Friday, March 16, 2012

Letterboxing Near Grapevine Lake


Today is Friday-my day off from work, and the boys last day of Spring Break.  I figured we should do something fun, so we went letterboxing in Grapevine and Southlake.

Our first stop was to locate VB Travelin' TX in Katie's Woods in Grapevine.  The planter lives in Virginia Beach, and they take a dolphin to plant in the various states they visit.  They have definitely had practice carving-the stamp was great!

Next stop-Let's Exchange Boxes-Starting Off The New Year.  This one had us stumped for a short while-the clue said it was located at the 3rd place to pull off at Katie's Woods, but it was actually at the 5th place.  Perhaps more pull off areas have been added since the box was originally planted?  We followed the rest of the clues with relative ease, got the box, and were looking through the logbook, only to discover that we had actually already found this stamp once before back in 2010!  That was a little humorous!

We left Katie's Woods, and realized that the next stop (Horeseshoe Trails Park) had 3 sets of clues, and one of them was a series of 8 stamps.  Since it was noon, we stopped for lunch, and then headed to the trailhead.  We located Moosechief quickly with the clear, concise directions.  It reminded me of the cartoon Rocky and Bullwinkle because of the carves cartoonish looks-but then how often do you see a cartoon of a moose?  Just a little further down the trail we located Beep, Beep:  Roadrunner.  This one, which we expected to be cartoonish, was actually a more realistic looking bird.  The more carves I see the more I realize I really need to work on my carving skills.

Next at Horseshoe Trails Park-Snow White.  This was a series of 8 stamps-Snow White, Doc, Happy, Bashful, Sleepy, Sneezy, Grumpy, and Dopey.  The first two in the series we searched and searched for.  We never could figure out if we had the correct location, or if they were missing.  We finally had luck with Box 3-Happy.  Then off to search for Box 4-and no luck again.  We decided not to search for the rest of this series-complicated clues mixed with a super long hike with 3 turns of disappointment already-we knew we had other clues in hand to search for, so we figured why bother wasting our time?

From there we headed to the Lonesome Dove Cemetery in Southlake.  This old cemetery was next to an old church-but the graveyard was kept up surprisingly well.  The compass on my phone was acting up during this clue, but since the directions listed names on headstones, we eventually found this one-the Lonesome Dove.  According to the clue, "the organization of the church adjoining the cemetery took place while a dove gave its lonesome call".

Our next stop was Bob Jones Park-this is an enormous park that has playgrounds, soccer fields, baseball fields, and even a dog park.  Back behind the dog park are multiple trails, which was the location we headed to.  First to locate My LB Partner, but with no luck.  And then to find GAQLBE:  Tribble.  This one was a quick find.

From there we headed just down the road to the Walnut Grove Trailhead.  We laughed as we went down the trail because sign at the beginning of the road stated "no lake access", but, yet, there it was-so beautiful!  If only it was 10 degrees warmer!  Part of the clue for Bat!  Back At The Bat House! referred to bat houses.  I wasn't too sure what they would look like, but it was obvious when we got there.  This was a neat trail along the lake, and with simple clues, this was an easy find.

Next we headed to the Bob Jones Nature Center.  I am amazed by all the different parks and nature areas Southlake has to offer.  This is a neat location that is worth the visit.  It had a butterfly garden, neat little learning stations, and lots of trails.  It also had a building which we did not go into, that I understand has a gift shop.  No luck locating Amazing Metamorphosis or New Years 2010.

After spending some time at the nature center, we parked in a parking area just outside of the Terra Bella subdivision of Southlake, and took off down the trail in search of One Room Schoolhouses.  This series of three stamps "are a tribute to the one room schoolhouses that served neighborhood families into the early 20th century".  Sol Search did an amazing job on the 2 carves we found-White Chapel Schoolhouse and Lonesome Dove Stamp.  Unfortunately, we had no luck with Sam School.

After visiting these little schools, we chased a Horse Thief!  As the story goes, a horse thief was hung in what is now Hood Cemetery.  When his body was found later, they dug a hold, and placed a barrel in the hole below him, cut the rope, and buried him where he lay.  Sadly, on our visit to pay our respects, all that was left of the letterbox was a lone piece of camo duct tape.

Next stop:  Bicentennial Park, also in Southlake.  Bicentennial Park has two entrances, and we made our way to the wrong entrance the first time.  Eventually we made our way over the the right spot, and found a neat little "garden" which had fountains to play in, a gazebo, waterfalls, and a labyrinth maze.  Again-I am amazed at all that Southlake has to offer in terms of their parks department.  We were here to search for 2 boxes.  While searching for the first box which had cryptic clues, we discovered a geocache called "Billy Goats Gruff".  Inside it was kind of gross-stuff that looked dirty and maybe even moldy.  I will not be switching to geocaching any time soon.  It did include a logbook, though, so I added our signature stamps and noted that we were letterboxers who just happened upon the box accidentally.  Right after that, we found Brooklyn Bridge-what an amazing carve!  There was a nice table to log our finds at-and then we found A Park of Tribute and just stayed at the same table.  No one else was in the garden at the time, so it was nice to spread our stuff out on the table without having to be so conspicuous.

We headed a little further south to another cemetery by a church-White's Chapel Church.  The clue directed us up the hill above the cemetery to the prayer labyrinth-such a neat place!  Even though the letterbox was nowhere near the labyrinth, I was glad it sent us up to see it.  We headed back down to the cemetery and quickly discovered Labyrinth before heading out one last time.

We had already found one bat box today, but it was time to search out a second.  For this one, we went back into Grapevine to Parr Park.  We searched and searched for Endangered Species of Texas:  Rafinesque's Big-eared Bat, but to no avail.  This one hadn't been found since 2008, so it should not have been much of a surprise, but I wish our last search could have been a find, rather than an attempt.

We had a fun day together, and found 12 stamps in all.  Weather-wise, it was the prefect day to be out:  upper 70's and overcast most of the day.  But let me tell you, I am worn out from all the walking, and we all have a little sunburn.  We will surely sleep good tonight!

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