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Letterboxes Placed By The Apple Dumpling Gang

Box O' Rocks- Mystery Box


Reported MIA Western Maryland
18 August 2002

"...the first time I came here I forgot to lock my car so I went back 28 times to check..."

Note: troubled bridge over calm waters is safe for vehicles

Park under the blue bridge that traverses the Potomac River. Find the trail that runs between the river and the POR tunnel. Follow the trail until the the tunnel ends. (the river will be on your left, the tunnel on the right) Look on the right side of the trail for a tall tree that arches over the trail towards the river. You will find what you seek under the large rock at the base of this tree. Please replace this box carefully as it is right on the trail and could easily be discovered.

Gambrill State Park- High Knob


Near Frederick Maryland on Route 40
20, August 2002

From points south, take 270 north into Frederick. When the road splits, stay to the left to get on Route 15 North. Take the exit for Route 40. This will put you on 40 in the right direction. Stay on 40 past all of the stores and fast food chains. Gambrill State Park is on the right about 6 miles outside of Frederick. If you pass the Dandee Inn, you've gone too far. (and if you are hungry, stop in and get some three bean salad, apple butter, and a big mess of chicken) Take a right into the park and go up the mountain until you reach the High Knob Scenic Area. Take a left to go towards the tea room and park when you get to the end of the lot.

Find the big rock with the brass plaque that describes the history of the park. Follow the path down the stairs to the Middletown Overlook. (purdy, ain't it?) From the overlook, take the black blazed path north. Just a wee bit down the road, you will find a small blazed tree in the middle of the path. To the left of the path will be two large piles of rocks. On the west side of the larger pile, you will find what you seek . The box is in a natural crevice that we have backfilled with a large, whitish stone. (and several smaller satellites) Please be discrete as you are not far off of the path.

Turning Over a New Leaf


MIA as of 2003 - Replaced July 27, 2003 Eakin Park, Accotink Trail
Off Tobin Road in Fairfax, VA

From Gallows Road, take Woodburn Road in the only direction it will allow you to travel. At the next light, turn right onto Tobin Road and follow this to the parking lot for Eakin Park. This road changes names and unfortunately, we can't remember what it changes into. (a butterfly perhaps?) Nevertheless, stay on this road until you either find the park or drive off the edge of the earth.

Take the gravel path at the far end of the parking lot (keep the tennis courts on your left) and head into the trees. When you get to the fork in the path, you take the low road, let someone else take the high one. Imagine what lurks to your left as "tranquility belies what lies beneath". Continue on the original path to the paved Accotink trail and go right. Enjoy the walk and answer the age old question "What good are ticks anyway?". Continue down the trail, carefully cross Prosperity Avenue, and stay the course. We saw some beautiful orange mushrooms on the left side of the trail when we were here. Pass mile marker 1.5 and cross over a little bridge.

Immediately after the stream, take the small path to the left that runs along the creek bed and proceed into the woods. Continue past the large downed tree that bridges the stream. At the end of the small peninsula cross over the dry creek bed and climb up the bank to the right. After a few paces, take the right fork in the trail at the large, tulip poplar. You’ll soon come upon a beech tree on the right, carved JAY, and straight ahead will be a tree with a furry vine. Standing with your back to the vine, next turn to the 3 o’clock position. At about 30 yards in the distance you will see a tree with a huge, and I do mean HUGE, burl. Even if you don’t know what a burl is, you won’t miss this distinctive tree. Shoved up into the base of the tree, under bark and dirt, is Turning Over a New Leaf II.

Search for the Golden Acorn: Ranger Tom’s Excellent Adventure (3)


A Trio of boxes in Greenbrier State Park
Near Hagerstown, MD in Washington County
8 October 2002

Take Route 40 towards Hagerstown and the park will be on your left. You will need to pay a small admission to get in. ( it varies from $2.00 per vehicle off season to $3.00 per person during the summer) Take a left at the T intersection at the bottom of the hill and park near the Visitor’s Center. If it is open, pop in and pick up a trail map. There are over 10 miles of trails in this park but unfortunately there are no pets allowed. The trails are well marked but the footing is uneven and rocky so wear good shoes.

The Thorn in his Side- Box 1

Ranger Tom Cooch knew he would be in real trouble if the other rangers ever found out what he was doing. He was supposed to be out on the trail pulling the pesky boxes out of their leafy niches but instead, here he was, book in hand, desperately trying to find the Golden Acorn so he could be the first to stamp in. He half wished that he had never met Kel, Marsha, and the Lighthouse Lady on the trail and been lured into this twisted double life.

Tom started his journey on the green blazed trail behind the Visitor’s Center. He knew these trails pretty well so he decided to start at the end of the loop since it might be shorter. He walked up the trail between the two piles of wood and started up the hill, reminiscing about the beautiful Dazyes that used to blanket these woods. He and his girlfriend Mary (from VA) used to come out here when it was dark and watch the Firefly’s dance among the flowers. He carefully walked around the fallen trees and continued up the hill passing the Deer Tracks sign. (#11) After Tom passed sign number 8 (black bear) he noticed a small patch of white to his left. Here, where two trees on one trunk oozed over the white rocks, someone had stashed a box! Tom was one excited Newbe!

The Haunted House (aka The Leapfrog Incident)- Box 2

Tom continued up the trail (still going the wrong way, which is actually the right way, can you tell Tom was raised by a Psychomommy?) past sign #7 and parked it on a bench. Some hippies had obviously hiked this way and had taken a moment to carve “Healwar” and “Scott hugs trees” into the bench. One of the other rangers had reported some paranormal activity on the yellow blazed trail up ahead so he decided to check it out. Supposedly, Biki, a young Irish immigrant, had died out here while playing a rousing game of Leapfrog. Ashamed by his tragic (and quite ludicrous) death, Biki’s ghost had been seen jumping about the trails desperately trying to regain his Celtic Pride.

