Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Banner Day

Ever have one of those letterboxes that you can't quite get to because it is all by it's lonesome in an out of the way place? I've had one on my radar for quite a while and yesterday proved to be the perfect day for that one box.

The girls only like to go boxing with me when atmospheric, physical and emotional conditions are precisely in sync. We had a bunch of errands to run and I picked up a bag of bribery at the store. I slyly told them that I would share the candy with the first two children who volunteered to go with me to find one easy letterbox. There was head nodding and jumping up and down, so we went.

Now for a bit of a history lesson. The historical Illinois & Michigan Canal corridor runs 110 (give or take) miles from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River. The DNR maintains trails along much of the old canal tow path. (I have quite a number of boxes slated for the I & M, but that's another story.) I highly recommend that you take some time to explore the link above.
The crushed gravel trail was pleasant to walk on and the weather was perfect. We spent the 1 mile round trip singing silly songs, petting every dog that passed, and discussing the history of the canal and the operation of the locks. Try explaining that without pictures! We also got to see a barge go through the Dresden Lock. We're going to try making a working model of one. I'll let you know how that goes.

We saw several dozen Ruby Crowned Kinglets, which as it turns out, are only in this area during their migration. They were not much bigger than a hummingbird and very brave and adorable. We also saw a Tricolored Heron and a Belted Kingfisher. The Heron would have stood taller than the girls if we had been close enough! Of course, staying true to my alter identity, I find birds utterly captivating.

We rescued the box from the impending doom assigned it by the cachers who found it last, so we felt like heroes. There was a cute hitchhiker in the box too. And...drum roll please...This was my 200th find! I know that's not what my AQ profile says, but it's not counting the super secret black ops boxes. If I told you about those, I'd have to make you disapear.

So, all in all, it was a spectacular day. We only looked for one box, but we made that one really special.


  1. It's been nearly 30 years since I have seen the canal. Back then it was getting pretty yucky.

    Glad they are getting it cleaned up so that folks can enjoy it. Sounds like a good letterboxing adventure.

  2. Well, I wouldn't want to swim in it, that's for sure! There are so many trees now that it's hard to imagine the mules pulling the barges along. We're getting some books from the library though and hopefully that will help.

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