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Letterboxers Vs. Geocachers?


spilk
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I recently found a cache in Maryland "Covered Bridges #3 (Loy's Station Bridge)", and found that the log was littered with notes from letterboxers that were less than kind. They refered to geocaching as "Geotrashing" and suggested that geocachers "find a real sport". What gives? It turns out there is a letterbox very close by to this one, and I guess some letterboxers found the cache by accident. Is this common, or did these letterboxers just have a bad day?

 

Does this upset anyone as much as it did me?

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My guess is that in the past a few geocachers have probably found the nearby letterbox and thought it was a geocache, so they traded out the stamp thinking it was really neat swag. The stamp is what makes a letterbox...it's highly customized and is used to mark the "find" for the letterboxer in their own personal journal (they then stamp the letterbox's log with their own highly customized stamp to say that they'd been there).

 

Letterboxers sometimes see geocaching as a bit of an invasion on their fun (they *were* around first, since they use clues, poems, and puzzles to find their hides instead of coordinates). Other letterboxers see geocaching as mindless, since the GPSr takes you right there in a lot of cases as opposed to having to solve an extensive riddle or find the right marks that match the story in letterboxing. Most probably don't care about geocaching so long as there's no mix-ups with their letterboxes.

 

My guess is that someone accidentally kicked the hornet's nest.

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Odly enough I am dealing with this issue right now.

 

My cache Armadillo's Might Be Under Cover Spies is right near a letterbox. I mention the letterbox in my cache description and ask cachers not to mistake it for a geocache.

 

Every cacher has found the letterbox first as it is a very easy hide. In addition it was found in bad shape by one of the first cachers on the scene. Since then at least two cachers have emailed the owner of the box directly to let her know that it needs maintenance.

 

Her response to this was to email me and ask me to move my cache. She says she never had any problems with her box until after I placed my cache there. So maybe it is just a cooincidence, or maybe it is geocachers or maybe the increased activity is attracting muggles. She also told me that the last box she had near a geocache had the stamp taken from it. She doesn't say it in words, but I really felt from the tone of her email that she feels geocachers are the problem.

 

I have found and hidden numerous caches and boxes in this area as I do both activities. I just recently placed a Hybrid cache. My experience has been that the cachers are more communicative, more respectful, and do a better job replacing containers and securing lids. I have lost more letterboxes than geocaches.

 

I think that this will vary greatly from area to area depending upon the individual people. But one thing I think is similar in many areas is the hostility between the two hobbies. This exists, not everywhere, but in many places.

 

The answer I think is education. I don't feel that either group really understands the other, and when this happens there are always problems. Geocachers and letterboxers all need to know about the other activities that are out there and learn to be just as respectful of the other sport as they are of their own. I'm not sure how to make this happen, but I think it is a worthy goal.

 

BTW. I respectfully explained my position to the letterboxer and then acknowledged that her box was in the area first, so that I would move my cache if she still had a problem with it. She responded by askign me to move the cache and take all references to her letterbox off the page. So that iis what I am going to do.

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I found my first letterbox last weekend--it happened to be right near a cache I was looking for (that I wound up not finding). It looked just like a cache and had I been in a hurry and not read the mention of the letterbox on the cache page, it would have been easy to confuse it for the geocache.

 

In my experience, many geocachers are clueless about letterboxes and their rules--like NOT trading for the stamp.

 

Makes sense they'd be annoyed by people who interfere with their game...though it's pretty lame that they'd resort to name-calling.

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Letterboxers have a higher percentage of people with a stick that is rectally located. Either way you find a dang box. Stamping your own log is a nice variation to the game. In the end that's all it is. A variation.

 

You can easily use clues to find a cache. It's an archetype that I've got on my list of cache types. There never was a rule you absolutly had to have a GPS, and I think the clues would be a lot of fun as a variation of the game.

Edited by Renegade Knight
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Some letterboxers look down on geocachers. They seem to think they're superior for some reason. I've seen a number of derogatory comments about geocachers in their forums.

 

One person called geocaching "letterboxing for stupid people".

 

I would hope however that these people are in the minority.

 

Personally, I enjoy both sports, though I only have maybe 15 letterbox finds.

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Letterboxers have a higher percentage of people with a stick that is rectally located. Either way you find a dang box. Stamping your own log is a nice variation to the game. In the end that's all it is. A variation.

 

You can easily use cluse to find a cache. It's an archetype that I've got on my list of cache types. There never was a rule you absolutly had to have a GPS, and I think the clues would be a lot of fun as a variation of the game.

Sorry, man, but this is more a variation on their game than the other way around. They've been doing this since the mid-1800's (if not, then at least the 1970s).

 

http://www.letterboxing.info/articles/00000020.php

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...Sorry, man, but this is more a variation on their game than the other way around. They've been doing this since the mid-1800's (if not, then at least the 1970s).

 

http://www.letterboxing.info/articles/00000020.php

Where I was going is that it' a variation of finding a hidden container. They have deeper roots and a different ritual once you find it. However if geocaching never came along and I found letterboxing, I'd be a letterboxer. There isn't much difference.

 

Great now you have me wondering if I'd be a letterbox snob... :D

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Letterboxers have a higher percentage of people with a stick that is rectally located.  Either way you find a dang box.  Stamping your own log is a nice variation to the game.  In the end that's all it is. A variation.

 

You can easily use cluse to find a cache.  It's an archetype that I've got on my list of cache types.  There never was a rule you absolutly had to have a GPS, and I think the clues would be a lot of fun as a variation of the game.

Sorry, man, but this is more a variation on their game than the other way around. They've been doing this since the mid-1800's (if not, then at least the 1970s).

 

http://www.letterboxing.info/articles/00000020.php

That is correct; geocaching is the variation.

 

I have (I have found it) one letterbox in my immediate vicinity. I was shocked when I went to Letterboxing Central and found 133 letterboxes (Mostly in the Indianapolis area) in central Indiana.

 

There are very few letterbox hybrid geocaches in the same area. The only hybrids I have logged have been out of state (where there seemed to be a large concentration).

 

In other words, the two groups (in my area) seem to be exclusive of each other. I have never met a letterboxer.

 

Although I don't letterbox, I find the hobby intriguing. It would be a shame if the players of each hobby could not coexist peacefully. I have seen or heard no evidence of any friction, except in this thread. :mad::mad:

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Letterboxers have a higher percentage of people with a stick that is rectally located.  Either way you find a dang box.  Stamping your own log is a nice variation to the game.  In the end that's all it is. A variation.

 

You can easily use cluse to find a cache.  It's an archetype that I've got on my list of cache types.  There never was a rule you absolutly had to have a GPS, and I think the clues would be a lot of fun as a variation of the game.

Sorry, man, but this is more a variation on their game than the other way around. They've been doing this since the mid-1800's (if not, then at least the 1970s).

 

http://www.letterboxing.info/articles/00000020.php

That is correct; geocaching is the variation.

 

I have (I have found it) one letterbox in my immediate vicinity. I was shocked when I went to Letterboxing Central and found 133 letterboxes (Mostly in the Indianapolis area) in central Indiana.

 

There are very few letterbox hybrid geocaches in the same area. The only hybrids I have logged have been out of state (where there seemed to be a large concentration).

 

In other words, the two groups (in my area) seem to be exclusive of each other. I have never met a letterboxer.

 

Although I don't letterbox, I find the hobby intriguing. It would be a shame if the players of each hobby could not coexist peacefully. I have seen or heard no evidence of any friction, except in this thread. :D:mad:

then you don't know about Cinti, and all our "groups" :mad:

 

I think it's fairly common, actually... :mad: unfortunately.

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There is a grand total of 1 letterbox within a 100 mile radius. It bumps up to half a dozen within a 200 mile radius. I find geocaching much more fun and new caches, although not quite often enough in my area, keep the game moving. LB has gone stagnant(here anyway). Why place new letterboxes when geocaches are so much better IMO! :mad:

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Yes, there is a bit of animosity between the two camps. You'll find it some places. Some places, like around here, you'll find the majority of one group belongs to the other group, as well.

 

Two main issues I think is a hold over from when Jeremy tried to take over the letterboxing listings unilaterally. There was a major backlash. It's ironic that there are now folks here who feel the same way about someone trying to list their geocache elsewhere.

