Letterboxing : When postage stamps go bad

by Stacey Graham

Whoops, wrong letterboxing. Hello! I’m Stacey, Julie’s guest blogger and as she mentioned in a previous post I’m the mother of five wee girls. I’m like a clown car; they just keep coming and coming and coming…

Last summer, between my girls’ best attempts at dying their cheeks blue with Popsicles and having rampant “pool hair,” we discovered the pastime of Letterboxing. Originally started in the mid-19th century in England, it began with a park guide left his calling card inside a bottle and invited others to do the same. In time, others came to leave stamped postcards to be filled out and sent back by others who had come after them, creating the name “Letterboxing” - meaning a post box in England. Finding a new surge of popularity after an article in the Smithsonian in 1998, Letterboxing once again sparked the interest of scavenger hunters and updated. Gone was the bottle and in its place, ziploc bags and a plastic waterproof box.

The supplies are basic:
Waterproof box such as a food container
Notepad
Stamp - can be commercial or homemade
Ink pad
Compass for clues
Your field name such as: Graham family, Red Wolverine, Pink Tutu Club, etc
Pencil or pen
Ziploc - quart size
Clues

To start your own box, leave the notepad placed within the quart-sized ziploc to protect it against water damage and enclose it within the box. Hide the box off a path so it won’t be easily discovered and write down its location.

To find a box:
To start Letterboxing, clues are left at www.letterboxing.org and www.atlasquest.com. Find your area and start looking for boxes along with your kit complete with stamp, ink, pencil/pen and a compass; this will also be a great place to leave a clue for your own box. Use your stamp to record your find in the notebook along with your name and the date plus any personal comments.

The environment plays a heavy hand in this activity; weather and animals can easily move the boxes from their spots so if a box is not in the area listed, check around before telling the box owner that it is missing, you may have simply overlooked it. Be sure to replace the box and cover with dead leaves or weigh it down with a stone for the next person so passersby do not easily find it. This is an excellent game to play with kids, have them create their own letterbox to hide in your backyard!

For more information, please visit:
http://www.letterboxing.org/GettingStarted/Letterboxing101.pdf
http://www.letterboxing.org/GettingStarted/getstart_finding.htm
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/newboxers/
http://www.letterboxing.org
http://www.atlasquest.com

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 15th, 2008 at 4:13 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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