In college, I used to go Letterboxing. (A hobby, which, according to the website is: “an intriguing mix of treasure hunting, art, navigation, and exploring interesting, scenic, and sometimes remote places.”) Years ago, friends and I would plan entire days of adventure, with backpacks and hiking gear on, clues in hand, seeking the hidden boxes. It was so much fun and I was kind of obsessed. Once, we were even late to our painting class because we were so lost in what we were doing, looking for a box.
After I graduated however, I moved, got married, worked 40 hours a week for a while, and then became a mom. I didn’t go “boxing” for years. However, recently Simon’s imagination and pretend play have been very focused on the themes of: clues, treasure-hunting, and maps. Last night, I was thinking about this trend, and suddenly, Letterboxing came to mind. “He would love that!“, I thought to myself.
So I did some research online, found clues for a local letterbox, printed them out, and dusted off my old log book and stamp. When he woke up this morning, I told Simon about my plan for a treasure-hunting expedition, and he was thrilled.
After a hearty breakfast, we drove to the trail head, parked our car, put our respective backpacks on, and started our trek into the woods. Simon had decided to bring a magnifying glass, and carried it with him the whole time, like a detective. I read the clues out loud about “crossing the stream”, “turning left at the T”, and “looking for the cluster of three birch trees”. We made our way along, finding all of the landmarks except for the last one, an “X”. We poked around in a few likely places, but still had no luck. However, even in our defeat we talked about coming back to try again, next time bringing Daddy to help us.
We returned home, filled our bellies with lunch, and then Simon took a nap. When he woke, Jeramy was home, and he excitedly told him all about how he and “Mumma” had gone “to look for treasure in the woods”. He animatedly told him the whole story, including the part about going back next time all together. If I had any doubt about him having fun, it was erased when I saw how passionate he was in his retelling. This just goes to show that more important than any “treasure”, is the adventure you have together.
*Note: I emailed the letterboxer who originally hid the box. They are going to make sure it is still there and let me know before we go back out again for another attempt. In the meantime, there are lots and lots of other boxes to look for in our area.*