Sunday, October 11, 2009

Pyhän Katariinan lodju

Tervetuloa! Welcome to Finland!

Here Peggy was introduced to Agent S.'s Finnish friends, Hanna and Noora, and they in turn were introduced to the game of letterboxing!

Our first letterboxing (lodju-ing) adventure took us to a hiking trail (retkeilyreitti) in the town of Kaarina. The trail named Pyhän Katariinan (Saint Catherine's trail) is home to 2 letterbox-geocache hybrids. Here Noora reads us a hiking trail sign - Finnish words are often very long!Hanna leads the way and proves to be an excellent trail finder! The clue for this box is only in Finnish, but roughly translates to "Suffering maiden/ who perhaps died for her beliefs/ and in Lemu one wanders / on paths holy / a small treasure is hidden/ following the path / on the same side as the heart / though nothing is seen / don't go into the swamp / instead look for a pine tree on an island / and a cross / and under a birdbox / the letterbox is hidden.

We walked through lovely woods for some time, eating lingonberries and late blueberries and "Fox bread" (wild clover leaves). Eventually we came to the swamp mentioned in the clue, and we found a bird box - but there was no letterbox by it. We walked through the woods all around the swamp, found 3 bird boxes in total, looked under rocks and leaves and stumps and roots, but there was no sign of any letterboxes. Finally we gave up in frustration. We decided to climb up a rock to get back to the trail, though there was an easier opening we could have gone back to. As she was climbing up the rock however, Hanna happened to spot the letterbox tucked into a crevice by her hand! It was entirely unexpected, but so exciting!!
Here we are opening our first Finnish letterboxing find!! Unfortunately there was no stamp. I suspect that is a result of the geocache/letterbox hybrid - sometimes geocachers don't understand our game and take the stamp.We didn't have anything to leave in the box, but we tried to stamp that little figurine's feet in place of a stamp (it didn't turn out so good). It was still an exciting find for us, and Noora proudly displays the mark of a letterboxer - yellow ink stains on her hands!After finding our first box we moved to another part of the trail, did a little bit of climbing and came to a campfire area where a second letterbox was supposed to be hiding. At the campfire we roasted sausages on sticks over an open fire, a very Finnish thing to do (delicious too!). The letterbox clue said that 7 meters from the fire ring there was a box hiding under a rock. Unfortunately for us, the entire 360 degrees surrounding this area is all rock, and a 7 meter circle is harder to search than it perhaps sounds, especially not knowing how precise the clue was.

Here is a shot of Peggy searching in the rocks.

Poking into rocks is a dangerous business - we did not find any letterboxes there - this is what we found instead!!

Eventually we gave up the search and headed back down the trail. We climbed up this observation tower to get a view of the area. Here's Peggy in Kaarina, Finland.
And all of Peggy's new letterboxing friends - Sara (Agent S.), Hanna (Smarty the Smurf) and Noora (Coco the Frog) -

No comments: