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A family hobby…

October 23, 2009

On Sunday our plans were to join William’s boyscout troop on a their annual orienteering meet near Dayton, Ohio. We were looking forward to getting dumped off in the middle of the woods with a map and compass to find our way out. Really. We were.
Yet, when the alarm clock went off that morning the craziness of the preceding week made us stop and think about driving almost three hours away. We decided to have a family meeting to discuss our change of action.
Actually, we sat around the breakfast table and goofed off…

Some of us decided to go back to sleep…

After some deliberation we decided to forgo the scout trip and head out on our own for the day. We needed a little family time.
If William wouldn’t miss out on earning any of his merit badges we had faith that the other scouts could find their way out of those woods without us.
We all agreed to go letterboxing. If you’ve never heard of it read on. Or follow the link below. Don’t get lost and forget to come back here!
We punched in our hometown on the letterboxing website and picked the town with a few boxes that we could accomplish in a day and off we went.

To describe the sport quickly (I think it can be called a sport) it is a “treasure hunt” in parks, forests, and cities around the world. Clues are posted online that lead you to the prize of a rubber stamp. You use this stamp to log into your own letterboxing journal called a log. Most times the stamp is hand-carved. It’s like collecting small pieces of artwork. Also, you get the chance to sign in to the log you found with your own stamp. This doesn’t have to be hand-carved. I started out with a store bought stamp.
note: this is different from geocaching in that you DO NOT need a GPS unit. The clues use landmarks to get you to the treasure.

Below is a glimpse of my log:

And here is a peek at my stamp that I use to log in:

Letterboxing has been an activity we’ve done together for 3 or 4 years. I discovered it in a random magazine article and since we’ve discovered places we wouldn’t normally think to visit. Like the Indian Grain Mill in Upper Sandusky, Ohio, pictured below…

The fun is in the hunt.
After following the clue, we found our first box. Everyone takes a turn logging in and we put the box back where it was discovered.

I love that we all get a dose of history…

One of the many aspects of letterboxing is the discovery of new places. We learned about this old grain mill by taking a tour. It only cost a few dollars a piece. Yet the photo ops were priceless…

And no road trip is complete without a little danger…

On to the next box!
Umm… sorry. Sometimes it’s hard to keep the troops going in the same direction.

All right, here we go! Back on track…

ehem… excuse me… William? Is it necessary to text right now?

As you can see folks, it can be tough keeping kids excited about learning. But, for us, this has turned into a family hobby that we really enjoy.
I have faith that they look forward to the adventure as much as I do.

Until next time,

P.S. For more info on letterboxing you can go to or Or contact me and I’d be happy to answer any questions. Good luck on your own quest!

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