Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Letterboxing

I have been excited about Geocaching for quite some time. Geocaching, in short is a treasure hunt. People will hides "caches" in various places throughout the world. You simply go onto any of the Geocaching websites out there and look up the area you plan to go to. You get the GPS coordinates of the cache(s) you want to find, put the coordinates into your GPS and off you go. Most caches are simple waterproof boxes hidden in tree trunks or under rocks. The caches are typically filled with a variety of items from the person who started it and subsequent people who have found it. The rule is that you take and item and you leave an item. Usually you leave something that signifies "you", like a special sticker or button. Some are much simpler and just have a log book of sorts where you can sign in that you found it.

I love Geocaching. I love the treasure hunt feel of it. I love that it makes long and sometimes difficult hikes much more enjoyable. I do not love using a GPS. I'm really not a technological kinda gal. To make it even worse, I have a horrible sense of direction. I can get lost in a paper bag. Seriously, just ask any of the multiple people who have gotten a hysterical crying phone call from me at all times of day or night because I can't figure out how I ended up in Maryland, or DC, or Cabrini Green...yes that actually happened. Not only can I not figure out how I got there but I have no clue how to get myself out. I digress.

Geocaching has not really helped my sense of direction. Vince is convinced that it is because I rely on the technology to tell me where to go instead of trying to figure it out for myself with a map and a compass. I kind of agree. Enter Letterboxing.

Over the weekend a friend of mine (hello Kim!) told me about Letterboxing. It is the non-technical version of Geocaching. The major differences are that with Letterboxing, you do not get coordinates. You get clues and sometimes riddles to solve. By solving the clues/riddles you will find the box. The second major difference is that you don't take or leave anything per se. The boxes will contain a log book, a rubber stamp, and an ink pad. You will have brought the same items plus a pen/pencil with you. You will stamp the box log book with YOUR stamp and sign your name/team name and date. You will then use the BOX stamp to stamp your own log book with the date that you found it. Some people get really elaborate and create scrapbook pages for each location.

I have to say I am loving the whole idea of this. I love solving the clues to figure out where the boxes are (I've already done several for our favorite park to hike in). I LOVE the stamp book idea. I'm a list maker and collector by nature. I've kept every passport I've ever had, just because I wanted to keep the stamps I've collected. I have an "autograph" book from Disney World. So, yeah...I like the idea of a stamp book. Vince loves that we will still get all of the benefits of Geocaching (the hiking and fun of finding boxes) and I will hopefully learn some better navigational skills. We'll see if that last one works or not.

We have decided to become Team Hoagie (pronounced Hog-y as a tribute to Aubria). I have been looking for a rubber stamp of a sub sandwich to use. If anyone knows where to get one, please let me know! I also went looking through our stacks of books and journals for a book I could use as a log book. In all of my digging, I found my green velvety journal from our trip to Ireland. I'm not much of a journaler so I had only used a few pages of it. As I flipped through the book, trying to decide if I should fill it with all of those glorious Letterboxing stamps...I found these pressed between the pages.




These are five 4-leaf clovers that Vince picked in Ireland. There were five of us on that trip so it was pretty cool that he found five clovers. I'm taking this as a sign of good things to come.

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