i can see clearly now, the rain is gone

At long last we have seen a warm day full of sunshine here in the Pacific NW.  All of the activity we crammed into the last two days could probably fill several posts.  First up: letterboxing

IMG_8964 (Opening our first ever found letterbox)

If you’ve heard of geocaching, think of letterboxing as the thrifty, low-tech alternative.  I first heard of it through this post over at Nicola’s blog.

After registering at this site and/or this one, you print off clues to a hidden letterbox in your area, and you’re ready.  Actually, registration is not even necessary for access to the clues, but if you plan on recording your finds and possibly continuing your letterbox quests on even a semi-regular basis, it’s a great way to keep track of where you’ve been and what you’ve found.

IMG_8989

Following the clues, each person or family carries their own unique stamp, notebook, and stamp pad with them to the letterbox.  When you find the hidden box, open it, pull out the notebook and stamp inside, stamp your identifying stamp in the letterbox notebook, sign and date your “trail name” under your stamp, and then use the letterbox stamp in your notebook.  After furtively returning the letterbox and its contents to the original hiding spot, saunter nonchalantly back down the trail.

We searched for and located four different letterboxes on two different hikes in one day.  Three were on the grounds/in the vicinity of a local forestry center.  Another was in the same area, but on a longer hiking trail leading to a waterfall.IMG_8992 (Re-hiding our third letterbox)

Letterboxing turned out to be fun for the whole family; I didn’t hear one complaint about being too tired or hot on either hike, and it was 80 degrees—boiling hot for our neck of the woods!  We’ll definitely be trying this again. 

This activity is appropriate for all ages—I’ve seen several letterboxes designed for the preschool set.  And, because there are letterboxers worldwide, you could even do letterboxing on your next vacation or even staycation.  Best of all, you don’t need any fancy, expensive equipment to participate.  If you’re thinking about trying this with your kids, check out the websites I mentioned above to school yourself in letterboxing etiquette and safety precautions before diving in.

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