Thursday, June 30, 2011


As some of you may have noticed, it's been quiet over here for more than a week.  The silence was due to our recent vacation out to Reno, Nevada to join in the celebration of Naiya's Great Grammie Billie's 90th birthday.  We drove there and back stopping half way in both directions to spend some time in the lovely town of Ashland, Oregon.  I thought I'd share the sights and stories of our furlough a bit at a time beginning with our favorite new-found hobby...

Just before we left on our six day adventure, I had been perusing some of my favorite blogs and came across the idea of Letterboxing from Beth over at Acorn Pies.  What a gift this was!  After reading Beth's post I immediately googled "Letterboxing" and found the very informative and helpful Letterboxing North America site. 
For those who, like me, have never heard of this fun create, seek and search game, it's a kind of a local/international treasure hunt.  It began in the mid 1800's in Devon, England when a guide left a bottle of wine hidden on a trail for future visitors.  This morphed into future hikers leaving letters in various boxes throughout the moors for the next travelers to collect and mail.  Eventually the basic idea traversed the ocean and today in North America there are several sites dedicated to Letterboxing. 
In its modern form, small, weather-proof boxes (or plastic containers) are hidden in mostly wild public places.  These "boxes" contain a small rubber stamp (often hand-carved) and a notebook.  After acquiring clues via web-site or word of mouth, finders make an imprint of the box stamp into their own notebook and leave an impression of their personal stamp along with their name, date and perhaps a short note in the letterboxes visitor book.  (This is similar to geocaching which I had also not heard of until last week.)

The great thing about discovering Letterboxing the day before we left on vacation was that we were suddenly given a whole new array of possible adventures in each town and city we visited as well as prospective exploits along the way.  Even as I was walking through a park in Reno explaining my excitement and enthusiasm to my mother-in-law about the fun this could be for our little girl, Ryan pulled out his smart phone and found that there was a Letterbox in the very park we were right then enjoying!  Sadly, we weren't able to locate that box (we think it had been pilfered) but two days later in Ashland (after we had procured notebook and stamp of our own) we found our very first box!

It was a rainy day in Lithia Park and the box and its contents were swimming in bags of water.  We did our best to dry them out and keep them that way.

Within an hour we had found our second box in the same park.   This one began with a simple riddle that took us a while to unravel (while the first rain of our trip began to cascade in sheets from the sky).
After a fair amount of frustration, Ryan solved the puzzle and we located Will S. about forty feet from where we had originally parked the car.

For our first foray into this fantastic new diversion, I think we did pretty well.

We discovered the next day that it might behoove one to do a little research prior to setting out on a quest. 

When the clues for our third adventure said "go up the trail and pass the second junction..." we didn't account for a two mile hike up a mountain.

Still, we found "The Beautiful Butterfly" and caught sight of some spectacular views which we otherwise would never have come across.

Home again to Portland we discovered that there are over a hundred Letterboxes in our esteemed City of Roses.

Never a dull day of Summer again shall pass...


  1. Portland OR has more letterboxes than any city in the west. Some of the 'original' letterboxers from the 1990s live in the area and are quite prolific. On the east coast, you can walk down the street in Manchester CT without tripping over a 'box!

  2. I checked on some boxes at Olallie this weekend...congrats on being first finder on some of them :) Double Tree


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