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2 cute kids demonstrating what letterboxing is about.

$3 Lock&Locks at Walmart

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I’m trying out the Press This feature on WordPress to bump an old post about my Virtual Letterboxes. I hope people will enjoy armchair letterboxing now that cold weather has settled in.

A list of my Virtual letterboxes.

Since October 12 2007 – the day I posted my first virtual letterbox, I’ve spent many enjoyable hours creating virtual letterbox puzzles. I like to make my virtuals as close to real letterboxing as possible. They involve some type of hunt and you are rewarded with a handcarved stamp image carved and created by me.

My inspiration was the Peat Bank interactive virtual. That’s the first and probably best virtual letterboxing experience I know about. the closest thing to real letterboxing. You hunt the virtual moors for a hidden letterbox box and when find it you get a custom-made stamp image.  Years later I created my own interactive virtual: Northern Village Interactive Virtual

It took almost a month to create and perfect. Later Ryan – AQ’s webmaster, made it a lot easier by creating code to emulate this type of virtual hunt. Here’s my other my interactive virtual using Ryan’s Image Search code: Letterbox Gem Under a Large Rock

Here’s a list of my other Virtual letterboxes:

Baby Road Trip

Box ON! 2008 Guelph: The Royal City Virtual

Coffee

Coronation Street

Dogs – Akita

Dogs – Basset Hound

Dogs – Bedlington Terrier

Dogs – Boston Terrier

Dogs – Chihuahua

Dogs – Dachshund

Dogs – Dalmatian

Dogs – Greyhound

Dogs – Labrador Retriever

Dogs- Old English Sheepdog

Dogs – Pomeranian

Dogs – Scottish Terrier

Dogs – Shih Tzu

Corresponding in Code

Geocaching Hide n Go Seek

Famous Faces – Santa Claus

Have Yourself a Merry Google Christmas

Home Sweet Home

Mona

Monster Love Virtual Letterbox

Skunked

Virtual Tour – Azores

The thing that keeps me motivated to maintain, create and keep active are the online comments I get. Thank you everyone who have left me feedback. :)

Say something nice

Say something nice

This was real life, not the internet. :D
I saw these posters while walking between buildings at work. Brought to mind Bumble’s Grumpy Cat letterbox.

Hanging a container

I have been asked about using wire to hang letterbox (or geocache) containers. Generally I use either an authentic Lock & Lock™ or a Kraft peanut butter jar (with a fun foam gasket in the lid to prevent water from seeping in). For wire I have use:

  • 19 gauge galvanized steel wire (rust resistant)
    • I use 2 strands and twist them together to make them stronger
  • wire from the bulk wire section at the home depot – plastic coated
    • I strip out the wires inside, i.e. cut off the plastic, leaving 3 strands of heavy gauge twisted copper wire
      • I don’t use the heavy gauge much because it’s so thick
    • bulk telephone wire or internet wire
      • the 2 strands inside the plastic coating are also wrapped in plastic
      • the gauge is flexible and thin enough for easy handling
      • I leave the plastic coating on the inner wires because this will protect the wires from breaking down outdoors

I twist the wire on a Lock & Lock™ tab or below the threads of a peanut butter jar, using pliers to tightly snug up the wiring so that the tab can easily be snapped down, or the pb jar lid can be fully threaded back on to the jar.

Caveat: wire coming out of a container can sometimes alarm the public. It’s best to use clear containers or leave a window on a covered container so people/authorities can see in and be assured that it’s not a bomb.

Here are some photos to demonstrate:

Telephone wire

Telephone wire

Cutting brown outter plastic coating

Cut off the outter plastic cover to get at the 2 covered wires inside. I’m using the red one on the peanut butter jar (see below photos)

Twisting wire around peanut butter jar below the threads

Twist the wire on with your fingers, below the threads

Snug up the wire using pliers

Snug up the wire using pliers

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Lock and Lock with plastic coated wire threaded through the tab

Lock and Lock with plastic coated wire threaded through the tab

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Copper wire removed from a plastic coated cable of wire

Copper wire removed from a plastic coated cable of wire

Another method for hanging with wire:

  • place wire along the bottom and side of the container and leave enough wire to form a hook or loop
  • then wrap the container and wire with duct tape
  • here’s my sketch:

sketch

Sock in a Tree

*Use these sparingly because they can get gross when wet. Recommended for hanging only, not as camo for ground caches.

