Saturday was an important day on the letterboxing calendar. It’s known to many as National Plant a Letterbox Day, and over 800 boxes were planted and logged on Atlas Quest that day, more than twice as many as were planted on the day last year. It’s also the day of the annual LbSe (Letterboxing Southeast) gathering at Stone Mountain. This was the fifth annual gathering, and over 100 people showed up! One bunch came from all the way from Seattle as part of a cross-country field trip. Lots of folks camped and stayed in nearby hotels, boxing on Friday and Sunday, leaving Saturday for socializing and exchanging stamps. Knowing the boys wouldn’t find a whole lot of joy in hanging around the picnic ground all day, however, we broke our day up.

We hit Stone Mountain running and managed one box before the 11am gathering time. That box turned into our greatest letterboxing adventure to date. As usual, once we got to the part of the clues that took us off trail, Jason (yeah, using trail names throughout this blog is just getting too cumbersome) went after the box. With the boys as young as they are, it seems safer to keep them on the path, avoiding potential meetings with forest dwellers and itch-inducing flora. After about 15 minutes, however, I began to worry. I cupped my hands around my mouth and yelled for him. No answer. Again. No answer. I joined the boys in kicking the damp sand on the path, trying to distract myself and them. A couple of minutes later, I yelled again, and still no answer. At this point, I was imagining all sorts of horrible things, all involving me contacting the park rangers. Nicky piped up with, “Where is he, Mom? I’m about to cry,” which of course almost induced the same reaction in dear old Mom.

And then it hit me. We were both carrying cell phones. Duh. I called; he answered.

“Where are you?”

“Trying to find you! I found the box, and I’m lost.”

We decided to hang up, and I’d continue shouting for him periodically, even though he hadn’t heard any of my yells so far. Eventually, he showed up, and we sat down at the nearby picnic table with the box. The box that says, in very large letters, GEOCACHE across the side. Crap! It’s not a letterbox at all. Sure enough, it’s full of dollar store trinkets. I sent Jason off with our letterboxing stuff, so he could [hopefully] find the real letterbox and stamp in there without hiking back and forth twice more. About 35 minutes later, he showed up back on the path, and we went to picnic with a hundred other boxers, a couple of whom had found that same geocache and box earlier in the morning.

The rest of the day was, while not uneventful, definitely less excitingly nervewracking. We met lots of old and new friends (all of who were wonderful), met with Jason’s brother & his wife who happened to be at the park that day, found two more letterboxes, struck out on three other boxes, and ended with a pizza dinner amongst like-minded outdoorsy artistic types. At the end of it all, the boys declared it a Great Day.