Flyfisher's Letterbox Writing
The Vapor Pressure of Hand Carved Stamps

18 Jan 2002

The simple fact is that stamps disappear. Of the 56 boxes I have put stamps in, two of the stamps have disappeared - so far- 3 months. Eleven of the total stamps are actually in geocaches. One stamp was definitely stolen by a non-letterboxer. The rascal left the box, and the log, but took the stamp. From what I can gather it was one of the Procyon lotor, a group of notorious stamp stealers. I believed all precautions had been taken, but the odor of the box apparently led to its discovery.

Another stamp was discovered to be missing - uh, not discovered to be present - in a hybrid geocache/letterbox. No note was made in the log about taking the stamp, either in the box or on the web. A search of the ground around the box found no accidentally dropped stamp. The ammobox had none of the puncture marks usually left as a calling card by the Procyon lotor clan. 

I was left with no other reasonable explanation other than - like a drop of water on a summer sun heated rock - the vapor pressure got to it. 


In our web letterboxing web pages we have made sure that those looking for letterboxes know: 
WAIVER OF RESPONSIBILITY AND DISCLAIMER: Letterboxing, like any outdoor sport, carries the risk of unforeseen hazards... 
You know the rest by heart. 

I think it may be about time we included another.  It could go  something like this:
Leaving letterboxes out for others to find is a usually enjoyable activity albeit with several known risks and it likely has other risks less well understood - what doesn't? 
-There is a small risk that the enjoyment of creating, writing, and placing the letterbox and its associated clues will not offset the expense or trouble expended in creating the box, stamp, and clues. This risk benefit ratio - as experienced by the letterboxer may 
change from time to time. 
-IMPORTANT: There is a risk that your box may not be found for a very long time, a time which can extend to the environs of infinity. (A) 

-IMPORTANT: There is a risk that the box, or a portion of its contents, may be stolen, borrowed, photographed, replaced with a key chain, or simply evaporate. This experience may be irritating to painful, may cause lost sleep, additional expense, may occasion new creative efforts, and require additional hiking and driving time while further wearing down your boots, tires and suspension. (B)

-It is well understood that the more likely you design your clues and the physical placement of the box to attract and engage others in the actual finding of the box, the more likely it is that the previous set of risks (B) will transpire, but this approach will limit risk set (A).
-It can never be best understood by more than one letterboxer - how to make boxes which maintain high appeal while engendering only minimal risk of ever being discovered by more than a half of a handful of individuals.

Before you set out read the waiver of responsibility and disclaimer.

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