Evolution: a 2-box series
"Hey, Roller Girl, check out the stamp I just carved. What do you think we should do with it?"
"Cut it apart and plant it as a series."
"How about by the pond?"
"You know. The one named after an English queen, empress of India."
"Oh, you mean that small 'Lake' off of the North Cedar Lake regional trail here in Saint Louis Park?"
"Yeah, that one."
"Sure. Let's go."
Later. In the parking lot.
"Well, that's a bummer, Roller Girl. A playground. A community garden. But not one good hiding spot to be found along the trail."
"Why don't we try around the other side of the lake, Dame Lac?"
"We can't. The path doesn't go all the way around. Let's just go. We'll find somewhere else."
"Wait! Look there!"
"Over there. Along the edge of the parking lot. Right side, if you face the lake. There's a social trail heading kind of north-ish, I think."
"Cool! Let's check it out. I wonder what's back there."
Dame Lac and Roller Girl head into the wild tangle between the parking lot and the railroad tracks, and around the back side of the lake.
“I’ll count steps, Roller Girl. You look for good landmarks.”
“Look, there’s a fallen tree along the left side, thin and high up. Sort of reminds me of a fence.”
“That was 30 steps. Let’s keep going.”
“Oh, look. Three parallel branches lying on the ground across the path.”
“That was 22 more steps. Let’s keep going.”
“There are more parallel branches lying on the ground, to the right of the path.”
“That was 10 steps. I don’t see any good hiding places yet. Do you?”
“Not yet. Let’s keep going. There has to be some great places in this wild tangle.”
“Look, two branches across the path again. How many steps was that?”
“Eighteen. See any good hiding spots?”
"What about that stump over there?"
"You mean the one up ahead to the left of the path about eight steps away? In that tangle of plants?"
"Yeah, it looks hollow..."
"No, that's way too obvious. It just screams ‘letterbox.’ Too obvious. Let's go a little further. There's got to be much better hiding places farther in."
Roller Girl and Dame Lac continue to follow the path as it meanders along, past some standing water from a culvert opening and up a small hill. They go past a thin 4-trunk tree on the right of the path and under one of its trunks that has broken off and is barring the way.
“Look, Dame Lac, Ray and Joy love each other.”
“Or they did in 2011, Roller Girl. Wonder if they still do… I'm not sure I'd be impressed with a heart written in sharpie on a broken tree... Wonder if Joy was...”
“Don’t be a such poop-head, mom.”
“You should start looking for landmarks again. I’ll count steps again.”
“Look, there’s a gray rock nestled in the roots of a multi-trunked tree over on the right a little ways off the path. That would make a good landmark.”
“That was 18 steps, I think. You’re right. Let’s use that as the landmark for the first one. Why don’t you hide it? I’ll hide the next one.”
Roller Girl heads off the path, to the left towards the water. A few minutes later she comes back.
“Done. It’s hidden. I had to use a twisty-tie to help hang it inside the split of that split tree over there.”
“Where? I don’t see any split tree.”
“Go stand against the landmark tree with your heels to the gray stone in its roots. Look in the same direction as the branch over your head, the one coming up from the rock. You’re facing southeast, right?”
“I think so. I’m not an expert with the compass, though.”
“Look straight ahead. Now do you see it?”
“I think so. It’s kind of hard to spot. It’ll be hard to find when there’s more greenery in spring and summer."
“That's ok. It's a good spot anyway. Let's keep going. Let me know if you see any good landmarks for the second box.”
The two letterboxers continue along the path, commenting on landmarks as they walk past them.
“Clump of four trees on the left. What do you think?”
“Nah, let’s keep going. I kind of want to see how far back this path goes.”
“Look, a root running along the left edge of the path.”
“Oh, look at that big tree on the right. It used to be a double-trunked tree but one side fell down and is pointing toward the railroad tracks.”
“Oh, look at these two trees on the left at the very edge of the path. They form a ‘V’.”
“Keep going, keep going.”
“Wow. Look at that. A hobo hangout.”
“I don’t see any hobos.”
“I don’t either. But there’s that open area. With a railroad tie in the middle, like a bench. And the circle of small stones, like someone tried to make a fire pit. But those stones are too small to do any good as a fire pit.”
“Don’t hide the last letterbox here. Muggles probably hang out back here. You don’t want this box to get muggled. Especially not this one.”
“I know! I’ll use those two trees that made a ‘V’ on the edge of the path that we passed a little while ago.”
The two head back the way they came.
“Look up ahead. See that tree on the edge of the path! It’s got a huge knot in the shape of a heart on it. Wow!”
“Hey, isn’t that one of the ‘V’ trees you were going to use as the landmark for the second box?”
“Yeah, it sure is. Cool. Can’t mistake this pair of trees with that heart-shaped knot on this one. Now, where should the letterbox go? Humm…”
Dame Lac heads off the path, toward the railroad tracks. A few minutes later, she comes back.
“Done. Can you see it from the path?”
“No. Where did you hide it?”
“Stand between the two trees, with the heart tree on your left. Face the railroad tracks. Now, slowly turn your head to the right until you are looking mostly north. Do you see that multi-trunked tree with one tall trunk still standing and one broken off kind of high up? The one with a fallen branch or trunk lying across its trunks.”
“Um, I think so. If I head down the path to my right a little ways, is there an easier route to the tree? About 8 big steps up the hill? And the tree is kind of near the edge of the gravel along the railroad tracks?”
“Yeah, that’s the one. I hung the letterbox in its planter’s pouch on a knob of wood on the fallen branch, right in the small triangle formed by the fallen branch, the fork on the branch that seems to be ‘holding on to’ the broken trunk, and the broken trunk on that tree. I’m a little worried about that one, since you can see it fairly easily if you are close enough. And I didn’t have a twisty-tie to help make it hang more securely. But I couldn’t see it from the railroad tracks, or from the main path. I hope it’ll do OK there.”
“It should be OK. Maybe some finders will be nice enough to let us know what they think of the clues and hiding places in case we need to change anything.”
“I hope so.”
Roller Girl and Dame Lac head down the path back the way they came, and back to the parking lot.
All the stamps in this series were carved as one piece, then cut apart. (Excess rubber was trimmed from around the top and upper part of the sides only, but not down by the bottom edge.) Stamp 1 is the left-most image in the series. Just line the bottom edge of the next stamp up with the line under the image before it and you should be good to go.