It’s a new hobby for me, but it’s actually been around for centuries. Above are links with information about letterboxing and atlasquest is a community for posting your letterbox clues and searching for boxes to hunt for. Read all about it. It’s pretty cool!
If you like to go for walks on paths along the river or hike mountain trails, this adds some fun and a purpose besides the exercise, the views, the quiet, the solitude… and it can be an artistic hobby that includes designing and carving your own rubber stamps (or you can use store bought) and you can either keep a simple notebook of stamps you find or you can create an elaborate scrapbook along with pictures and stories about your hikes. You can just hunt for other people’s boxes, or you can create and hide your own for others to find. This is something both adults and kids can enjoy.
Anywhere you travel you will be able to find letterboxes. If you don’t get out much or go very far, that’s okay too. You might just like the idea of planting a box somewhere and then getting online and posting the clues for other people to find it – you can write literal directions or you can create a puzzle or riddle for them to solve. Also, within the box along with the notebook or sketchpad, stamp, and inkpad, you can place homemade postcards made with your stamp, or some kind of little gift, that each person can take with them. You can also put in a separate notebook and stamp set called a “hitchhiker” that the finder can stamp and take with them and plant along with the next letterbox that they find. Eventually hitchhiker letterboxes can travel all over the world!
We don’t have any stamps or journals yet – I just discovered letterboxing this weekend – but last night we went hunting for our first one to try it out. It was planted at the Indian Trail Head Park right in Brewer. We followed the directions and found it, and I just wrote a short note in the little notebook contained in the box (which was a little plastic food storage container) explaining we’d be back to exchange stamps another time. This person’s notebook contained stamps and notes from people who were from Oregon, Illinois, Virginia, Rhode Island – all over – who had hunted for this letterbox while here on vacation. I think that is just a cool thing! The owner comes back to check on it every so often and when the notebook is full or the ink stamper is dry, you replace it and keep it going, and you have a little souvenir of all the people who have found your treasure.
What is really cool about this, is you will discover places your have never visited before – I’ve lived in Brewer for 12 years and have NEVER walked the Indian Head Trails along the Penobscot – NEVER! It was a very nice walk and we even saw a deer that stopped and stared at us for a few minutes before it took off. So many times I’ve wondered what new place we can go check out, what mountain we can go climb, what different place we can go for a walk. There are directions posted online to so many places that we can explore and find letterboxes while enjoying a nice day of hiking.
You don’t need anything fancy to start hunting – we went with just a pen and a printout of the directions to find “Broken Tree” our first time out last night. Hope everyone decides to check this out!