Denizens of Rocky Neck ***STOLEN*** LbNA # 18489 (ARCHIVED)
|Placed Date||Oct 6 2005|
|Location||East Lyme, CT|
|Last Found||Aug 21 2007|
9/21/07: I'm sorry to report that all 14 boxes in the series have been stolen.
To the pathetic creature who seems to think that spoiling the pleasure of others gives him some personal importance: Any nincompoop can tear things down; the heroes are those who build and strengthen and make life more tolerable for others. Letterboxing has provided for many of us a much-needed respite from the cares of the world. It's given families a great opportunity to spend time together away from the TV set; adults, some relief from the stresses of their jobs; and seniors, a much-needed opportunity for fresh air, exercise, and challenge. In a time when sadness and tragedy are so commonplace, this simple activity is all the more precious.
I have to assume that you're a juvenile, based on the poor grammar in your note, your childish name, "*Kikkin Wing," and your need to achieve importance in such a childish way. I think, too, that you're badly in need of a second grade civics lesson, given your slogan of "America Against Letterboxing." America is all about freedom and the right to live our lives and pursue our pleasures as we wish - just as long as we don't hurt anyone by doing so. We letterboxers aren't hurting you. Either join us and share in the joys of our hobby or leave us alone. If you apply the same energy you've wasted on stealing our boxes to carving and hiding some of your own - or engaging in another positive, constructive pasttime, I'm quite sure you'll find yourself a far happier and and well-adjusted person than you are now!
8/16/07: Boxes #1, 8, and 11, which were reported missing earlier this year, have now been replaced and relocated a short distance from their original sites. Please be doubly sure to rehide these carefully to avoid future losses!
Difficulty: moderate. A triple loop trail about 2 ½ miles long with some very rocky, root-strewn, and sloping paths. Allow about 3 hours to complete, depending on whether you feel like a leisurely, scenic trek or a quick, productive one. If you don't have the time - or energy - to do all 14 boxes at once, you can do the first 5 on one occasion and the rest on another. The 5 are arranged in two short loops that will bring you back to the pavilion.
This series incorporates all the elements I’ve most appreciated in my own quest for letterboxes: a substantial number of boxes on an interesting and scenic triple loop trail; hiding places fairly near the trail and in, on and around rocks or tree stumps rather than under bushes or trees (which I usually can’t identify); and minimal paperwork – an entry log in the first box, an exit log in the last, and no logs in-between!
Although the boxes are not located in the beach area but mostly on the back trails, there tend to be a great many hikers in the park, especially during the summer, so please be discrete in your search and rehide the boxes well. You don’t need a trail map, but if you’d like one or want up-to-date information on park charges or conditions, check out the Connecticut Dept. of Environmental Protection’s website at http://dep.state.ct.us/stateparks/parks/rockyneck.htm.
All pace measurements are done counting the right foot only.
Please note: the last box contains a stamp that uses multiple colored markers instead of an inkpad. I’ve provided the markers, but I’ve no idea how long they’ll last, so you might want to bring your own to make sure you "make a good impression." A stamp pad is also included for the artistically challenged.
The boxes are located at Rocky Neck State Park in East Lyme, Connecticut. Take Exit 72 off I-95, and turn left off the exit. Then take your first right into the State Park and follow the road to the farthest (West Beach) parking area. There are two passages under the railroad tracks to the beach area. Take the one farthest west, near the concession stand and bath house/rest rooms.
Letterbox #1 - The Seagull. Once on the beach side, turn right and follow the dirt road upward toward the pavilion. When the road curves sharply to the right, continue to follow the road under the pavilion arch, then turn right/east up the stairs set into the hillside. At the top of the stairs, turn right and walk to the front wall of the pavilion’s balcony. After admiring the view, turn right and walk alongside the wall until almost the end, when you come to a break in the wall with a path leading out. Take that path, bearing right when it forks a few steps away. Follow the path along the front wall of the pavilion, stopping when you reach the corner.
