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Kelsung's Letterboxing Journal
Encouraging Newbies

Back in 2003, Don & Gwen planted a couple boxes in Palos Verdes along what the locals call "The Shipwreck Trail" because of the wreckage along the rocky shoreline from "The Dominator" that ran aground in the fog in 1961. The first box went missing after a short time, but the second lasted until at least 2009 or so.

Since it is one that Gwen let me adopt last year, I got a message from a new boxer who accurately described the location, but had found no box. Since I already had a few others I intended to get replaced, I told them it might take me a while, and they offered to plant a replacement for me. They sounded so enthusiastic, I said I'd do them one better and just retire the box, allowing them to create a new box of their own.

Months later, a new series was listed and I was excited to go check out what they'd done. The first two boxes were in relatively the same place as the original two, and so they primarily used the original directions and clues almost verbatim with landmark updates. But then they gave a lot more details on the wreck of "The Dominator" and planted a third box, making the hike nearly twice as long. I felt they did an excellent job of not just replacing, but improving the original series, and the stamps were excellent carves, particularly for a newbie.

They then let you know that beyond the bits of lumber you'd seen so far, much more wreckage could be found if you were willing to continue significantly further along the shoreline. This being the second time I'd made this hike, and having gone some distance further than the first time, I decided to soldier on. The weather was overcast and breezy, but still warm and very pleasant. I wasn't worried about the tide, and listening to the receding surf bubbling into the rocks sounded like the water taking a deep breath before exhaling the next crashing wave.

The further I went, the rougher the rocks became to hike along, but I got the occasional odd landmark of makeshift shanties that people had thrown together from lumber and debris. A couple chunks of wreckage kept me going, but the full hike ended up being further past the third box than the initial hike to it had been. About forty minutes beyond that last box, I spotted a very large chunk of metal in the distance and the hint of more beyond. At this point I felt like Charlton Heston at the end of "Planet Of The Apes" as I approached some larger pieces and rounded the corner to see a whole lot more:

It ended up being an exhausting hike, over three hours from start to return, including an uphill hike at the end, but honestly the best time I've had boxing all year.

Satellite View

UPDATE: The planter's response to this journal entry:

"Thank you so much for being so complimentary! You made my day! The idea of carving and planting boxes was a little intimidating to me, so I kept putting it off. Your kind words have inspired me to try again... (I'm off to Brazil soon, that place is wide open!)"

How cool is that?!

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