You know, Holliday Lake State Park doesn't close after Labor Day. Sure the swimming beach is no longer open, but there are lots of other activities you can do here. Like camping, hiking, picnicking, fishing, playing on the playgrounds, geo-caching, letterboxing….What's that? You don't know about letterboxing? Well, let me tell you all about it. Look for a letterbox in the photo below.
According to Atlas Quest, "Letter boxing is an intriguing "treasure hunt" style outdoor activity. Letter boxers hide small, weatherproof boxes in publicly-accessible places (like parks) and post clues to finding the box online on one of serveral web sites.
Individual letterboxes usually contain a log book, rubber stamp, and may contain an ink pad. Finders make an imprint of the letterbox's stamp on their personal log book, and leave an imprint of their personal stamp on the letterbox's logbook. Small items may be in the boxes for finders to "trade".
Letterboxing is said to have started in England in 1854 when a Dartmoor National Park guide, James Perrott of Chagford, left a bottle by Cranmere Pool with his calling card in it and an invitation to those who found the bottle to add theirs. Eventually, visitors began leaving a self-addressed post card or note in the jar, hoping for them to be returned by mail by the next visitor (thus the origin of the term "letterboxing"; "letterbox" is a British term for mailbox). This practice ended in time, however; and the current custom of using rubber stamps and visitor's log books came into use. This information was obtained from the letterboxing website.
Our AmeriCorps volunteer, Bill Plyler has hidden six letterboxes and posted clues to finding them at atlasquest.com. Clues can be obtained from the Holliday Lake State Park office as well.
These six new boxes provide families and individuals the opportunity to enjoy the trails of the park while searching for treasures and making memories. Clues to three of the new boxes are written in code, adding another element to the fun. Once the clues lead you to the vicinity of the box, careful searching is required to find the boxes. Although never buried in the ground, boxes may be under leaves and tree branches. If hidden above ground, the boxes are never higher than a person can easily reach.
Unlike geo-caching, you don't need a GPS unit or even a compass. Letterboxing is a great low tech activity, enjoyable to even young children. And it might be a great way for your family to spend a few hours outside. If you really have a great time, you might consider stepping things up a bit and purchasing a GPS unit to search for geo-caching.
Holliday Lake State Park is open for hiking every day of the year from daylight until dark. So get on the internet and print those clues (or stop by the park office) and get out to the park for some outdoor fun!