Shopping, hiking through the forest, and christmas, all rolled into one!
My first letterboxing adventure consisted of a shopping trip for a stamp and ink, journal and pen. It was made possible by one of my favorite philosophies of life: "Anything worth doing is worth doing badly." If I wait till I'm perfect at something before I try it, I'm going to wind up never trying anything new.
So I found myself on those well worn Pontiac Rec trails; this time instead of running them I was figuring out the clues. To be fair, most of them I could see in my mind's eye as I read them:
"We're going on a hike today! Start at the picnic area, go to the furthest corner and park. Don't use the bicycle trail you will see from the parking lot. Instead, follow the sidewalk toward the picnic area. When the sidewalk ends, cross the sea of tables and grills, and you will find the hiking trail. Observe the description of the hiking trail markers. Pass 1 of the described markers.... be very careful approaching the second one.... and look both ways as you approach the third one. The threat is smaller here, but it's also quieter. Pass one more hiking trail sign without the designated marker. See the big hill? You can thank me now - i won't make you climb it. Instead, continue up what looks like a dry creek bed. You will see a very large, obvious tree on your right - that's not it. A little further, see one with a large wound on the side. Here is where our treasure hiker, loaded down for a much longer walk, decided to rest. 4/2013: Then he got back up again, and continued up the hill. At the intersection, he turned right and walked a short way to an out-of-place looking evergreen shrub. He decided that was a safer place to rest, and there he remains."
Hiking down the trail:
Some of my favorite country, though some hunters don't seem to like the idea much:
I found both the first big tree and the wounded tree that was the box's first resting place. I think I had noticed them prior to this trip:
But I followed the directions to the intersection to turn right. And wandered down the path, completely failing to spot any evergreen bushes on the side of the path.
I turned around and walked more slowly. Gave blood to mosquitoes and the occasional biting fly. Turned around again at the intersection and walked yet more slowly. Aha! A evergreen bush looking out of place. I poke around a bit, cursing at the thorny undergrowth which wanted it's donation of blood too. I resolved to bring gloves if the clues ever mention undergrowth. No letterbox. I notice that there's more evergreen a few feet away poke around more, this time with a stick.
I think to myself: should I wait a few days till winter comes and kills off all the regular plants to try this one again? I wander dejectedly up and down the trail again hoping to spot another evergreen bush. On my fourth or fifth pass, I see a bush that looks much better positioned than the first I searched through. Trying not to be too obvious or get my hopes up too high, I look through the undergrowth and see the plastic box.
I reach with trembling fingers, pop open the lid and hesitate, wanting to savor the moment. So I grab my phone and take a pic:
And remove the lid. Just like a kid during Christmas; really, more anticipation than I've had from Christmas in a long while, *because* I had to get bitten, scratched and frustrated trying to find it.
I find the logbook and add my stamp (deciding not to show the letterbox stamp. If you want to see it, my advice is to go find it! :)
Sadly, messing up the date. :P It's a complicated process when you've never done it before, and I really need to learn my way around an ink pad and stamp a little better. Oh well, such is life.
So Things I Learned:
- I need a better bag for things like food and water. I started off hungry, and it only got worse as I was trying to find the letterbox.
- I really should have put on some bug spray
- gloves and a long sleeved t-shirt would've help me figure out that the first bush I poked around was the wrong one a bit more quickly.
Things I look forward to:
-Finding letterboxes in more unfamiliar territory
-getting more proficient and possibly making my own stamp
-dreaming up my own letterboxes to place at Pontiac and Highland Rec.
I can't wait to try this again! :)
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