I never told you about the Attack Lizard

I was looking through the posts I’ve written about our Letterboxing adventures and realized that I never finished telling you about our most recent trip to Santa Fe!

For those of you who don’t know, Letterboxing is like a treasure hunt. You solve puzzles and figure out clues that all lead to a hidden box (or pouch) that contains a carved rubber stamp. You stamp this into your Journal and then put your own mark (via a carved stamp of your own) in the accompanying log book. You can read more about this hobby here.

Anyway, Santa Fe is one of our all-time favorite destinations, so we went there for the long 4th of July weekend. As with any trip we take, I plugged our destination into the website I use for finding letterboxes and was amazed at the results! It was like hitting the jackpot!

I researched which boxes we were going to find. I solved clues that could be solved before hand. I mapped out the different starting locations.

What awaited us was better than we could have imagined.

We’d been to Santa Fe before, but we saw it in a whole different light. Letterboxing gives you an excuse to be in places you wouldn’t normally be or to search for things you wouldn’t even expect.

The letterboxes in Santa Fe were fantastic and so clever.

I’ll be sure to post more about our adventures (without giving away any of the secrets of the specific letterboxes), but the story that comes to the front of my mind is the day I was attacked by a lizard.

It all starts with an Arroyo and a Hitchhiker Hostel.

Yes, really.

An Arroyo is a stream bed or gulch. It’s dry most of the year, but seasonally fills with water and then recedes. A Hitchhiker in letterboxing is a little carved stamp that moves from permanent letterbox to permanent letterbox by the next letterboxer who finds it. A Hitchhiker Hostel is like a little hotel for Hitchhikers, and prior to our trip to Santa Fe, I had no idea something like this existed. Basically, you leave some hitchhikers at the hostel and you take some hitchhikers from the hostel, and it keeps them moving around the country.

I wanted to see this for myself! I even carved a special Hitchhiker for this very reason!

Colorado Dragonfly: She's TINY, as you can see by the quarter in the photo.

For this particular letterbox, we figured out where we needed to be. Daddy decided to stay up on top of the arroyo with Claire while I went down to check it out.

It was steep and rocky. I was wearing my garden gloves, so I wasn’t too worried. I was careful to look for any snakes. I’m gripping the instructions in one hand and trying to keep my balance with the other. I make it to the bottom of the arroyo without any incident!

I figure out where I need to be and see what I’m supposed to see. It’s here! I’ve found it! I reach down to clear away some pine needles and a rock, and this lizard jumps out at me!

I scream!
(So much for being stealthy and discreet.  Granted, the area was deserted.  Literally.)

Then, I had a heart attack and died. The End.

Miraculously, I start breathing again. Meanwhile, Daddy and Claire are distraught. I can’t see them, but I can hear them call down to me. Claire thinks I’m hurt, and Daddy is wondering how on Earth he’s going to remove my body from the bottom of the arroyo without attracting attention. Ha. Kidding. He swears he, too, was concerned for my safety and not the logistics of the whole thing.

I assure them that I am okay. Physically.

After I stop shaking, I uncover the rest of the hostel and do my transfers.

Meanwhile, that poor little lizard has bolted back to his loved ones and is telling a chilling tale of how he was just minding his own business when this crazed redhead tried to attack him!  She came out of nowhere!  The poor guy will never be the same. “Twitchy” will tell this tale to his grandkids when they ask him how he got his nickname.

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