View Full Version : Question on Letterboxing Hybrids



Robotbunny
08-01-2006, 10:45 AM
My family has done a little letterboxing recently but I think we're more of the geocaching types. :)

But, my kids really like the stamps in letterboxes and after a little research, I found that geocachers have Letterboxing Hybrids. Those caches have the usual trinkets and logbook along with a stamp inside the cache. That way people who have their own logbooks can stamp the hybrid's stamp in their book. My kids are all over this Hybrid idea.

It appears that there are only a handful of Letterboxing Hybrids in Maine (up north) on the geocaching website and I was wondering if anyone was up for hiding some in the mid- to southern part of the state sometime? We're in the process of hiding 3 during the month of August in Cumberland county but were hoping some others might be interested in the idea too.

My kids were hoping they could find a few Hybrids in the state that weren't ones they hid. images/smilies/smile.gif

Thanks,
Wendy

firefighterjake
08-01-2006, 11:37 AM
My Multi in a Mile . . . and a Half (Unity) is designed to be a letterbox hybrid -- I just haven't got around to going to a letterbox site and putting in the info. I suppose I should do that at some point.

ribnag
08-01-2006, 11:59 AM
Robotbunny : I was wondering if anyone was up for hiding some in the mid- to southern part of the state sometime? We're in the process of hiding 3 during the month of August in Cumberland county but were hoping some others might be interested in the idea too.

When I get around to planting a cache, I will probably make it a hybrid. It actually surprises me not to see a lot more hybrids, as it appears that a good portion of LB'ers 'cache, and about the same rate of GC'ers 'box. :)

For that matter, IM(NSH)O, most "micro" caches may as well just count as letterboxes, if not for the lack of a stamp. They don't have toys in them, you can't leave anything in them, you basically just sign on the enclosed paper and log it later. Toss in a 1cm^2 square stamp, and you have something far more LB-like than cache-like. :cool:

My problem, and the reason I haven't planted a cache yet - lack of inspiration for a theme. I can pick just about anywhere and carve an appropriate stamp fitting the theme of the location, but to combine that with a toy-theme? Not so easy. :confused:

Robotbunny
08-01-2006, 12:00 PM
I did a search on geocaching.com for Hybrids specifically but didn't think to look at multicaches. I'll have to do a little searching to see if other multis are hybrids. Thanks for the tip!

Robotbunny
08-01-2006, 12:07 PM
Yes, theme ideas are a little tricky for us too with these hybrids in addition to choosing a fun place to bring cachers/boxers to. We've got an idea in the works (the multi I mentioned first) that the kids and a librarian at our library came up with together. It's pretty clever actually and designed for kids (well, the idea was from my kids in the first place). Now it's my turn to come up with something else and my thinking cap is on :-)

As for the micros - it's the stamp part that my family likes. But yeah, there are some little stamps out there we could use in a micro. I'll have to put some thought into that idea too...

Cache Maine
08-01-2006, 06:09 PM
Non-letterboxers sometime miss the point of having a stamp in the box and take it as a trade item. If you do plant a hybrid, make sure you have a simple carved stamp that can be redone easily, or make multiples in advance.

Kacky
08-01-2006, 07:49 PM
There seems to be no stash note custom among letterboxers. Anybody who happens on one would be confused as to why it's there and what they are supposed to do.

ribnag
08-01-2006, 08:44 PM
Kacky : There seems to be no stash note custom among letterboxers.

"Stash note" specifically, no. But Der Mad Stamper once upon a time wrote a sort of "statement of purpose" page that I always include with my boxes - I even have a lightly-modified version (http://users.tmok.com/%7Eribnag/info9.html) formatted for printing in multiples of 9 (3x3 double-sided on an 8.5x11 sheet). Most but not all boxes include something to that effect. :)

The biggest problem I see with hybrids (aside from cachers considering the stamp as a trade item - Never even thought of that one, thanks cameoooooo, I'll make a point of clearly labelling the stamp as not for trade) involves travelling items such as hitchhikers/travellers (on the LB side) or bugs/coins (on the GC side). I can't exactly rank myself among the gods of each, such as WhereRWe or Wanda&Pete, but at over a hundred finds each, I thought I knew the ropes. Until I went to the Kayak Kache last weekend and discovered a whole new world of travelling item etiquette. :confused:

I think the best solution there involves two approaches - For those placing travelling items, clearly label them as somehow special. For those visiting either type of box, if you find something not mass-manufactured yet bearing some type of serial number, you might want to think twice about taking it if you don't know what to do with it. :D

Robotbunny
08-01-2006, 08:59 PM
Thanks for the thoughts about the hybrid. I had planned to attach our stamp to the lid of the box so it can't be removed - and include a note not to take it. I know the stamp could be seen as a possible trade item with geocachers. As for Letterboxing HHs, I planned to put a note in the cache (and on the cache and letterbox webpages) this box wasn't made for a TB or HH in hopes of avoiding that issue altogether.

Of course, the best laid plans end up not working the way you want but one can hope :-) And I also realize that the box will require frequent maintenance visits to address issues as they come up.

Thanks again for responding to my post.

Hiram357
08-01-2006, 09:39 PM
ya know... if you used an ammo can for the cache, you could permantley attach the ink pad to the underside of the lid of the can, so you flip the lid open, theres the pad, attached and not going anywhere, and still plenty of room for goodies. :D

hollora
08-02-2006, 08:52 PM
I love hybids but have learned to read the pages carefully. Am not really into the letterboxing thing but enjoy the hybribs and was happy when I could find a babyfoot stamp at Marden's. I had a stamp pad and the footprints - well I thought it fit. As for references for things found in caches - that is easy as there are links to contact everyone on line. As long as they log - and read their accounts - they are reachable. Have learned to love the hybrids and look forward to more.

becket
08-03-2006, 05:25 AM
Non-letterboxers sometime miss the point of having a stamp in the box and take it as a trade item. If you do plant a hybrid, make sure you have a simple carved stamp that can be redone easily, or make multiples in advance.

i think i should go check mine at shore acres. i am pretty sure the stamp and stamp pad are in a separate ziplock; i never thought of anyone taking it!

GeoMaine
08-04-2006, 03:04 AM
Robotbunny;

There are also some nice 'true' letterbox hybrids in New Hampshire, though that might not make for the best article in a Maine newspaper article? : )~

You can do a search for a particular style of cache (in this case 'letterbox hybrids') by clicking on advanced search options (http://www.geocaching.com/seek/nearest.aspx) under the 'hide and seek' page wherever you like.

Even so: there are still two different 'hybrids' floating around on gc.com?

Old school: Only a hint or a series of hints are provided by the cache owner as to the physical location of the geocache. Think low-tech; your GPS MAY get you to the parking area and/or close to the cache but not to the cache itself. The much rarer of the two.

New School: The cache owner has made it both a letterbox and a 'high-tech' geocache. It has the classic log stamp for letterboxers but also has coordinates that bring you right to the cache itself. This is BY FAR the most common kind of hybrid you'll come across. In fact, it will feel exactly as a 'regular' cache does - only it adds a cool little icon to your 'found' categories and has a pretty stamp inside the cache in which to look at.

My original 'Highland Lake' cache that you found and published (the one without the coords and only having a pretty picture to look at) was styled after the hybrid without having the 'official' title of being one.

If you ever get the chance, bring your kids to Madison Boulder Earthcache (http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?guid=71048984-6bd6-4f14-97c6-7ecc4b1e951f) by HartClimbs - a cache they will certainly never forget and if you go up the hill in a straight line directly from the 'pepple' you'll have little trouble finding the honest to goodness letterbox cache that was planted up there.

Sorry to bring this up here in the forums, but I had tried quite some time ago to retract my very poorly chosen and ill thought out post to your online article regarding this very website. Needless to say, it's still up there and this site now enjoys a MUCH better reputation than that (stupid) post of mine might lead your readers to believe when read at face value. There was a bit of childishness going on but no different than any other forum suffers every now and again.

I ask you again. Can we somehow make that go away?

brdad
08-04-2006, 05:55 AM
Old school: Only a hint or a series of hints are provided by the cache owner as to the physical location of the geocache. Think low-tech; your GPS MAY get you to the parking area and/or close to the cache but not to the cache itself. The much rarer of the two.

New School: The cache owner has made it both a letterbox and a 'high-tech' geocache. It has the classic log stamp for letterboxers but also has coordinates that bring you right to the cache itself. This is BY FAR the most common kind of hybrid you'll come across. In fact, it will feel exactly as a 'regular' cache does - only it adds a cool little icon to your 'found' categories and has a pretty stamp inside the cache in which to look at.

My original 'Highland Lake' cache that you found and published (the one without the coords and only having a pretty picture to look at) was styled after the hybrid without having the 'official' title of being one.

Your definition is not quite accurate according to geocaching.com:

Letterbox Hybrid

Letterboxing is another form of treasure hunting that uses clues to direct hunters to a hidden container. Each letterbox contains a stamp which is the signature for that box. Most letterboxers have their own personal stamps and personal logbooks. They stamp the letterbox logbook with their personal stamp, and use the stamp contained in the letterbox to “sign” their personal logbook.

