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The perils of letterboxing
posted by John : May 17, 2014

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Sucks to be you

I've written about letterboxing before, both here and on other sites. Always, I describe it as a clever way to trick non-hikers into hiking and distract from the mind-numbing boredom of a six hour road trip.

But don't believe for a minute there's no danger in letterboxing. Just look at the name. "Letter" as in the alphabet. Remember how hard it was to learn it? And "boxing." Do you like being punched? I don't.

Aside from the unpleasantness inherent in the activity's name we encountered a whole host of unexpected threats on a recent outing. Read the following harrowing account and consider yourself warned.

We knew something was amiss when one of the kids didn't want to go letterboxing. We all know that's not a good sign and usually leads to a bad trip. We convinced the unnamed child that it was in his/her best interest to play along.

Just as we all got into the spirit we were attacked by... ZOMBIES! For real. It was the Zombieland Rules of Survival letterbox series. It's true, you can choose which letterboxes you pursue, but this one had several things going for it.

It was a series, meaning it was a set of related letterboxes. It was planted by The Wheelers Have Landed who you may not know if you're not from the Pacific Northwest, but they produce amazing hand-carved stamps and lots of them. And most importantly it was a new (at least to us) kind of letterbox series that was sort of choose-your-own-adventure. At each box you rolled a die and picked a clue. Each clue would either lead you to a zombie or a rule of survival. Even when you died you'd find a great stamp and a clue to the corresponding rule. (The clue for at least one of the zombie boxes started, "Sucks to be you. You're dead.") What a great concept!

As if the zombies weren't bad enough, we were attacked by bees. Real bees. The kind that buzz and sting. I was looking for a box behind a big stump and poking around. Poke. Poke. Poke. ZZZZZZZZZ! Bees! Bees! Let's go let's go LET'S GO! So much for finding all the boxes in that series.

After the zombies and the bees and the zombie bees (or would those be zombees?) the rest of the perils seemed less perilous. The trail system was complicated and the signs were awfully high for little legs. There was a fair amount of horse manure on the trail, but we're used to that so that's not so bad.

The lesson we were once again taught was that letterboxing is an adventure regardless of whether it's deep in the wilderness or in a small suburban park. Bring your gloves, bring your boots, and bring your spirit of adventure. And if you're allergic to bees bring an EpiPen, too.

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