 

The other most likely is the encroachment of geocaching into the letterboxing world. While geocaches get checked for placement too close to another geocache, it can still be placed right next to a letterbox. Then, because the majority of geocachers have no idea about boxing, they might find the letterbox and take the stamp--which many times represents several hours of hand tooling.

 

There are many other differences that I won't go into here, but my take on it is letterboxing is like an established group that you are guided into and taught the proper way of doing things while geocaching is "here's a listing. Have at it." It's like boxing is the old Internet and geocaching is AOL.

 

So, while there are plenty of similarities, there are many contrasts as well. In fact, I'm easing back to letterboxing more and more. Converting some of our hybrids back to pure boxes.

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I have to post this again:

 

ca46df54-847f-41c1-824f-36f83d8ae1c3.jpg

 

It's the "we are innocent children, you are a loser" part that puts the smile on my face. Or maybe it's the "how could you do this to us?"

 

My cache and a letterbox shared a hiding spot (I had to point out the spot to get park permission, and the letterbox appeared before the permission did. So I was kind of stuck with the hide, and I didn't want to rat out the letterboxer).

 

The letterbox hider was nice about it, when we finally managed to make contact. Some of the letterboxers...not so much.

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We had this problem with a cache we hid.

 

Gabrielle's Big Hide

 

Stepped off the asphalt trail and ten feet into the woods we found the remains of a letterbox. Container, rubber stamp and log book and suprisingly, everything was in good shape. We collected it all and took it with us.

 

Went back across the asphalt to the other side of the trail and hid our cache.

 

Got home that night and contacted the letterbox owner then wound up meeting her and returned the remains of her letterbox.

 

Long story short, not long after that we started getting a lot of logs where people claimed to have found the letterbox. Went out and inspected and its no more than 30' from our cache. I again contacted the owner to let her know I would move our cache and she pleaded for us to leave it there. She was THRILLED with all the extra logs/attention her letterbox was getting. Just to avoid confusion I added a note about it in our cache page. Have tried convincing the owner to turn it into a Hybrid Letterbox and we'd go ahead and move ours but so far, no good. :mad:

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I have found 3 hybrids and 2 pure letterboxes. One I found while scouting out a location for a cache. I just mentioned in the book that I was geocaching and left it. The other was basically in plain view about 20 ft from a well hidden cache. The cache is still there, while the letterbox wsa poorly sealed and lasted only a few weeks.

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Letterbox Hybrid

A letterbox is another form of treasure hunting using clues instead of coordinates. In some cases, however, a letterbox has coordinates, and the owner has made it a letterbox and a geocache. To read more about letterboxing, visit the Letterboxing North America web site.

 

::shrugs::

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No. In this area. most Hybrid Caches are also listed on Letterboxing.org as a letterbox. There is no problem with cross posting. But, once you list it on ground speak you must adhere to the proximity rule, whereas with letterboxes there is no such rule.

 

Since there is no approval process for letterboxes, often the hybrid will get found and logged by multiple letterboxers before the listing is published for geocachers.

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There are moving letterboxes. More than one type.

 

"Cooties" are tiny letterboxes meant to be hidden on another letterboxer's person for them to find when they unpack their gear. They would then stamp it and hide it on the next unsuspecting letterboxer they meet. Typical at conventions.

 

I read about it at Letterboxing.org

 

Another site they use frequently is Atlas Quest

 

Editing for spelling

Edited by tabulator32
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As far as rivalry is concerned...

 

I don't find any need for it and the letterboxers with which I have communicated have been very friendly.

 

Just last night, I replaced a letterbox for a couple in upper state New York that hadn't the chance to come down to Texas and replace a missing LB within a few miles of my house.

 

We communicated via email and they sent a new LB complete with log and stamp via snail mail.

 

It was cool to see their stamp and hide the LB, and I'm sure they appreciate getting the LB active again.

 

They apparently don't have a rule against placing boxes outside of their region.

Edited by tabulator32
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I was a letterboxer before a geocacher. I thought it would be a fun way to introduce the kids to my love of hiking. But while I think the history of the activity is intriguing and really cool, frankly it just wasn't for us. There were only something like 7 letterboxes in our area (that number may have grown since we were involved), and the elitism among letterboxers I found to be a real turnoff. I'm crafty, but hand-carving stamps was just not for me, thereby making me "less than" in the eyes of letterboxers.

