Thursday, July 24, 2008

Letterbox Sleuth

Many happy hours of my childhood were spent as apprentice detective to Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. Now I pursue clues of a different sort in sleuthing out letterboxes.

© 2008 Dub Scroggin (I’m in disguise)

Letterboxing involves following clues to a hidden box. In the box you’ll find a rubber stamp and a small journal. You use the stamp from the box to mark your personal journal, and then use your own stamp to leave an impression in their journal. A little experience at this and you’ll be planting clues and concealing boxes for others to track.

© 2008 Dub Scroggin

Solving a mystery appeals to most everyone. Letterboxing is a much safer way to satisfy your clue-seeking wanderlust than real crime. Following the clues enhances reasoning, navigation, and map reading (Ms. Drew would applaud) skills—and you’ll explore new places that heretofore might have escaped your notice.

You’re probably wondering how all this got started—an easy mystery to solve. The first letterbox was placed at Cranmere Pool in 1854 by a guide at England’s Dartmoor National Park. An April 1998 Smithsonian Magazine article ("They Live and Breathe Letterboxing") is substantially responsible for this addictive activity here in the U.S.

The Letterboxer's Companion leads you through the letterboxing process and what you need to get started. Other books on the subject (I’ve not read them) include:

My letterbox kit

So where do you find the clues? Letterboxing North America (see Clues below) is the best source for letterbox locations in North America. They also provide links leading you to the rest of the world (I’ve letterboxed in the Virgin Islands, Turks & Caicos Islands, along the Mexican Riviera, etc.).


© 2008 Dub Scroggin

Happy sleuthing!


Lisa said...

I love letterboxing! I also use Atlas Quest ( quite a bit, along with LBNA.

Kristi said...

Sounds like fun!! I'd be stuck at "carve your own stamp"!

Ali said...

We've done a bit of Geocaching (similar) and the kids loved the secret, treasure discovering element of the whole thing.

I was slightly put off, because geocachers seem wedded to their GPSs and we don't have one! It's old fashioned map references for us.

Kristie said...

Love your detective pix! You're so cute, June.

Rosemary said...

Hi Junie,
Just happened to be on the computer.
So sorry I haven't visited in awhile. Just busy with that glitter.
So glad you liked my creations.
That Halloween Ball sounds wonderful, wish I could go.

Thimbleanna said...

That looks so fun Ms. Moon! I have a friend who is really into geocaching which, I think, must be similar.

meg said...

I love your stamp- I look forward to someday seeing it in my box :-)

a pink-bee said...

What a NEAT post ! Tomorrow will be posting about my very favorite mystery series :).
crystal :)

Storybook Woods said...

This looks so intersting and something my girls would love. Thank you xoxox Clarice

Anonymous said...

i first heard about letterboxing through amy of life in the lyons den and i was so fascinated. it does sound like nancy drew sleuthing and i really want to try it!! love your detective picture!!

Beth Leintz said...

How interesting! I've heard of geocaching, but it seemed a little technical to me, but letterboxing sounds fascinating. I'm going to check out some of your links.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Hi June!
It sounds so interesting! I would imagine most boxes are in rural or secluded settings? I can't imagine one surviving here in the city!

I love your mermaid stamp! I own hundreds of rubber stamps -- mostly of cat images!

Hugs, Pat

Home ec new Haven said...

You are having way too much summer fun... good for you!

Lena said...

Oh gosh June, I love the photograph of you! LOL!

I've heard of Letterboxing, but I've never known anyone who participated. It sounds like fun. Recently my friend Liisa had an evening at her studio where we experimented with making our own rubber stamps. Next time I go, I'll have to mention this activity to her. It sounds right up her alley!

Gumbo Lily said...

There are a few letter boxes in the Black Hills. Maybe before summer is over, I'll take a little hike and see if I can find them. I think it's a cool concept.