The Borrowed Map

LOCATION:  Blue Mountain Ridge, PA

CHALLENGE:  2.5 stars

DATE/NUMBER:  31-Dec-2000/31



Thelma hadn't been walking all that fast when she had waved goodby. I stashed the box in my pack and raced off in a direction to intercept. I had to return the borrowed map, after all, didn't I? My orienteering training was paying off, as I soaked up the exhilaration of off-trail running that is unlike anything else. I was in my element now.

I hit a four way trail junction, and there was not a sign of anyone, and no clue as to which way to go. I checked the trails for that bootprint, but they were all well-traveled, so I was unable to make out anything distinct.

Quickly I glanced at that map, and again it had changed, showing a standing, dead tree to the right of the west-leading trail. I ran towards it, counting blazes while ignoring the ones of the wrong color. The eighth blaze was on a rather large tree to the left, either a hickory or an oak, but I couldn't be sure and I couldn't care less, as I saw the dead tree about 60 feet or so up the trail.

Still no sign of anyone as I raced up to the tree and checked the map to see where I was going next. Up the hill at 339 degrees to a fallen tree with two prongs sticking out the top of its rootstock.

The woods here were beautiful and open, but the southern exposure and the openness had caused the snow to melt, so I didn't see any footprints. I didn't need to, as after a minute or so of running up the hill on the bearing, I saw her. Sitting casually on the log about a foot from the prongs, the wind blowing her auburn hair across her face.

"Did you find what you were looking for?", I asked, as I handed her her map.

"I think so", she replied. Then she pointed down into the valley to the south. "I know this great steak house down there; lets check out what's on tap and compare secrets".

Perhaps there was treasure to be found on that Mountain after all.

NOTE 1:  The Blue Mountain Ridge runs from west of Harrisburg in south central PA up to the Delaware Water Gap north of Stroudsburg in the eastern part of the state. The AT and several other trails offer excellent hiking and letterboxing possibilities; in fact, several other letterboxes already make their home on different parts of the ridge. If this box isn't your cup of tea, give the others a try.

NOTE 2:  Off-trail walking is involved.

NOTE 3:  Be wary of snakes and other wildlife when reaching into dark places. No need to dig for this box. All bearings magnetic unless otherwise noted. A pace is a long stride counted on a footfall of either foot, i.e. two paces are counted each time the right foot hits the ground. Be aware of if or when there is game hunting in the area.

NOTE 4:  Please re-hide the thing well just as you found it.

DISCLAIMER & COPYRIGHT:  PERSONS USING THIS CLUE OR HUNTING THIS LETTERBOX DO SO AT THEIR OWN RISK. Do not hunt this letterbox without reading and agreeing to the waiver first. Children, do not hunt this letterbox without the supervision of an adult who has read and agreed to the waiver. Possession of this clue does not imply rights of access to particular lands and route choices, or the safety thereof, including the location of the box itself. Always observe current local regulations, signs, property rights, and customs; you are responsible for your actions. Clue not indended to be taken literally or to suggest route choices; route choices (and the choice to proceed at all), are your choice.
This clue and associated stamp art are copyright © 2001, by Randy Hall. Permission to reproduce for personal use granted; all other rights reserved.