Welcome to my corner of the web and the fusion of my interests in trail running, globetrotting, puzzles, writing, the outdoors, semiotics, treasure hunting, and much more -- one baroque collection of maps -- a workout for brain, body, and being. I think that ridiculously oversized banner captures my primary interests pretty well.

My background is in information technology and economics, even having co-authored an RFC, but my website is mostly about my interests, not my work. Unfortunately, neither of these involve building or operating websites. You've been warned :)

Many people who visit my website are hunting for treasure; either of the silver kind or the treasurebox kind. (Other kinds may be added in the future, with or without notice :)) My blog is focused on the former, hopefully offering useful tips, and the Mapsurfer Treasureboxes are focused on the latter.

The Treasureboxes are based loosely on the 160 year old pastime of letterboxing, an intriguing mix of treasure hunting, puzzle solving, stamp art, and hiking or trail running. The idea is to find a cool place and leave a treasure there in the form of a unique stamp, and to write clues, like a treasure map or outdoor puzzle, for others to work out and lead them to the spot. Or, alternatively, to decrypt others' clues and leave your mark once you find the spot they lead to.

My interest is in writing interesting and innovative treasure hunts; which hopefully I've done, at least on some of them. My outdoor puzzles often take quite a bit of perseverance and insight to solve; I hope you get the chance to enjoy a few of them as much as I enjoyed devising them.

cover While I'm off the letterboxing mainstream, I'm not totally clueless -- In 2003 I wrote the original book on the pastime of North American letterboxing, The Letterboxer's Companion (now in its second printing). This is cool -- ever since I was a kid, I had a dream of writing a book which included embedded clues to treasure in the outdoors. I may even do that again :) I also co-founded the Letterboxing North America web site in 1998 and wrote the original FAQ (both managed by others now, as has been the case for nearly 10 years), and in 1999 became the first to find 100 American letterboxes. Who knew you would put more hobby CV than career CV on your personal website?

I've also take commissions to write treasure hunts, with an emphasis on puzzles, problem solving, geography, and general cleverness. If you're in the market for a treasure hunt writer, and who isn't, e-mail me.


What happened to orienteering? Its a cool sport, but there are cooler sports, that are more in keeping with the general fusion of my interests. It is easy to come to these conclusions when life hits you in the face, and you have time to contemplate these things, and realise what all your hard work, expense, and loyalty really meant. I think it is human nature to seek out more rewarding pursuits during those times, and, fortunately, such pursuits exist. I do hope to race again, but I am waiting for improved geographical diversity, improved race formats, improved race quality, and improved organizational acumen. Mr. Godot will not be here today, but he will be here tomorrow.

But, I have some very fond memories of the sport, including those two national relay champs, so we'll keep those pics around below. I miss the exotic race locations in Europe, Asia, and South America. Some of my fondest memories include being named to the US standing team a few times (tho admittedly at the lowest level), finishing 15th in a World Ranking race (tho admittedly at an obscure location), and being ranked, at my highest, 311th in the world. I don't know if that is all that good, but I was certainly happy about it at the time. Perhaps I'll write up the good, the bad, and the ugly of my orienteering experiences someday; I'll certainly keep some of the travelogues around.

In any case, I encourage you to give the sport a try. For many, it will be quite rewarding.


The 2003 US orienteering national championship relay team. We're the well-dressed lot in the middle.

The 2006 US orienteering national championship relay team. We're on the left this time.