Tom slowly made his way up the boulder strewn gully following the yellow blazes. Where the yellow blazed trail takes a hard left, Tom noticed a new sign which reads, “Trail Closed for Habitat Regeneration.” On the sign was a cute little Ladybug napping between the H and the A.. As he gazed to the left, Tom was astounded to see thousands more ladybugs at the base of the large hipped, gnarled tree. Could these be related to Biki and the haunting? He just had to know! Upon investigating this bizarre infestation, Tom found yet another box under some leaves, sticks, and about 2384 ladybugs. (yes, he stopped to count.)

The Golden Acorn (aka Tribute to Squirrel)- Box 3

Tom couldn’t believe his luck! 2 boxes found and he hadn’t even snared the one he came for…the elusive Golden Acorn. He headed back down the yellow blazed trail until he reached the “hippy” bench. Seated on the bench were a Turtle and a Mountain Scorpia playing canasta. Carefully avoiding the bench, Tom headed down the green blazed trail to the left. The tribute box was supposed to be down here somewhere near some piles of rocks that ran along the left side of the trail. (if you reach sign #4, you’ve gone too far) He found the area described and pinpointed the location of the white rock in the middle of the grouping. From that rock, Tom took a bearing of 25* and spotted the large fallen and decaying tree. At the end of the tree, just behind the stump, Tom finally found the Golden Acorn under some bark. With triumphant glee, he yawped his battle cry into the woods…..Boxitup!

(note to Tom: The Maryland Chapter of Boxaholics Anonymous meets at the 3rd tree stump on the left on alternate Tuesdays and Thursdays at moonset. Rangers are welcome.)

South Mountain Trinity

South Mountain Battlefield, Burkittsville, MD (yes, this is the Burkittsville of BW fame)
From Frederick, take 340 W towards Charles Town. Exit at Rt 17 and at the end of the ramp, take a right to head towards Burkittsville. At the stop sign in Burkittsville take a left onto Main Street. Beware: not far down this road is a large speed bump. South Mountain Battlefield is at the top of this mountain on both sides of the road. To complete the trinity, it is best to park in the lot on the left side and start with box number one titled "War Correspondence."

(Note: Right past the park, on the right, is a pottery shop and a little further down that road, the Maple Tree campsite. This would be a great place to camp as this is a relatively central location from which to snare a lot of Western Maryland boxes.)

War Correspondence: Box 1 of the South Mountain Trinity
South Mountain Battlefield, Burkittsville MD
23 August, 2002

Park at the end of the lot. To begin your journey, go up the stairs to the left and say goodnight to Gath. Proceed through the little stone arch and up the rocky trail. At the intersection, take a right onto the AT which is marked with white blazes. Not far down the trail, on the right, spy a fairly well traveled path to some rocky outcroppings. Forego this path and go to the next blaze. Take the less traveled path to the right. The box is under the largest moss and lichen covered rock under some leaves and twigs. Since this was so easy, why not try for Townsend's Arch, number 2 in the trinity?

Townsend's Arch: Box 2 of the South Mountain Trinity
South Mountain Battlefield, Burkittsville MD
23 August, 2002

Head back down the AT the way you came until you reach the parking lot. Take the stairs down to the right and head toward the large arch. Be careful crossing the street. That is one cool looking arch! Go under the arch and proceed down the stairs that run along the stone wall to your right. Head down the hill and stay to the right. Follow the wide, grassy path into the woods on the right. (we spotted a turtle here so if you get these tomorrow, he may still be there) Go 35 paces and locate the "W" tree off of the trail to the left. The second member of our Civil War Trinity is buried behind the tree under some rocks. Are you brave enough to try for MAT, the startling conclusion to the trinity? (insert doomy movie music)

MAT: Box 3 of the South Mountain Trinity
South Mountain Battlefield, Burkittsville MD
23 August, 2002

MAT will require a fairly strenuous but short hike up the AT. By the time we placed him, these dumplings were a bit wilted. Go back to Townsend's Arch. (the actual arch, not the box bearing the same name) From the front of the headstone, spy the opening in the stone wall. That was a toughie, huh? Cross the street carefully and proceed through the opening. Walk between the two rows of trees and approach the stone ruins of the barn. At the end of the fence, to the right, you will see a white blaze where the AT begins. Proceed up the trail. (and I do mean up!) You will need to count the blazes to find the box. Count the fence as blaze number one and count only the blazes that face you as you walk up the mountain. Shortly after the 7th white blaze, on the right, find the 4 trees that share the same trunk. The box is at the base of the tree on the back right near the two recessed trees.

Congratulations, you completed the Trinity! Give yourself a pat on the back and stumble back to your car.

Loonerism BetterSpox


Cunningham Falls State Park- Manor Area
Thurmont, Maryland ($2 entrance fee)
12 September 2002

William Spooner (1844-1930), English clergyman and scholar is best known as the originator of "spoonerisms." A spoonerism is created when you transpose the initial sounds of two or more words. Some of his most famous include turning a "dirty shirt" into a "shirty dirt" and referring to the queen of England as a "queer old dean." To find this box, you must decipher the spoonerisms. (although Spooner's mistakes all spelled real words, ours may not!)

Take Thoute Rifteen to Furmont. Lake a teft into the Manor Area of Funningham Calls Pate Stark and fark at the par end of the lot. There should be many ticnic pables all around you. Trind the fail between two flit spail rences. Follow the train mail along the stream. You should pass several traffiti grees. Sass the pign for Little Hunting Creek (#1). There are seven migns sarking areas along this trail so make sure you are thollowing fem. Continue on the pain math, bross the cridge over Route 15, and cay the stourse.

Go stown the dairs and pass the area where the hag sleaps. Next, you should cross a grool breen cidge. Soon after the bridge, reck out the chuins of the ironmaster's house. When you come to the field, lake a teft and follow the traved pail to the left for a vetter biew of the ruins. Return to the parking area, go hown the dill, and sollow the fidewalk to the right to the Fatoctin Curnace. Walk around and enjoy! Wollow the fall to the left until it ends. Near the end of the wall, band stetween the two large sycamore trees and look sue douth. The Loonerism BetterSpox is under the pall smellow yoplar under some stocks and ricks.

