Friday, January 20, 2012

Letterboxing in Niagara Falls, Ontario

We woke up at the crack of dawn-ish on Sunday, September 25th, because we wanted to find as many letterboxes as we could in Niagara Falls, Ontario.  Our first find of the day was at 8:14 am.  Focke-Wulf Fw 190 A-1 also had the honour of being our 200th find.  We also found the bonus stamp Republic P-47 Thunderbolt  "Bubbletop".

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 It was an easy find and we were back on the road again.  Our second find of the day was a particularly hard find.  We knew exactly where the box was, but retrieving it without being seen is another story.  Fortunately the sight of 2 boys climbing randomly all over the sign with a grandmother shooting photos gave us the cover we needed.  A Whale of a Letterbox was our 3rd find of the day,

When our boys were young we often packed a picnic and went on road trips.  We have carried on that tradition with our grandsons.  A two day trip (Rockwood & Niagara Falls) required 2 coolers -- one traditional cooler in the back with our meals and a plug in cooler in the front with our snacks and beverages.

My main job when we are letterboxing is to act as navigator.  I've gotten fairly good at reading maps and Hal's listening skills have improved as well . . . LOL . . .

Don't every have a potty emergency in Niagara Falls.  Our experience shows that businesses in Niagara Falls hide the bathrooms so that wandering tourists can't find them.  We were looking for a box near the casino and decided to go in for a quick break.  We wandered that stupid mall following stupid directions until we finally located washrooms.  The boys are waiting patiently for me . . .

Lucky 7's was easy to find but really tricky to get because the tourists were all awake and starting to wander around.  We discussed a few different plans and decided to use the photo dodge again.  We all stood in front of the letterbox's hidey-hole while Hal took our photo.  One of the boys reached in behind his back and grabbed the box.  We wandered off down the sidewalk nonchalantly until we felt we were far enough away to safely stamp in.  We managed to return the box in the same manner a short time later.

Our next find was The Skylon Tower.    We found it quite easily because the area was muggle free.

It was just after 10 am when we found The Niagara Skywheel Letterbox.  There was a lot of backtracking involved because we were walking from  the Skylon to the Skywheel so we had to walk back following the instructions in the clue.  I have to say despite the fact it was quite warm and we had been walking for over 2 hours by this point, the boys didn't complain at all.  Perhaps the stop at an air conditioned Tim Hortons at the Skywheel was enough to refresh them and keep them going.

It was a long walk back to the Skywheel and then down the road to the Parkway.  We turned right on the Parkway and began our search for the elusive Nikola Teslia.  Cameron threw a coin in the fountain and wished that we would find Nikola soon.   It was a very tricky find but we did it!

It was a bit of a hike back to the casino where we'd parked the van but we made it.  I think Hal was the only one complaining but the boys sure put on a show of ridiculous exhaustion as we climbed back up the hill.

Next stop was a quick drive to Life is Good, in Canada .  We missed the park but a quick turn around and we were on the trail.  Taylor huffs the stamp before using my back as a "flat" surface.  Yes I am a little sun burnt by this point.

In the Life is Good clue was a mention of a great place to see the Whirlpool and it was very good advice.

Living Waters Wayside Chapel was the only box we did not find.   We were able to search for a bit and then we had to back off as a bus or van full of tourists pulled in.  I don't think this little chapel is a big secret.  We wandered, took photos, had a snack and waited . . .

When there was a break in traffic we found the exact location mentioned in the clues and the box was gone.

Our next stop was The Totem and it was in a very muggle-infested area.  We unpacked our lunch and had a rest in the pavilion while discussing how to outwit all the muggles.  A game of catch around the hiding spot netted us the box fairly easily.

The clues for Niagara Circle Route Trail were quite easy but a little scary.  We sent Hal in to get the box while we stayed back on the trail.  Not that we are chickens or anything.  But I was a little concerned of what our son might say if we didn't come back with all three boys.

Our final find of the day was For What It's Worth in Port Dalhousie.  We had a picnic supper and then rode the merry-go-round a few times before heading over to the tiny jail.  It looks like they are either renovating it or moving it, not sure which.  We searched and searched and nearly gave up.  We decided to try one more time, changing our thinking about the clue . . . and we found it!

After this find we began the long drive home to St. Thomas.  It was probably one of the best letterboxing days I've ever had with the boys and Hal.