Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Day 4: Letterboxing

Hunting for letterboxes in the Marietta area.
                                                           March 11: Given the turn in the weather, now seemed like a good time to catch up on touristy things that I had originally planned to do before I started hiking. And that's how Amanda and I ended up searching for letterboxes in and around Marietta, GA.

The day didn't start well. It was dreary and rainy, but even worse, I spent much of the morning working on taxes. When I finally headed downstairs for lunch, I slipped on the stairs and fell pretty hard. Amanda and DeAnna (whose house we were staying at) said they thought a car had hit the house. There was a huge BANG and the dogs were barking at the front door and they rushed up, worried about what had happened.

"No, nothing hit the house. It was just me falling down the stairs."

Fortunately, besides a bruise on my arm, I was uninjured. It would have sucked if I injured myself so badly I had to quit the trail already--and indoors on a zero day no less!

Then my meal from Chik-Fil-A was wrong. We ordered Strips and picked it up in the drive-thru.  Did not double check, got home and it was Chicken Nuggets instead....First World Problems, but some days, you feel like you should have never gotten out of bed.

Then we went to some local parks and started finding letterboxes, catching a couple of other letterboxers in the act: KarmaKat and Big Red. Some of you who might be reading this blog might not know about letterboxing, but it's essentially a treasure hurt where we look for boxes out in the woods and parks. Inside is usually a one-of-a-kind hand-carved stamp that we can stamp into our logbooks for posterity.

So we teamed up with KarmaKat and Big Red for an hour or so to find some more letterboxes, had a few successes, then eventually departed in our own directions.

From left to right, KarmaKat, Amanda, myself and Big Red. An unexpected meetup on the trail! (I totally stole this photo off Big Red's Facebook page because I didn't think to take one for myself!)

The last letterboxes that Amanda and I looked for were quite old--more than 10 years! The boxes were tough to find because landmarks had changed or were missing, and we spent the better part of hour walking in circles looking for a box. Finally, after finding it and with a great deal of celebration, Amanda flipped through the logbook to discover.... that we had already found it 8 years before!

We were shocked. How did this happen? Neither of us recognized the park or the clue. I suggested that maybe the box had been a postal or was planted somewhere else and we had found it then, but after checking the date--that couldn't have been the case. It was dated the day after I finished hiking from Key West to Springer Mountain. We were in Marietta then, mere minutes from this park. We had found this box before, and neither of us had remembered to record the find. Whoops. Didn't we feel like dorks. =)

By this time, I realized that I was missing my wallet. I assumed I had probably left it back at the house, but I wasn't 100% certain so we headed back for me to check. Thank goodness, I had. Crisis averted! =)

From there, I walked to the Marietta Pizza Company, or the MPC for short, because while I had been busy hiking the first part of the Appalachian Trail, a bunch of letterboxers had been planning a grand welcome for me in the area where Amanda and I would be the guests of honor.

I showed up on time, but the place was already packed with people. Must have been about 20 people, but I didn't stop to count. There were a lot of them for an event, quite literally, planned with all of about two days notice.

Amanda and I had a great time chatting with the other letterboxers. Mark was there, who was good to see since he was the fellow who had driven me to Amicalola Falls the first time I hiked the trail. Thanks to Mark and Amy for planning the gathering! I'm not sure if anyone else was involved in the planning, but thanks to those who did and those who took the time to visit!

After all of the laughs were done and everyone headed off, Amanda and I headed back to the house for the rest of the night. The day might have started poorly, but it sure ended on a high note!

Letterboxer meetup at the Marietta Pizza Company. Good times! (Not everyone who went to the event is in this photo. I didn't think to take a photo for myself until just as we were all walking out the door and several people had already left.)


Ubbi Dubbi Book Reviews said...

Woohoo! I made it into your blog!! It was great seeing you. Hope your hike continues to go smoothly.

Ubbi Dubbi Book Reviews said...

Oops--forgot to sign the above comment.
--Amy (Amyrica)

Sue KuKu said...

Hey, Ryan, there is this place called Atlas Quest where it is really easy to record your finds . . .