8/31/2013: CONFIRMED IN PLACE.
This is a hand-carved stamp and a home-made logbook in a waterproof plastic container. Hike includes some great geologic features, and mostly stays on a signed and well-maintained trail. Parts of the trail may be treacherous in wet or icy conditions. When you find this devil, let me know how she's faring and what you thought of the clues. This is my first letterbox planted.
Be you brave, o sons and daughters
Find "D" for Devil in the Land of Laughing Waters
In a sheltered placed near iron trees in stone
Pick up a map to help you roam.
Look not for a castle high on a hill,
Nor an underground river, flowing still,
But park in an area with a banjo on your knee
Where it's natural to sing "O_ _ S_ _anna" way off-key.
In the devil's shoes you'll walk up to a mile.
Wear a touch of red and green (and brown all the while).
Head up to the right, avoiding the blue.
At the top of the hill, enjoy the view.
Search not for acorns or turkeys on the left,
But zigzag downhill, cross eight stone steps.
A rock outcrop you'll hit so visit a bit
Cross more stone steps as you journey forth,
The trail turns west and sometimes north.
When you reach a place where the devil may be cooking
Take a quick little peek but keep on booking.
Before you do something foolish and have bones to mend
Continue ' round the corner, continue 'round the bemd.
You may be surprised at what your eyes have spied!
From here you'll begin a promenade 'round the ring
Halfway around, your courage you must bring
Take a small leap of faith onto a rock ledge
Find horseshoes for luck, continue living on the edge.
As the trail turns south, two small trees make a gate.
As the bluff nears the end, a low rocky wall awaits.
Trail then turns north and up to the west.
Near the top of the hill, take a quick rest
Near a medium oak kissing maple sisters three;*
The devil lies nearby in a hollow-based tree.
Guarded by rock and bark and by the young Cedar Twins
The devil's cooking inside, your prize lies within.
If you need another hint, decode the words below**
There's two sets of clues,for compass and no.
Watch out for visitors as you sit for a spell.
The replace rock and bark and rehide well.
*If you pass two brother oaks on the left, you've walked past the maple sisters three. If you reach a gravel road, you've gone WAY too far.
After finding the box, make sure you have a good map if you wish to continue on this trail becaue it gets confusing and involves road crossings and merges with several other trails at several points.
**HINT for box location:
16 41 62 64 21 41 46 61 65 15 - 21 41 22 63 66 15 14
64 11 61 65 15 26 62 55 42 43
14 15 26 41 15 15 31 55 42 61 11 13 15 31 62 41
16 11 13 15 12 11 13 66 21 36 15 24 11 35
35 62 22 13 11 64 15, 22 31 15 21 41 11 46 65
11 31 55 54 62 ' 13 65 62 13 66 16 11 13 15
14 62 24 63 36 46 65 65 12 15 21 24 15 15 63
62 63 15 11 63 14 21 24 62
62 ' 13 65 62 13 66
The above message is encrypted with an Ancient Cipher Square which uses two digit numbers as simple substititions for each letter or numerical digit. To create an Ancient Cipher Square, make a grid six columns wide and six rows tall. Starting in the top left box, write the letters A-F in the top row. Then continue down the far right column so that the letter "K" is in the lower right box. Then continue left, fill in the bottom row so that "L" is next to "K" and "P" is in the lower leftbox. Then continue filling in letters up the far left column so that "T" is right below "A." Continue spiraling in in this clockwise formation, filling in the letters in alphabetical order. After filling in Z continue with numbers 1, 2,3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 0. Finally, assign each column and row a number: above A-F, write the numbers 1-6,then from "A to P" down the left side assign each row the numbers 1-6. To use the Ancient Cipher Square, record the row number on the left, then the column number on the top to encode each letter or digit. To test your Square design, write down the codes for "A, J, V, X 4 and 8" and compare you numbers to the correct answers below:
A = 11
J = 56
V = 23
X = 25
4 = 52
8 = 34
If you would like a cipher-lesson plan that explains how to decode many of the ciphers used in mid-Missouri letterboxing, please e-mail me using the "Contact the Placer" link.