in the logbooks partly because I like to fill each page with some comments--people who worked hard to create a hand-carved stamp and homemade logbook deserve more than just a name, date and "nice box" written in the logbook. I think the most I've done is 9 in a day.

Still, I think I'll sketch out some ideas and send them along soon.


ahistory said...

Since many of the boxes along there are mine anyway, I can work up a draft of the Katy trail boxing guide. I will be sure to contact any placers for permission before listing them. If anyone has any WOM boxes out there that they would like to include, please let me know.

It would be useful if everyone used the same format so each guide/tour would contain comparable box information. Here are the items I have seen listed so far (they seem to be the basics):
Letterbox name
length of hike (in both miles and minutes)
difficulty of terrain

It might be useful to consider adding some other stats not normally seen such as a discretion or traffic rating. Boxes with a higher score would require more stealth, etc. Also, it seems a we should include any local history/geography/culture related to the box.

Of course, much of this could be left blank on mystery boxes (if included) to limit any potential spoilers.

Sorry Kat, I forgot to send the map. It's a small jpg file and I'm sending it now.

I'll see if I can work up a draft of a Katy Trail boxing map by Saturday for anyone there to take a look at and give me feedback.

Lnd-Crzr said...

AHistory is right. I do have grandeous ideas for this project. Just the word 'project' starts all kinds of neurons firing upstairs. But I certainly think a project of this magnitude should be a group undertaking and I love all the great ideas flowing here.

Would we want to make something in a hard copy and an electronic form? I guess from all the old bookwork I've done recently I envisoon an old book with fold out maps of each region and listings of boxes and perhaps a few surprises for unwitting vistiors(insert evil grin here).


OneMeanGreenBean said...

I too am very interested in this "project". Why, just today I was driving from one end of old 63 in Columbia to the other and tallying up the number of boxes I was passing as I went. Thats a good area for quickly hitting several boxes by several different artists. I think I counted up 7 easily accessible boxes just off old 63 and up to 12 boxes if one did a little legwork and ventured just a bit further. This goes along the lines of Lnd-Crzr's regions idea, which I think works very well for the way we have our boxes laid out around town. I think we'll have much to discuss on Saturday!