Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween From the Boxing Buddies!!!

In honor of this frightfully scary holiday, our friend James Bone decided to dress up as a pirate (Arrrrr, Matey!!) complete with eye patch and pirate hat with feather in it. Zamboni showed off his more angelic side, with a curly blond wig, glittery halo and white robes. They are seen here with the plastic pumpkin bucket

That swash-buckling pooch climbed to the top of the great pumpkin ... which may tomorrow become the great jack-o-lantern!

I myself was disguised for Halloween as well, in a costume I call "Gone Over to the Dark Side." For those of you who do not understand the true nature of die-hard Red Sox fans and our rivalry with the evil ones, please allow me to explain that this is only a joke, and I would never in my right mind actually wear a New York Yankees hat (gross!!) My fellow Mainers and New Englanders of course understood how the black wig, black nail polish, and black clothing from head to foot tied in to this dark side theme .... but I also work with a great many foreigners from far off lands (who don't know what to make of this crazy holiday) and needed some explaining! My cubicle mates, Hitomi from Japan and Lei from China, found this particularly amusing, and insisted on posing for pictures (and Hitomi asked to touch the hair!)

Sadly it is almost over, and we have had no trick-or-treaters yet this year to scare with my horrific ensemble ... but all the more chocolate left for me and the buddies!!

We can't even help ourselves!

Sunday, October 26, 2008:

The Towles, fellow Glenburn letterboxers, went searching for our planted Robot boxes, and sent an AQ message,

"Hope you don't mind we left a hitch-hiker in one!"

Why no Towles, we don't mind at all! Hope you don't mind that we stole it!

So what if it was raining! (And such ferocious winds that earlier in the day when I went to check in on my experiments at the lab, the road to Orono was closed due to downed power lines and trees and I had to detour an extra seven miles through Bangor just to get there)

A little rain does not stop a true letterboxer!

We found the Compass hitch-hiker from Rhode Island (though the stamp is a bit broken, and this hitch-hiker will now be sent back to it's owner for repair ... good thing it doesn't want to go north, because that direction is missing!)

Beware of Robots - revisited

October 19th, 2008:

Boxing buddies couldn't visit us in Glenburn, ME without a visit to the series of stamps that was our first plant this summer - Beware of Robots.

After the weekly family dinner, our little cousin wished to take a trip to the school's playground - and I agreed that the buddies and I would go, on one condition - we had to walk the Nature Trail as well! While little cuz stands by his opinion that any treasure hunt in which he doesn't get to keep the treasure is "the lamest thing I ever heard of" - he is quite content to wander along the trail and jump off boulders while we stamp. Cousin RainWater helped keep him entertained, while we stamp in at Itsy Bitsy Spider (top left)
Robot's Rocket Ride - as carved by Agent S. The most recent visitors to our boxes (ChickenLips) used colored markers instead of ink, and some of that remained, which made for some particularly nice colored stamping ... and maybe will inspire me to try out this marker thing too!

Then we found the scary Robot at his moss covered hiding spot, and further ventured on to sneak up on that peak-a-boo puppy!

Get Lost!

(That's the name of the letterbox, not an order!) On October 18th (after finding the letterbox at the lake) we headed back to Bangor City Forest to find the remaining elusive box. This is a Letterboxing North America set of two boxes called Get Lost and Dust to Dust. Get Lost is at the very far edge of the forest trail where it meets an old railroad bed, and along the way we passed the site of Dust to Dust so we stopped to search it out again, now that we know how to read the compass ... we found Moose Trail, a tiny little winding track at the intersection of two more major trails, and counted out the proper number of paces from the trail head, searching at the proper number of degrees for a "large pine" ... but still nothing! So after some cursing about people who use pine trees as clues in the middle of a pine forest, we gave up and continued on down the golden road of pine needles to the end of the trail. There we met with much more success, though there was a tricky part about following the unmarked East Trail which had on a previous attempt by certain other members of this family caused some confusion, because there is also a marked East Trail.

At the Get Lost Letterbox, there is a bonus clue for another letterbox, which requires finding a trail that is not on the map. From the clue we gathered that Woodchuck Trail would at some point branch off from the railroad bed trail and lead back to the main loop ... and since we were already at the railroad bed, we might as well follow it for awhile ... so we walked, and walked and walked ... mildly reminiscent of another adventure in which we kept saying, "well maybe it's just around the next bend..." except that this time we gave up and turned around (after asking some bicyclists who said there were no trails branching off up ahead) - we had been afraid that we passed one possible side-trail, but it was too marshy to access. In hindsight, having looked at a better internet version of the map, we probably just had to keep going ... but we'll save it for another day.

On the walk back towards the car, we again passed the intersection of Moose Trail with the main paths, but this time, coming from the opposite way, we finally noticed that there is in fact another half of Moose Trail!! If we had properly paid attention we would have noticed that the clue begins with a compass direction telling which half of Moose Trail to start from, but we conveniently had ignored that before! So, after only three tries for OnTheCorner and 2 for Agent S. and 1 for the boxing buddies, the Dust to Dust box was discovered!!

We then left the city forest after a three hour tour (humming the Gilligan's Island theme song) and headed off in search of food ... because much like Gilligan's crew we weren't prepared to be gone for quite so long and hadn't thought to bring any lunch. The mommy decided we deserved Pepinos burritoes after such an arduous adventure, and I was hardly going to argue! I do love this letterboxing! =)

Back at home it was such a lovely autumn day that Zamboni and James Bone couldn't resist the fun of jumping in a pile of leaves! Who could enjoy a New England fall without a little leaf peeping?

