Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Letterboxing in Benicia

A fun new activity!! I just discovered Letterboxing via one of the blogs I read, Potted Frog. (This is why I love blogs!) Letterboxing is very much like Geo-Caching, except you don't have to have a hand-held GPS. Visit one of the letterboxing websites, letterboxing.org is one, and locate letterboxes near you, or in an area you are planning to visit.

A letterbox is a waterproof box hidden somewhere in a public area. At the letterbox website you are given clues and directions to follow to help you find the box. They are never in plain sight; they might be hidden under a bush or leaves, or in a pile of rocks. Inside the letterbox (usually a plastic food container) will be a rubber stamp (often hand-carved), a small notebook, and possibly a pen and/or ink pad. You should take with you your own rubber stamp, ink pad, small notebook, and pen or pencil. Once you find the box you stamp its notebook with your stamp, then write the date and sign your "trail name." You then stamp your own notebook with the stamp found in the letterbox.

I did a search for letterboxes here in Benicia and found two! This afternoon, for a fun outing, Mike and I went in search of them. We found both. One set of clues required us to slide down a concrete slide at a park! The other had us start at the old Capitol Building downtown. I won't give any more info than that as I don't want to give away the locations of the boxes. We stamped the letterbox notebook with our stamp, a striped cat (using orange ink!) and wrote the date and our trail name, we chose Stripey Jack. It was fun to look through the notebook and see who else has visited the box, and when. One had been visited just two days ago.

We now have our first two letterbox stamps in a small notebook (pictured above). Oh, and each letterbox has a name which corresponds to the stamp inside. The two here in Benicia are called "Witchypoo" and "Sandlot."

This would be a great activity for families; kids love it because it's just like going on a treasure hunt. Before you go, though, be sure to read the rules and etiquette of letterboxing found at letterboxing.org, and other letterboxing websites. There's some definite need-to-know stuff there such as being very discreet once you've found the box, what to do if you can't find the box, etc. Here's a great getting-started article. Best of all, it's great motivation to get outside walking and exploring. Take your dogs, too!

So, put on your hiking shoes and get out there!


Chrissie said...

This looks like so much fun! Thanks for the idea.

Heather and Spencer said...

How do you find out about this stuff???

Queenly Things said...

I'm off to see if there are any around here. Thanks for the link.