The Great Pumpkin Box  LbNA # 26245

Placed DateOct 6 2006
LocationHartsburg, MO
Found By Walkabout
Last Found Sep 3 2013
Hike Distance?

One weekend each fall, the tiny river town of Hartsburg, Missouri, population 108, swells to bursting with thousands of visitors in search of fall colors, crafts, good food, and – of course – pumpkins! The Hartsburg Pumpkin Festival happens the 2nd weekend of October annually transforming the town’s gravel streets into a huge outdoor fair and filling the air with sweet smells and live music. Fall is festival season, and among festivals, this one is a must see!

There are plenty of reasons to visit Hartsburg apart from its claim to fame as “Home of the Pumpkin Festival”. Hartsburg sits on the Katy Trail between McBaine and Jefferson City making it accessible by biking or hiking or via a scenic drive. The Cycle Depot on 2nd street (a necessary stop for anyone arriving on two wheels) sells bikes and gear, or a hot cup of coffee and some good advice on what type of tire you should be riding to kick up less gravel. From there head up to Main St. to visit the Summit Lake Winery (formerly Thornhill), have lunch and pack a bottle or two before heading home. Oh, and you might want to pick up this letterbox before leaving too!

To Hartsburg by car, head south on Hwy 63 from Columbia 13 miles to the turnoff for Rt. A on the right. Turn right on Rt. A and follow it 5 miles into Hartsburg. Rt. A becomes 2nd St and leads to the parking lot for the Katy Trail a few blocks down on the right where you should park to begin your hunt.

By bike, Hartsburg sits at the 153.6 mile marker and can be reached by traveling 16.3 miles SE of the Columbia MKT/ Katy trail intersection.

From the Hartsburg Katy Trail shelter head south (east) on the trail toward N. Jefferson. Cross over 2nd St. and continue until you find a sign with symbols welcoming north-bounders on two wheels or two feet. From this sign go another 3 paces down the trail then look left to spy a large stump with lots of dead wood about 8 paces off the trail. Head for this stump. With the stump on your right, facing the fencline, find a slanted toppled log a few arm-lengths to the left that looks as if it tried to swallow rocks for breakfast. Remove the rocks and see what it managed to gulp down.

**Before removing rocks, notice how they are placed and re-hide well. This is an exposed area so be sure to conceal the box completely, covering it so that no part of the box is visible. If you’re not able to re-create the puzzle-like rock formation that covers the box, try using some of the small rocks piled on the ground near its hiding spot.

***The 16th Annual Hartsburg Pumpkin Festival will be held October 14th and 15th, 2006.