Realize that everyone in the park is staring at you because you have been talking nonsense for half an hour.

If the stamp doesn't make sense to you, we will trade cash or baked goods for clues.

Out of the Frying Pan and Into the Fire

Savage Mill Historic Trail
Savage, MD in Howard County
9 November 2002
Placed by The Apple Dumpling Gang

Since so many people have experienced difficulties locating these boxes, I have altered the clues and added some hints. If you find these boxes, please drop us an e-mail and let us know. (adglbna@aol.com)

Box 1

Scorpio Hippurus took one look at his new cell and knew that this would be his shortest stay yet. The walls of his iron cubicle were extremely short and they hadn't even put a roof on the place! As he began to study the layout and plan his escape, Scorpio noticed a strange inscription scratched into the wall. It read: start at the end of the Firefly. The floor of his cell was covered in a strange slippery substance and smelled vaguely of citrus. Plus it was stifling hot and the floor seemed to be glowing a bit. No matter, he wouldn't be here long enough to care.

Scorpio's cell was located on the second floor of Truss Box Prison right down the way from Mr Bollman's Railway Depot and The Artsy-Fartsy Mall. As soon as the guards were out of sight, Scorpio leaped easily over the wall of his prison and landed in the narrow hall. He headed away from the Mall and down the prison path. He moved quickly now, as the fear was rising in his throat and the floor seemed to be getting warmer every minute. Scorpio passed a conjugal visiting area on the right and soon spotted what looked like a possible escape route to the left. As he turned the corner, he spotted a strange mural on the wall to the left. It pictured a large tree with three whitish rocks at its base.

Box 2

Suddenly, Scorpio heard voices coming down the path. He had to get out of here and fast! In a sprint, he took a left back into the hall. As he ran down the corridor, looking over his shoulder the whole time, he ran smack dab into the wall on the right side of the corridor. (hint: there is no actual wall, this is a poorly written literary device inserted to get you to notice a waypoint on your trek.) As he gathered himself together, Scorpio noticed yet another mural except this one pictured two trees on one trunk..

Soon after the mural, Scorpio took the corridor down to the right. About halfway down the corridor, he saw yet another mural to his left except this one pictured a splintered tree stump. (what kind of nut job paints tree murals in a prison?) Surprisingly, as Scorpio got closer to the stump, he realized that this was no mural...the stump was real. At the base of the trunk under some rocks and twigs, Scorpio found a doorway out of the prison. As he joyfully leapt through the door, he realized his one, fatal mistake.

The Ultimate Walker


Seneca Creek
Near Darnestown, MD in Montgomery County
21 April 2003
Placed by the Apple Dumpling Gang (adglbna@aol.com)

This is a microbox so bring a small stamp or squeeze your big stamp into the log as best you can. Park at Black Rock Mill. The mill is located on Black Rock Road between Rt 118 and Rt 28. To start your trek, do not cross the bridge or you will be on the wrong side of the creek. Instead cross the street and take the trail to the right. You should not be on the blue blazed trail, you should be on the other side of the creek walking parallel to the blue blazed trail.

This hike took the Ultimate Walker a minute flat but for a normal person, expect about a 5 minute hike. (what can we say, we hid it on Easter Sunday) You will pass some large rock formations on the right. Pass them by and keep walking. After a bit, you will notice three rock formations to the right of the path. You will know these are the correct formations because they get larger as they progress down the path. (if you get to a large, smooth rock formation that blocks the trail, and a small cave-like opening, you went too far) Go to the first and smallest of the three formations. There is a 4.5 foot rock that lies perpendicular to the rest of the formation. Standing in front of this formation, find a small rock near the edge of the large, perpendicular rock on the right side about chest high. Under this rock you will find two film canisters taped together and inside, the Ultimate Walker.

The Sarah Special: A Triple Sized Feast of Fancy


Sky Meadows State Park ($2.00 entrance fee)
Near Paris, VA in Fauquier County
19 November 2002
Placed by the Apple Dumpling Gang

This is a 2.2 mile loop hike with well-marked trails but the first part is very hilly! Park near the visitor center and follow the signs to the hiking trails. Follow the main path to the first sign for the North Ridge Trail (blue), climb up the stairs and over the fence, following the blue blazed trail to the left.

The Apple Dumpling Gang Box 1

Climb up the hill (and we do mean up), to where the trail takes a turn to the left along an old stone wall. Stop here at the bend and turn around to look down the trail the way you came. (Nice view!) Look to the right for the first large grouping of rocks and trees off the trail. Go around to the right and behind this pile to the largest tree in the grouping. Facing the tree, look under the top left rock behind 2 large sticks for our signature box!

All Who Wander Are Not Lost Box 2

Return to the blue trail, take the left at the bend, and continue up the hill past the aliens. Climb the stairs over the fence and at the T intersection with the Piedmont Overlook Trail, continue straight. Here the blue trail levels out (finally) and heads down hill. When the blue trail meets the orange trail in a Y, take a rest on the bench. When you are ready, take the orange trail to the left. Pass some very large rocks on the left and the right as you go down the trail. Follow the stream a ways until you see another very large, flat rock with a fallen tree trunk on top of it on the right side of the trail. If you cross the stream you went too far. Look to the left side of the trail for the remains of two fallen trees cleared off the path. Look in the direction they point up the hill. See the small tree with a hollow cave in its base? Could someone have wandered into that cave and gotten not lost under some rocks?

Believe Box 3

Return to the trail and continue down the hill. Take a moment at the bench on your left to ride a cock-horse then continue on the orange trail across the stream on the stone bridge (carefully). At the Y take a left, staying on the orange trail, past an old stone wall and go through the campsites. (Sarah wants to go stay in #1). Climb up the stairs over the fence. (Desperado, why don’t you come to your senses?) At the T intersection, take a right onto South Ridge Trail. Go up the hill and the trail will curve to the left around a very special, large tree. Stop at its base where the spring emerges from under the roots and look to the left for a dead tree and a long flat gray rock in the side of the hill. Hop the stream and find where the dead tree grew over the rock. Under a large rock and some bark a friend awaits. Celebrate with a Sprite and head back down the Orange trail to the T take a right and follow trail signs back to the visitor’s center (or head the other way and plant a few boxes yourself!)

