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Leaving boxes uncovered
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Apr 7, 2019 3:56am
Board
Recently I was contacted by a boxer who found many of a carefully planned and well hidden series left visible. They kindly rehid them completely out of sight. I then went to check on another series yesterday that also had several left completely showing. Does anyone else have that problem? I went to a lot of time and effort to hide extremely well and specifically said in my clues to make sure to rehide well. Why do boxers do this? To make it easier for the next? Is it just carelessness in their part? I would rather just pull the series than have them lost due to carelessness. I haven’t planted in several years and was excited about planting again. Ninety new boxes in a month. That’s a lot of time, money, gas and effort spent just to end up losing them. I want people to enjoy them - but if people can’t take a few seconds to make sure they are totally hidden I’ll jist collect up all 90 new boxes and go home. It’s jist so frustrating and disappointing. Rant over.
Re: Leaving boxes uncovered
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #973863 by Sirius Star Gazer
Apr 7, 2019 4:03am
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That's why I now begin my clues with this.

LETTERBOXING REMINDER (especially if you are new to the hobby)
It is so important to completely cover the letterbox after returning it to its hiding spot. Especially if boxing with children (and I'm so glad you are!), please check to be sure the box is returned and covered properly. Thank you for keeping this letterbox well-hidden for the next finder.

I have found that many new letterboxers just don't understand and it may not be done intentionally. So the short reminder has helped, in my opinion. I am having fewer of my boxes go missing. I also note the correct color in the clues to help maintain the integrity of the stamp. Many letterboxers just use one stamp pad and the noted color helps teach them a bit more about the hobby, I believe.
Re: Leaving boxes uncovered
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #973863 by Sirius Star Gazer
Apr 7, 2019 4:15am
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Unfortunately, there are always letterboxers out there that don't rehide well. Knowing this, I mostly plant in the woods, a bit off the trail. That way, if the box is exposed, it's less likely to be seen by a muggle passing by.
Re: Leaving boxes uncovered
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #973863 by Sirius Star Gazer
Apr 7, 2019 4:43am
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This has been a very sore spot for me as well.

Like a previous poster, I now always emphasize rehiding properly.

Sadly I have found, more than once (since I'm a child at heart and my boxes tend to reflect and attract that), that the best thing I can do is to impress on brownie/GS/CS leaders the absolute importance of making sure they supervise their charges on the proper return/rehiding of boxes as well.
Re: Leaving boxes uncovered
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #973863 by Sirius Star Gazer
Apr 7, 2019 4:55am
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Makes me think that people who don't hide them back well must be newer to the hobby or LBers who haven't carved and hidden any (or many) plants of their own yet ... or they'd understand the need better. I've found some just sitting out in the open and been like "Wow, this thing's lucky to be here at all." I don't ALWAYS assume it's a person that left it out, however, because sometimes at the base of a tree could get messed with by a critter .. or out in the middle of the leaves could have been the result of a massive wind storm (had a lot of those lately). Either way ... frustrating ... we can only try to take care of them as we go.
Re: Leaving boxes uncovered
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #973863 by Sirius Star Gazer
Apr 7, 2019 5:55am
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When I started receiving find notices that said "box was left out in the open", I also started noticing that the last finders were Scouts. I hate that this is true but I know that so many scout troops are taken on letterboxing adventures by people who know nothing about the game. Three FLAmigos and I have talked about this endlessly. The kids get all excited about finding a treasure, then they show a friend what they found and they show a friend...and no one has explained to them the proper ettiquette for our hobby. So, reluctantly, I added restrictions to all of my boxes for the first time in the 16 years I have been boxing. We will see if that will help prevent future issues.

That being said, there are also other reasons boxes can be found uncovered. This winter, I hurriedly planted a couple of boxes on days that were really cold. No one had found them and the guilt set in on me that I probably hadn't planted them as carefully as I should have. So when I went back to check on them, they were uncovered, whether by weather or critters, I don't know but the issue was my fault and no one else's.

My question to you is...are you sure that you placed them in a hiding spot that is easy to replace and recover and that rain, wind, melting snow or critters won't uncover? It may not necessarily be a careless human that left them in the open.
Re: Leaving boxes uncovered
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #973869 by Janila
Apr 7, 2019 6:46am
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Sometimes, I will find a fair number of boxes poorly rehidden, and the logbooks typically will have the same last finder. How does one politely address the possibility they did not rehide properly?
Re: Leaving boxes uncovered
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #973872 by Mama Stork
Apr 7, 2019 7:12am
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How does one politely address the possibility they did not rehide properly?