I’ve planted 2 sock letterboxes – small authentic Lock & Locks (water tight), pushed into a black sock and hung in an evergreen tree. I got the idea from seeing a geocache hung this way. Found it when it had been hanging for over a year, the weathered sock blended in so well I didn’t see it even though I was looking at it.  My McQuillan Bridge letterbox was my first sock hide. Hid it 2009. 2 years later it experienced a few tears but still quite robust. 4 years later and the same sock is hanging in the tree. The other cache is in a cemetery. Hid it 2011. Checked on it this Spring and the toe of the sock was quite holey (appropriate for the cemetery location :P ). I knotted the toe end and slipped the Lock & Lock back in, then loosely tied it back onto the branch (see photo). Since my first plant in 2009 I’ve also found a couple of boxes-in-a-sock. Here’s what I’ve learned:

  • Expect the sock to last about 2 years (might last longer depending on the material and how many visits the box gets)
  • Use a sock that’s mostly nylon, with not much or no cotton, but not a pantyhose type of sock
    • A men’s black knee high dress sock works nicely
    • Nylon blend lasts longer and dries faster
  • Socks that retain water can get gross – musty, slimy.
  • Sometimes insects like to live inside the sock (mostly earwigs – they are harmless)
  • Pantyhose don’t last long, they tear and if you tie them to a gnarly branch it’s hard to pull them off which further tears the nylon
  • Winter – if the sock gets wet then freezes up it will be difficult, perhaps impossible to undo the frozen knot
  • I wouldn’t recommend sock hides for all of your letterboxes. Old weather beaten socks are not a lot of fun to stick your hand into but sometimes they are the perfect camouflage for an area.

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I was in Muskoka for a couple of days.  Unfortunately I didn’t find any letterboxes. I did try for Water Lilies hubcap rest stop letterbox near Huntsville but I didn’t find it. I most likely didn’t find the correct pine tree. I completely missed Moose Crossing on my way to Burk’s Falls. Didn’t realize it until I got back to Huntsville and did another letterbox search on AQ. :( I had planned to travel from Huntsville to Burks Falls to Parry Sound but plans changed and I went north/south instead of west. 

I did manage to plant a stamp-only letterbox in Port Sydney, Loon With a View. Loved that little town by Mary Lake. A geocache took me to a wonderful view by a public beach.  Lucky for me there was a handy dandy spot for a magnetic stamp-only letterbox.  Fingers crossed it lasts a long long time.

I visited several spots that I thought really deserve a letterbox. Here’s my list:

  • Burk’s Falls. Camani’s Screaming Heads. This place is freaky, surreal, obsessive, unique, weird, amazing, artsy, exotic. I absolutely loved this crazy place. Guaranteed blue diamond territory. I thought about hiding a loon stamp here but it would not suit the location at all. A replica of the artist’s works would be a better choice.
  • Huntsville. Lookout Point. A panoramic view of Huntsville and Fairy Lake. There’s a steep drive up but it’s worth it for the view. I tried to find a spot for my magnetic stamp-only but this place is better suited for a small box under a boulder. On google maps look down below Lookout Road, you’ll see Camp Kitchen Road by the shoreline. When you get there, it looks like a trail but you can drive down it and park at the end. There’s a nice view of Fairy Lake and to the right you’ll find a small old train station, the Fairy Lake Station. Could be another nice spot for a letterbox.
  • While in Port Sydney for Loon With A View, go to Ontario Road and Fallsview Road There’s a low waterfall here (more of a rapids) as well as some lovely expensive cottages and boat houses to look at.
  • Bracebridge. High Falls. A big water fall by a dam. Also a nice forest to explore with a picturesque footbridge over a smaller waterfall, Little High Falls. There’s already a cache under the footbridge. But there are lots of boulders and rocks to hide a box in.
  • Gravenhurst. Path of Memories. A rocky peninsula in Gravenhurst. Getting on to the peninsula is not obvious, which means not many people get on it, so it makes for a nice quiet spot to enjoy a view of the lake. I got on via the walkway behind the Marriot Inn. There’s also some stairs on the northeast side of the parking lot. There’s a cache under the square  peninsula but nothing on the round one.
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