Tuesday, June 19, 2007

My First Letterbox POLL

Three years ago there were fewer than five letterboxes in mid-Missouri, and we have now exploded into more than 120 listings for Boone County alone, not to mention the surrounding counties, and the number of boxes with unpublished clues. I imagine it must be tough for someone just getting started in letterboxing to narrow down which boxes to start looking for first. Thus I am asking the following three poll questions:

1) What were the first five letterboxes you attempted/found?
2) Why did you choose to hunt for those boxes first?
(please answer without giving away any spoilers to the boxes or their locations) and
3) how did you intially learn about letterboxing?

The goal of this poll is to determine if there are any common factors that draw newcomers to certain type of boxes first. Your comments may be helpful in creating a series of letterboxes designed especially for those who are new to letterboxing. You need not have found your first boxes in mid-Missouri; I am primarily seeking to know the factors that caused you to hunt for those boxes first.
The possible answers to question two are endless but some of them might be as follows: the name of the box drew your attention; you recognized the box location from the clue right away; the clue was not enciphered (or maybe you intentionally sought a ciphered clue); it was conveniently located; you were along for the ride with a friend(s) and they chose the box; something about the clue or the box description drew you to it; they were the only boxes available in your area at the time, etc.

Question 3: Learned about letterboxing:
a) Friend or acquaintance introduced you to it
b) Saw an article in a magazine or newspaper (which one?)
c) Found a letterbox by accident
d) personal research
e) other--please describe

Thanks for your help with this survey.


Lady In Red said...

1) The first few boxes I did, as best as I can remember without my logbook (I had to start a new one and didn't bring the old one with my to California) were:

Junkyard Dog
The Birthday Box
School House Rock #1,2,3
Under the Stars
Loaded Questions

3) E-volution got me started hunting at the beginning of April. He'd correctly figured that I'd enjoy working with the clues and encryptions. I think I was hooked before we found the first box. He was careful to tell me about rehiding and being discreet and all that.

2) The first boxes I did with e-volution. I think we did them because he had the clues printed out and they sounded interesting. I did Loaded Questions with my dad the next day because it wasn't too far from home and because, as far as I could tell, no one had found it yet. (So far that's my only First Find)

The Scorp said...

Question 1.
The first few boxes we found were
1)General Omar Bradley
2)The Higbee Country Challenge
3)Mid Mo Mystery
4)MS River Series Huck Finn
5)MS River Series Mark Twain

Question 2.
The big factor in determining where to start LBing was Location, Location, Location.
Omar Bradley is juast a few blocks from my house and the Higbee Country Challenge is about a mile from where I grew up (on the same road. The third box, the mystery box, jumped out at me because I love to solve riddles. I picked this one up right away because I went to high school close by there. The next two we picked just because we were in northern Mo and just wanted to go to Hannibal that day.
What I think drove us from there were just finding easy ones in and around Columbia that seemed easy enough from the clues and in parks that I was familiar with. We did that for awhile before my curiosity for puzzles kicked in and I started deciphering clues like a mad man. Now I feel like the more challenging the better but at first as we were getting our feet wet (sometimes literally) we choose fairly straightforward clues in areas that we knew.

I hope that explanation helps.

Question 3.
We acually found out about this from listing to the radio one morning on BXR, the morning DJ was talking about a new trasure hunt game that his wife and kids were really into (we later met those McMonkeys). My wife insisted that I look into it and it sounded like fun so we made some stamps and ventured into the wilderness and haven't looked back since.

J-Corn said...

You can look under the comments to my recent entry "Newbie J-Corn".

While the reasons we chose for going after our first boxes have similarities, none of the boxes appear to be the same.

I found the link to LBNA in a book titled Art Stamping Workshop by local author/artist Gloria Page. (Gloria carves her own stamps even though she is not a letterboxer at this time). Then I found the Mid-Mo group.

Grace to You said...

1. The very first box we found on our own was "Prevent Improper Re-Hideation PSA." We had no idea what exactly improper re-hideation was (or proper re-hideation either, for that matter), but what a great box to start with! It was a good introduction to letterbox etiquette. Then we found Grindstone, Curious George, Devil's Ice Box and Capen.

2. I think we started with the boxes we did because a) there weren't nearly as many to choose from over 2 years ago; b) the clues weren't encrypted; and c) I wanted to explore new parks/nature areas and this was a perfect reason/encouragement to do so. Plus it was a good way to get my not-so-outdoor-loving better half out in the woods.

