TEFFT MEMORIAL PRESERVE
I have been granted permission to plant some letterboxes in this very special area. Go to http://www.nature.org/wherewework/northamerica/states/ohio/preserves/art3098.html
to find out a little more about this unique area. This could be considered an extreme letterbox site, in that there are no trails, so you will be using compass directions and landmarks, and moving cross-country to find these boxes. You will be going up and down hills, there will be briars, brush, poison ivy, etc. It is kid friendly to the extent that, if the kids like hiking cross-country through somewhat rough terrain.
To find this neat area you will start from the junction of SR 7 and SR 339. Head north on SR 339 and in about 200 yards from the SR 7 overpass you will see a road coming in on your left. It is called School House Rd.(Belpre Twp. 15) There are a bunch of signs here for churches, community building, etc. Turn left onto School House Rd and head out. In 1.5 miles the road makes a sharp right turn and you will see a new housing development. Continue on out School House Rd and at about 4.1 miles out, the road changes over to a gravel road, Decateur Twp. Rd 15. Then at the 4.5 mile mark there is a gravel road, that is un-named, coming in from the right, down a hill. Turn here and go up the hill another 3 tenths of a mile and you will see a pull off spot on your left. Just enough room for a car. There is one of those green telephone junction boxes next to a wooden post, with 4 evergreen(hemlock) trees just beyond, just ahead of the pull off spot.
Please bring a compass, rag, stamp pad, pen, insect/tick repellent.
As I said, this may be considered an extreme hunt to some. No trails, things grow profusely if conditions are right and can thus make it hard to see clue points. Max. elevation change will be about 150 feet. Your round trip distance will be about 1.25 miles. Also, hunting is not condoned, but neither is it outlawed here. So be aware if you come Boxing during the hunting seasons, that you may not be the only one out looking for “treasures”. I would especially avoid Ohio deer season.
Once you have pulled off and parked, look behind your car and you should see an orange/pink warning pipe sticking up out of the ground, this is number one. Walk back down the road, about 1 tenth mile, to the second of these orange/pink plastic pipes sticking up(actually it is number three, but number two has been broken off at near ground level and you may/not see that one). This #2(3) pipe is your starting point. From here take a compass heading of about 100* and walk across the road and up the bank into the woods. You should come to two med. sized oak trees that have been hit by lightening(See the scars?)
From these two trees head at 38* to a small evergreen (hemlock) tree and continue walking up this hillside. On both sides of you are little gullies, so stay in the middle of this “Land Between The Gullies”. If you stay in the middle, soon this “Land Between…” narrows, as the two gullies start to come together. Up ahead of you, to the right, you should see a group of 5 trees that are almost growing as one. Down in between the bases of these tree(s) covered with leaves and bark you will find your first box, THE NATURE CONSEVANCY. You are within site of human activity so be very cautious and discreet when you find, do your stamping, and re-hiding. Please, do carefully reseal and properly re-hide this box.
Now, from this group of tree(s) take a compass heading of 65* and go to the top of the hill. As you travel up the hill, off to your left, you will see a large, many branched, oak tree. Once you have reached the top, you will be on a narrow ridge that runs left and right(north/south).
If you stayed on the compass heading, near the top you will be close to a large rotting tree on the ground with a 15-20 foot rotting trunk just behind it on the downhill side. If you turn left and look you should see Something Rare In The Woods. If you don’t see anything, walk to the left towards the highest point of this ridge till you do see it. Standing next to this oddity take a compass bearing of 30* and about 16 steps away is a fallen rotting tree with the root base closest to you. You will probably be alone and out of sight of prying eyes but check around and be sure. Go to the root base and you will see a stone just under the root base. Remove the stone and in the cavity you will find a black pouch with another SOMETHING RARE IN THE WOODS—AIN’T I CUTE? Do your stamping and carefully reseal the baggies and re-hide the pouch in the hole and replace rock.
