Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Our family loves letterboxing. It combines three things my kids love- art, treasure, and the outdoors. Even as an adult, it's still exciting and you feel like you are in on a secret that nobody else around you knows about. I would probably still letterbox, even if I didn't have kids!

"What is letterboxing?", you ask? It started in England in the mid-1800s, when a man hid a bottle for hikers to place their calling card when they found the jar up a steep trail in Dartmoor. Modern letterboxing is where you get clues to find a hidden box containing a logbook, ink pad, and a rubber stamp (usually handmade). You bring along your logbook and personal stamp, and once you've discovered the letter box, mark the box's logbook with your rubber stamp and a brief note, and then use the found stamp in your own logbook to record your discovery of the specific letterbox, almost like a passport.

These letterboxes are hidden in public places, probably many parks that you visit have hidden letterboxes. You can go online to get clues, and they've got them sorted by beginner to expert skill, too. Sometimes, once you find where the box should be it's not there; it's been stolen or gotten cleaned up by park maintenance; but it's still fun to search. It's a great way to get the whole family out moving around, exploring your community, and using skill to locate the box. Some clues are really easy, some are extremely vague and tricky.