Thursday, November 4, 2010

Letterboxing 101


today i'm going to teach you about letterboxing, my favorite hobby (other than arts/crafts!)
it's a lot of fun letterboxing with friends because it becomes a team effort...
however, it's not a lot of fun if they cancel on you (cough momiji cough)
anywho, i spent four hours today around Decatur looking for 7 separate boxes.

letterboxes are everywhere!
to find one, you must have an account on Atlas Quest.
then you search for boxes near your location

letterboxes are hidden in public spaces, sometimes even indoors.
you might pass by lots of boxes every day without knowing.
here's an example:

it may look like an ordinary azalea bush...
but look a little closer...
and you see that it has something hidden underneath!

letterboxes come in all shapes and forms.
i have seen boxes in...
-lock n lock boxes
-altoids tins
-cookie tins
-duct-taped ziploc bags
-empty peanut butter jars
-inactive electrical outlets
and lots of other cool containers.

sometimes the boxes are covered in
-camo tape
-brown/black spray paint
to keep away non-letterboxers who might damage/steal the box's contents
(this happens a lot!)

what is inside of a letterbox?
each letterbox contains at least...
-a stamp (usually hand carved, those are the most prized)
-a logbook (a note pad)
...these items (and any others that may be inside) should be wrapped in plastic ziploc baggies to prevent water from damaging them.

sometimes courteous letterboxers also provide...
-a pen to log your visit
-an ink pad
...though you should always bring your own of each.

sometimes a letterbox might contain...
-a hitchhiker. this is a "box" (baggie) that goes from box to box. you should take it with you if you find one, and put it in the next box you find.

what do you bring with you when you letterbox?
other than the clues for the box, you should bring your own kit. a basic kit entails...
-a logbook for you
-a pen
-an ink pad
-your signature stamp (it usually reflects your "trail name"- a pseudonym you use while letterboxing)

a more complex kit might include...
-a flashlight
-a compass
and numerous other items.

what do you do when you find a letterbox?
-you stamp your signature stamp into the box's logbook
-you stamp the box's stamp into your own logbook
-you sign your trail name and put the date next to your signature stamp in the box's logbook
-you rehide the letterbox better than you found it
-when you get home, log the find on Atlas Quest

letterboxes will usually take you to beautiful locations near you that you might never have seen without partaking in this activity. here are some examples from my adventures today:

these are both locations inside of the Atlanta perimeter! who knew?

happy hunting!
-Katie (aka Nancy Drew) --that's my trail name

PS there are some cool iphone apps for letterboxing, too. I use Clue Tracker (i think it was $4.99) though it's best to plan out your attack the night before you plan on hunting just because the app's not always truthful/helpful. the more organized you are, the quicker it goes.

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