Some non-family/genealogy stuff.
Letterboxing combines artistic ability with “treasure-hunts” in parks, forests, and cities around the world. Participants seek out hidden letterboxes by cracking codes and following clues. The prize: an image from a miniature piece of art known as a rubber stamp—usually a unique, hand-carved creation.
Letterboxers stamp their discoveries in a personal journal, then use their own rubber stamp, called a signature stamp, to stamp into the letterbox’s logbook.
Abscraps Clues as one hike
All readings are magnetic.
noscuT niatnuoM kraP was established April 1929. The Pima County Parks Commission, with C. B. Brown as its chairman, was established to oversee the park. At approximately 20,000 acres, the park is one of the largest natural resource areas owned and managed by a local government in the U.S. The park has approximately 62 miles of non-motorized shared-use trials. The park’s trails are open to hikers, equestrians, and mountain bikers, and provide a wide range of outstanding experiences, including technical challenges, and breathtaking views.
These boxes are located in the selboR ssaP Section of the noscuT niatnuoM trails. The multi-use (hiking, equestrian and biking) trails are located in the area between Ajo Way and Irvington Road just west of Mission Road. Here is a link to the trail map of the area: Trail Map
WARNING: Please stay out of the washes during both rainy and monsoon times. Washes are very unsafe when it is raining and flash flooding is a very real danger in the desert. A wash may be perfectly dry one second and raging with water the next.
This is an all-day letterboxing series and takes you about 9 miles around the selboR ssaP section of noscuT niatnuoM kraP. Bring lunch, snacks, plenty of water, a hat, a pole, or any other Arizona hiking gear you will need. This series is not recommended during the summer season.
Take Mission Road south to Irvington Place. Turn right onto Irvington Place (Associated Dental is on NW corner) and follow until the road ends. You will see a guard rail across the road, the end of the pavement, and red diamond markers. Turn your car around and park here along the south side of the road.
Head west around the guardrail. Bear right, going downhill and go northwest onto Camaro Loop trail. Unfortunately, there is no trail sign here.
Box #1: Abscraps: Tilting at Windmills
Hike 0.5 miles to the trail sign at the junction of Camaro Loop and Boulder Belt Trail. Take the right onto Boulder Belt trail which goes roughly north from the sign. Shortly, you will reach a switchback and will be going south. You will reach another switchback and be going north again. There is a short fish-hook cactus here. Continue up the trail until you see a saguaro on the right side of the trail with the following characteristics: chopped off at top, 3 shoots (one has a top-knot) growing from top of stump, large arm pointing down and to the right, and small arm on left pointing up. Stand on the large rock, uphill behind the saguaro. At 60* locate a tilted rock about 4 steps away. The box is in a cranny behind the tilted rock.
Box #2: Abscraps: Ode to a Grecian Urn
Continue on Boulder Belt which goes generally east once you’re a short distance away from Box #1. Hiking ~ 0.5 miles, you will start to see barb-wire fence poles (no barbed wire though) with white painted tops and yellow tape. Stop at the second fence post. Find the 2 pencil chollas on the right and stand between them. Locate the palo verde at 120*. About 30 steps takes you over to that palo verde where the box is hidden under rocks on the NE side of the tree.
Box #3: Abscraps: Heart and Home
Continue on Boulder Belt ~0.4 miles to the Chico’s Hay Trail Junction. Continue 0.2 miles on Boulder Belt to the end where Flight Path begins. The tan trail post here is unfinished and has no sign. Take Flight Path Trail to the left (west). Follow the trail around until it loops back east. Stop on the trail (~ 0.3 miles) when you see a large saguaro with the following characteristics: Main trunk chopped off and 3 arms with one of the arms being uniquely crested. From this saguaro locate the barrel cactus at 210* magnetic. Make your way uphill to this barrel cactus. The small box is under some rocks on the southwest side of the barrel cactus. Please be careful removing the 2 piece pink rock that sits on top of this box noting its placement. Stamp in and carefully replace the rocks on the box. This is a good view of the Kennedy Park fiesta area and Kennedy Park Lake. During the day there is a plane arriving once every 15 minutes, if not more. Thus the name of the trail: Flight Path Trail.
Box #4: Abscraps: Sun Over Tucson
Return the way you came, going back 1.4 miles to the Camaro Loop Trail. When you get to the trail sign at the junction of Boulder Belt and Camaro Loop, turn right. Continue on Camaro Loop west (short distance, probably less than 0.1 miles) until you come to a clearing where multiple trails meet and there is a rock cairn on your left near a fairly flat clearing. Turn right, taking the trail (unnamed) going north but downhill. (I don’t have mileage here since this trail is unnamed and not on the trail map.) You will pass through an ATV prevention gate and walk up and down through several washes. On the right side of the trail, look for a 10 foot Saguaro with a dead tree hugging its base. There is a 3-4 foot saguaro to the right of them. Stop here. Step off the trail to stand behind the saguaro on the east side. Find the palo verde tree at 100*. Go towards this palo verde (east), crossing a wash, scramble up the slope, and look under the north side of the tree for a box hiding under a SPOR and plant debris. Seems that some animal finds this particular box especially tasty so please make sure it’s securely in its hidey hole and covered well with the SPOR.