Paris Mystery Box


September 15, 2002
Somewhere in Virginia

Meadow Sky wanted to send postcards and stamps from Paris to all her Letterboxing friends but she couldn't afford the trip. Her friend, Johnny Mosby had a great idea. The solution cost her 4.00, but that she could afford! She took her camera with her on the adventure and she was very glad she did!

. . . . . . From the parking lot head towards the meeting house and follow the red trail up to Piedmont Overlook. This is a spectacular 1.3 mile round trip hike on a very well marked trail but I will warn you, half of it is straight up! (This place would be wonderful in the fall)

Once the red trail levels off at the top, sit on one of the two benches and enjoy the view. When you're ready (recovered) continue on the red trail up the stairs and over the fence, and down (finally!) into the woods.

Down the trail a little way, spot a large rock off to the right that looks like a loaf of bread. Go to the end that is not "sliced" and look under a large "crumb" for what you seek.

Continue on down the red trail to a "T" in the path. Take a left and follow the blue trail back to your car and the visitors center.

Let's Have a Picnic Letterbox


Macsville, Virginia
September 15, 2002

Note: This is not on a hike, but a perfect destination to drive to in the country and have a wonderful picnic. Lot's of open, flat space for lawn games like croquet and fixed areas like tennis courts, BBQ pits and baseball fields. Also, Middleberg is a great town to shop around in.

Take Rt. 50 to Macsville. (it's between Aldin & Middelberg VA) Turn onto Rt. 627 (the only way you can) and find Mickie Gordon Memorial Park less than a mile down the road.

Park in the first lot on the left by the pavilion and walk past the pond on your right, through a break in the trees and into the next field. Follow along the bushes to your right and spy the larger of two trees standing out in the open area of the field at that end. The box is behind the larger one on the right.

Great place for a picnic right?

Froggy's Hot Date: A Romantic Interlude in Four Parts


Claude Moore Park, Loudoun County
21544 Cascades Parkway Sterling, VA
5 October 2 - Fourth box placed 10/26/02 carved by Firefly

FYI: To a Froggy, this is an extremely long hike. To a human, it is a mere hop, skip, and a jump.

Froggy Goes A Courtin' Froggy got off early from work that day. He had a hot date with Robin and he needed to make a reservation at the Frog Shackle Diner before they booked up. (which makes it sound like froggy would be an entree but rest assured this is a family piece despite the romance) Froggy was overly concerned because Robin lived off in the woods where the paths twisted and turned and crossed each other so many times it would be easy for Froggy to get horribly lost.

Froggy parked near the Visitor Center and headed up Vestals Gap Road towards the Diner. After securing a great table, he decided to head home so he could gussy up. From the road, Froggy went through the break in the fence and over the dam towards his pad. Just before Froggy hit the field, he took a left onto the hidden path and headed around to the back of his pond following the trail over the froggy footbridge. At the fork in the road, Froggy headed to the right through the trees and stopped for a moment to admire the stars. What a romantic evening for dinner with such a fine chick.

From the trees, Froggy took a left at the T in the road onto Greenblaze Ave and then took the right spur. At the next T, Froggy hopped straight ahead (and in a westward fashion) 9 froggy paces to his home. Froggy had a pretty sweet pad here on the right, hidden beneath the tree and some giant sticks. Full of Froggy vigor, he grabbed a breath mint and hit the road towards Robin's house.

The Eyes Have It (aka Froggy needs an Oracle)

Froggy headed back the way he had come until he reached the open field. He headed across the field towards Vestals Gap Road. Once on the road, Froggy headed back towards the Diner and hung a left before the fence, went over the bridge and then hopped down to the Orange Blaze Trail Marker at the T intersection. He remembered that Robin's house was to the left so he headed down the trail following the Orange Blazes. For a moment, he thought that Robin's house was down near the parking lot to the left but realized that we was totally turned around.

Instead of heading back the way he had come, Froggy continued down the Orange Blazed Trail. At the next T in the road, Froggy discovered that he was now totally and inextricably lost! As the panic set in, he noticed a strange noise off in the woods to the North and decided to check it out, leaving the trail behind. He had heard from the Ladybug that an Oracle lived around here somewhere and hoped it was she calling him. (his reservation was in half an hour and he was worried that Robin would think he stood her up) Froggy followed the voice as it led him along the winding path in a northward direction. When he reached the small clearing, he found the Oracle under some rocks at the tip of a fallen tree pointing to 18 degrees.

Robin's Nest (finally)

The Oracle was kind enough to give Froggy some directions so he headed back out to the main trail to begin his journey. He had arranged his reservation to coincide with the arrival of his friends The Turtle, The Firefly, and The Squirrel so his friends could talk him up to his date. (a little underhanded but there's a reason Froggy is a reptile) He did not want to be late and time was running short. Froggy headed to the left onto the trail he didn't come in on. As he walked he brushed up on his conversational skills (and his Latin) by identifying the trees he passed including Ocer Rubrum and Nyssa Sylvatica. At the fork in the road, Froggy head to the right following the orange and yellow arrows.

At the the Y, Froggy kept to the left, went under the branch and stopped at the T intersection to rest under the bush in the middle of the trail for just a moment. This had better be a great date because it sure was taking a long time to get there. After his break, Froggy continued straight ahead on the Orange Blazed Trail and at the next fork departed the Orange Blazed Trail by heading straight ahead to the #7 yellow signpost. He followed this yellow, connecting trail up the hill to the Blue Blazed Trail and took a right. At the crossroads, Froggy stayed on the Blue Trail, crossed the gully, and sat down on the bench to take a little breather. After catching his froggy breath, he continued on the Blue Blazed Trail past the remains of the treefort and followed the fence along the side of the farmhouse. Once he reached the area of downed trees, Froggy realized he was getting close.