At approximately 280 degrees, you’ll see, a short distance away, a grass and dirt path heading north between a rock ledge on the left and a semi-circular wall of boulders on the right. Follow that path up a slight incline into a U-turn. Just as you finish the curved portion of that “U,” you’ll see to your left a cluster of small trees and stumps. From that point, go 10 paces up the rocky slope to a small flat rock in the center of the trail. (On your left will be a group of three small trees in a small grassy “island.”) On your right, at approximately 225 degrees, is a very small path that leads downward, with a number of boulders bordering it on its left side. Keeping the big boulders always on your left, follow this path as it curves downhill to the right and then the left, all the way down to the rock ledge at the bottom.
Pause to admire the view of Point o’ Woods across the way and marvel at the interesting cave in back of you. Now head due south, with the water close on your right, about 45 small steps over thin dirt path (preferably) or rock ledge until you find a massive rock formation on your left, consisting of three huge tiers of rock. Between the two largest boulders of the second tier are a couple of large rocks with some greenery growing in back of them. In the crevice between and on top of them, beneath a couple of smaller rocks, is Letterbox #1, the seagull. (This box has been swiped twice, so I worked hard to find a really secure place. Please rehide it carefully and don't worry: most of the other boxes are easier to find!!!)
Letterbox #2 - The Horseshoe Crab. Return the way you came, past the cave and up the small path to the top. When you reach the “island” and small rock in the ground, turn right on the main path. The solid rock surface of the path becomes dirt, then grass, and you pass three large double-trunked trees on the right. You’ll note that a rock ledge now comprises the left-hand portion of the trail. From the point where the ledge tapers off to the left into nothingness, continue on three paces, then branch left onto a smaller path hugging the edge of the rock ledge. From the small tree bending over the path at a 45 degree angle, go forward about 9 paces. Turn right onto the very small path and go about 3 paces toward a cluster of trees in front of a jumble of rocks. Near the center of the group of trees is one which splits into two limbs about chest high. Behind it and slightly to the right are two large rocks resting on a smaller one. Letterbox #2, the horseshoe crab, is wedged between the large, flat, tilted rock and the ledge behind it.
Letterbox 3 - The Ribbed Mussel. Return to the path and turn left, back the way you came. When you reach the main path, I strongly recommend that you take a brief jaunt to your left, south out towards the rocky point. The view there is terrific, though there are no letterboxes. When you’re ready, head back north on the same main path. Just past the rocky downward slope, instead of making a “U turn” as you did on the way in, head in an easterly direction across the grass and the cement slab to the dirt driveway which skirts the back side of the pavilion. Ahead, you’ll see the familiar steps leading up the hillside. At the base of them, look to your right, admiring the view through the archway, then proceed up the steps, turning left at the top and crossing the bridge over the railroad tracks.
Stop and note the three asphalt paths fanning out from there. Take the one farthest to your right, and when it comes to an abrupt end, take the small, rightmost path, heading upward toward a telephone pole. Stop about five feet in front of the pole, pivot to your left and walk 3 paces north to a large bush on your left. Letterbox #3, the ribbed mussel, is hidden under the bush on the right beneath a large log.
Letterbox 4 - The Frog. Return back down the path, stopping just before the mound of dirt that separates you from the asphalt path. Look back over your right shoulder and you’ll see a path heading upwards over a jumble of rocks. Follow that red-and-white trail upwards, passing under a large tree to the left of the path leaning protectively over it. When you come to a double tree with both a red-and-yellow and red-and-white trail marker, look to your right and you’ll see another red and yellow trail marker. Walk to it and look right, up the hill, to still another tree with a red and yellow marker. Hidden in its base is Letterbox 4, the frog.