Gould's Landing

Gould's Landing on Pushaw Lake is one of our favorite swimming holes - but definitely not today!!! BRRR!! Another gorgeous clear fall day, but lots of wind here on the water, and our fingers (or paws, as the case may be) were just about frozen by the time we finished stamping!

We had looked for this box back in July, but got thrown off track because the clues say to start from the tree with the V (lots of trees grow in v-shaped pairs) and to sit at the picnic table nearest the water (there are three picnic tables) and then walk towards the trash can with rocks on it (also three of those) and then find the letterbox among some boulders near the trees (also, lots of boulders, lots of trees) ... earlier in the summer, the actual hiding spot was guarded by a sign that read "Warning! Poison Ivy!" so we did not pay that clump of boulders/trees much attention ... but today there was not so much dangerous foliage, and voila! A letterbox!

Here our buddies sit triumphantly on their treasure chest (they must be our lucky charms!)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Painted Rock

October 12, 2008:

Along Route 6 in Lincoln, ME there is a large boulder that the natives like to paint messages on. Find the graffiti on the road that says "Patty Daddy '03" and stand on this, then look towards the boulder and observe a hollow stump, in which hides the upscott5 letterbox placed by Team Solid Rock.

After attending our cousin's 8th birthday party in a nearby town, We (OnTheCorner, RainWater, AgentS. and our grammy) ventured a little north to find this hidden treasure, on a beautiful fall day!

The Boxing Buddies were feeling adventurous as always, so we climbed up to the top. Then they had their picture taken, and they noticed that the paint on the rock matched the trees behind them!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Help!! They're Driving me Battie!!

Mount Battie that is!
October 4, 2008 - Camden Hills State Park

Finally a sunny day for visiting Mt. Battie! OnTheCorner and Agent S. took Zamboni and James Bone hiking in Camden - searching for letterboxes called "The Maiden Cliff Series" - three maidens hidden along the maiden cliff trail, which is about a 2.5mile roundtrip up an 800 foot cliff.

Driving from Glenburn to Camden we stopped in Bucksport at the Penobscot Narrows Bridge - a fairly new tourist attraction with an observation deck at the top of that funny looking bridge tower ... there is a letterbox here somewhere, but we didn't investigate it's directions well enough and wanted to avoid entering the park itself (since some enterprising people decided that the observation deck tickets and tickets to fort knox have to be bought together, and that is a whole day worth of searching in itself!)

Onward to Camden ... why was I letting OnTheCorner navigate?? here's a summary:
OTC: We have to take route 52, then look for a sign with a little hiker man
Agent S: ... ok, there's junction 52 ... should i turn left
OTC: ...But we have to drive through town more
Agent S: Ummm. ok (guess there's food more likely that way)
---After lunch---
OTC: So we've backtracked to route 52
Agent S: Yup
ATC: Oh! there's a sign with a little hiker, and lots of people parked, and a trail!
---started down the trail, Agent S. now reading the clue for the first time,
"Park in the lot near the public boat launch"
Agent S: I didn't see any public boat launch! How are we lost already!
OTC: Well you know better than to let me navigate! This is why I drive and you point which way to go!!

... So after driving further down route 52 to the right trail, we set off on our hike for real ! (Picture above is the "we are here ... not here" map reading explanation)

First encountered funky hobbit-hole tree ... posed in it despite the obvious danger of bugs and creepy crawlies! And OnTheCorner attempts to dislodge a glacial boulder.

Then! Maiden number one is reached ... but the trail is quite busy with hikers and well ... we are pathetic at reading compasses, so we decided to skip that one and come back! So on to Maiden number 2: The Lonely Maiden. She is hidden near a 'glacial erratic' (another large boulder, left behind by a glacier)

James Bone went off to investigate this glacial erratic while Zamboni and I stamped the log book. Looks like he found a mini-cave!

Further hiking up the mountainy terrain (pondering why I didn't read the clues in advance to realize this box wasn't on the mountain you can drive up! Ooops! Note to self: proper foot ware and hiking backpack instead of purse next time) ... and eventually we come to the summit of Maiden's Cliff. Here the clue says to read about the fate of Eleanora French at the cross erected in her memory (a 12 yr old farmer's daughter who was chasing her wind-blown hat during a Maying parting and fell from the cliff to her death in 1864) ... and then to climb down to the shelf below the cross (in the second picture you can see where the guidewire is anchored on this shelf) and the "Beautiful Maiden" is hidden at 65 degrees along the ledge. The mommy was obviously nervous at this and refused to climb down (and I didn't read that plaque to her until after coming back up for the second time!)
Don't worry, Zamboni and James Bone stayed up with the mommy!
Here is the stamp - absolutely worth climbing over a cliff for! Also referred to as "Flowery Maiden" in the logbook itself - you can certainly see why this is a blue diamond letterbox!

James Bone encountered several friends along the way - this adorable pup at the summit, and a bigger version of him, as well as a very friendly, very wet black lab who'd been swimming in the creek (but still thought he needed petting by us!) and another dog who came over to investigate while we were stamping.

Some views from the top:
James Bone - intrepid conqueror of mountains

Zamboni - heffalump has perhaps forgiven me for dropping him on his head earlier.
Back down the mountain via the Scenic Route ... wait! this is taking us up again! (circles around the summit before rejoining the Maiden Cliff trail). Back to the bridge where the Joyous Maiden is hidden, and late enough in the day that it isn't grand central station - successfully read the compass to find twin trunked hemlocks at 160 degrees growing out of rock - and the third/final stamp!!