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Girl Scout Letterboxing Day - June 14, 2008

On Saturday, June 14, 2008, Girl Scout Troop 60354 held a Letterboxing Day at Peter’s Rock Park. The troop leaders Carol Amico and Maryanne Hardy and scouts, Kristen Spencer, Amy Morrow, Taylor Vaccaro, Julia Bujalski, Kelsey Faherty, Tori Adinolfi, and Abby Vasas, educated and guided other scout troops and eager visitors to the activity of letterboxing. The following is their introduction to Letterboxing followed by clues to the five letterboxes presently on Peter’s Rock:

Welcome To The Fun Activity Of Letterboxing!
Letterboxing is an outdoor treasure hunt activity which began in England in the 1850’s. Letterboxers hide small weatherproof boxes containing a log book and a rubber stamp in parks and other public places. Finders make an imprint of the letterbox’s stamp on their personal logbook, and leave an impression of their personal stamp on the letterbox’s logbook as proof of having found the box. Years ago clues were passed along by word of mouth. Letterbox clues are now mainly distributed by websites. The primary website is the Letterboxing North America (LbNA) website at www.letterboxing.org. This is an excellent website filled with information. Click on “Getting Started” and read all about this fun new hobby. Another popular website is www.atlasquest.com. Once you have created your own letterboxing kit you can go out and start collecting letterboxing stamps.

Some important facts we want to stress about letterboxing:
The most important things to remember when letterboxing are respect and safety. Respect for the environment and for the letterbox that someone has created and your personal safety.

Letterboxing is intended to be an environmentally friendly activity, with as little impact as possible on the environment involved in hunting for letterboxes. Letterboxes should always be hidden in publicly-accessible areas, yet out of sight of casual visitors. Do not disturb any historical landmark or private property. Do not dig, remove native vegetation, disturb natural rock formations, or interfere with animals or their habitats, although you usually have to look under rocks, sticks or leaves to find the letterbox. Leave the location better than you find it; you are encouraged to remove any litter left behind by people who care less for the land than you.

Respect the contents of each letterbox and the effort put into it by the letterboxer who made it. Letterboxes usually only cost about $5 to make but the letterboxer who created it also put a lot of time and effort into creating and placing the letterbox.

There are hazards of letterboxing, such as poison ivy and creatures like snakes or spiders who tend to like the same crevices and cavities where letterboxes are often hidden. It’s usually best to use a stick to poke into crevices then reach in carefully for the letterbox. Also be sure to letterbox with a partner or let others know where you are going. Carrying a cell phone is also a good idea, although some letterboxes are located in areas without cellular service. Most importantly, use common sense to letterbox safely.

When you arrive at the location of the letterbox by following the clues, make sure that there aren’t others around when you go to retrieve it to prevent it’s location from being discovered by non-letterboxers who might not respect the letterbox. Once you’ve retrieved the letterbox, move a bit away from the hiding spot before opening it. If someone comes along and asks what you’re doing, be creative! Once you’ve finished “stamping up,” be sure to seal any plastic bags and the letterbox container itself carefully and replace it as you would hope to find it: completely hidden from view, with contents protected from the elements. Water is the biggest threat to letterboxes. If a letterbox is found damaged, please notify its owner.

Letterboxing Clues
(
All 5 Peter’s Rock Letterboxes)

{1} NO ATV-in’ please” Letterbox. Head out on the red trail. Turn right on the light blue trail. You will see a sharp left turn on the light blue (marked with a sign) continue to follow the trail. Then there will be another definite left turn in the trail. At this point look behind you up the slope and you will see a tall 4 sister tree with a large-ish rock in front of it. There will be 3 smaller rocks to the right of the tree. The “NO ATV-in’ please” Letterbox is located here on the north side of one of the smaller rocks.

{2} Sachem Montowese Letterbox. Continue to follow the light blue to the overlook (of Cindy Lane) at 267’ where Montowese’s scouts may have looked out for approaching Pequot marauders. Look out there, too and when you are sure no hostile tribes are afoot, do an about face to find a tree with two dead arms about 20 paces away at (to the right-ish) 120° slightly off-trail. The Sachem Montowese Letterbox awaits your report on the south side under rocks.

{3} Peter’s Rock Pavilion Letterbox. Continue back on the blue until you reach the orange trail. Take a right on the orange trail. Cross the little river (there is a cool bridge but it is off the trail surrounded by skunk cabbage! But the little river is very easy to cross). Come to a big clearing – orange turns right but you should walk straight ahead and you will come to green trail blazes going right or left. Turn right on the green trail. As you climb up the green trail notice the spring on your left (not sure if it’s safe to drink). You will come to an intersection with green, red & orange – continue on the green. Then you will reach the blue (royal blue blazes). Now it’s a tad tricky because the khaki trail is unmarked (as of June 08). You are looking for the unmarked khaki trail on your right (about 225 paces from the start of the blue trail after your climbing has leveled off). Walk up the unmarked trail 22 paces. On your right you will see a three-sister tree off the trail with a small hole in the front (it’s not in the hole – that’s too small!). The Peter’s Rock Pavilion Letterbox is behind the tree buried under rocks at the base.

{4} Rabbit Rock Letterbox. Follow the blue trail back to the green trail – turn right. At the intersection with the red trail – take the first right up towards the summit. At the base of the steep scramble the red trail “Y’s” forming a loop around the summit. Take the left trail, following the red blazes almost to the top. Stop at the double-blazed tree on your right with a waist-high hole in its trunk. Sight due south of it to a small boulder with a tiny evergreen and stunted oak kissing it. The Rabbit Rock Letterbox hides here. The easiest approach is to go up and around from the back.

Please do continue north to take in the wonderful views of New Haven Harbor, East Rock, Sleeping Giant and Mt. Higby in the distance and the Town of North Haven and the meandering Quinnipiac River below. You may want to descend the same way you came up, as the other side of the loop is quite steep.

{5} Troop 60354 Bronze Award Letterbox. Continue back down the red until you reach the intersection with the green trail. Turn right and then take your next right – the red trail. Follow this again until you reach another intersection with the green trail. This is a sharp left. Count 38 paces while looking on your left for a two-sister tree. It won’t look like a two sister tree from where you are standing after you walk 38 paces. It is 16 paces off trail. There is a big hole in the middle. The Troop 60354 Bronze Award Letterbox is in this hole covered with rocks.

Retrace your steps back to the red trail and turn left to head back to your car on the red trail.

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