Good question, hope someone has an answer. My restrictions should limit the groups that I have had the most trouble with going forward but doesn't help those that have already found my boxes. I know of a very well known prolific boxer who is one of the worst replacers of boxes that I have ever followed but really doubt that anything has ever been addressed directly with them. I don't know that there is a good way to handle it.
Re: Leaving boxes uncovered
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #973863 by Sirius Star Gazer
Apr 7, 2019 7:23am
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I've always found that folks that make the effort to solve a box with a mystery clue also always make the effort to be stealthy while searching & they rehide it well after.
Re: Leaving boxes uncovered
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #973869 by Janila
Apr 7, 2019 7:37am
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I have placed small bottle and pouch containers sometimes in a place that could have been wind or critter uncovered, but for the most part yes I can say my plants have been carefully considered to make sure they are not uncovered by wind or animals because I know that can happen. But when I have placed a box under a good sized rock and come back to see it only half covered and hanging out, or I’ve placed one in a crevice behind a rock and the rock is totally moved and the box can be seen I’m sure it’s not animals. I also placed some in the base of trees under rocks (I tend to use a lot of rocks LOL) and the box is sitting out on TOP of the rock. Another good one was a box I placed under a light pole “skirt” I found it like 3/4 of the way under the skirt and the end hanging out. I use wire hangers for pouches in bushes because I know they can fall out in windy conditions. But then to know I placed it arms length in the center of a bush and come back to find it hanging just barely covered on the end of a branch, those are ones just not placed back properly.
Re: Leaving boxes uncovered
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #973872 by Mama Stork
Apr 7, 2019 7:44am
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Good question. We were boxing in a cemetery and the boxer before us who logged them earlier in the day had left all of them sticking out. We rehid them but then I messaged the owner of the boxes that they should check their boxes because we had found so many not hidden well. Right or wrong? I don’t know but I agree a negligent boxer should somehow be told they need to be more careful.
Re: Leaving boxes uncovered
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #973876 by Sirius Star Gazer
Apr 7, 2019 7:59am
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I messaged the owner of the boxes that they should check their boxes because we had found so many not hidden well. Right or wrong?

A right in my book.

When you are the owner of the boxes, I think a nicely worded FYI to recent finders, who logged the finds both electronically and in the paper logbook, about being thrilled people are finding the boxes (the whole purpose of the planting) and finding the boxes uncovered makes sense. The wording doesn't need to be accusatory, but matter of fact as to what was discovered. Then asking for their input as to ways to help be sure the boxes are covered/rehidden puts them in a position to be helpers while subtely reminding everyone of the goal to have these hidden. Doing this as well as notes of education in the box about hiding better then found may support those who don't know better. If one finds they are sending the same FYIs to certain boxers, then other measures can be looked at (more direct asking, a quiet wrench to the skull, etc) ;)
Re: Leaving boxes uncovered
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #973863 by Sirius Star Gazer
Apr 7, 2019 8:13am
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We were at a crowded event where people were boxing in groups, the usual. Some ladies came up to us and chewed us out completely about leaving the boxes open and the stamps on the ground, and told us how rude we were, etc. Only it wasn't us. There were two of us and two big groups between those ladies and us. But I guess they saw us making good time and figured we only did it because we were lazy, not because we weren't bogged down. We fumed about it all weekend, but really, at least they had the guts, however misguided, to try and do something about the problem. As someone who's been on the receiving end of unfair criticism, I'd still say shoot a letter to the last finder, but at least be polite about it. Or maybe if you're close, even offer to go out and find a box or two with them to see their rehiding skills in person and give a couple of nice, friendly pointers.
Re: Leaving boxes uncovered
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #973878 by PiggyJaunt
Apr 7, 2019 8:34am
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I'd still say shoot a letter to the last finder, but at least be polite about it.

Extra polite since lots of people don't log their finds and you might insult a boxer who hid everything correctly, logged the finds and then a "non logger" came by afterwards and didn't properly rehide the boxes.
Re: Leaving boxes uncovered
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #973869 by Janila
Apr 7, 2019 8:52am
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Just yesterday we went out and relocated a few boxes that we had planted during January for the Bean event. They had been planted with snow banks around - and were now in very exposed locations... they are safe again and in better locations now that the snow cover is minimal :)

A more concerning issue arose during that. During that event - someone went after my purple diamond box... even though it was probably a very bad time to get it and cracked the box. They reported that the box had a hole in it. Didn't have anything to replace it. I would have rather they had brought the box to me - as we were seeing each other at my own event.

Alas - the box stayed out as the snow melted... later another boxer found it and reported that the box was damaged - but they tucked the contents into a bag and tucked it into the location.

When I pulled the box yesterday - the whole side of the box was gone. Not a small hole - the whole long side of the box. The plastic bag was on the outside - and the contents were completely destroyed.