Letterbox 5 - The Skunk. Follow the red and yellow trail back down the hill and to the left, passing the double tree with twin markers and continuing northwest and downhill on the red-and-yellow trail. Go past the pile of logs on the side of the trail to the intersection a few paces beyond. There, turn left onto the blue and white trail. Shortly, just before the second blue and white trail marker, you’ll see on the right two large gray boulders with a couple of smaller ones between them. Letterbox 5, the skunk, is in back of the right-hand boulder, wedged between it and the flat rock in back of it.
Letterbox 6 - The River Herring. Return to the path and continue on to the base of the bridge to the pavilion. Then turn around and again survey your route options. This time, take the asphalt path on the far left, following it across the southern perimeter of the parking area and out the southernmost road. When the road splits, follow the left fork past the “wrong way” sign. About 5 paces beyond the white railing on the left, turn left up the small yellow dirt trail (not the wider gravel path just beyond it!). When the path forks at a tree, bear left, then stop just before the path begins to curve upward to the right. Directly ahead is a very large, flat, brownish- colored rock standing upright behind a small double tree. Between it and the ledge on which it’s resting is Letterbox #6, the river herring.
Letterbox 7- The Rabbit. Continue on to the top of the slope, then bear north/right on the yellow trail over dirt and rock until you come to a large sloping rock ledge infringing on the right side of the rock and root-strewn trail. About 8 paces past the far side of that rock ledge, you’ll see beside the trail on the left a strangely shaped tree whose trunk rises vertically for about a foot, then bends horizontally for about 4 feet before reaching for the sky. Follow the horizontal “pointer” a few paces westward for a gorgeous view. (No letterboxes here – or guardrails – but I did want to share this lovely spot.) Return to the tree, then resume your trek northward on the yellow trail, pausing if you wish to check out a couple more scenic overlooks on the left. You’ll note that several small paths fork to the right to join the larger gravel trail that runs parallel to this one; ignore them and stay on the yellow trail, the “high road.”
After a short while, you’ll pass over another rock ledge onto dirt and see a tree with a yellow trail marker on the left, followed by a section of trail covered with roots. From that trail marker, go 8 paces further, past 2 three-trunked trees on your left. To your left, at about 250 degrees, you’ll see a small path curving downward. Follow the trail between the rocks, stepping down carefully when you reach the multi-trunked tree. Stop there and pivot to your right, and you’ll discover an impressive little cave. Letterbox #7, the rabbit, is hidden in the crevice of two large rocks beneath the tree on your right.
Letterbox 8 - The Blue Crab. Return up the small path to the yellow trail, bearing north once again. Shortly, you’ll come to a very rocky slope, after which the trail merges with the larger, wider blue trail. Follow this northward, stopping at a mostly dead triple-trunked tree off the trail on the left that inclines at about a 45 degree angle. From there, continue on the trail about 44 paces, stopping by a fairly small rock embedded on the left edge of the path, marking a smaller path that heads westward. Follow this past a small dead tree, now fallen, whose torturous horizontal body points the way to the Four Mile River. Staying to the left of the fallen tree trunk,
proceed to the five-trunked tree ahead. From there go 10 steps due south to a fallen, double-trunked tree. Letterbox 8, the blue crab, is hidden among its roots in the rear.
Letterbox 9 - The Snowy Egret. Return to the blue trail, again turning left/northward. The red trail merges in from the right, making this the blue and red trail. Eventually, the trail passes over rock between two large boulders and, shortly after that, again divides. Continue left on the blue trail downward and past a bench. Just before the path begins to leave the woods and head out into an open field, you’ll see on your right the beginning of a stone wall. About two yards to the left of the large flat rock at the beginning of the wall, where it is only one rock high, cross over to the far side. Take 2 steps north, and, looking down at the wall, you’ll see a large flat rock. Letterbox #9, the snowy egret, is hidden beneath it.
Letterbox 10 - The Squirrel. Return to the blue trail and head north through the open field and back into the woods. A short way beyond, you’ll see on your right a large boulder, marking the corner of another stone wall. Go about 12 paces beyond this, stopping just before a cluster of trees on the right. As you face the stone wall, you’ll see a slim, curving, dead tree trunk sticking up behind the wall at one of its highest points. Cross over the stone wall just to the left of the tree, turn around, and look down at the wall. Letterbox #10, the squirrel, is hidden under a large flat rock just to your right.
