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Letterbox Hiking

My children and I eagerly followed the directions we found for our letterbox hike. We had found directions on an internet site and printed them out. As we hiked, we enjoyed walking through the woods. Carefully following the step-by-step clues, we followed the path that had been laid out for us.

According to the Letterboxing North America website, the hobby of letterboxing has been growing. It involves hiking and navigational skills, with the fun of finding a “treasure” at the end of the hike.

Many letterboxers also create their own personal rubber stamps, using their creative skills as well. As one becomes more experienced at this hobby, a letterboxer can plan a letterbox hike for others to enjoy by creating clues, hiding a letterbox, and posting the clues.

Letterbox trails can be found all over North America. You can find trails at Letterboxing North America website. For example, by typing my state and county into the search box, I found 52 letterbox hikes in my county. Information and trails can also be found at the Atlas Quest website. (See Resources for web addresses.)

Using the search page, trails can also be selected by level of difficulty and accessibility, making letterboxing a great hobby for individuals with neuromuscular disease. For example, a search with the term “beginner” typed into the “Word/phrase in clues” box under the search function on the Letterboxing North America site came up with 36 listings under all of the trails. I ran another search of all of the trails, typing “handicap accessible”, and found 61 trails listed: the term “wheelchair accessible” brought up 108 letterbox trails.

You can find detailed instructions about letterboxing at the Letterboxing North America and Atlas Quest sites. Supplies to take on your hike include a rubber stamp and ink pad, pen or pencil, sketch book, and your printed clues for the hike. You might also wish to take a compass. Take any other supplies that you will need for a long walk or ride in your wheelchair, such as hiking poles or cane, water, a snack, sunglasses, and a hat.

At the end of our hike, having successfully followed the detailed directions, my children and I found the letterbox hidden in a hollow tree stump. Looking around to make sure no one was watching, we pulled out the “treasure” that had been left for us – rubber stamps and a little book. We marked the book with our personal stamps, and used the stamps left in the box to mark our own trail books. Happily, we placed the little book back into the letterbox for the next successful letterboxer to find.


Atlas Quest website, (2013). Retrieved from http://www.atlasquest.com/ on 5/17/13.

Letterboxing North America website, (2005-2012). Retrieved from http://www.letterboxing.org/ on May 17, 2013.

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