Honestly - if you damage a box of mine - just own up to it and PULL my box if you can't replace it and put it back safely. You can ship me the contents... I know accidents happen... I too have broken a box. I - for the record - am no longer allowed to use a trowel in the winter. We had a box and could replace it.

I'd rather my damaged box get pulled than have it destroyed because it was left out in the open.
Re: Leaving boxes uncovered
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #973878 by PiggyJaunt
Apr 7, 2019 9:03am
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I can guess the event ;) Thus one more reason for me to step out of hosting events. But that aside - being gutsy does not exclude being polite. Jumping to conclusions can create unnecessary animosity amongst like minded souls.

Even at large events - when boxes are not properly hidden - even knowing many others might be hot on your heels - there still could be a muggle that steps in and grabs that which is exposed due to lack of properly replacing the box.

When we group box insert Teacup's moan here we go with - the one that pulled it, replaces it. Hopefully better than they found it. But in the jovialness that comes with group boxing - sometimes the finer details do sadly get missed.

Yesterday - we went out and found two solo plants. Both were exposed - not due to the last finder - but more likely due to changing weather conditions. And when I had my son return them - I reminded him both times, to add extra coverage. His response to me was "Really Mom? Like I'm new to this?? I know that and they are really covered." Habits taught early sometimes do carry forward.
Re: Leaving boxes uncovered
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #973881 by mudflinginfools
Apr 7, 2019 9:04am
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It wasn't your event, actually :)
Re: Leaving boxes uncovered
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #973875 by Sirius Star Gazer
Apr 7, 2019 9:12am
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(I tend to use a lot of rocks LOL)

I once had a geocacher <boo/> <hiss/> ask me why I so often hide my caches under rocks or sticks. Well, the answer is that these items are what we have available to pile on top of our boxes.

I'm sure that you have the same answer.

Nevertheless, I have also hidden them in trees and let the natural cover take care of hiding them. I prefer evergreens for this, but I have used Russian olive trees too. For those unfamiliar with them, a distinguishing characteristic is the thorns of an inch or more. This tends to defer muggles.
Re: Leaving boxes uncovered
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #973863 by Sirius Star Gazer
Apr 7, 2019 9:26am
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One of the first boxes I found when I started the hobby was in a local cemetery sitting on top of a gravestone in plain sight. It was right next to the tree the box should have been in. Since it had been several months since the last recorded log-in, my first thought was the box had fallen out of the tree and a cemetery caretaker had found it and, not knowing what to do with it, placed it there. After logging in, I put it securely back in the tree the clue specified.
Re: Leaving boxes uncovered
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #973872 by Mama Stork
Apr 7, 2019 11:28am
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How does one politely address the possibility they did not rehide properly?

Blacklist them. Pay attention, see if that solves your problem, thereby confirming these were the boxers that couldn't be bothered to properly rehide a box. If they happen to notice that they can't see many boxes listed any more, perhaps they'll figure it out -- or perhaps they'll move on to geocaching. If they contact you to ask what's up, you can explain that box owners were sick and tired of their carelessness and would prefer they not find their boxes.
Re: Leaving boxes uncovered
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #973883 by Oberon_Kenobi
Apr 7, 2019 11:40am
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I once had a geocacher <boo/> <hiss/> ask me why I so often hide my caches under rocks or sticks.

This is the elephant in the room. In geocaching, proper etiquette is to leave the cache slightly visible. This is because the GPS coordinates only lead to a roughly 30-foot radius referred to as the "geocache zone" and from there on the cacher must simply search for the cache. If he's any good he'll use "geomojo" which means to look around and think about where a cache would be hidden. But the more ignorant geocachers -- most of them -- will simply look around, and if they can't plainly see the cache they will start digging stuff up -- and they will make a first-class mess out of the entire 30-foot radius. Seriously, it'll look like wild hogs dug it up looking for grubs. And heaven forbid the cache goes missing, because then they'll simply expand the radius looking for it until they've dug up everything within 100 feet.

Hence, conscientious geocachers, upon finding a cache, will usually try to rehide it so it's a bit visible. The problem is convincing letterboxers that this is not a geocache, the box should be completely hidden from view.
Re: Leaving boxes uncovered
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #973864 by Angel Winks
Apr 7, 2019 11:45am
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That's why I now begin my clues with this.

LETTERBOXING REMINDER (especially if you are new to the hobby)
It is so important to completely cover the letterbox after returning it to its hiding spot. Especially if boxing with children (and I'm so glad you are!), please check to be sure the box is returned and covered properly. Thank you for keeping this letterbox well-hidden for the next finder.

And then you add a similar paragraph explaining why the contents need to be properly returned to the baggies so they don't get soggy. Then another paragraph explaining that they shouldn't be doing all this while standing directly over the hiding spot in plain view of everyone passing by. Then another paragraph explaining how to properly stamp in.

