We found out about letterboxing through an issue of Family Fun magazine. The article can be read here. Basically, it's a modern day treasure hunt. People who participate in letterboxing hide waterproof boxes in the woods or out in nature and then design simple clues, maps or stories for you to find the hidden items. You decipher and follow the clues to find the box. Once you find the box, hidden well in nature under rocks, bark and leaves, you open the box to find a notebook, stamp pad and stamp. You take the stamp you have purchased or created to represent yourself or your family and leave a print of your stamp in their box and you take a print of their stamp in your notebook. Also, there is usually a pen inside the box and you should record the date you found the letterbox.
SO, yesterday, we created a stamp to represent our family. Payton wanted a star and Matt and I wanted to make sure we included a K in the print. Payton also picked a fuchia (read "pink") inkpad for our stamp and we took a index card notebook to record our journey.
On the Letterboxing Website, we found a series of five boxes hidden in a park not too far from our home. We headed to the park with our supplies and Payton was SO very excited. When we got to the starting point, we put Maxwell in the Ergo backpack and got underway. Matt read the directions and Payton told us where to go. It really was a great way to teach him terms like "hollow", "clearing", "fork in the road", and "lumber". Things we don't normally talk about.
The thrill of finding our first letterbox was great! We all got very excited and were so proud to put our stamp on the page and re-hid the box for the letterboxers. It took us about two hours to find all five boxes hidden within the park. We probably walked about 5 miles total, with several being up steep hills. With Maxwell on my back, this made up for not going to the Y today!!
I kept telling Matt, "This is so much fun! I'm loving this!!" It was great to be outside, be active, and do something as a family that everyone was enjoying...even Max! We will definately be seeking, and eventually hiding, more letterboxes in the near future! We've already scouted out several near my inlaws home, my parents' home and our annual vacation spot.
Here are a few pictures, but there are many more posted on our Family Picasa Website.