Sunday, September 6, 2009

Did You Find the Treasure?

"Mom, did you find the treasure?" asked Jack about a hundred times on our letterboxing hunt. This was our first hunt and I wasn't sure he would understand the concept of hidden treasure. Oh, he understood.

It must be a common theme on cartoons, because he asked me fifty times where the "x" is (you know, x marks the spot). I had the "map" in hand and compass/watch on my wrist. We had the journal and stamp in the backpack. For those who don't know, letterboxing is sort of like a treasure hunt. Instead of finding gold, you find a box, with a personalized stamp and a journal. You stamp their stamp in your journal, and then you stamp your stamp in their journal. You can also write a little note. It's fun to read the other notes. And then your journal will have a record (and tons of memories) of your letterboxing hunts. Go to www.letterboxing.org for more info and locations.

We set out on our first hunt to Pintail Lake. We had been to this lake once before, but it was 2 years ago, when the boys were 1 1/2 and 4 months old. Gee, I just don't know why they don't remember it. I let them discover the whole lake/trail first, since they didn't remember it. When we were in the observation hut, we saw a duck swimming lazily by. The boys enjoyed watching him dive under water.

Then we started our real hunt. We counted steps. We used the compass. We measured. We hunted. We crouched real low, under the branches of an old grandpa juniper. All to no avail. It did appear that a tree had toppled recently, and the box was supposed to be in the tree. So, I think, it had been crushed. But honestly, my treasure was spending time with my boys. Enjoying God's nature. Enjoying seeing them explore and learn. Enjoying talking with them and seeing the world through their eyes. Sniffle, sniffle. "But mom, did you find the treasure?"

Undaunted, we set off an another letterbox hunt. I was warned that letterboxes may not be in their locations due to acts of nature or theft. Either way, I was prepared with a list and "map" of 6 letterbox hunts in our little town. So, off we went.

The second letterbox hunt was to Old Jacque Ranch. Very fitting. Locals, I'm not going to give anything away. You have to find it on your own. We found the first two chimneys with no problem. But, the box is hidden near the third chimney. All three (myself, Jack, and Josh) of us were looking for this third chimney. "Mom, did you find the treasure?" Jack yelled from the ruins of the old log cabin.

And then, there it was. If you get close to the irrigation ditch you can barely see the third chimney far off. I crossed the ditch just fine. I held Jack's hand and he jumped across just fine. Josh, well, Josh is Josh. There is a reason Josh was wearing big hiking boots. Josh is my nature boy. He doesn't know how to stay on a trail. He doesn't quite care to. He always walks into things because he is never looking where he is going. He is so interested in the bugs and the feathers and the flowers. Sweet boy. Needless to say, I'm glad he had those big hiking boots on.

We trekked over to the chimney and used our compass. 70 paces. 50 degrees. Face north. On the Southwest side of ......... It's all very technical. All very cool for adventurers at heart. And then, we found it! Just where the directions said it would be! There was tension in the air as we opened the box and found the stamp and journal.

We stamped in their journal and stamped in ours. We read the journal. So cool. Then, we hid it back where it was. On the way back to the van, the boys asked if we could have our picnic there. I got out the blanket and food and we feasted under the shade of an old juniper. As we lay there, Jack labeled the clouds. Josh played in the mud. Mostly, we just talked. My boys are growing up and they have thoughts of their own. Sigh.

"Mom, did you find the treasure?" Yeah, baby, I found my treasure. Sniffle, sniffle.

Click on the play button below to watch our letterbox adventure.



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where Glory meets my suffering