Max Patch  LbNA # 5352

Placed DateApr 26 1998
LocationHot Springs, NC
Found By DevilinDog
Last Found Nov 16 2015
Hike Distance?

(Please do not put this box into a plastic bag. Thank you.)

NOTE: The B.A.B.E. (Birth of American Boxing Event)will be held Saturday, April 26, 2008 in Hot Springs to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the seeding of this box. Please go to for details (such as they are) and registration.

This was one of the very first -if not THE first -letterboxes placed in the U.S. Our grateful thanks to the original placer, a member of the Sewanee Orienteering Society (TN). The original stamp was Goofy (commercial). It was replaced the next month by a sunburst (also commercial). That went missing thanks to an under-educated (as far as letterboxing goes) geocacher, who took it and left a nice little wallet thing. On April 14, 2003 I replaced it with a hand-carved stamp, which reflects some of the history of Max Patch.

The 1-800 number originally listed for finders to call is now the number of a Best Western Motel, so I've deleted it from the original clues, which are below (if you are not an orienteer, skip these and go on to the second set of clues below):

Depart from All Saints and pick up an Angel before leaving the Domain. Descend through the myst along I-24, 75 and 40 across the concrete fords of the rivers Sequatchie, Tennessee, Hiawasee, Holston and French Broad up stream to the west line of North Carolina. About 6.5 miles up the Pigeon River gorge exit at Harmon Den. Watch out for monster logging rigs and pick'em up trucks taking their half of the road out of the middle and racing around the blind curves. Carefully travel the gravel thunder road into the Pisgah National Forest 8.2 miles to the base of Max Patch Mountain meadow.

Ascend to the beautiful 4629-foot summit to the USG triangulation survey station brass marker. Relax at the Patch and soak in the solitude. Enjoy the magnificent view of Mt. Sterling at the northern boundary of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Mt. Mitchell near Asheville, NC and Cumberland Gap on the Kentucky line. Picnic, explore the top of the Patch and the backside bowls and witness sunset or sunrise or both from the same spot while you prepare to search. A cup of hot tea is helpful.

At the brass marker orient to 120 degrees and trek 33 paces to the Appalachian Trail (AT) path on the edge of the top. Follow the AT at 44 degrees 292 paces down the tor to the routed wooden AT sign. Find heading 280 degrees and trek the loop trail/road towards the trailhead 463 paces to three trees at a washout and springhead on the right. Stop and look for the great white rock ahead 52 paces. Leave the road and walk left to stand atop this white quartz monolith. Find 30 degrees and walk 56 paces over blackberries or around if you fear thorns and rattle snakes to the nearest corner of a concrete structure. After finding 82 degrees take 14 paces across the wet to a large based old soul tree. Beware of the crick dragons, the razor sharp tusks of the wallowing Russian boars and irate revenuers and rangers in hot pursuit of moonshine booty and deer slaying poachers. Look for the Bud, the barbs and the clitter. Under the green moss covered rock is the first box on the Patch. After stamping up, please carefully replace the letterbox into its hiding spot for the next boxer and cover your tracts in retreat.

We wish you good trekking and successful hunts. Can you solve the riddle?

Carry on,

"Sewanee on Sunday - SOS #1"
Sewanee Orienteering society
Post Office Box 3202
Sewanee, Tennessee 37375-3202

OK - letterboxers - new clues! For the rest of the non-orienteer boxing community:

Park at the Max Patch trailhead. Be discreet; this is a very popular hiking spot. A leftist attitude helps, along with the lyrics to "99 Bottles of Beer on The Wall." Let the song put rhythm in your step. When about half the beer is gone, you should be near a trickle. Walk a very short distance directly down the trickle - oh, go on and get your feet wet! - to a tree on the right with babies shooting up all around her. Climb up and around and under the heavy mossy cradle you'll find a bit of LbNA history!