Sunday, August 28, 2011

How to have a fantastic day of letterboxing

What you need:
  • Blue diamond series clues by fantastic nearby letterboxer
  • Old friend who is into hiking and could be easily persuaded to go out for a nice long walk (with markers)
  • Nearby conservation area that is ripe with views, nature, wildlife, and recreated First Nations towns
  • Bad weather forecast which you ignore
  • Forget to pack picnic lunches and instead go to a nice salad bar and pack deliciousness that you'd never be able to prepare yourself
  • Working camera that you just fixed yourself (despite Panasonic's own tech staff being unable to do so)
First, have old friend come from the US for a day-long visit.  Introduce the idea of going hiking again for old-time's sake.  Head to favourite salad bar and stock up on some delicious gourmet food that will eventually seem out of place while picnicking in the park.

Arrive at heretofore unvisited conservation area which clearly has not been promoted enough.  Find that the conservation area is not only wildly beyond expectations given nearby parks, but is virtually empty due to rain forecast.  Continue on with giant smiles on your faces.

Easily find first letterbox after viewing some amazing mushroom specimens and getting some amazing photographs with recently repaired camera.  The only thing better than a working camera is a camera that you can smugly say is working because you fixed it yourself.  Continue smiling with friend and carry on to lunch spot.

Have a delicious lunch while the "terrible" weather finally hits: get sprinkled lightly with rain as you happily catch up, laugh at funny chipmunk antics and eat amazing salads.

Next, finish the letterbox series, finding the last two boxes.  All carves are found to be fantastic and the series old enough to have many interesting old stamp finds in the logbooks.  Friend will spontaneously say, "this is awesome" and offer to return to go hunt some other long-hike letterboxes. Joy is had by all.

Then decide to take the clue's recommended trail going around the conservation area's lake. See many beautiful sights, including the lake, the pristine forest, beautiful rock mosses, and get flirted with by some saucy turtles who want to show off.

Finish the boardwalk trail and finish up seeing the sights.  Smile and laugh with your old friend and agree that a repeat day is definitely in order.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Letterboxing in Guelph

This little guy wanted to come along for the ride.
It's been a while since my last post, but in my defense, I've been doing a lot of traveling and I'm getting prepared to move, unfortunately. Looks like I will be one town over as of October and I s'pose that means I have to get to carve a new sig stamp... Same one, just change the location, methinks.

Anyways, I have a couple travelogues I want to post as well as a blog post on how I made my first audio clued letterbox... So back to it!

Last Friday, I finally got to do some more letterboxing and I got to go to one of my favourite locations: Guelph. I prepped a list of 10 clues and headed out after a half day of work. Yes, I took a half day off of work to go letterboxing.  Weekends are not my own in the summer...

First up: Big Dog by Turtlews. This was a repeat box because last November I attempted it without any success.  The clue as it read at that time referred to a bare tree.  But after the fall, all trees are bare, making that reference rather tricky.  The clue has since been updated and others have listed finds so it was time for a repeat.

So off I went to this dog park on a beautiful summer day to see if I would be successful the second time around - I was.  I was also successful in having a HUGE mastiff of some sort jump up on me. Not a surprise; it's a dog park and dogs love me.  Luckily, I was in my boxin' clothes and was anticipating getting a little dirty.  But let's face it - the unabashed, unconditional, unrepressed love that gushes out of these furry beasts can put anyone in a good mood - even if the result of said love is a muddy shirt.

And so, full of confidence with my first find and full of warm puppy love, I set off with clue two - Slide (also a box by Turtlews). A nice stroll in a school's park and a fairly easy find... I spent a bit of time at this box stamping in. It was a beautiful day and it was dead silent at this park so I stamped in in the shade of a nearby maple and enjoyed the nice breeze coming that swept by...

