June 2, 2011
- Welcome to Macaroni Kid
- MACARONI DEALS - Great Deals for Local Families!
- Daddy and Me Photo Contest
- Out & About: Letterboxing
- A local mom and her Cupcakes ... D'Lish!
- Summer Math at Kumon:
- Featured Local Businesses
- This Week's Picks
- This Week's Calendar
- Teen Scene
- Plan Ahead
- Local Moms Groups
- National Chocolate Ice Cream Day
Part 2: Get those clues and go!
It's an excuse to take a walk ... with a big ol' twist of adventure. It's part treasure hunt, part stamp collecting, and a whole lot of fun! Letterboxes are hidden and clues are posted online. Your goal is to find the box, and stamp the log book. Doesn't this sound like the perfect activity to try with your kids? Spend a weekend afternoon as a family, tracking down clues and discovering treasure! You may also want to read PART 1 in this series.
Now, on with the fun ... it's time to let the adventure begin! Your first stop is a really important one because it's the only way you'll know where you're going. It's the place where all the clues are kept, and it's just a click away. There are two primary websites: Letterboxing North America and Atlas Quest. I really like the advanced search function at Atlas Quest. It allows you to choose location, distance, attributes, stamp type, and hike type. In addition, each set of clues includes symbols that tell you information like what type of hike to expect, whether or not you'll need a compass, and if it's pet-friendly.
For example, I searched for letterboxes within 25 miles of Issaquah and several found manageable first attempts - the first two, I've done with my family:
- Sammamish: Bison at Beaver Lake is a nice walk (less than half a mile) past the ball fields and dog park. This was my family's first letterboxing find! And there are more letterboxes hidden on the same trail - check out two others, Beaver Lake Dog Park, while you're there.
- Issaquah: Native Wildens Raccoon is found on the Around the Lake Trail at exit 20 ... a great kid-friendly hike with number signs along the way and hidden animal tracks.
- Sammamish Heritage Society has hidden a series of letterboxes highlighting historic places in Sammamish.
- Carnation Clouds is a series of three boxes along a one mile roundtrip hike.
- A more challenging hike (closer to 2 miles) is Mount Si Creek in North Bend.
Every set of clues also includes links to the exact location on Google Maps, a helpful feature for getting your bearings and determining how far you'll have to travel to the clue's starting point.
Both websites are easy to navigate, and you'll find that letterboxing has a very welcoming community of finders and hiders.
As you head out on your Letterboxing Adventure, letterboxing.org encourages you to keep a few things in mind:
- The most important things to remember when letterboxing are respect and safety. Respect for the environment and for the letterbox that someone has created and your personal safety.
- When you arrive at the location of the letterbox by following the clues, make sure that there aren’t others around when you go to retrieve it to prevent it’s location from being discovered by non-letterboxers who might not respect the letterbox.
- Once you’ve retrieved the letterbox, move a bit away from the hiding spot before opening it. If someone comes along and asks what you’re doing, be creative!
- Please be sure to reseal baggies and boxes carefully so that they stay dry and rehide boxes in their original location, completely hidden from view.
- Leave the area just as you found it - or better. Replace rocks that you move, don't pull out plants or rip up the ground looking for the letterbox.
- Respect wildlife in the area; you are a visitor in their home.
- And, of course, consider your own safety; use common sense.
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