I've been waiting so long for the weather to not only turn warm but a little drier to get out and do some letterboxing. Well, yesterday was finally the day that both Red Wolf and I had free (after taking care of some necessary shopping and looking into a new apartment) so we headed out to a cemetery and one of the metroparks to see what we could find. A couple of photos, dealing with a park ranger and being denied clues after the jump.
The first box we went for was JMWx2's (I think they're a team, thus the x2 part) "Pushing Up..." Once we were able to figure out the directions, it wasn't hard to find, but I think we must've come in the wrong entrance to the cemetery because left was right, up was down, cats and dogs living together, etc. One of the landmarks was a twin pair of twisty multitrunked trees though, which I thought looked pretty neat. We finally dropped off our hitchhiker here, though it was a bit of a challenge to get it to all fit in the box together. I'd almost forgotten it, and I feel terrible for holding onto it for so long.
The next clue we chased after is actually located in the other half of the same park where we tried to find the letterbox that eluded us last time. (Still no word on the whereabouts of the box itself, I'm really starting to wonder if it didn't get lost somewhere, being right next to the trail and the water so close by.) This was another first for us, because it's the first box we've gone after where there are actually multiple stamps to find. The series was titled "Wedding Day," and the stamps consist of a bride, a groom, and the rings. They were all on on the same trail, probably within several yards of each other, and not too hard to find. I enjoyed it because this is the first box I've come across that really has a story to go with it--I guess the couple that carved and planted these stamps actually got married there in the park, so it really holds a special significance for them, and they outlined it a little bit in their logbook.
On the other hand, I hadn't explored the local parks much at all before getting into this hobby, and I have to say, we have got some pretty awesome parks! Everything is really well maintained, and they have a lot of programs for kids' educational programs and seasonal nature walks. It was so busy; there were a couple of families having cookouts, a ton of kids and people with dogs just enjoying the day. Even a photographer with a much more serious business camera than mine. A park ranger drove past us and slowed at one point as we were stamping our books, which made me a little nervous. I don't have a great track record with security types despite being a tiny white girl--I've been kicked out of malls and followed around in stores just for looking weird, I guess. Everyone knows that black eyeshadow and a questionable fashion sense means you're up to something against the rules. Anyway, my worry increased when a second ranger came up a while later and asked us if we were finding everything alright, which is usually code for, "What are you doing?" in my experience. Of course we said yes, and he just smiled and nodded and said it was a great night for it. Everything went better than expected. I've seen a couple of cautious notes about park rangers, property caretakers, cops and other sorts of people getting on some peoples' cases. I mean, scoping out buildings, hiding things, seemingly wandering aimlessly around an area, I guess it could look suspicious, even if you have the most innocent of intentions and are doing your best not to disturb the area and follow any posted guidelines. Still, I'm glad he wasn't a jerk about it and even seemed to be somewhat in the know.
One more thing that I found to be rather annoying--for once we had the daylight and the time to go try and hunt down more boxes than we had originally planned for, but when I got on my phone to look up some in the area that we hadn't hit yet (which isn't many, we're going to have to start ranging further afield) were blocked. Seriously, the box planter put up guidelines that you couldn't view the clue for this box or that box unless you had a particular number of finds already registered with AtlasQuest, citing protecting their boxes from going missing or being found by inexperienced letterboxers. I understand the planter's concern, but honestly? Most people who would remove these things probably aren't making use of the websites and find them completely by accident, or by observing people who are hobbyists go snooping around the same spot again and again. As for keeping "inexperienced" letterboxers away from it, the only way to get experience is by finding things, and it doesn't matter how many notches you've got on your belt. I don't think having fifty finds makes you a more considerate or careful person than having ten finds does. Most people who use the sites and actively pursue the hobby very likely aren't just going to make off with your stamps, regardless of their stats. I understand that part of the appeal is the secret society feel of the whole affair, this feels contrary to the nature of the hobby to me. True, we've pretty thoroughly worked this corner of the city, and have a lot more options available to us as we travel around the city, it was just kind of irksome to be in the right general area, but unable to continue for the day. Just my two cents.