3. We learned about letterboxing from my husband's sister...she and her family did their homework before coming here for a visit, so they brought clues with them and we headed out to Rock Bridge. I'll never forget my amazement, and absolute delight and intrigue, that these treasures were hidden right under my nose, and it took someone 1000 miles away to show them to me. I was hooked from the get-go!

Don't ask about the store-bought stamp we used to begin with; it's too painfully embarrassing to talk about. :)

Jenny J said...

1) First five boxes were:

Habitat Trail
Burr Oak Woods
Bat Cave
Norman Rockwell Museum

2) I found the first 3 boxes in August 2002 while I was working on my own first box. I hunted for these boxes near KC because there were NO (0!) boxes in mid MO and I wanted to actually find a few before hiding my own. A few days later my sister in Amherst emailed me that - begorra! - there was a box placed in Boone Co., the Bat Cave box. I was first finder, and at that time Webfoot and I were the only LBers in the area. Then it was a lonnnnng two years before I was able to hunt more boxes during a trip to New England to visit my sisters. The Norman Rockwell box was a great box celebrating a mighty fine museum.

The next boxes to appear in mid MO were the Cedar Creek MO Edu Slant and the Show Me Hermann boxes both in late 2004.

3) I learned about letterboxing from two of my sisters who had been doing it for several years and kept urging me to hide some boxes in mid MO.

ahistory said...

I first discovered letterboxing by stumbling across the Great Spirit box while hunting for Hen of the Woods mushrooms. I didn't actually log into it first, but it is how I happened upon the hobby.

The first five boxes I logged were (with reasons for selecting):

1) Fox Hunt (box name: my son's name is Fox and location: close to campus)
2) Buried Jewels (location: close to fox hunt)
3) Great spirit box (location: close to my house)
4) mid-mo HH hostel (location: close to my house)
5) dog walk (chose because of placement date and potential First Finder)

nugglebugs said...

First Boxes:
Shelter Gardens (because the title and clue were familiar).
Home Tweet Home (we were immediately intrigued by the "Now you see it" contest, but it was a tough cipher for first-timers)
Heirloom Iris (a story of its own)
Saarinen Architect Box (location and convenience).
Birds of Mid-Mo, Box 1 (location was near my home).

Upon hearing about the whole concept of 'boxing, I was in disbelief that these treasures were hidden in places that I considered my stomping ground. So I chose our first boxes by looking for places I considered familiar -- just to see where some clever person could have hidden a box without my knowing it. Now I look at parks through completely different eyes.

We found out about 'boxing through a magazine article in a family magazine. It was written in a fashion that accurately reflected the mid-mo traditions and expectations of hand-carved stamps, careful and discreet hiding, and respect for the natural settings where boxes were often found.

As an aside, I was in Hobby Lobby the other day, purchasing ink (which was 50% off, and still may be), only to run into (rather be run into by) a rather loud and impatient woman searching aloud for a stamp that "defined her". I considered introducing myself, but I refrained; and I sort of doubt she found a stamp of a bull in a china shop, which would have defined her very well.

Lnd-Crzr said...

Great topic!

I’ll list the first 5 boxes I found, but I’ll explain why I went after these 5 first. It’s simple really, these were the only boxes! JennyJ shed light on this fact earlier, but it may be difficult to comprehend that yes there was a time when Mid-MO was almost free of plastic containers lurking about the woods protecting their valuable contents.

The boxes were:

1. Train-Track-Run; located just across the river from Jefferson City on the Katy Trail. The clue was straight forward and provided a lovely winter hike just at dusk. I actually remember it as if were yesterday. Oddly enough, I found my first HH there as well. It was the ‘MA2MO’ HH by one of JennyJ’s sisters. That was F1 on 12/16/04! My how time flies.

2. ‘Gone Fishin’; Again, I remember it like yesterday. A black lab followed me back. I made first contact with JennyJ from this box.

3, 4 & 5. Were the old Burr Oak Woods series in Blue Springs. I managed to grab those as I passed through KC.

It should be noted besides my first two finds there was only the original ‘Heart of Memories’ LB at the Runge Center, ‘Three Creeks’ and the ‘Cedar Creek Edu Slant’ boxes in Mid-MO. The other regions didn’t faire much better. As I recall each region only had about 5 boxes each.

I learned about LB from the intial broadcasting of the NPR bit in Aril of 2004, but when I went to research it I could not recall the actual name and thus it would have passed into the abyss had it not been for a friend who had just moved from Seattle. She mentioned her adventures and I was off to begin my own. I love those crossroads of life where you can actually see where two roads diverge and the contemplation of what might have been. Hmmm…life without letterboxing?

