Fallen Leaf  LbNA # 15640 (ARCHIVED)

Placed DateJun 6 2005
Found By Kirbert
Last Found Jun 16 2008
Hike Distance?


Aug. 26, 2006: New book placed. Finders in first book are listed in the new book.

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 4.5 miles (or alternately .2 miles)


Columbia is nearly the center of Missouri -- about 130 miles along I-70 from either St. Louis on the east or Kansas City to the west. The box is on the MKT Trail, a city/county-owned spur off the KATY Trail. Both trails follow the route of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad and are popular public parks. The trails have periodic emergency phones and are patrolled by volunteers. Dogs must be on leash, but kids roam free.


Start your search at the University of Missouri portal to the MKT trail on the west side of Providence Road near the intersection with Stewart Avenue. Walk or bicycle up the trail, noting the overhanging trees and excavations through limestone escarpments. Imagine the big KATY steam locomotives puffing into town via this scenic route.

Your walk will take you over several old railroad bridges converted for pedestrian use. Stop for water at the human/dog water fountain at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. Take a few extra minutes to walk up to the unique memorial, which is under renovation from water damage.

Continue on, minding your back for the occasional over-zealous bicyclist. If you hear "On your left," dodge to the right.

Wooden markers count the half miles. At the 4.0 post, start watching your environs. You will soon cross a small bridge. In about a quarter mile, you will find on the west side of the trail a memorial bench marked "Donated by Spencer and Shelby." Stop and catch your breath, you are almost there.

Use that bench as measuring stick. The bench is three of our steps (left, right, left) long. If yours are different, adjust accordingly.

(If you are a wimp at the prospect of a 4.5-mile hike, here is your chance. You can also find the Scott Boulevard Access to the MKT trail and park either at the city park on the north side of the road or the county park on the south side. This puts you at milepost 4.7. Backtrack the two-tenths of a mile to Spencer and Shelby’s bench and join the hunt in progress.)

The trail runs from the northeast (Columbia) to the southwest (Scott Boulevard) here. Continue southwest for about 80 steps. On your right (west), you will see a forked gravel trail leaving the main trail.

If your pacemaker is in overdrive, jog right up that steep left trail. If not, amble the 60 steps up the winding and gentler trail to the right. Both end up in the same spot – a concrete sidewalk. Surprise! This is the little-known Katy Lake Trail that connects the main trail to a pleasant subdivision.

When you first see the concrete, look hard to the left. You should see an orange survey marker about 15 feet back into the trees. You may also spot the remnants of a fence line. If you are good at picking out the apple trees and non-native plants, you will be able to see where a farmhouse once stood.

Look down. The sidewalk has a set of divider cracks every six or seven feet. Walk slowly and count the crack. Stop at Crack 6, which divides segments Six and Seven. Position yourself to the very far right (north) side of the trail, standing on that crack.

Now look back and try to find that orange survey marker through the trees. When you find it, take 10 steps toward it, crossing the path and ducking under the overhanging limbs.

Stop. CAREFULLY look at the ground before you. You should see the jumbled remains of an old farm gate, with a rusted metal hinge pointing toward you.

Fallen Leaf box is somewhat like its namesake. It is not a bright, young thing blowing in the wind. It is more like an old leaf that fades into the background of forest debris.

The box is made of wood and looks much like the rest of that old gate. You don’t need to move any boards, dig any soil or disturb any of the old material. Just lean over and quietly investigate like the good detective you are.

Here is a hint: You know it is the box when you see IT.

Please be very careful returning the box. The lid to the wooden box is a bit tricky – just match the writing on both pieces. And be kind to the old gate, the leaves and the flowers around you.

Log your find at Letterboxing.org and send your comments about this box so we know if it is worth hiding others that are similar.