Letterboxing: A New Trail

Since there isn’t a lot of time for crafting at home, but I’m still full of stories from our summer in New Hampshire, it seems appropriate to share some of those tales.

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One cool morning, when we had no visits planned, and the kids seemed like they would benefit from a little one-on-one attention, Sophie and I kayaked across Thorndike Pond to visit our friend Emily, a retired kindergarten teacher from Rhode Island. Several years ago, she built a nature path through the woods next to her cabin, stocked with tchotchke you wouldn’t expect to see in a woodland setting. Sophie and I thought it would be fun to create our own letterboxing trail on Emily’s path for other children to visit.

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If you’ve never heard of letterboxing, it is a scavenger hunt that leads to a buried box where adventurers collect a stamp on their notepad and leave a stamp, signature or note in the trail box. The creators of the trail return periodically to see who has left their mark in the book and to check on the supplies. There are letterboxing trails all over the world; you can look up a list of trails for your next hike or walk, and if there are none registered you can create your own.

We found a plastic deli container in the kitchen, filled it with a stamp, a small inkpad and a notepad. Starting at the end of our trail, we buried the container in some loose dirt under a tree. Then we went back to the beginning to create the clues that would ultimately lead to the letterbox.  

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The first clue was left with Emily. It directed adventurers to the birdhouse where the second clue was tucked in the fin of the wicker flying fish. And so on and so on.

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Thank you Emily and Rosie for sharing our enthusiasm, and to Kristin for introducing the idea to our preschool class. 

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5 Responses to “Letterboxing: A New Trail”


  1. 1 Sarah Friday, August 17, 2007 at 12:41 pm

    We have something similar up here called Valley Quest. Kids create treasure hunts to historically or environmentally significant sites. The resulting hunts are written as poetry and have been published in book format. You follow the clues in the poems to find the boxes and then fill in the guest book with your name, stamp, etc. It’s just like letter boxing. My kids are not very fond of hiking, but will go out if it’s on a Valley Quest. I like it a little better than geocaching, because you don’t “take something.” It’s about the hunt, not the stuff to collect.

  2. 2 chickenbetty Saturday, August 18, 2007 at 12:05 pm

    My husband got into Geocaching 4 years ago and we stumbled onto Letterboxing from there. We love both – using technology with GC and following the clues for LB. Through both we have gotten involved in CITO (Cache in/trash out) clean up events of local scenic areas. I never would have thought that my kids would consider a 4 hour clean-up event to be worthwhile and fun at 4 + 6.

    Looks like you guys had a great time in NH!

  3. 3 stashstudios Saturday, August 18, 2007 at 8:55 pm

    wow, what a lovely summer you guys must have had.
    I love the letterboxing idea.
    Leave it to you to introduce me to yet another cool thing.
    Enjoy the rest of your summer and look for some vintage wallpaper to arrive upon your return.

  4. 4 Stephanie Saturday, August 25, 2007 at 12:16 pm

    I envy this experience….what priceless memories you have and experience to feed you for a life time.

    My family rented a small cabin in the mountains near our home growing up for 1 month.. 1 summer. We made friends with the neighboring tenants, swam in the icy cold streams, caught fish and gardener snakes….just wonderful memories I have from that simple time. How I wished we would have done that more often…

    I have lived vicariously through your wonderful post!

  5. 5 Amy Finlay Thursday, September 13, 2007 at 8:20 pm

    Hi!
    I just wanted to tell you thank you for introducing me to letter boxing! My husband and I went on our first adventure a couple of weeks ago, after read about it here!

    Our first adventure turned out to be literally the most beautiful hike I’ve ever taken in New England. So incredible! And how delightful to have the goal of a treasure hunt involved. We can’t wait to try another hunt, and explore more places we’ve never been in our area!

    I’m rather a slow reader, so I tend not to read blogs (like ever), but for some reason I can’t stop reading yours. The more I read, the more I’m inspired. I love the knitting entries, of course (see my website). I actually stumbled upon your blog while searching for how to make beeswax candles, of all things!

    Thank you for your creative sense of adventure, and for your blog!
    Amy


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