Thursday, November 15, 2007

Urban planting

On a recent trip to St. Louis this week, I managed to find Broken Heart but that turned out to be the theme for the trip as the next three boxes I attempted in the fleeting light were all missing. I feel for MO UR4ME, whose heart was truly broken as both of her kid's first boxes were among the M.I.A.

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.



Clyde Bentley said...

Urban boxing could become a thing of the past without some sort of fundamental change, just as we had with cooties, PLBs, etc.

Leaving a suspicious box in a public place in the city is not only difficult, it is often dangerous. The European boxes are almost all gone.

We are experimenting with a "rubbing" box -- no real box or stamp, but clues that lead one to an image you can record by taking a rubbing on paper. The problem is that it can have no logbook and therefor relies on logging to LBNA.

But it think the brilliant and devious minds of the MidMo Letterboxers could come up with an alternative to planting bomb-look-alikes.


Cheryl's Blog said...

We've lost so many boxes around here, not only muggles but worse-undedicated weekend warrior letterboxers who have no knack for rehidation or discretion.
I would say make your clues as hard as possible, encrypted and very difficult, so that only the die hard true believers can find them, or will even want to.
I've pulled all my boxes and I've gone into hiding myself, only so much a goddess can do."Hmph!"

ahistory said...

Well, I am sorry to hear of your frustration Cheryl. I loved your boxes and I hope that you decide to put more out there, even if there are just word of mouth and I always welcome encrypted clues.

I have seen the same sort of thing happening in one of the Tulsa parks where I have a few boxes. Some boxes (not mine) went missing because although they were placed in very good spots, they were placed in an area that sees very heavy traffic from high schoolers and rock climbers. I have hidden boxes in the same area, but took great care (even moving one box after its first year) to place these away from the climbing areas and was very careful to only use natural looking hiding spots. I also encrypted the clue with a very easy keyword shift cipher (which you wouldn't believe how many people contact me to help them solve it). So far so good.

I think a lot of it comes down to proper hideation, at least for me. Anything that is unnatural looking, and we have all seen these, really pop out to some observers. This is why mushroom hunters often find boxes. This is also why I believe I lost two mushroom boxes this past spring/summer. I wanted them in a certain spot and created hiding spots. I had two boxes go missing within a twenty foot radius. They were both on the ground in not so natural looking hidey holes. A third box (luckily the main one) went unnoticed in the exact same area, because it was tucked in a higher more natural spot.

My first box to go missing from K.C. was in a small wooded area in a blue springs park. When I couldn't find a good nook or hollow, I constructed one using logs and rocks under a large fallen tree. It looked like a cairn and was soon discovered by who I guess to be neighborhood kids.
Upon reflection, I think I will either choose very out of the way parks in St. Louis or make sure I have time to search out very natural spots. Keep in mind that it is easy to create natural hiding spots in urban environments as those of you who have found Charlotte know only too well.