Letterboxing Clues Part I

Letterboxing is a trail game that started about 150 years ago in the high moors of England. I have hidden unique, hand-carved rubber stamps along my route for you to find. Find the box and stamp your logbook. Then, leave your mark in the letterbox logbook and read what others before you have said. If you are new to letterboxing, read more here.  Etiquette: Please be sure to reseal all baggies, close all lids tightly, and rehide very well. Don't let anyone see you. Don't tell anyone nearby what you are doing. Do not entrust children to rehide properly. If the box is wet, let me know. Thank you, and happy hunting.

I highly recommend you have a copy of CFPA's CT Walk Book, West Edition, (UPDATE: The 20th edition is out, but the 19th edition is still a good reference, with more detailed maps) which they will mail to you for free if you join CFPA. Some of these clues will be easier with the book. Remember, these trails are maintained by CFPA and its volunteers. Support the trails, buy a Walk Book.

"Along the NET"  One box for each town the mainline NET passes through in Connecticut, south to north.  If I plant any other boxes in a town, a link to the clues on Atlas Quest will be provided.

1 - Guilford: Timberlands, where the bluebird, canary, and cardinal meet. Fly at 105 True to the Wolf Tree, then   SE to the smaller cousin close by. (In Guilford, see also:  "Eastern Border Fault"  and the Madison & North Branford boxes below, accessible via the Rt 77 Bluff Head parking area.)

2 - Madison: The Menunkatuck strays into Madison for only a short ways.  From the stream crossing, head southbound 250 feet to a very labeled tree. You want the 5-sister oak nearby.

3 - North Branford:  On Totoket, go northbound from the junction with the Lone Pine Trail. At the top of an impressive gorge (red beds meet trap rock here), just before a trio of trios, peer up hill for a twin.

4 - Durham: On Trimountain, enjoy the view at the boulder, then continue northbound not far to an outcrop on the right before the next lookout. Check between a twin and the outcrop, under a big flat rock. Please rehide really well! (In Durham, see also: Wadsworth Farm Road)

5 - Wallingford:  CFPA says this mountain is named after an Indian word for black. Black like the raven, dweller of cliffs.  Black like the pond at its foot. Black like the ink you will want to use. Find the first high point north of the powerlines and Witch's Den.  Looking at the best sitting rock, spy a strong cedar behind it to the left with a stump, a log, and a small boulder. 

6 - Middlefield: This is the right half of a stamp, so leave room in your logbook for the left stamp.  At the top of Mt. Higby (south peak) the cliff cantilevers out precariously just large enough for one person to stand on. Don't do that.  Instead, turn to 50 degrees and go 50 steps the closest hemlocks.  The other half of the stamp is on the other half of the mountain (see Middletown). Half of Higby is Middletown and half is in Middlefield.  Preston Notch is the boundary line.

7 - Middletown:  This is the left half of a stamp; the other half is on the other half of the mountain. From the Natural Bridge at the top of Mt. Higby (north peak), head northbound briefly to a dip in the trail, then turn to follow the fault/fracture line until you are confronted with a big leaning ash on some rock right in front of you.  You will want to step up on the rock and check next to the tree. 

8 - Meriden: No sooner have you left the towering steel behind you, when a hungry cyclops stands before you guarding the passageway north.  There is something very familiar about the scene ..then you remember it's on the cover of the CT Walk Book West (the cyclops was wisely cropped off). Turn around and head 174° true for 18 steps to the top of a low boulder with a tree growing around it and check the very center of the 4-way crack.  Please use stealth!  The stamp is my favorite of the series so far and is after an old post card.  I recommend you color it up with color pencils when you get home as shown so you get that old postcard look. And remember to watch out for the Black Dog of the Hanging Hills -- this is his peak. "Once for joy, twice for sorrow, and three times for death."
See also: "CT Walk Book West" hidden up on Chauncey. Good luck with that. 

9 - Berlin:  Rather than plunging steeply down the north side of this laconic mountain on blue or heading back towards the greens via the alternate route, follow those happy blue blazes back along the ridge not far, not far at all, skirting the place they don't want you to enter, to a healthy cairn. Look from the cairn to the spider roots and directly in line behind them is a former 2-sister that I went all geeky on when I was with Teeker ("look at the bark growth curled around that old cut stump!").  

10 - Southington: Rock climbers may head up via the "Unconquerable Crack" or "Weissner Slab" but you will be safer sticking to blue.  Find your way to the base of the Small Cliff, and before taking the stairs that lead towards the top where there are amazing views and a memorial to a fallen climber, follow the unmarked path along the base of the massive rock face, past the big 2-sister and check behind the largest tree on the right.   **Warning - there is a short but tricky scramble located between the top of the cliff and the base. Do not attempt when it is wet, and use extreme caution if it is dry.
See also: "2012" - two boxes that are a couple of my favorite plantings, up on the ridge overlooking Shuttle Meadow Reservoir.

(continue to Clues Part II)

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