 

I had heard about geocaching long ago, but only just recently started to learn more about it, when I became interested in getting a GPSr. I pulled up a search on geocaching.com and found tons of caches within a 2 mile radius of my house. Then I started reading these forums and it didn't take me long to get hooked.

 

Having participated in both, I much prefer geocaching. The kids like it better, especially when the cache includes trade items. Geocaching takes us to much more interesting and challenging areas. The puzzles for geocaches have been far more challenging than for letterboxes. The search has almost always been far more challenging than for the letterboxes as well. I'm not aware if anyone has found a way to go paperless with letterboxing (it's been a couple years since we did it). We've learned far more about geography and the history of our area with geocaching. Oh, I probably could name 30 more reasons. But one of my favorites is the toys (I'm not talking McToys -- I mean, GPSr of course!)

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I agree with BP.

 

It seems as thought a lot of the LB'ers are not "technologically inclined" and tend towards a more "classic" view of what the hunt should be.

 

In a recent forum thread for LB'ers, they discussed getting lost while on the hunt and several suggested maps and compasses and trail marking and the like. I threw in my my two-cents' worth on GPSr's and I felt as though the room stopped talking and was staring at me.

 

(Of course, that happens here a lot as well. Anyway...)

 

:mad:

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Is there a rule/guideling in geocaching.com that would prohibit a letterbox hybrid from being listed also as a regular letterbox?  :mad:  :mad:

Here is a recent thread which discussed the listing guidelines for letterbox hybrid caches.

 

EDIT: Oh carp, tabulator32 is here. shhhhhh, everybody. I was posting while he was posting. Don't hold it against me.

Edited by The Leprechauns
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To me, the specific incident in question doesn't seem a big issue. A small group of individuals expressed their opinions without causing physical destruction which might or might not reflect the opinions of the letterboxing community.

 

I have read about Jeremy's intent on merging Geocaching and Letterboxing together, so some of the information posted on this thread sounds familiar.

 

As for potential rivalries, it's always going to exist since fundamentally, each group plays the game at a different speed. I think the "early Internet" vs. "AOL" is a good analogy. I offer my own analogy: people on the slow lane vs. fast lane on a highway.

 

We just have to do our part and respect their game. People can check the Geocaching Listing Guidelines - Letterbox Hybrid link for basic information. My suggestion is to make this information easier to find on the GC.com site to avoid escalation of this problem.

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Actually, I was thinking of joining LBNA because in our neck of the woods, we're not target rich for GCaches. We've found most within 25-50 miles of the house so going out of town to GC is our only option. I checked their site and there is only a few within 25-50 miles of here. Not sure it's worth setting up for and pursuing.

 

There are also a few cachers around here that participate in GC and other caching sites and double/triple list their caches. This could explain some cache logs are not copied to the site as 'finds'. I plan to stick to this site for GC. The jury is still out about LB.

 

:mad:

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I found a geocache with some letterboxers on our last outing. They were very nice and since this cache was in a remote area, we kinda teamed up. They told us a little about letterboxing and that it might be fun for us as well as geocaching. I asked if they posted thier finds on this site and they seemed a bit bit poo-pooish about geocaching.com.

 

So, I've seen Jeremy post on here before and gathered he is an admin of the site, but is he like the founder or what?

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...Two main issues I think is a hold over from when Jeremy tried to take over the letterboxing listings unilaterally.  There was a major backlash...

Can you direct us to some history of this attempted takeover? :mad::mad:

I can't find the post I was looking for, but you can reference this post on the original GPSstash talk list.

Letterboxing/Copywright/Etc.

 

Seems that I opened a can of worms on this one. I was unaware of the fact

that people were so protective of their clues to letterboxes. I do not have

enough time to debate any more with the letterbox.org folks. Perhaps when I

have more time we can have an objective (and friendly) conversation. For now

I'll just provide a link to their web site.

This only references the episode. Maybe a more thorough search can find it, but Yahoo! changed their search engine to something very irritating! (Very interesting statements in the rest of that post, too!)

 

Anyway, that might be part of it. But, like I said before, most of us around here are both to varying degrees. So, if we're going to argue, it's like arguing with family. :mad:

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...Two main issues I think is a hold over from when Jeremy tried to take over the letterboxing listings unilaterally.  There was a major backlash...