Letterbox hybrids are a mixture of letterbox and geocache. They should contain a signature stamp that stays with the box, and they must conform to the guidelines for traditional caches and therefore must contain a logbook. They must be referenced by latitude and longitude, not just clues. Whether or not the letterbox hybrid contains trade items is up to the owner. In most cases personal stamp and personal logbook are not necessary to be a seeker of a letterbox hybrid.

A letterbox hybrid is geocache first, and is supposed to have the features of one. From that point at minimal it would have a letterboxing stamp. It could also have letterboxing clues to access the cache on the cache page, or be listed on letterboxing.org or any of the other various sources of letterboxing.

I know you and I have been down this road before, and I really don't want to get into it, but Highland Lake was not what a hybrid was intended to be. I just want everyone else to understand what geocaching.com intends.

GeoMaine
08-06-2006, 01:14 PM
brdad;

My apologies, I have never read the ‘in depth’ cache descriptions. I did not even know that such a thing existed until I searched and searched for where you had gotten that from?

Here is the ‘short cache description’ information as I found it and as it still exists directly on the geocache.com website:

http://www.geocaching.com/about/cache_types.aspx (http://www.geocaching.com/about/cache_types.aspx)

"A letterbox is another form of treasure hunting using clues instead of coordinates. In some cases, however, a letterbox has coordinates, and the owner has made it a letterbox and a geocache. To read more about letterboxing, visit the Letterboxing North America (http://www.letterboxing.org/) web site.

That is where I gathered my interpretation from. When I read ‘In some cases…’ it led me to believe that we were now discussing the letterbox hybrid?

Regardless, when one reads the full cache guidelines and about the hybrid in particular:

http://www.geocaching.com/about/guidelines.aspx (http://www.geocaching.com/about/guidelines.aspx)

You are 100% correct. It’s now immediately obvious (even to me) that the intentions of groundspeak were to simply have a regular geocache with a stamp for letterboxers in it. Even so, I’m a little surprised to see the cache does not even have to be a legitimate ‘letterbox’, meaning that it does not even have to be listed on the letterboxing website. Am I correct in that last assessment?

(A little hard at this time to submit it anyway since the website is currently down.)

Okay, so how about this. Highland Lake was a mystery cache that was horribly mislabeled as a regular cache but was still well received. I only had two visitors that didn’t much like it. : )

Besides, the cache was approved exactly as I had written it (even without the coords) and it was my first hidden cache as well.

There must be a break in there somewhere for me? Somewhere? :(

brdad
08-06-2006, 05:53 PM
Here is the ‘short cache description’ information as I found it and as it still exists directly on the geocache.com website:

http://www.geocaching.com/about/cache_types.aspx

"A letterbox is another form of treasure hunting using clues instead of coordinates. In some cases, however, a letterbox has coordinates, and the owner has made it a letterbox and a geocache. To read more about letterboxing, visit the Letterboxing North America web site.

That is where I gathered my interpretation from. When I read ‘In some cases…’ it led me to believe that we were now discussing the letterbox hybrid?

Yes - A letterbox is another form of treasure hunting using clues instead of coordinates.

Yes, in some cases, a letterbox has coordinates, and the owner has made it a letterbox and a geocache. This means it has clues and coordinates.


You are 100% correct. It’s now immediately obvious (even to me) that the intentions of groundspeak were to simply have a regular geocache with a stamp for letterboxers in it. Even so, I’m a little surprised to see the cache does not even have to be a legitimate ‘letterbox’, meaning that it does not even have to be listed on the letterboxing website. Am I correct in that last assessment?

That sounds correct. And I think the reasoning for that is that letterboxing is a much looser game, meaning there is no definitive site that lists a major percentage of letterboxes. Many are not even listed on web sites. I guess to be a legitimate letterbox, it only needs the letterbox and clues posted somewhere on some form of media....

And yes, I would say Highland Lake most closely resembled a mystery cache. And yes, it was approved and not so against the rules that anyone should post SBA to it. And yes, knowing what I know today, I would have read the description and the fact it had no coordinates might not have detracted my enjoyment of the cache location as much. And, if it was listed as a mystery cache, I would have more likely paid attention to the description ahead of time as well.

ribnag
08-07-2006, 01:40 PM
brdad : I think the reasoning for that is that letterboxing is a much looser game, meaning there is no definitive site that lists a major percentage of letterboxes. Many are not even listed on web sites. I guess to be a legitimate letterbox, it only needs the letterbox and clues posted somewhere on some form of media....