As he entered the Pine Tree Development, he stopped at the really large oak tree on the right and popped the breath mint into his froggy mouth. Fresh breath was a priority in Froggy's life. He walked around the back of the tree to Robin's pad located on the ground floor beneath the Stick and Twigs Atrium. Thanks to the Oracle, Froggy didn't miss the tree and reach the T intersection before picking up his date.

Robin was stunning in her best Plumage ensemble with matching wingtips. One look at Robin and Froggy forgot all about his long trip. He was taking out the hottest chick on Scout Trail. After pausing to button her overcoat, Robin allowed Froggy to escort her back to the trail and to the right towards the Diner. At the T intersection, Froggy and Robin took a left and followed the trail back to Vestals Gap Road. At the road, they hung a right and headed down the road towards destiny. (and the parking lot)

Froggy's Hot Date

When we left Froggy and Robin, they were headed off towards Destiny. What we didn't tell you is that Destiny is the name of Froggy's love shack. Destiny had set Froggy back a pretty penny but it was well worth it. The mood lighting, revolving bed, and huge supply of Firefly brand love potion insured that any chickie lucky enough to enter the room would walk out with ruffled feathers. Robin had heard of Froggy's trysting lair but nothing prepared her for the sight. She was already a little tipsy from the champagne and shots of Courvoisier Froggy had forced down her gullet and the lights were making her dizzy. As the sultry sounds of Barry White echoed through the air, Froggy flicked on the lava lamp and leered suggestively at Robin as he disrobed. Overwhelmed by the alcohol, the lights, and her overwhelming passion, Robin fell off of her perch and right into Froggy's waiting arms.

(Since this is a wholesome, family pursuit, I will stop here and allow you to imagine the rest. Needless to say, Robin woke up the next morning with a tadpole in the oven and a terrible hangover.)

Follow the directions for the Robin's nest box and get back on Vestal's Gap Road. (towards the Frogshackle Diner) Locate the bench off of the trail to the right. There will be an orange arrow marking the Old Oak Trail. Take this trail to the right of the bench and at the Y go left. As you come around a bend in the trail, find the fallen tree on the right side. (the trail winds around the base of the tree) Standing at the root end of this tree, locate its still standing twin to the left covered in vines. Froggy and Robin's love child lives behind this tree under some sticks and a small rock. Backtrack to Vestal's Gap Road and continue to the right back to the parking lot.

Harvest Moon Letterbox


Point Lookout State Park
Scotland, Maryland in St. Mary's County
21 September 2002

Point Lookout is a stunning park where you can fish, swim, or just enjoy the scenery. It is located on a small peninsula where the St. Mary's River, the Potomac River, and the Chesapeake Bay all converge. This area was a hotbed during the Civil War and was the site of a prison camp as well as Fort Lincoln. The lighthouse at the end of the point and the area surrounding the fort are supposed to be heavily haunted. If you decide to go around Halloween, be sure to stay for the Haunted Tour. Depending on the time and the day, you may have to pay $3.00 to get into this lovely area. This is a very short and easy hike on a carpet of pine-needles. If you are quiet, you may stumble upon some deer. We saw quite a few fauns in the area during our visit.

From the main park road, after passing the toll booth, look for the "30 minute parking for Fort Lincoln" sign and park in the pull-off area directly after the sign. Take the well marked trail straight towards the Potomac and jump in. Once you are thoroughly soaked, head into the fort. At the left of the storage depot, climb the wooden stairs over the wall. Take the grassy trail straight ahead a very short distance until you spy a clearing on your right. The grassy paths form a T intersection here. Turn right to go into the clearing and spot the large long leaf pine that is dead ahead of you. Your prize is behind this tree under pine cones and rocks. Make sure you drive down to the very end of the park to enjoy the view of the Potomac and the Bay.

The Ark and the Dove Letterbox


Historic St. Mary's City
St Mary's County, Maryland
22 September 2002

In 1634, 140 settlers and their leader, Leonard Calvert, sailed across the Atlantic and landed at St Mary's. Arriving on the Ark and the Dove, these settlers created the fourth permanent English settlement in North America and also the first capital of Maryland.

To reach the city, take Route 2/4 south from 495. You can also take Route 5 but 2/4 is more scenic and will take you right past Calvert Cliffs, the site of a Squirrel box. (great stamp and a nice hike) After nabbing Squirrel's box, stop at Solomon's Island for a great seafood lunch before heading over the bridge and onto St. Mary's. I highly recommend the broiled crabcakes at Solomon's Pier...they were fantastic! (I apologize that I cannot offer better directions after Solomon's Island but I can't remember the street names! You should be able to check the web, a map or ask the locals.)

Once you are at the college, pass the waterfront area and go up the hill past the cross-walk. At the crest of the hill, take a right onto Old State House Road and park in the State House parking lot. You may need to pay to get into the city depending on the time of year. Take the main trail past Farthing's Ordinary until you reach the T junction. Take a left and follow the trail along the waterfront. For a nice side trip, follow the trail down to the right and check out the Dove. Pass the gazebo and continue to Smith's Ordinary. Take the path between Smith's Ordinary and Smith's Outbuilding. This area is fenced but I believe it is always open. At the Nuthead Printhouse (yes, you read that right) take the path to the right down the hill. Stop when you reach the stairs to the water. Take 14 paces down the trail to the left and see a milepost with no mile markings. The box is behind the large oak tree at this post.

