|Image Carved by Steve Olson|
What is letterboxing?
Letterboxing is an fun pastime that combines artistic ability with delightful "treasure-hunts" in beautiful, scenic places. Participants seek out hidden letterboxes by following clues and cracking codes. Wikipedia describes letterboxing as "an outdoor hobby that combines elements of orienteering, art and puzzle solving."
|Our Signature Stamp|
History of Letterboxing
|Canmere Pool Letterbox|
How did we get started letterboxing?
Steve is a passionate rockhound and our family vacations for many years revolved around rocks. I enjoy rockhounding, too, but it is not my passion. Being out in nature and with rockhound friends is what I enjoy, but I can only take sitting in a gravel pit for a couple of days, then I get restless.
Our daughter, Signe, graduated from high school in 2006 and went off to college. The summer of 2007 was our first "empty-nester" summer and I was looking for activities that Steve and I would both enjoy doing together. Letterboxing popped up on my radar after finding the April 1998 Smithsonian Magazine article describing the hobby. Since I like to hike, I thought this would be an activity I would enjoy after a couple of days rockhounding. In the back of my mind, I was also thinking that letterboxing is similar to rockhounding, as they are both basically treasure hunts. Steve is also very artistic, so I thought the artistry of the stamps would interest him.
|Our 1st Letterboxing Weekend|
SZSRocks is our hastily chosen trailname. We pronounce it S-Z-S Rocks. The SZS part stands for our first names (Steve, Zoma, Signe) and the Rocks part denotes our first hobby of rockhounding. Signe now has her own letterboxing trailname (The Tree Hugger). As the summer of 2011 comes to a close, we have found over 500 traditional letterboxes and have planted 28 letterboxes.
Where do you find letterbox clues?
LbNA (Letterboxing North America)
Meeting Other Letterboxers
In October 2007, when we first joined Atlas Quest, I was exploring the site and discovered a local "event" (Something Wicked This Way Comes) was being held. I got excited and signed us up to attend, even though we had not actually done any letterboxing. We ended up getting cold feet and canceled out of attending the event. In hind sight, I wish we would have had the nerve to go to the event! We attended our first letterboxing event (A Skeleton's Picnic) in October 2008. It was held at a park in Bloomington, Minnesota, and believe it or not, it snowed that day. The weather did not discourage our fellow letterboxers and we had a great time. Since then we have attended 12 more events in Minnesota, Michigan and Illinois.
|Goofing around at the MI Fall Gathering: Viva Grand Haven!|
This morning, we received word that the letterbox series we planted, "Rocks and Minerals," has been chosen the "Box of the Week" for the week of November 13, 2011 on Atlas Quest. This was quite a surprise and an incredible honor. Thanks to everyone who has found this series!
If you choose to hunt for our Rocks and Minerals Series, here is a sneak peak at one of the stamps you will find.
|Tanzanite on Diopside, Carved by Steve Olson|
"Not all who wander are lost."
~J. R. R. Tolkien