Fox Hunt  LbNA # 22936

OwnerFox-fyr    
Placed DateMay 28 2006
CountyBoone
LocationColumbia, MO
Boxes2
Found By(hidden)

Clues

10/22/11: First box is on correct location. 2nd box is missing. Box was pulled by another boxer (SK8ER) in Fall 2008 who said he would put it back, but he has not put it back yet. If anyone happens to see him, please ask him to put my box back.

Now onto the clue:
One can't have a trail name such as Fox-fyr and not plant a box about Foxes. Like its namesake, this Fox has spent a lot of time hiding along the wayside, waiting for the just the right moment to pounce upon the unsuspecting. When you find the box, you'll see why the Fox chose this spot in which to hide.

This letterbox is located in south central Columbia. The hike is about .3 miles, half on gravel path, half-off trail with about 20 feet elevation change and suitable for young children. A compass is not required. Bring your own ink.

This clue uses a Playfair Cipher (named after the person who invented it). While it takes a while to learn how the cipher works, once you get it you can encode and decode messages quite quickly. Since it is a polyalphabetic cipher (each letter in the cipher text may represent different letters in the original or plaintext), it makes decoding difficult unless you have the key.

The basis of this cipher is a grid pattern which is 4x6 (other grids such as 5x5, 3x7, 4x7 or some other combination can also be used). Letters and sometimes numbers and/or symbols are filled in the grid randomly. Thus to decode a message using the grid, you need to know the number of rows and columns and the order in which the letters were entered into the grid.

To make the grid fr the Foxhunt LB, create a grid with four rows and six columns and insert the following letters in the order in which they appear below (or copy and paste them into a word document and change the font to Courier so the letters line up)
Top Row: F O X K E Y
2ND Row: H U N T C P
3RD Row: A B W D G M
4TH Row: L Z R V I S
The letters J and Q are not used.

To encode a message using the grid write the original message in paired segments. You will then use the grid to find the cipher text letters to represent each pair of original letters.

HOW TO ENCODE MESSAGES:
Letís practice by encoding the words CHICKEN DINNER.
First separate the message into paired segments: CH IC KE ND IN NE RX.
(If there are an uneven number of letters, as in this case, add one extra letter, called a null, to the end of the message).

Next find each pair of letters in the grid:
If both original paired letters are in the SAME ROW, write down the letters to the RIGHT of each. For the letters to the right of the last column, use the letters in the first column. Thus the first pair CH = PU. and the third pair KE = EY.

If both original paired letters are in the SAME COLUMN, write the letters BELOW each letter. Thus the second pair IC= EG and the last pair RX=XN. For the letters below the bottom row, use the letters in the top row.

If the original paired letters are in DIFFERENT ROWS AND COLUMNS, take the first letter in the pair and move left or right until you find the column which contains the second letter. Write down the letter at that intersection. Then take the second letter of the original pair and move left or right until you find the column which contains the first letter. Write down the letter at that intersection. Thus ND=TW, IN=RC etc..

The cipher text for CHICKEN DINNER would thus be
PU EG EY TW RC CX XN.

HOW TO DECODE THE CIPHER TEXT.
To decode a message, do the reverse if letters are in the same row or column, and exactly the same thing if they are in different rows or columns:
Find the pair of ciphertext letters in the grid.
If they are in the SAME ROW, write the letter to the LEFT of each.
If they are in the SAME COLUMN, write the letter ABOVE each.
If they are in DIFFERENT ROWS AND COLUMNS, take the first letter of the cipher text and move left or right until you find the column that contains the second letter. Write down the letter at that intersection. Then take the second letter of the original pair and move left or right until you find the column that contains the first letter. Write down the letter at that intersection.

To practice, decode the following message using the grid above (answer is at the end of this clue)

CU FC UB TW LM IX WV BD RC WC FG XN.

FINALLY WE HAVE ARRIVED AT THE REAL CLUE
(Riders mount up, itís time to hunt the fox)

To begin, take Interstate-70, exit 126: Providence Road (aka Highway 163). Then decode the following using the instructions above:

HD EY NS KZ VG XC GC ZX BG ZY NC UC FZ YO UK CW IX XC GY BG XB VP DF YO SV VP IF KH . CF BG UX VN UF UX NC XI ZX BG UK VS AC UK TU NT NV VG IC. HM VX DH CL AC UY RC CK HM VX.

UX CV GC HS MF WI UB TW XU CL ZZ UK IF KH CX MR CF VH XI VP LW EI HD CF BG WH GW ML EY UD LF IH UB VN UK VS AC HK ZX AW ML EY UD LF IH UB VN CN XW IF KH XU UK WI DL FI NV GL VH CF PU ML CE ZY WN.

Then continue with the clues below:
Follow trail to end. Oh, no, the dogs have lost the scent. The fox must have tried to hide its scent in water and leave no prints by escaping down the rocky drainage. Back track to last major bend and notice culvert feeding into drainage. Proceed down drainage to where it empties into a larger drainage. Continue down larger drainage. Pass some low minor outcrops right and possibly over some fallen trees in creek until you see a large ledge-like outcrop on your right with an oak guardian on top. Under this ledge, about five feet above creek level, notice a pocket filled with two flat limestone rocks. These sit in front of a smaller chert rock. Tucked within this cradle is your Fox Kit.

But whereís Mama Fox? Perhaps she thought she was safe and went out to get a Chicken Dinner. Youíll have to check the logbook to find out.

Happy hunting! After you find the box, please let me know how my foxes are faring. I would love to hear short stories about the hunt and the decoding process.

Answer to practice cipher: The hounds are drawing near(x).