The rest is history.


Grace to You said...

Wow, Lnd-Crzr, you just started boxing in December 2004? And you planned the first Mid-MO gathering in May 2005?? You really hit the ground running, didn't you? :)

I started boxing the day after the gathering, and was so sorry to find that I had just missed it.

Thanks for being so busy between December 2004 and May 2005, and for planting the boxes that began my own epic quest.

Lnd-Crzr said...

I knew I was hooked even before having a clue in my hand. Many of my fondest memories from the past few years have been while my boy and I have been ambling about the countryside looking for boxes or places to hide ‘em.

About the same time I jumped in C2B2 did as well, so there was a mini-LB explosion. From hitting the other local boxes and a few e-mails I knew the others who were boxing were fabulous folks and I was eager to meet this little community. I love formulating ideas about the folks behind the stamps in logbooks.

The first gathering was SO fun because (if memory serves me correctly) no one had actually met anyone else face to face.

I recall regretting that I had run through all the early boxes so quickly because then there were no more to find.


McMonkey Mom said...

Like Nugglebugs, I discovered letterboxing through Family Fun magazine. I started right after we got back from vacation last summer around the first of August. I could not wait to get out. I DID wait until August 20th. With a logbook and store bought stamps in hand we headed out.
#1 Shelter Gardens. I grew up here and knew EXACTLY where it was from the clues.
#2 Devil's Ice Box. See above explanation.
#3 Buried Jewells. As I recall we tried this one before DIB but there were muggles about. See reason #1.
#4 Architect Series #1. This box is close to where I live. Also see reason for box #1. This was on August 21st, my second day of boxing.
#5 Getting to Know You. I guess this is where I started to appreciate the puzzle aspect of the hobby. The same day we hit "Creek Crossings", "Monster Tree with Irish Roots" and the "Mid Mo LB Society" box.
I agree with Nugglebugs also in that everywhere I look, I see with a new eye. I REALLY enjoy this in case you couldn't tell, I am most looking forward to vacation again this summer. We visit Door County,WI each summer. There are boxes up there that I can't wait to get. Partly for the same reason I started here in the first place. I know the area well and can't believe the tupperware has been under my nose the whole time!

Fox-fyr said...

uI suppose I should answer my own questions as well.

1) The first five boxes I found were
Buried Jewells
Show Me Hermann
Price's Invasion of Hermann:1864
Higher Ed
The Man With the Yellow Hat

2)I went after Buried Jewells because I was paid to do so (if you know where I work, it will make sense to you when I say it was part of official business).
I went after Show Me Hermann because I had just carved my signature stamp on Thanksgiving Day 2005, and Lnd-Crzr and I drove to Hermann for a lovely picnic lunch to celebrate the holiday.
I went after Price's Invasion because it was close to Show Me Hermann
I went after Higher Ed because it had both ciphers and puzzles and I love ciphers. This was where I got a good dose of "what does the clue say?" from Lnd-Crzr. We could have shaved off 20 minutes of looking if I had actually read the entire clue aloud.
The next box I actually found was Man With the Yellow Hat. I had attempted Capen but the proper re-hideation had stumped me so even though night had set, I wanted to at least find one box that day. I was actually going after Curious George (who has since gone missing). Because it was dark, I missed the LB but ended up stumbling upon its bonus box: Man with the Yellow Hat. I knew by box five that I was addicted.

3) I had actually first heard about letterboxing through my park superintendent at the time who had just discovered geocaching. He had also discovered a reference to letterboxing. When I looked on the website, I found Bat Cave and another box listed on the website. Both Bat Cave and the other box (whose name I cannot remember) were listed as missing. Letterboxing sounded like a fun hobby, but I was intimidated at the thought of having to carve my own stamp. Since there were no other boxes nearby (Jenny J had not planted any of hers at the time yet) I didn't actually start letterboxing until Lnd-Crzr dragged me along on some hikes to helphim plant a few boxes in November 2005. My first stamped image in my logbook is thus actually of a box I helped plant: "Lessons from the Jukebox."

Lnd-Crzr said...

Actuallly JennyJ did have her boxes planted. She has the longest surviving boxes around, dating to 2004 I believe.

It was a real trajedy when her origional 'Heart of memories' box went missing. It had a log book with a ton of stamps from all over. I'd bet at least 30 folks had found that box the last time I saw it.

Jenny J said...

3 Creeks and Heart of Memories were planted in September, 2002 and Gone Fishin' in October 2002.
The only mid MO box planted prior to these was the Bat Cave.

queenbusick said...

