Perhaps a silver lining of being quarantined for almost two months is finding a renewed love for the outdoors. Each weekend my family and I have been blazing various trails throughout Connecticut. So far our favorite adventure is to hunt for waterfalls, that’s a big pay off, or unique rocks, Geology nerds over here.
This past weekend we decided to take our adventuring skills to a new height. The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has created a Geocaching/Letterboxing program, and we were eager to find out what it was all about.
Here are the basics of Geocaching/Letterboxing. Before you go, grab a notebook, stamp (we used a Mickey Mouse stamp), pen, and bug spray. Decide on a park and follow the clues. Once you locate a box, use the ink pad provided to leave your stamp and to use their stamp in your book. Place the box back where you found it for the next letterbox adventurers.
For this hike, we chose the Meshomasic State Park in East Hampton, CT. The clues on the official CT DEEP website give great turn by turn directions taking you on a journey through this beautiful 9000 acre state park. We saw bright blue true swallows, a pond, beaver dam, and very tall trees. There was also plenty of beautiful quiet….and mosquitoes. When we found the general area where the box is located, we had quite a hard time finding it! But with determination and a little patience we did not leave empty handed!
Watching carefully for rattlesnakes (not kidding, they live here), we moved a few sticks near a big tree and voila! Our first letterbox! Feeling very victorious we went ahead and looked inside. There was a mini notebook, a stamp with the number 1 on it (indicating the first in the CT DEEP Letterbox Program), and an ink pad. We stamped the notebook we brought with us and also left our Mickey stamp in their book with the date. It was fun to see who else had visited! We carefully closed and returned the box to it’s specific location, feeling very proud of ourselves.
Spoilers and Tips
For future cachers who may have hit a frustration point, here is advice for finding this first box in the CT DEEP Letterbox Program. It’s actually a quick find.
Spoiler alert! Read no further if you want to keep hunting!
- There was a shorter ride to get to this particular letterbox spot, but the drive was half the journey. I highly recommend it.
- Follow the directions on the state clue page.
- When you get to “park at the Triangle / North Mulford Road ” it gets a little murky. The clues are not very helpful in finding the right trail, because there are a few in the area, and many boulders. Here is some help. When you see the North Mulford Road sign look left. There is a circle of boulders, and a yellow gate. Park there.
- Walk back over to the North Mulford Road sign. You’ll see some more large rocks/small boulders to the right of the sign. There is a packed dirt path. Take this one. There is a rambling brook on your right (and it is SO PRETTY).
- Walk just under 200 feet (our perception of what 200 feet looks like is way off).
- On your left you’ll see a big rock (they call it an outcropping, we didn’t know what that really was going into this) and a tall tree with a rotting log. The log is on the left of the tree and in two or more pieces, and it’s really rotten.
- At the time of this post, the box is on the left of the rotting log about 5 yards off the path. There are a handful of 2 inch diameter sticks covering it and dry leaves.
- The box is in a large Ziploc bag.
- If you reach the small waterfall on your right, you went too far.
- Please keep your eyes peeled because this is rattlesnake territory.
You can find out more about the CT DEEP Letterbox Program by clicking here.
Our go to resource for hikes in Connecticut is the book 50 Hikes In Connecticut.
If you’d like to find Geocaches/Letterboxes in your state check out geocaching.com!
by: Rebecca C