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letterboxing in santa fe

After our fun experience with letterboxing at home, we had talked about doing this on our road trip across the country and Aidan had eagerly packed his letterboxing gear (stamp, ink pad, and journal book tucked nicely inside his green turtle backpack). So today we decided to head out and search for clues, all in the hopes of finding a hidden box with a stamp inside.

We selected a box called “Rise and Shine,” and despite it being 2:30 in the afternoon, we ventured out to see what we could find. We drove north to the Santa Fe National Forest where we drove on twisting turning roads climbing up the beautiful mountains and eventually came upon an easy-to-miss dirt road where we then began our descent. Now when I say a “dirt road,” this really was a narrow gravel (and at times small-boulder) path, that is closed in the winter with potholes that at times jarred our Jeep. There was a sea of birch and evergreen trees that rose to one side and a drop-off to the other. It was a wonderfully, beautiful place.

After about three miles down, we passed an intersection that we thought might be the special place. We parked the car and hiked around and tried our best to follow the clues, but to our disappointment (and anyone who knows Aidan knows that he does not do well with disappointment), we did not find the box. We decided that perhaps we had the wrong spot, so we got back in the car–all the while trying to be encouraging and positive for Aidan and secretly hoping and praying to Mother Earth that we would in fact find it.

A little way down, we came across another intersection and again got out and followed the clues to try to find the large stump with a rock hiding a secret letterbox. But after searching several stumps in the area, we still we could not find this letterbox. This one was a tough one!

By this time, Aidan was becoming more and more discouraged and upset, and we were feeling the stress. Then by the luck of something (perhaps it was the power of the fetish that we bought for Aidan yesterday), we spotted another large stump hidden in the grass with a rock resting a bit unnaturally on one side of the stump. Aidan was excited! He quickly went over and, with dad’s help, was able to get the box from its secret spot. He stamped his book with the chicken stamp that was carefully wrapped within the box. He then placed his own dog print stamp on a page of the letterbox journal, and we wrote a short note to the box owner.

After tucking the box back in the secret spot, we continued our drive to the other side of the mountain taking in more scenic views and just enjoying the natural landscapes of Santa Fe. It was a good way to spend our last full day in Santa Fe. Tomorrow we’re off to see the Petrified Forest as we head over to Sedona, AZ.

letterboxing: stroll, sit, stamp

We’ve discovered a new pastime–treasure hunting, otherwise known as letterboxing. Some of our fellow homeschoolers let us in on this mysterious activity. Actually, it was only a mystery insofar as we had never heard of it. Something can’t be much of a mystery when it has its own website (letterboxing.org), but it is fun to imagine being part of something few people know about. Letterboxing as we came to understand is an activity where someone hides a waterproof box with a notebook and a stamp inside. Often it is hidden far off the beaten trail, someplace interesting, a place worth visiting. You get your clues from from letterboxing.org, sometimes they are straightforward and other times they are cryptic, making for a more challenging quest. With directions, compass, personal rubber stamp, pen, and logbook in hand, you follow the clues to discover the hidden box. Once you find it (if you find it), you stamp the logbook inside the box, write a message if you’d like, and use the stamp from the box to stamp your own logbook. It’s as simple as that, but it’s a load of fun. Check out the video below for a telling of our first letterbox adventure.

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