Our first five were:
Shelter Gardens
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble
Box of Leaves
Neighborhood Park/Looney Tunes

**we started easy since we have children. for newbies I always recommend Shelter Gardens for a FF and Grindstone for a little longer and bushwacking find to see if they can really handle this sport :-)

we started LB-ing in late Aug 2006, McMonkeyMom told us about it because she thought we were weird enough to enjoy all the elements of the hobby! she was right - our family is a bunch of adventure nuts!

Clyde Bentley said...

Our first five boxes were:
1. Laumeier . This small box in the sculpture garden is still one of my favorites. I (Clyde) found it on Jan. 4, 2005 while taking my daughter and son-in-law to the airport. – It astounded my doubting son-in-law Will.
2. Saarinnon Microbox (1/15/05) placed by my daughter and architect son-in-law. He was so excited by accompanying me on the Laumeier hunt that he immediately placed a box near his favorite building in Columbia.
3. Cedar Creek Edu Slant (1/15/05) was a frozen walk but a lot of fun. I was stumped until I realized the “paces” were measured by children. What ever happened to Theresa and the kids?
4. Churchill and bonus (1/15/05 – hey, it was Christmas break). My first contact with Lnd-Crzr. Cecile said it was a wonder we kept going considering how bone-chilling cold it was and how terrible we were with a compass. Loved the placement, though, and it hooked me on “what you don’t see is what you get.”
5. Grindstone – a nice hike near home and our first with Saffron – the whippet who modeled for our stamp.

Like Ron, I heard the NPR storyin the April 2004. I was driving home from St. Louis alone at the time and couldn’t wait to tell Cecile about it. I went online, found the original Smithsonian article (a must-read) and all the supplementary material on the LBNA site. The idea gestated for nine months, though, before we jumped in.

Cecile and I were searching for a hobby we could both enjoy. She likes art, puzzles and literature. I like crashing through the woods, building things and dead reckoning. I thought golf would work, but Cecile doesn’t like to sweat and I found out you actually need skill. But we both like long drives on country roads, so we tried antique shopping. After my umteenth yellowed doily, I was read to beat myself to death with an “original” Coke bottle.

Letterboxing seemed to fill both of our needs. We talked and talked about it, picked a trail name that alluded to each of us separately but together. We bought a logbook, but our son-in-law carved our first stamp as a Christmas present.

The joy of letterboxing for us is letting the hobby lead us to new places and faces. We care little about big “f” numbers. We have letterboxed in Ireland, England, France, Czech Republic and Korea. Many states and all over Missouri. We discovered Rock Bridge Park and the hidden splendor of conservation areas through the hobby. I get a chance to build odd boxes, Cecile can be a carving artist and we both love to write devious clues

Between our first and second gatherings, I started this blog. But Cecile and I mostly lurk while you do the great writing and great nbox placing.


Fox-fyr said...

To clarify my earlier comment, when I FIRST heard about letterboxing it was in 2002 prior to Jenny J's boxes. The idea lay dormant for several _years_ before I actually got involved, primarily because there really weren't any boxes to hunt for in the area. I have Lnd-Crzr to thank for dragging me into the woods.

Bean-Lover said...

The first letterboxes we searched for were ALL missing. We didn't find one until number 5. That was pretty disappointing. I thought my dog was going to keel over from the hike. We actually carried her back up the hill. We searched for boxes in Jeff City and Hannibal.

We gave up for the year. Once the weather warmed up we were ready to try again. We looked for the Favorite books series. Since we take the kids, we thought it would be interesting to them. They read a lot of books. We were VERY successful in this series and I was ADDICTED!!

We home school our two girls. We get out curriculum from Bob Jones University in South Carolina. They send out a newsletter called the Home School Helper. There was an article in that newsletter about letterboxing. It was pretty interesting. Since I like internet research, I read and read everything about his hobby I could find. And eventually set out to find my own boxes.

Hoof'n It said...

Hello! I finally get to respond to this one because I have enough! Woo hoo!
1. First few boxes:

Shelter Gardens
Five Star Drinks - Eight Ounces
Union Covered Bridge
Hometown Spirit
The Higbee Country Challenge
The Pit
Neighborhood Park

2. Shelter Gardens because I work there.
The rest of them because of location to my house.

3. I learned about it from my boss/friend J-Corn, who thought it would be something I would like. He was right! My husband was just as excited about it as I was...AM! :-)

One of the things I like the most is finding new places of interest in my very own 'back yard' that I never knew were there!