NPS - Prince William Forest Park  LbNA # 19165

Placed DateSep 5 2005
CountyPrince William
LocationTriangle, VA
Found By Night0wl
Last Found Feb 13 2013
Hike Distance?

O.S.S Button carved by Scarab
Regal Fritillary carved by Sewsowbizzy
Fools Gold carved by Gallant Rogue
Volcano and NPS Badge carved by Knights of Columbo

Box 4 is missing at this time - Hope to replace it soon. Booxes are all a little wet also.

Prince William Forest Park, VA -We have a NPS permit for these boxes. Please do not remove!

As a unit of the National Park Service, all features within the park are protected. Please help to protect the park and do not disturb or remove natural or cultural features. As you find your letterboxes, please restore the resources as you found them. Use caution as you look for clues; be alert for bees, snakes or other wildlife that may be making a home near a clue! Visit the park website at for more information.

From Parking Lot E follow the Geology Trail to Quantico Falls Trails (.3 mi). This starts just past the bulletin board on the right. Please note that the geology trail is not on the park map, but is marked on the trail signs. However, on the map, the trail follows the Quantico falls trail and then the North Valley trail.

For the first box, imagine you are an intelligence agent in training, finding your way to a drop behind enemy lines. You have been recruited out of college to join the new U.S. Army Office of Strategic Services. The OSS was formed at the beginning of World War II to create the first unified information agency. Their mission: collecting and analyzing intelligence, and special operations, especially overseas. From 1941 to 1945, the OSS trained in secret areas including some of the camps here in Prince William Forest Park. Be sure to stop at the Visitor Center and see their display on the OSS in Prince William Forest Park.

Today your mission is a simple one, find a "drop" and collect the information left there for you. Your instructions are to proceed down the Geology Trail.
"At the first intersection turn east." Which way is east? The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Moss grows on the north side of trees. (Less light on the north. Why?). Ahh, but you remember you have a secret compass hidden a hollow button of your jacket. Determining east you turn left and continue on the Geology Trail.
"At the next intersection you take the path leading off to the right, continuing to follow the Geology Trail. Start counting 70 paces."

Your training taught you that a step is one footfall, but a pace is two footfalls. Count each fall of your right foot. Paces are good for measuring longer distances.
"At about 70 paces you will encounter a small tree stump in the trail on the left. Stop, look right, and sight down a reading of 240 degrees. A fallen tree leads from the trail into the woods pointing to your goal. This fallen tree crosses a twisted downed tree. There, under the twisted shattered tree stump, secreted under a cover of bark and sticks, find your drop. Good luck."

You recover the hidden waterproof container. Stamp your personal stamp in the box's logbook. Stamp the box's stamp in your own logbook. Replace everything how you found it. Double bag the logbook to help keep it dry. Rehide the box exactly where you found it, well enough that it would not be found accidentally. Your OSS mission is complete.

Return to your civilian letterboxing life and continue down the Geology Trail until you reach an intersection with North Valley Trail on your right, saving this trail for later you continue ahead on the Geology or Quantico Falls trail (same trail).

Not much further, it looks like you will reach the end of the earth as the contour of the land changes and the trail descends off a ridge line and curves its way down to Bedrock of Quantico Creek. At the bottom, enjoy the rushing water over the exposed bedrock before Continuing on the Geology Trail as it heads downstream. Make sure to read the information boards along the way, While here have you noticed all the beaver stump activity?

Skirting the creek the trail encounters just on the left twin towers with yellow windows (blazes). From between the towers proceed 20 steps then take a 300 degree reading WNW to a miniaturized Dartmoor Tor. Scavenge around the tor to find Regal Fritillary which in a ray of sun might be found resting with wings spread on the top most rock.

Continuing on, you soon you will pick up the blue blazed North Valley Trail heading over a foot bridge. As you head downstream, the trail seems to vanish into a rock outcropping - but look up for the blue blaze on an autographed tree. Did you know autographing trees is not a good idea? Why? It may eventually lead the tree to die because its bark has been opened and exposed to diseases and pests. Much the same way your skin can be come infected by a cut. Climb up the tree root stairs and the trail resumes its usually appearance behind the tree.

Continue on to where the Effects of Soil Management can be seen. As you make your way for quite some distance onwards you will happen upon a startling set off twin trees caught locked in hugs and kisses just to the left of the trail (These have now fallen and we will add new clues soon). Go back 45 steps to a fallen double tree just off the left, Inside the V at the end you’ll find your fourth box on the trail.

Back on the trail again. You‘ll pass the remains of 100 year old concrete foundations on your right. When you arrive at a steel bridge stop. The bridge leads to the east side of Quantico Creek and the North Valley Trail. Look down in the water but do not cross. In 1889 Louis Detrick spotted something shiny in the bottom of the creek here . Detrick purchased 53 acres of prime floodplain and began building the Cabin Branch Mine. The mine operated until 1919 and the ruins around you and the scarred landscape are all that remain.

Instead of crossing take six more paces south where you will find the Blue & Orange blazed Cabin Branch Mine Trail to right or west. Take the Cabin Branch Mine Trail.

In about 80 paces you will find yourself standing in front of a National Park Service interpretative marker with maps showing the layout of “Mining Along Quantico Creek”.

From the interpretative marker, face 240 degrees, count off 20 paces. The trail ascends to a “T intersection” with an old road.

Just across the trail from the point of intersection, about 10’ uphill is a young oak tree. At the base of this 12” diameter tree, at the base you may notice a SSPOR (Slightly Suspicious Pile Of Rocks). There among the rocks you will find “Fool’s Gold”

Your clue guide for the day is tired and turns to head back towards Regal Fritillary. Turning back You will retrace your steps, except for taking a shortcut up the blue blazed North Valley Trail. Stop at the foot bridge, where we left the Quantico Falls Trail, and head up to the left staying on the blue blazed North Valley Trail.

As you make your way up you will soon come to a huge Beech tree on the left side of the trail with HMS engraved on its trunk. Pulling out your compass for the last time you head off the trail at 70 degrees to a beech on the hill above you. Just behind it there is a stump and a fallen tree. Within the V you’ll find the final stamp of the series.

Enjoy! Please let us know how the boxes are doing. Its a long walk but well worth it. As mentioned before we do hold a permit for these boxes. Please do not remove!

Also - I cant remember which stamp I placed in locations 3 and 5. Please email and let me know! : )