Letterbox 11 - The Fox. Now to begin what I consider the aerobic portion of this trek: the longest distance thus far between letterboxes in the series. Return to the trail and continue north about 30 paces. Turn right onto a small upward path badly mangled by exposed tree roots. Just after the path bends to the left, pass through the two large boulders of a stone wall, and about 20 paces beyond that, bear right/east onto the larger, grassier portion of the blue trail. Continue on the very curvaceous trail up the slope. When, near the top of the slope, the trail splits, fork right to the smaller path – still the blue trail - which after a few steps goes out into an open field. At the white trail marker turn right, following what appears from the sign to be the red-orange trail, but is, on the trail map, the yellow trail. Continue on this through the field and into the woods until its intersection with a cross trail. Turn right there onto the red trail. Shortly, on the left and across from a red trail marker, you’ll see three huge glacial erratics. In back of the third one, under a cluster of small rocks, is Letterbox #11, the fox. (Please, please rehide it well, since my last fox, hidden close by, was bagged by vandals!)
Letterbox 12 - The Osprey. Continue south on the red trail, ducking under the branch that’s fallen across it Walk up the slope, stopping just as the dirt surface of the trail starts to be replaced by rock ledge. Take 3 more paces forward on the trail. At approximately 110 degrees and slightly off the trail, you’ll see “The Whatsit Tree,” so named because my friends and I have had lengthy discussions on whether it looks more like a deer, a moose, or a dinosaur. Whatever it is, it has a distinct round hole in its head and a pair of antlers/horns. Walk forward a bit on the trail to check it out from a different angle, then find Letterbox #12, the osprey, hidden in its trunk, along with a pad on which you can record your own impression of what the tree most resembles. (We've gotten some pretty creative ideas, but so far I have to go with the vet's call!)
Letterboxd 13 - The Raccoon. Return to the trail, continuing southwest down the rocky slope, then veering left onto the blue and red trail, passing eventually between the familiar two boulders and continuing on until the trail splits. Take the left fork onto the red trail and proceed around the curve, down the slope, and under the large tree trunk leaning at a 45 degree angle across the trail. A short way beyond this, to the right, is a strange, three-trunked tree with claw-like roots growing out of the rock ledge. From this point, continue about 19 paces ahead on the trail. On your right, between you and the ledge, is a huge rectangular boulder with a large tree about four feet to its right. In back of that boulder and extending slightly to its right is a large, flat, mossy rock, with a similar but smaller rock above and slightly to the right of it. Letterbox #13, the raccoon, is tucked under the larger, lower rock on its right side, directly behind the tree.
Letterbox 14 - The Most Precious Denizens of Rocky Neck. Continue southward on the red trail until it joins the asphalt park road. Turn right on the road and proceed about 45 paces until you reach a break in the stone wall on your right. Turn right up the little stone stairway and go straight ahead, forking to the right just before reaching the tree directly before you. Make your way around the many rocks to the bases of the large and small dead trees that lie side by side, resting against the rock ledge. About halfway up on the right side of the small tree is a huge flat rock resting at an angle against a smaller, pointed one. Letterbox #14, the most precious denizens of Rocky Neck, is hidden under the larger rock on its right side.
Find a comfortable surface to sit on – there are plenty to choose from! – and indulge your artistic flair. Use the markers provided to color in the stamp, then imprint it in your logbook. Or – if you’re just not the artistic sort, use the plain old ink pad for a quick fix.
Hide the box well and leave Baker’s Cave, turning left on the asphalt road to return to your car.
I hope you enjoyed finding these stamps as much as I enjoyed carving and hiding them. They’re my first ever, so I’d welcome your feedback – especially any problems you encountered in trying to follow the clues. Thanks for sharing the adventure!