Box the Planet

Box the Planet
Patapsco Valley State Park, McKeldin Area
Marriotsville, MD in Carroll County
27 October 2002
Placed by the Apple Dumpling Gang, Daniel, and Greenman Dan (adglbna@aol.com)

After locating Mary Jane Rathburn's Find in Firefly's Maryland, My Maryland series, take a right onto the purple and white blazed trail. As you take this right onto the trail, start counting the blazes and count the blaze at your turn as number one. At the fourth blaze, take a bearing of 355 and eyeball the cave with the curved tree at its entrance. Proceed across the field and up the hill to the entrance of the cave of Caerbannog. (thank you Tempusfugitmd for the reminder and the correct spelling) Be very quiet while retrieving this box as beyond the cave lives a foul creature, a great huge monster with big nasty teeth. Don't be fooled by the white fluffy tail, this vile creature will bite your kneecaps off. While peering into the opening, quaking with fear, make the rational decision and stay out of the cave. Instead, look to the left and find the flat rock leaning up against another large rock. The box is underneath the flat rock beneath the international letterboxing symbol of neatly arranged rocks and sticks. Quickly pantomime remounting your horse but do not begin banging your coconuts together until you are out of earshot of the killer bunny. Debate the load bearing capacity of swallows.

Squirrel’s Girls and The Rupert Pawe Fault: A Trilogy of 5 boxes

Greenbrier State Park
Near Hagerstown, Maryland in Washington County
19 October 2002
Placed by Squirrel’s Girls (aka Squirrel and the Posse: Pyschomommy, Turtle, Firefly, and the ADG)

On October 19, Squirrel’s Girls met up at Greenbrier to find some boxes. What started as a fun and festive day quickly metamorphisized into a catastrophic miasma of events not to be believed.

You see the group didn’t know that Greenbrier sat on the edge of the Rupert Pawe Fault: an area so fraught with peril that sane people dared not enter. The Pawe, as it was known, was right on the edge of the largest tectonic plate on the East coast, a plate that was sliding even now, a plate that would change their letterboxing lives forever. (:::::insert same doomy movie music used in South Mountain Trinity clue here:::::J)

Boxing the Rain- Box 1

From the toll booth (fees vary) the Girls followed the road to the left towards the Visitor’s center and parked in the first lot on the right in the bottom section. They didn’t seem to notice the pale wraiths of cold mist flitting about the sky like Stay-Puff marshmallows, fluffy little marshmallows of doom. Facing the lake, they took the trail to the left past the large trail map sign and followed the gravel path. At the fork, the chilly Girls veered to the right over the footbridge and then continued over the next two bridges they saw, staying to the right. It was raining now and the cold was starting to seep into the posse’s bones. They noticed a large flat rock on the left and a few paces later found an orange blazed trail to the left. The shivering Girls proceeded up the hill, hoping to find a little shelter, and reached a Y where the red blazed trail crossed over. To the right of the red blazed tree stood a 3 foot tree stump at the base of which hid their treasure under some rocks and sticks. (:::::insert pretentious, self-referential, Spoonerism snippet here:::::J)

Squirrel and the Posse- Box 2

It was really starting to come down now and they still had another box to find. The Squirrel and her Posse met in a huddle to gather some warmth and discuss their quandary. To muddle on or head home? They would push on. The group headed down the red blazed trail to the right back to the lake and proceeded over the dam. They were surprised by the benchmarks on either end of the damn and debated briefly about whether or not they technically constituted letterboxes. After a heated discussion they noticed the 2 large rocks they had been looking for dead ahead of them at the end of the dam. Dripping and cold, they stamped in to the fabulous box they found by walking up the hill to the back of the rocks and looking under the smaller rock in the middle. (:::::insert nothing here:::::J)

The Castaways- Box 3

It was at this point that Squirrel and the Posse realized how much trouble they were in. The storm had gotten really wild all of a sudden and the trees were starting to dance in the wind. Since they were about halfway around the lake now, they decided that one direction was just as good as the other. The key was to get out of the park, and fast. They continued their loop around the lake moving as quickly as they could. Visibility was nil and the group was scared. On the left they spotted the red blazed group of three trees on one trunk. To the left of the tree was a fallen log. As they grabbed the box at the end of the log, under some rocks and sticks, the ground started to tremble. With a bang, a large chunk of the earth broke off under their feet and started its fast descent into the lake below taking Squirrel’s Girls with it. The Rupert Pawe fault line had just broken in two!

Tupperware shows The Way- Box 4

When the battered girls awoke it took them a moment to figure out what had gone wrong. The earth still seemed to be moving but slowly and rhythmically now. The storm swirled all around, blackening the sky, rendering the usually tranquil setting unrecognizable. The Girls quickly regrouped, calmed themselves, and began to formulate a plan. Action was what was called for but what to do and which way to go? At this moment, the storm abated briefly allowing the girls a look at their surroundings. Why were there whitecaps on the ground? Aghast, they realized that they were now on an island floating in the middle of the lake!

Squirrel was the one who eventually got them moving again. She had read somewhere that Ranger Tom Cooch had placed an alarum bell somewhere along the path in case of disaster and a plastic kiosk with directions was nearby. (after all, this trail runs along the dreaded Rupert Pawe Fault Line… somebody get in the sound booth and rewind the doomy movie music, please) They were still on the trail so they headed off, continuing on their original loop and up the hill. The Girls muddled on until a black trail joined in to the left. Clever Squirrel remembered that the kiosk was supposed to be on the black trail so she headed to the left and about ten paces from the sign found a tree on the left with a mossy knee. At the base of the tree under some rocks and sticks, she found a Tupperware box containing directions to the alarum bell.

The Way- Box 5

The alarum bell was on the red trail so they headed back and took a left onto the trail continuing their loop. The downtrodden group continued down the trail back towards the lake and out of the trees. At the welcome sign, they took a left, following the red trail past the tree on the left with the birdhouse. Squirrel knew that they had to be close. Just ahead was a fallen log on the left side of the trail. With great relief, they pulled the shattered alarum bell box out of the right side of this hollow section of tree and pushed the button.

As the alarum shrieked through the park, Tom Hanks and a band of rogue Brownies (the Girl Scout kind, not the chocolate kind) materialized on the other side of the shore. Tom placed the head Brownie person on his Oscar winning shoulders and with a wave of her sash, the aforementioned Brownie Leader summoned lines of volleyballs and cookies to fill the gap. (:::::insert the following: At this point Sarah made a funny but it was devoid of moral content and therefore cannot be divulged here:::::J) The relieved Squirrel Girls bounced and snacked their way back to the shore and boxed happily, safely, and weather consciously ever after.

