Who can resist a treasure hunt? Who doesn’t want to play the role of the clever intrepid adventurer who reads maps, deciphers clues, solves riddles, and finds a hidden cache that eluded so many others?
But did you know there’s another sort of treasure hunting out there that requires nothing more than your wits, your patience, and your willingness to exercise and explore?
[Image courtesy of Underhobby.]
It’s called letterboxing.
Essentially, you’re hunting for small, weatherproof boxes in publicly accessible areas — parks, for instance — with the goal of celebrating your success locating the well-concealed box. From a given starting point — a letterboxing catalog, or a website, or one given to you by the letterbox designer themselves — you must hunt down the box. (Your state might even maintain an archive of available letterboxing spots. Mine certainly does!)
Sometimes there are clues, or puzzles to be solved, or it’s simply meant to be found by determined, keen-eyed hunters.
Inside, you’ll find a logbook awaiting your personal stamp (to mark that you found it) as well as a stamp unique to that letterbox for you to use in your own record book to record your success in locating the box.
Devoted letterboxers often keep careful records of how many letterboxes they’ve planted, how many they’ve found, which letterboxing events they’ve attended, and more.
And it’s a hobby that dates back more than 150 years!
[Image courtesy of Ms. Nasser’s Art Studio.]
Now, if this sounds familiar, there’s good reason for that. Over the last fifteen years, an updated version of letterboxing has emerged: geocaching.
Geocaching functions mostly along the same lines, but with one crucial difference.
Geocaching is all about finding exact GPS coordinates.
But it can also involve the same exploration, puzzling, and problem-solving as letterboxing. I’ve seen some that contain puzzles that reveal coordinates to other geocaches, like popsicle sticks that have to be sorted to reveal the necessary numbers. There are even some that require you to solve a puzzle to open the letterbox itself.
Some people are very clever indeed, and they’re waiting for you to accept the challenge.
Have you ever been letterboxing or geocaching, fellow puzzlers and PuzzleNationers? Are you planning to try it out in the future? Let us know in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you!
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