We discovered letterboxing late in the summer of 2004. I was quickly hooked on the concept after reading the article in that July’s issue of Time while waiting in a doctor’s office. (I had surreptitiously torn the article out and smuggled it home to show the hubby.) As usually happens when I find a new obsession, I spent hours poring over websites, amazed and delighted that so many treasures awaited us out in the woods. I miss my Girl Scouting days, and here was something that would combine my loves of [easy] hiking and art.

We got involved. We came up with trail names. (Like avid hikers, most letterboxers are known by something other than their given names.) After awhile, and many instances of juggling four stamps while squatting in the dirt and trying to avoid other hikers’ curious glances, we decided to create a family stamp, and Duluth’s Animal Kingdom was born. (Our trail names – Lady Buzz, Fredbird, Blue Giraffe & Little Turtle – cover the animal kingdom nicely…a pleasant mistake!)

Less than six months after we began, however, Fredbird went back to school. Between his full time job, his full time classes, my part time job, and the boys, letterboxing fell by the wayside. We put it aside, fully intending to get back to it as soon as we could. Fast forward three years. I’ve been getting notices that our boxes’ logbooks were full, that one might be missing. We missed our outdoor time as a family. As fun as letterboxing itself is, its greatest bonus is being an excuse to get outside together. I also missed the hands-on artistry of stamp carving.

The break was too long. Little Turtle was in a stroller the last time we did this, and he’s starting Kindergarten in the fall. It really hit home how long it had been when he said, “What’s letterboxing?” He had no memory of it, and Blue Giraffe’s (now age 8 ) memories were dim.

The break is over!