Now your clue prints out to two pages long, even though the actual clue is a haiku. And guess what? Nobody reads it! They just skip past all that boilerplate nonsense and get right to finding the treasure.

Quit pandering to the lowest common denominator. Start blacklisting these goobers.
Re: Leaving boxes uncovered
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #973892 by Kirbert
Apr 7, 2019 12:56pm
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Quit pandering to the lowest common denominator. Start blacklisting these goobers.

I was under the impression that blacklisting went away several years ago. If it is still an option, can you explain how to do it?
Re: Leaving boxes uncovered
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #973894 by Janila
Apr 7, 2019 1:10pm
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Blacklists are gone. One could create a whitelist group of all the local boxers who aren't suspects in the exposed boxes, but any travelers to the area not in the whitelist group won't see the clues. One could figure out what the potential offending boxers don't typically hunt (drive-bys? Longer hikes? Mysteries?) and plant those types of boxes. Ultimately if/unless the offending boxers are kindly made aware of what they are doing and care about the feedback/hobby/not being an ass, changes won't likely happen.
Re: Leaving boxes uncovered
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #973864 by Angel Winks
Apr 7, 2019 2:44pm
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Angel Winks~Would you mind if we copy and use your wording for the reminder???
Re: Leaving boxes uncovered
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #973891 by Kirbert
Apr 7, 2019 3:23pm
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In geocaching, proper etiquette is to leave the cache slightly visible.

We apparently do it differently around here, in Utah. We completely hide them. Sometimes they are so thoroughly hidden that it takes a few trips. This is a main difference between the two hobbies: Letterboxing is about the find (the stamp), but geocaching is about the hide. Sometimes the hide is meant to be easy; sometimes it is meant to be difficult. Hence the terrain and difficulty ratings.

But with letterboxing the difficulty is in figuring out what the clue means. Sometimes it is easy; sometimes it is also hidden by a difficult cipher.

This is because the GPS coordinates only lead to a roughly 30-foot radius referred to as the "geocache zone" and from there on the cacher must simply search for the cache. If he's any good he'll use "geomojo" which means to look around and think about where a cache would be hidden. But the more ignorant geocachers -- most of them -- will simply look around, and if they can't plainly see the cache they will start digging stuff up -- and they will make a first-class mess out of the entire 30-foot radius. Seriously, it'll look like wild hogs dug it up looking for grubs.

We don't like geocachers that do this; the digging up of everything. There are a few of them around here who will do this, but lately we haven't seen them doing this. Maybe they have learned the proper way to search, or they have grown more mature with their (retirement) age.

Hence, conscientious geocachers, upon finding a cache, will usually try to rehide it so it's a bit visible. The problem is convincing letterboxers that this is not a geocache, the box should be completely hidden from view.

A common note on geocaches around here is to "hide better than you found it." I follow that admonishment. Some of my caches I have hidden very well. A few times I have even been greeted at geocaching events with, "I hate you!" because I did, hide it better than I found it.

People around here learn to "use the Force", or "geomojo" as you put it.

Different regions have different cultures. We hide both letterboxes and geocaches around here.

The best idea is to hide your letterboxes away from geocaches. Find a geocacher in your area to help this to happen. I have let letterboxers know where geocaches are so that they can hide them away from them. I have even convinced a geocacher to move his cache because there was a letterbox placed nearby, before his geocache. I know of another geocache in the area that was moved because the letterbox was placed first. Maybe the geocachers around here are just more friendly. Except for the (very) few jerks, that the geocachers don't like either.
Re: Leaving boxes uncovered
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #973892 by Kirbert
Apr 7, 2019 3:27pm
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In MN we don't get big on adding addendums to clues, but if someone is being a goober, word gets around very quickly, and said goober gets shunned pretty quickly, and their reputation follows them.

sad, but true.
Re: Leaving boxes uncovered
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #973896 by Weeping Willow 52
Apr 7, 2019 4:07pm
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Of course not. I also have a last phrase reminder to log the find. Use any part of my clue format that might be helpful.
Re: Leaving boxes uncovered
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #973863 by Sirius Star Gazer
Apr 7, 2019 5:39pm
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It might not be the last finder/hider. At the end of March, I was the first finder of two that were exposed. It was expressed that one of those boxes in particular needs to be well hidden. I am pretty certain they covered their own plants well. It might not always be the last person who left it exposed.
Re: Leaving boxes uncovered
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #973868 by Basset Mom
Apr 7, 2019 8:04pm
Board
"Makes me think that people who don't hide them back well must be newer to the hobby or LBers who haven't carved and hidden any (or many) plants of their own yet ... or they'd understand the need better. "

If only this were true........just sayin'.......

How hard is it to look back where you put the box and make sure you CANT SEE IT.