As a member of the Mother/Son Outing committee for my homeschool group, I helped coordinate our activity for this year’s event: letterboxing. Ever heard of letterboxing? I hadn’t. Here’s an abbreviated description from

Letterboxing is an intriguing mix of treasure hunting, art, navigation, and exploring interesting, scenic, and sometimes remote places.

Here’s the basic idea: Someone hides a waterproof box somewhere (in a beautiful, interesting, or remote location) containing at least a logbook and a carved rubber stamp, and perhaps other goodies. The hider then usually writes directions to the box (called “clues” or “the map”), which can be straightforward, cryptic, or any degree in between.

Once the clues are written, hunters in possession of the clues attempt to find the box. In addition to the clue and any maps or tools needed to solve it, the hunter should carry at least a pencil, his personal rubber stamp, an inkpad, and his personal logbook. When the hunter successfully deciphers the clue and finds the box, he stamps the logbook in the box with his personal stamp, and stamps his personal logbook with the box’s stamp. The box’s logbook keeps a record of all its visitors, and the hunters keep a record of all the boxes they have found, in their personal logbooks.

Ten teams of mothers and sons participated, with over thirty-five families and fifty boys. We formed teams by age range, but my five-year-old son wound up on a team with a bunch of teenage boys since none of the other families on our team had a younger son. We had one of the two clues categorized as “difficult,” and unfortunately, we were the only group that didn’t find our box. We had a great time, though, hiking to the top of the tallest local mountain, and to my knowledge, we were the only group that found a snake!




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