The long awaited end. (:::::should we insert something here?:::::J)

Mother Nature's Weaver

1 of 2 Fountainhead State Park boxes
Near Occoquan, VA, Fairfax Co
Park occasionally closed due to weather or events (703-250-9124)
Placed October 20, 2002
From the Apple Dumpling Gang
Difficulty: Moderate hike on well blazed horse trails, about 4 miles round trip

From 123 south (Old Ox Rd), take a right on Hampton Rd and follow signs to the park entrance on the left. Fountainhead has lots of specialty areas like a designated mountain bike trail, archery range, swimming, equestrian trails and even mini golf. Please follow all signs in the park as some areas are not safe to walk in. There are bathrooms, picnic pavilions and soda machines for your convenience.

Park in the first lot on the right and begin your hike at the trail sign in box at the far right corner of the parking lot. The trail entrance is marked by a set of split rail fences (do not start at the set behind the Bull Run sign). See the blue horse shoe blazes? You will follow this trail to both boxes. At the first two fork's you find, go right at both. Follow the blue trail along a fenced in maintenance area on your left and at the next fork, go right again, following the blue trail parallel to the road you drove in on. Keep going past a twisted tree that has fallen over the trail. Shortly the trail will take a sharp left turn away from the road and along a small dry stream bed. A few yards more and you will be stepping over some small fallen logs. If you look to your left you will see a most unusual tree. It is shaped like a perfect backwards number 4! Mother Nature's Weaver is behind the tree under a white rock.

A Boxer's gotta box!

Start where you found Mother Nature's Weaver and continue down the blue trail. At the fork in the road, follow the blue trail to the right and across the road. (From this point your prize is about a 20-25 min hike at a good pace) As you cross back into the woods you will see "Danger archery range" red signs on the right side of the trail. You are fine on the blue trail, but please do not wander off to the right (there are no boxes down there!). As you continue on the blue trail eventually it will turn to the left away from the archery range and head down a large hill. Climb up another big hill and back down again. As you start to get near the road again the blue trail will take a sharp right and run along a deep gully to the left of the trail. A short way down this part of the trail, you will spot a very gnarled tree on the left. Looking southwest from this tree, spot the next tree with a blue blaze and an arrow pointing right. The Boxer is behind that tree under some rocks and sticks.

The blue trail you are on is a 6 mile loop trail, so if your feeling ambitious you can continue on or backtrack to the road and walk to your car from there.

Fieldbook of American Wildflowers Letterbox


Reported Missing
Eastern Loudoun Regional Library, Loudoun County
21030 Whitfield Place, Sterling, VA
October 2002
Placed by The Apple Dumpling Gang

Since we absolutely adored the Porch Otter's idea for a letterbox in a book, we cooked up our own book and placed it in the Eastern Loudoun Regional Library in Sterling. Our fieldbook (759.13 SEU) is between "Abstract Expressionist Painting in America" and "The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss."
Please be careful and enjoy!

Just Flying Through


West Park, Allentown PA
Lehigh Co.
Placed by the Apple Dumpling Gang
November 3, 2002

West Park is located on Turner and Linden streets, between 15th and 16th. Enjoy looking around the neighborhood here too, there is some amazing architecture and wonderful homes.

Rumor has it that John loved to walk alone in West Park on cool autumn days and look at the trees. He usually started at the band shell and walk across the grass to the tall Victorian fountain. There is a circular cement path around the fountain with four spurs. Today he took the second path to the left and wandered past his favorite large tree with white peeling bark. At the next circular area John took the second path to the right. At the T he took a left and then the next right. He followed this sidewalk towards the fence. Where the slated picket fence meets a taller privacy fence, he looked down behind the left edge of the privacy fence, and found a perfect hiding place for his letterbox, under a few rocks and a scrap of concrete! Now there was another reason to visit the park.

Chillin' with the Girls

A mystery box placed somewhere in MD
2 November 2002
Placed by the Apple Dumpling Gang

Find the oldest national shrine in America. The box is not on shrine property but this is where you start. Park in the last parking lot. Go down the stairs to the right and visit M. Phillips. Take a left and go down the stairs to the right passing Francis on your way. Before going down the last flight of steps onto the street, take a left, go up the stone stairs and enter the picnic area. From the end of the stone walkway (near the house) take a bearing of 300 and locate the large, flat rock at the edge of the clearing. The girls are chillin' behind the rock amid sticker bushes. Please bring gloves or a big stick, wait until winter, or grin and bear it! Please be very discreet as this is a very public place!

Clustered Spires of Frederick

Frederick County Library, Frederick, MD
4 February 2003

This is our second attempt at placing a box in a book and hiding it in a library. We are hoping that this one lasts a bit longer so please help us out and be very careful when pulling the book off of the shelf. We purchased the book from a Wonder Book store after the Frederick library surrendered it so it looks exactly like the other 3 copies shelved at the library. We were not aware when we made our purchase that this book was shelved right next to the reference desk. If necessary, create a diversion by screaming obscenities, dropping your pants, or singing a rousing version of "Marian, the Librarian." (what would I do, my dear, to make it clear, I love you madly, madly Madame Librarian, Marian!)

The book is called "Bad Chemistry" by Gary Krist. It is in the Fiction section listed under "KRI." Break a leg and don't call us for bail money!

Balls Bluff Civil War Trilogy

Leesburg VA.
Placed Jan 2, 2003

Balls Bluff is a 218 acre park surrounding one of the smallest national cemeteries. There are no restrooms or park offices at this location, but the park is open from dawn to dusk daily. To get there, take Rt. 7, just east of Leesburg to Rt. 15 bypass north. From Rt. 15, turn right on Battlefield Parkway and the next left on Ball's Bluff Rd (follow brown signs). Park is located at the end of the street. From the parking lot walk to the map stand (pick one up) and start your hike on the path in front of you behind the split rail fence.