STOP! He who would cross the Bridge of Death must answer me these questions three...
Next, off to the University of Guelph's Arborteum, one of my absolute favourite places to letterbox. Newly planted is Fiddlehead's new series, Traces of Darkness, with her fellow carvers, Prop and Earth Diver.  The Arboretum is my favourite place for a few reasons: it's the perfect size, it has  amazing variety in terrain, it has multiple various trails and gardens to visit, it's in one of my favourite Ontario towns, and it's free.  What more can you ask for? Letterboxes, you say? Well, there are some awesome ones there, including this series, so check it out.

The next letterbox was QR: Quaint Rabbit by Lone R.  Won't spoil it because it is a mystery clue, but I will say that the last finders of this box didn't close it properly and when I opened it, I ended up covered in earwigs and earwig eggs.  Yuck.  Pass.  Luckily, other than a few soaked pages and some runny ink, everything looked fine...

Next box, Ben.  I did find it.  But let me tell ya, I was none too pleased with the unfortunate state of this box - nor with another local letterboxer beating me to be the first finder on that very same day.  Sheesh.  Good box, though.  And because I took a wrong turn at one point and perhaps wandered a little farther in the wrong direction than I typically would have, I did get to randomly see a nice bat stencil on a post.  Random find for the day, I suppose.

Next I tried to find an airport letterbox, Gee Bee Z planted by Fiddleheads and carved by Kirbert.  No luck on this one - the airport seems to have been sold and there were some pretty intimidating signs up saying "danger" and "no trespassing".  Also, while I stood debating whether to make the last jog and just get the box anyway, I surly looking plane guy gave me the evil eye as he went past.  No thanks.  Moving on.

Next up was Water Lily's hubcaps series, the Acura 007.  Cute find in a place that I'm pretty sure I've been to before... The experience wasn't the best though: I ended up walking face first into a huge spider web (with very strong webbing, I might add).  The irate spider, now on my face, made a mad dash and I only just managed to fling it away from me.  It was huge but managed to hide in leaf litter.  I was literally paralyzed on the spot.  I could see the letterbox but was afraid to move in case the spider came back.  Worse yet, I was convinced that if I didn't move soon, the spider would be back with reinforcements.  Since the only thing worse than one spider is more than one spider, I stamped in and got the heck out.  (Based on my recollection, this seems to be an accurate representation of that spider. Except I was shrieking.)

Anyways, to end the day on a higher note, I finished off with Lone R's box in her Cemetery Series, the Cove Pioneer Cemetery.  It was beautiful, it was peaceful, it was perfect.

And that ended my day in Guelph.  I did a couple more boxes over the weekend - more to come on that - but all in all, it was a fantastic letterboxing day in Guelph!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Summer of San Diego

I have tragically been unable to do a lot of boxing so far this summer due to some work and personal life stuff that is dominating my time.  I love all the updates I'm getting from folks finding my boxes, and I'm living my boxing life vicariously through them...

I did, however, get to do another trek down to San Diego for the International Comic Con.  Loved it.  San Diego is a fantastic town and I love going back there from time to time to soak it in.  I love the feel of the whole place... And the 'Con is always a riot - my true inner geek comes out in full force and I'm surrounded by kindred spirits everywhere I turn.

And this year, this year I saw... Sir Patrick Stewart.  *squeeee!*  What an honour.  He is a gentleman of the highest order and I would have given my eye teeth to give him a hug.

He went where no Sir Patrick Stewart had gone before... San Diego Comic Con!
But, this is also the first time that I have gone down where I have also been a letterboxer.  I didn't get to do a lot of boxing due to my other *ahem* nerdy activities, but I did manage to both find and plant a box.

I ended up finding Dancing for the Jumbo-tron which was conveniently located between my accommodations and the convention centre. It was a cute box and I love traveling to other places and seeing new and different sig stamps from letterboxers from another area...

Later, I planted Get Your Geek On in honour of the 'Con and thus far it hasn't been found.  Seriously people, I see an untapped market in the overlap between the Comic-Con nerds and letterboxing geeks.  Just sayin'...