Can you direct us to some history of this attempted takeover? :mad::mad:

I can't find the post I was looking for, but you can reference this post on the original GPSstash talk list.This only references the episode.

Thanks for that.

 

...(Very interesting statements in the rest of that post, too!)

 

Indeed! :mad::D

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One person called geocaching "letterboxing for stupid people".

While I find that comment offensive and uninformed, I do believe you're more likely to find a physical challenge in a geocache and a mental challenge in a letterbox.

 

On the other hand, many boxes I've seen are nothing more than prettily-worded step-by-step directions to a rock with a box under it. What takes more brains, that or knowing how to use a computer, find things on the Internet, and operate a GPS?

Edited by Dinoprophet
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The lack of an online component...

Means you could still letterbox without the internet or even GPS.

 

Oh, wait, it was around before the internet or GPS! :laughing:

 

One of the components I like is the inherent find verification with the trading of the stamp images. Also, there is the exchanges--you can keep track of everyone you've met!

 

While many letterboxes are pretty easy to find, so are vast majority of caches. OTOH, there are stories of boxes that are so hard they are never found. A long time ago I heard of one where the only clue was a gravestone, nothing else.

 

The two hobbies are similar, but still vastly different. Both have pros and cons. Neither is better, IMHO, overall.

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The lack of an online component...

Means you could still letterbox without the internet or even GPS.

 

Oh, wait, it was around before the internet or GPS! ;)

Yes, but its still difficult to find out if a box is really there or not unless you can get ahold of the owner. I think it would be nice if other seekers could note things that would help "looked for 2hours, couldn't find' or, "found, but a raccon had eaten the lid the book is soaking wet.' Even if the owner does reply to email, they may keep the page up to date.... :laughing:

 

How did they deal with missing LBs before email???

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How did they deal with missing LBs before email???

While I'm no expert on boxing before the internet, but I believe clues where passed around between individuals or other means. If you had a problem, you could go back let the person who gave you the clue know there is a problem.

 

I believe it's the geocachers who want a guaranteed find knowing the cache is still there. Geocachers like the instant feedback, instant gratification, and the near gaurantee the cache is going to be there.

 

Letterboxers know they might come up empty for reasons beyond their control. You might be hunting a box long gone, but is that really that bad if the journey was worth it? As an owner you won't know who or when your box is visited until you go check the box or get some other form of feedback.

 

Like I said, similar, but different.

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When I have found letterboxes on accident I've found it impossible to contact the owner to figure out what was going on or to let then know about a proximity issue. The lack of an online component, for some letterboxes makes communications difficult.

Another site they use frequently is Atlas Quest

 

This may allow you a better chance of finding the owner and contacting them.

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Letterboxers know they might come up empty for reasons beyond their control. You might be hunting a box long gone, but is that really that bad if the journey was worth it? As an owner you won't know who or when your box is visited until you go check the box or get some other form of feedback.

Ok, but how long? I mean other than emailing the NA site and hoping they kill the listing something that disappeared a year ago could still be listed. Yes thats true of geocaches, too, but at least I attache a notice to the info.

I guess I should figure who local letterboxers are and ask what things ones are known to be there sometime this year? :laughing:

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How did they deal with missing LBs before email???

While I'm no expert on boxing before the internet, but I believe clues where passed around between individuals or other means. If you had a problem, you could go back let the person who gave you the clue know there is a problem....

That would work for letterboxes and while there were relativly few to track. As they grow it would/will become a problem.

 

It doesn't solve the issue of geocachers finding a letterbox and not being able to report there is a proximity issue. By the time letterboxers have proximity issues they will also face the problem if they dont' get their online component working better.

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...there is a proximity issue.

"Proximity issue" is a geocacher invention.

 

According the radio broadcast Aunti Weasel linked to--you can search on her posts--boxes in Dartmouth is so thick that one guy on the boardcast doesn't always use clues--he just looks at likely spots and finds them!

 

If this is the case, then "saturation" is a geocacher invention, as well.

 

While we don't have this "problem" with finding a different box than the one we were looking for here in the US. Over there, even if one finds a different box than the one they were looking for, it's still not a problem.

 

It's kind of looking under Walmart lamppost skirts on the off chance there is a micro. <_<

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