Now from where you “Appreciated Nature” take a compass heading of 170* and walk down the ridge top. On your way you should pass two trees growing as a V on your right. This ridge then drops down and you will cross over a fallen, rotting tree. After crossing the log hold over to the left center of this ridge and continue on down the ridge top. Watch carefully now as you hike down and you will come to two fallen trees that form an X on the ground. To their right you will see a large dead trunk. To the left of the X trees is a rotting log with the root end closest to you, and up ahead of you is another downed tree, the upper part of which has a “humped up” section. From your starting point to here is less than 200 yds.
Turn left here and head down this sloping side ridge.( I say side ridge because there are deep gullies on either side of you.) To know if you are on the right track, just before you start to drop down, look on your left. You should see some downed tree trunks that form a triangle on the ground. Now go on down this “ridge”, stay in the middle till you see a small hemlock tree. (You will cross over a fallen tree just before the hemlock.). Just on ahead of the hemlock, about 15-17 steps, you will see a tree trunk with a bad case of scoliosis.
Go to this poor tree and take a heading of 132*. Ahead you should see 2 live med. sized oak trees close together, with a rotting trunk on the ground to their left. Go to the far end of this rotting trunk that touches up against a live tree (off to your left you will see a mound of dirt).
From here take a compass bearing of 138* and walk about 22 steps to another rotting trunk on the ground. The root base of this trunk has a mound of dirt next to it and another tree has fallen on it. Now, follow this dead trunk to its top, where one of its top branches lies between 3 living tree trunks(a small, a medium, and a large tree). Continue heading at 138* and in about 35 steps you should pass close to the Indian Signal Tree. You can see a pond and little trailer from here too, if leaves aren't too thick. Continue on this compass heading till you come to the fence line that separates these woods from the open field.
Turn left and follow the fence line on down the hill into the ravine.(About 50 yds) As you follow the fence line soon you will come to a large living tree that the fence is attached to, and then to a wooden fence post with the fence still attached. There are metal fence posts on up ahead to the right. Stop here at the wooden post. You will see from here that you are in a very deep, rocky and beautiful hemlock ravine. Take time now to enjoy the view or after you find the last Letterbox.
To get to the last box, you will start from the wooden fence post. Take a heading of 322* and walk about 25 steps to two fallen rotting trees, one of which has a root base that sticks up out of the ground.
From the root base take heading 334* and go about 15 steps to a med. sized living oak tree. From the backside of this tree stay on a heading of 334* and walk till you see another fallen rotting tree with a large root base exposed. This tree is about 30 yds. off( about 55 steps).
When you get to this tree, stand in the hole the roots made when the tree fell, and keep your 334* bearing. There is a smaller beech tree ahead of you about 9 steps away.
Check to make sure you are not being observed and go to this beech and look to the right side at the base. Under the rotting tree that lies next to the beech you will find TIGER OF THE WOODS. You can also look on the left side of the beech and there is a stone covering the cavity formed by the dead log and beech. You can remove this stone to get to TIGER OF THE WOODS, too. Just be sure to get the stone back in it proper place and covered with leaves. Do your stamping and reseal and replace the box. Again, enjoy this beautiful spot before heading out.
From this letterbox you can go straight up the hill and you will be very close to the Indian Signal Tree and you can head on up to the ridge top and back out to your starting point.
I hope you had a good time seeking these extreme boxes and the area in which they were located. Please contact me and let me know if you went out and what you found, any problems you encountered, interesting sights, and what you think of this hike(good and bad).
When you get to your car, if you are good, you can turn around here,( I can do a 2 point turn around with my car)don’t get stuck in the ditches, or drive on out this gravel road quite a ways till you can find a good turn around spot. Go back to the intersection with School House Road and retrace your route back to SR 7 and SR 339, or turn right and take School House Road out to SR 555.
If you have an Ohio gazetteer you might want to go on out this gravel road and explore your way back to civilization.