Box One:

E Pluribus Unum

When the main trail divides, follow the sign towards the cemetery (left). At the next "T" go left onto the interpretive trail (3/4 mile loop trail). At the "Y" in the trail go right to "Jennifer's Cavalry" and read the sign. Now look straight ahead and slightly to the left for a tree of three. Go behind the tree, and turn to face it. Look at its base in a nook on the left under 2 large sticks for box one.

Box Two:

Return to the trail and continue past the 15th infantry. At the "T" stay straight up to Union Artillery and on to the overlook. Follow the trail right, that runs next to the fence and along the ridge. Imagine climbing down that hill to the river? Continue on the trail to the next bench. Face the bench, river behind you. Look up the hill and to the right for a fallen tree. Box two is hidden in the roots of this tree, left side, under a large loose piece of wood.

Box Three:

Return to the trail and continue past 20th infantry to a crossroads. Stay straight on the interpretive trail (up hill to the right is the cemetery, down the hill to the left is the Potomac). Go past the 71st infantry and the 42nd infantry signs, down the hill and over the bridge. The trail goes to the left and up the hill. Half way up the trail splits sharply, but the left is blocked by a large fallen tree so go to the right about 10 steps. Stop and look to the left and see a rock marking a small trail up the hill. Take this trail to the top (great view!). At the "T" go straight to the fallen tree over the trail. Look to the left and you will see the trunk is split into two. Just inside the hollow of the right hand split is your box covered with a piece of bark.

When you are done enjoying the view, go back to the “T” and turn left to return to the interpretive trail, and follow that back to your car.

Goose Creek Boxes

Placed January 20, 2003

Take Rt. 7 to Golf Club Rd (from Leesburg turn right, from Tysons turn left) and follow it to the end. Park in the lot on the left. This is an easy hike and about a one mile round trip through a small park area honoring Margurite Cornwell Joseph who loved this area.

Pillar of the Letter Boxing Community

From the parking lot walk up to the road and go left over the old green steel bridge. At the end of the bridge take the trail to the left and go under Rt. 7 (paved trail here, will turn to dirt soon). Follow the trail along the river to your first small gully. Cross the gully and stop on the other side. Look right and spot a large gray rock, about 18 steps off the trail on this side of the gully. Box is between the large rock and a small tree to it's left, under smaller rocks.

Rusted Butterfly

Return to the trail and continue with the river on your left. Go over several fallen logs and more gullies. The trail will wind away from the river and then back to it. Spot the new stone bridge that crosses Goose Creek. Cross over a stream (there is a stone and dirt crossing area) and go under the third arch of the bridge from the right. Pick up the trail again next to the river and follow it to some old stone ruins of a mill (?). Here the rusted gears to the right were hit by a falling tree that is still there. Follow its trunk up the hill to its roots and the box is hidden in the trunk under some rocks. Back track on the trail to your car.

Woodland Friends Trio


Devil’s Den State Park
Washington Co. near West Fork AR
Placed March 14, 2003
The Apple Dumpling Gang

From I-540 take exit 45 (Winslow) and go west on Ark. 74 seven miles to the park. This hike is a 1.5-mile loop trail, very rocky but worth the effort! Devil’s Den is a gorgeous park, great trails and amazing caves! In the park there are bathrooms, a camp store, mountain bile trails and cool cabins to rent. Stop at the visitor’s center and pick up a map, there is so much to see here.

Box one: Woodland Friends

From the visitor’s center, follow signs to the Devil’s Den Trail, a well-marked, red blazed trail. Go down the stone steps and at the first “Y” in the trail, go to the right. At the second “Y” go left towards the natural stone wall and stop between the two large pieces of wall the trail cuts through. Look in front of you and up for the main tree growing on the highest rock formation. Follow the trail around to the right and up to this tree. Stand at the tree and face the stone wall you were just at. The box is on the right side of the tree, at its base, between the large tree and a smaller tree under two rocks. Re-hide well!

Box two: Song From Above

Return to the red trail and continue on the loop. At the next “Y” stay right and follow the red blazes past Devil’s Den Cave (have a peek in). Continue past the Crevices to the Ice Box. At the Ice Box, go down the stone steps of the red trail and then up two more steps to where the trail squeezes between two trees. Stand between these two trees and look along the trail and to the right for two rocks that look like slices of bread standing on end. Follow the trail down and around to the other side of these “slices”. Box two is at this end, between the large rocks with a smaller rock on top of it. (This box is right on the trail so be careful getting it)

Box three: From Across the Pond

Continue on the red blazed trail, past the “8” and at the next “Y” continue on the red trail down the rocks to the right and past/under the waterfall (don’t get too wet). Continue down the hill on the stone steps, across a wooden bridge with no sides to a square stone fire pit on the right of the trail. Stand at the pit with the waterfall behind you. See that fallen log in front of you? Go to the far end of the log and under a rock is box three.

Continue the loop from here back to the visitor’s center.

Gone Fishin'

Carol Ann Cross Park
Fort Smith, AR
11 March 2003
by The Apple Dumpling Gang

Carol Ann Cross Park is a pond for fishing, with ducks, geese, and a play area for children. (editors note: I didn’t know that ducks and geese were such good bait.) There are bathrooms and covered picnic pavilions with cooking grills. The park is located on 74th street. Park in the lot that runs along 74th street, not down in the park itself.

Gone Fishin'

Start your walk from the parking lot and head down to the trail that runs around the lake. Head to the left, around the lake, past the stone wall, and keep walking. As you follow the trail along the lake you will pass a large picnic pavilion on your left and come to a gazebo on the water to your right. Stop here and look to the left, across a small parking area and spot a smaller picnic pavilion up on the hill. Go to that pavilion, sit and look casual. From the back left corner of the pavilion is a small trail up to a tree with a knot at its base. As you go up the trail you will see the tree was once two trees. The box is behind the dead trunk under a rock. Rehide carefully please.