Search Results Help
The results page returns a lot of useful information to help you determine if a listed letterbox is one you'd be interested in pursuing, or one that should be put on the back-burner—all at a quick glance.
Name & Location
This is a straight-forward section with the name and location of the letterbox. The location may use odd names you aren't familiar with, even if you're local to the area. This website supports a huge number of cities, and many of them are actually small areas of larger cities than even locals aren't familiar with. But every entry should be findable with Yahoo! Maps or MapQuest, so they really do exist.
Why, you might ask, use the essentially unknown names at all? It narrows down exactly where the letterbox is located. Someone might say a letterbox is planted in Seattle, but Seattle is a big city. To drive from one end to the other could take hours. So it helps to separate letterboxes using parts of the city so those that want to find letterboxes in West Seattle, for instance, can focus their search specifically on boxes in that area. Ideally, only letterboxes in downtown Seattle would actually be listed as Seattle letterboxes. It also makes the distances calculated from the focal point of the search to the letterbox in question more accurate. If a person searches for boxes in Seattle, it shows West Seattle boxes as 3.5 miles away—a good number, at least as the crow flies. But if that same box were listed as simply a Seattle letterbox—technically accurate since West Seattle is only a part of Seattle, it would show the distance as 0.0 miles, rather misleading if you're in downtown Seattle looking for letterboxes within easy walking distance!
Certain characteristics are indicative of all letterboxes, and these attributes help the creator of the letterbox 'market' their boxes towards those people who are most likely to appreciate them. While a mother of four pushing a stroller might want to get a letterbox that requires a strenuous 20-mile hike over rugged terrain, it might not be practical! Rather than bombard people with every letterbox in a region, creators can specify who might be interested in their boxes, and those looking for boxes can request only boxes matching their needs be displayed.
The table below provides detailed information about what each graphical attribute stands for:
A drive-by letterbox, as defined on this website, is a letterbox that requires perhaps 5 to 10 minutes to nab from the time you park your car. A drive-by letterbox will be hidden within eyesite of where one parks, or at least so close that if it were raining, the person would take the box to their car to stamp in. An urban letterbox, as defined here, is located in an area where one is unlikely to experience "The Great Outdoors". A rest area in the middle of nowhere is an urban box. A large city park with trees and hiking trails is not an urban box. The 'setting' for the letterbox is urban, not necessarily the location, if that makes any sense. This letterbox is located indoors—perfect for those cold, wet days when you really do not want to go outside. A snow-friendly box means that the box, in theory, can be found even with the added challenge of being surrounded by a layer of snow. Take this icon with a huge grain of salt, however. One person may consider a five-mile cross-country ski trip as 'snow friendly,' while another person may not. In theory, almost all boxes can be found in the snow if you're willing to put in enough time and effort, so consider this icon a 'recommendation' rather than an option set in stone. As in, "I'd recommend that people look for this box when there's snow on the ground." A pet friendly letterbox is located in an area that allows pets to roam, usually with a leash requirement. This letterbox is available only for a limited time. A limited time letterbox is either a box that is planted for only part of the year or a box that you intend to retire within the next three months. Letterboxes planted in regions that are covered in snow for nine months of the year or in stores that require a visit during store hours do not count as limited time boxes. This letterbox is easily accessible by people on bicycles. The path or area does not necessarily need to be paved, but it will generally be flat and easy to navigate on a regular bike, well away and safe from vehiclure traffic. The trail or path to the letterbox should be accessible by wheelchairs the entire way. However, the letterbox itself may not be reachable from a wheelchair, and those using them may need assistance from others to actually acquire the box. You'll be expected to use your head on this one in order to decipher the clue. The code might be easy or hard—this image promises nothing on that count—the only thing it does promise is that the clue won't be straight-forward as most. Special gear required includes anything that most letterboxers would not normally carry under normal circumstances such as a ladder, scuba diving equipment, or rock climbing gear. Compasses do not count as 'special' gear! The creator promises you'll find a genuine, 100% hand-carved stamp in the letterbox and not a store-bought or custom-made stamp. The letterbox contains a unique, custom-made stamp. The letterbox contains a store-bought stamp rather than a hand-carved or custom-made stamp. The creator does not specify the location of the nearest city for this letterbox. They may have specified the state or country of its location, but you're expected to discover the actual starting point for the hunt yourself. This picture represents a bonus box, where the clue for the box will be found (usually) in a pre-existing nearby letterbox. A Word of Mouth (WOM) box. The clues are distributed somewhere other than online, such as via e-mail, postal mail, or delivered in person. The owner or author of the letterbox has indicated that the box requires maintenance, but for whatever reason, they aren't able to do it themselves and are asking for your help, should you choose to look for the letterbox. This image marks letterboxes that require a compass in order to find. The lack of this picture means the clue doesn't require a compass OR that the creator of the letterbox did not specify a compass requirement. It's generally a good idea to always carry a compass in your letterboxing kit, though, so you'll always be prepared. This letterbox requires payment of some sort of fee—probably a parking or entrance fee—in order to find. The lack of this picture does not necessarily mean no fees are required. The creator may not have specified fees, or perhaps fees were added since the box was planted. It's always a good idea to carry a few extra dollars in case of an unexpected fee or two. Those who plant letterboxes are able to point out their favorite plants by assigning them the Planter's Choice Award. They might do this because they consider it one of their best boxes, or perhaps it has sentimental value. Whatever the reason, the planter wants you to notice this box. The blue diamond marks letterboxes that are highly recommended by other letterboxers. If your time is limited, you might want to focus on finding a Blue Diamond letterbox.
The distance, in miles or kilometers depending on how your preferences are set, the letterbox is from the point of the search. If this cannot be calculated—either because the letterbox is a mystery box or the search did not specify a point of search, a question mark (?) will be displayed.
The total distance, in miles or kilometers depending on how your preferences are set, required to nab the letterbox. This should be the round-trip distance, but please be aware that some people may mistakenly include only the one-way distance to the box rather than the round-trip distance. If you find such a mistake, please inform the owner of the letterbox so they can correct it.
The total elevation gain, in feet or meters depending on how your prefrences are set, required to nab the letterbox. This is usually an estimate, but it should give you a decent idea of how strenuous the hike is. It should not be a comparison of the elevation of the trailhead tot he elevation of the letterbox, which may not be an accurate representation of how much uphill there really is. In fact, there could be letterboxes at identical elevations with a large mountain separating it from the trailhead. In such a case, the elevation should include the elevation gain to get over the mountain on the way out, plus the elevation gain required to get over the mountain again to get back to the trailhead. But do keep in mind, some people may mistake the intention of this field and say there's a zero net elevation gain—a misleading number, to say the least!
Since this website also acts as an online logbook, old boxes that do not exist anymore are common and never need to be deleted. But since most people are interested in boxes that are alive and waiting to be found, you can specify the status of the boxes to include in your search.
active An active box means that, as far as the owner or author of the letterbox knows, the box is alive and well ready for visitors unavailable A box marked as unavailable means the owner or author of the letterbox knows the box is gone or inaccessible—regardless of the reason—but someday it will be replanted retired A retired box not only is unavailable, but the owner of the box never intends to replant it either unknown An unknown status means just that—the owner or author of the letterbox has been unable to confirm the status of the box. It's probably been reported missing by someone, but nobody has been able to confirm if the box truly is missing or if the letterboxer just missed the box