Thursday, August 17, 2006

Mystery Boxes: Where are You?

I have always liked a clue that was not straight-forward. The "go here and look for that" is all well and good and I do love those when I am traveling and don't have time to figure things out on the trail. But when I just take a trip to just find boxes...I like to feel like I've earned it. I deserve this stamp because I put a little effort into it. I like the stories and memories I collect about trails, boxes, stamps, and experiences while in a new place. Nothing give me more pleasure than finding a Mystery box.

But I have my limits. There are some Traditional boxes that I will probably never get. So naturally there will be mystery boxes that I can't crack. I mean, I don't do uphill well. It takes a long time to climb a mountain and I have little experience in that department. To be honest, I don't like to climb mountains so why would I do something I don't like just for a letterbox? I don't like to spend months on a fruitless search for clues hidden in a mystery. If I can't get a lead, I'm prone to give up on it. That's partly why I hate codes. If I can't come up with a few ideas to try to crack it, I won't pursue it. If I try everything I know, do some research, and still can't make it work so that I know where I'm going, I won't pursue it.

Does that mean I don't like mysteries? No. Does it mean the mystery is too hard? Only for me. There are boxers of all skill levels out there. A mystery is an incline for me. If the mystery is alittle gentle hill, I'll pursue. If it turns out to be a mountain, I'll huff and puff until I run out of steam. If it turns out to be one of the highest peaks in the damn state/country/world, I'll give up. Mysteries are mountains to me; the self-proclaimed worst hill climber in the world. When the fun gets sucked out of solving the mystery, I put it away and leave it for someone else.

While I like codes and encryptions, I suck at cracking them. My brain isn't wired that way. That's why a code for me has to be pretty linear, pretty obvious. That's why I would rather go with the story type mystery. Like "Buck's Bank" "Point Au Roche" Mapsurfer's "Merlin's Pre-Columbian Mysteries". They are a story...a description...where not everything is as it seems. Words are used loosely, without precise, face-value, meaning. The boxer becomes the main character and follows the plot to it's conclusion. The boxer may be a crazy old man, a researcher, an animal, or a legendary magician. That's a fun time, to immerse yourself in that story while enjoying a good walk or hike.

Are people not going after these mystery boxes anymore? It's hard to say. I think maybe most people are working up to it. Time and patience is really required for some mysteries out there. Face it, alot of mysteries require alot of local knowledge, information on the specific region or area. Others require good code cracking. It takes time to solve these mysteries and time is a precious commodity in the world today. Considering that some boxes don't see finders for months, it doesn't seem strange to me that mystery boxes don't see finders for years.

Planters of Mystery Boxes have to be in for the long haul especially if they don't tell you where to start. I'm not saying anyone has to tell me what city it's in or what trail it's on, but, at the very least, tell me what state you're in. It's just as hard to find a box in a city or area as it is in "the world". Especially, if you're not familiar with it. Hartford, CT is as foreign to me as London, England. So if you're concerned with people not solving your mystery, there's other reasons beside that "people don't solve them like they used to". I don't travel very much or very far and I want to solve a mystery that I'll have the time, energy, and funds to go and get. Not to mention that some boxers may be using mystery clues to purposely limit the number of finders in a sensitive area. I don't personally think that's the way to letterbox but to each his own. (That's another article...)

Mystery Boxes are just a test of patience for both planters and finders. So if you don't have that kind of patience, then don't make your box a mystery or don't go find them. If you want to share your box with me, tell me where to start (at the very least). Otherwise, just be patient...I'm working on them...


  1. I know I have even less ability to crack codes and less patience than you. I certainly would like locations narrowed down to at least state. Mystery boxes I feel involve a lot of research which I don't mind at all as long as the information you need to find is available to someone who doesn't live near the area or can be obtained by asking any local resident when you do get to the area. "What do the locals call this park?"

  2. I have to say "ditto" to that, which is really a lot less than a good post deserves. I love mysteries (my own "Primoris Arca" has a bit of mystery to it) but sometimes a little narrowing can make it a lot more fun.