Box #5: Abscraps: Ties to Tucson
Return to the unnamed trail which will continue north and then loop roughly west. (If you continue to go straight (north) you will run into the houses on the south side of Old Ajo Way.) Follow the trail west around the south side of a small hill (you can’t see it but the Stone house is on the other side of this hill) to the second ATV prevention gate. Stop at the gate and face east. Take 10 steps forward to get away from metal of poles that make up the gate. At 360* locate 3 tall thin saguaros and a palo verde tree with a nursery saguaro nestled in it. Walk uphill 22 steps to the palo verde tree. The box is under a SPOR on the north side of the tree.
Box #6: Abscraps: Cowabunga, Dude!
Continue through the gate to a junction with a sign. (Ignore any crossover trails without signs.) The sign is the junction of Stone House Spur and Ledge Surfer trails. Keeping the back of the sign on your right, continue west. You are now on Ledge Surfer trail heading up. Go about 0.25 miles and start looking for a small saguaro (about 1.5’ high) directly on the left of the trail. (You will pass a few that look like this one, but these are not the short saguaros you are looking for.) Stop here. Look right. You will see a tall saguaro that looks like it has lost its belt (think midsection on a person). There is a shorter saguaro to the south of it. When you walk over to the belt-less saguaro you will see that the shorter saguaro is really has two tops. From the belt-less saguaro, look for a palo verde tree with a tall one-armed saguaro poking up through it. 30 steps will take you to a SPOR on the west side of the tree. The box lives there. Stamp in and enjoy this spot which offers a gorgeous view of the Tucson Mountains to the west.
Box #7: Abscraps: Eye on You
Continue on Ledge Surfer, heading south on trail, downhill ~ 0.25 miles, to trail junction sign for Ledge Surfer and Camaro Loop. Take 16 steps east from the sign and stop between 2 short saguaros on either side of the trail. Look for a very tall saguaro with 9 arms at 170*. Make your way over to it. Look under a SPOR at the base of this 9-armed saguaro for the box.
Box #8: Sing Like a Canary
Return to the trail sign for Ledge Surfer and Camaro Loop. Take Camaro Loop west 0.3 miles to the junction of Sunset Pass and Camaro Loop. Travel on Sunset Pass a very short distance to the Sunset Pass trail’s easternmost junction with 360 Vista Trail. Turn right and head up 360 Vista Trail hiking about ~0.5 miles. After you go through a number of switchbacks (EW, NS, EW), the trail will straighten out, head west and run along the ridge as it goes up to the highest spot. You will see Irvington Road on your left (south) and Ajo Highway on your right (north). As you approach the highest spot, you will see a man-made pile of rocks on the right. Stop here. Turn around and face east. Walk ~75 steps back the way you came. Stop and look for a tall saguaro with 4 arms on the right side of the trail. The box is hidden under some flat rocks on the south side of the saguaro. This is a beautiful spot to sit, enjoy the view, take a break, and possibly eat your lunch.
Box #9: Abscraps: Kilroy Was Here
Continue west on 360 Vista trail and head downhill ~0.6 miles to the westernmost junction of 360 Vista Trail and Sunset Pass. Continue 0.2 miles down Sunset Pass Trail to the junction of Sunset Pass and Bittersweet. At the trail junction sign, turn around and go back up the trail ~100 steps to a double, thigh-high saguaro on the right side. Locate the saguaro (uphill) with two arms at 30* magnetic. About 25 steps (indirectly) takes you up to it. Look under a flat rock between the saguaro and palo verde behind it.
Box #10: Abscraps: Nellie
Go back to the junction of Sunset Pass and Bittersweet. Take a left onto Bittersweet Trail and hike about 0.4 miles to the westernmost spot of this series’ letterbox planting of Robles Pass. Look for a spot where there are access points from the local neighborhood. You will see 2 ways to get in: people access (2 poles with no gate) and vehicle access (2 poles with a wide gate.) Go to the people access gate. From the south pole (not the one in Antarctica… I crack myself up), count eight white-topped fence poles south and slightly uphill. Make your way to that pole. You may have to make your way around, as opposed to following the fence line, since there are lots of prickly pears living right along the fence. Find the palo verde closest to this eighth pole. The box is under a SPOR on the east side of the tree. Looking over the fence to some private property you will see a wagon that Nellie would go well with if she were real.
Box #11: Abscraps: The Right Angle
Continue on Bittersweet Trail, heading generally southeast, about 0.5 miles to the junction of Cascabel and Bittersweet trails. The trail junction between Bittersweet and Cascabel forms a small triangle (hmmm… stamp is triangular too….) of land between 3 metal signs. Look for the sign where you must be facing the west in order to read it. From this sign, locate the saguaro at 195* about 10 steps from the trail. The box is under a SPOR on the west side of the saguaro.
Box #12: Abscraps: Psychedelic Teepee
Continue on Bittersweet Trail 1.2 miles to the junction of Bittersweet Trail and Camaro Loop. It’s not an Old Metal mystery to locate the trail sign here. Turn right (east) onto Camaro Loop trail. From the sign, go ~100 steps following the trail as it curves to the left. Stop here. You will see a palo verde on your left and a large prickly pear (if not dead) on the right. Behind the prickly pear, 15 steps uphill, is a large rectangular 2’ x4’ rock. Behind the rock is a very prickly bush and 2 palo verdes in a line. The box is behind the rock tucked into the bush under some rocks.
Yay! You did it! To get back to the parking area, turn right onto Camaro Loop and go 0.6 miles to where your car waits for you!