You have the right idea there, but go even further - The clue can even spread by word-of-mouth only. And it need not use words - One of my own LBs has just a slideshow of pictures as the clue. I know of one (not mine) travelling letterbox that the "clue" consists of knowing to ask a certain LB'ing couple about their dog... So if you encounter them on the trail or at an event, you can "find" it; other than that, you can't.

As the ONLY real "requirement" for considering a letterbox "find", you need to get a copy of its stamp, and leave your stamp in its logbook (if it has one and you can find room - That part has a bit more flexibility, and many micros don't include a log at all, just a stamp). And believe it or not, I've done one letterbox that deliberately left out a stamp just to mess with the heads of people who focus too much on the numbers (not one to accept defeat easily, I inked up the bottom of the container itself and took a stamp of that, though just for the joke of turning the tables on the placer and finding an "officially" unfindable box, not for the paltry one extra "F" count :cool: ).

But at the most basic, if you don't get a stamp image from it, you don't get a find. Just about anything goes, beyond that.

You'll understand, then, why I seem a bit amused (or frustrated, depending on my mood) at some of the rules-lawyering that goes on in the GC'ing community. It doesn't even occur to me to worry about (just as an example I read here recently) whether or not the owner has flagged it as daytime-only if I can physically access the site at night. ;)


So, if Groundspeak has a ton of requirements for a letterbox hybrid, you can consider those requirements solely for the purpose of satisfying the "cache" side of its description. If it contains a box-specific stamp, you can safely call it a letterbox without any other qualifications - Thus my surprise that so few people plant LB hybrids - With as little extra effort as carving the name of the cache into a block of rubber or lino (I prefer the soft linoleum on wood, myself) with a Dremel, you can call any cache a hybrid. :D

Haffy
08-07-2006, 02:12 PM
[ whether or not the owner has flagged it as daytime-only if I can physically access the site at night. ;) :D




I think that reasoning is mostly for the safety aspect of that particular cache or maybe it is even prohibited to trespassing at night. Most rules are there for a particular reason and that is for either the hiders or finders safety.

Robotbunny
08-09-2006, 06:33 AM
Thanks for the Madison tip -- it sounds fun for my kids and is on my list of places to see in NH :-)

As for your Highland cache, I liked it and was sorry it got destroyed.

And your comment on my column - I just deleted per your request :-)


Robotbunny;

My original 'Highland Lake' cache that you found and published (the one without the coords and only having a pretty picture to look at) was styled after the hybrid without having the 'official' title of being one.

If you ever get the chance, bring your kids to Madison Boulder Earthcache (http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?guid=71048984-6bd6-4f14-97c6-7ecc4b1e951f) by HartClimbs - a cache they will certainly never forget and if you go up the hill in a straight line directly from the 'pepple' you'll have little trouble finding the honest to goodness letterbox cache that was planted up there.

I ask you again. Can we somehow make that go away?

Robotbunny
08-09-2006, 06:35 AM
THanks for the tip on attaching stamp to lid -- we plan to do that with another type of container we have.

But, where do you buy the ammo cans? Is there anywhere in the Portland area to get one?


ya know... if you used an ammo can for the cache, you could permantley attach the ink pad to the underside of the lid of the can, so you flip the lid open, theres the pad, attached and not going anywhere, and still plenty of room for goodies. :D

Cache Maine
08-09-2006, 06:39 AM
I get my cans at the Military Supply Store. I know there's one in Brewer and Newport, but not sure about Portland. I think there are a couple of places online to get them, but the shipping was high.

Ye Olde Prospector
08-09-2006, 07:15 AM
There is an Army Surplus store across from Walmart in Scarboro. They usually have ammo cans of various sizes.

YOP

Slate
08-09-2006, 10:53 AM
There is an Army Surplus store across from Walmart in Scarboro. They usually have ammo cans of various sizes.
It's called Army Barracks. 30 cal cans are $5 and 50 cal are $7. They also have larger sizes, but they get a little expensive.

Robotbunny
08-18-2006, 11:22 AM
Thanks for the tip on the Army Surplus store. I'm going to check it out.

And the hybrid my family made is up and running.
http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?guid=b1e10c06-a412-437d-817a-994d64da89f3

We attached the stamp to the lid of the plastic container we used for the cache. We'll see how things go before we hide another hybrid.

brdad
08-18-2006, 11:37 AM
I love that pic from Team Trout on their log! TT always has some of the best kids pics.