Thursday, July 23, 2009
What Is Letterboxing?
It seems that some of you are curious about Letterboxing (LB).
Your comments have expressed a desire to know more and
Kat over at Art's Chili suggested that I write a post explaining it.
I have only gone three times and am no expert, but I'll do my best. The source I went to to learn specific information first was Letterboxing North America. I looked at the section on getting started. Another Web site that I've mentioned before that has the locations and clues and all the latest of the LB community is Atlas Quest. Be sure to check these two sites out.
Erica over at scottsville is also another source. She has been LB longer than I have and she and her kids enjoy it too. She has some posts and pictures of her LB outings.
I became interested in LB when a friend from church, Ms Jenny, had her notebook with her one day. She tried to explain it then. Her son also tried to explain it one day when some of our Awana kids went on a hike.
I asked Ms Jenny a year or so later about it again and then I asked if she would take us and show us. She and her son were kind enough to do so.
I'm going to quote the Letterboxing North America site in explaining, "Letterboxing is an intriguing 'treasure hunt' style outdoor activity. Letterboxers hide small, weatherproof boxes (or baggies) in publicly-accessible places (like parks) and post clues to finding the box online on one of several Web sites...Individual letterboxes usually contain a log book, an often hand-carved rubber stamp...Finders make an imprint of the letterbox's stamp on their personal log book, and leave an imprint of their personal stamp on the letterbox's logbook."
"To get started, you'll need a 'trail name,' rubber stamp, pencil or pen, small (I have a medium size) sketch book, one or more ink pads or brush markers, a simple compass, and clues." I am finding the ink pad difficult to use so I may get the brush markers some day. They are smaller and easy to use.
From here out I suggest going to the Letterboxing North America Web site which gives seven easy steps to getting started.
This is our LB backpack which we keep everything in and we take it with us each time. I make sure it has it's supplies re-stocked if necessary. I take water bottles, the camera, money, band aids, hand sanitizer, wipes, snacks, whatever I'm in the mood for hauling around. I don't have a compass in there yet. So far I haven't needed one.
Just a note, I am a Finder, I haven't hidden any yet. I'd like to get more familiar with it before I start hiding them. It sure seems like it would be fun, but you do have to make sure your LB is maintained and follow the notes people leave on your site. Responding as necessary for repairs or better clues or whatever.
Here are the items I leave in the backpack at all times. I recommend allergy medicine if you or a family member tends to have outdoor allergy problems.
I also keep a stick in the car or find one when I get there to move bushes and stuff aside as needed. It is expected that LBers will try not to destroy any natural vegetation or move large stones or logs without returning them to the location they were found.
This is our sketch book that we collect stamp imprints on. The spiral type lays flat and is easy to stamp on. I stamp and put the name of the stamp and the date in my book.
The nice thing is it is a free activity for the most part. The clues are free and all the fun community information is free at Atlas Quest. Go there and get started by finding a location that you may want to go. On the upper right side of the Home Page you'll see "Location based search". Type in the Location Box the place you want to go. Select the distance from home in miles that you are willing to go and click search.
You will see locations, LB names, symbols, etc. Click or hover over the symbols and you'll find out information that will be helpful to you.
Once you are ready, register yourself on Atlas Quest. Each time you find a LB you go to the site and record your find and leave any notes for the owner if you want to.
You can create a profile page and read other LBers profile pages. It depends how involved you want to get. You can send e-mails to them, you can find Erica or myself and look at our profiles and finds. It's fun!
I think I'll leave it at that because I don't want to overwhelm anyone. Take your time searching and preparing and then head out to a destination. Be sure to take pictures and post all about your adventures. HAPPY LETTERBOXING!