People, Places & Events


  Letterboxing combines treasure hunting, hiking and art in one hobby
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

CEDAR CREEK LAKE- Who doesn’t like a good scavenger or treasure hunt? But they can be such a bother to plan and host, thus rarely are you invited to one.
Well, a new hobby has been planted and is growing in East Texas and the United States that combines the fun of a treasure hunt without the bother.
It’s called letterboxing, and though it’s relatively new here, its roots go back to 1854, Dartmoor, England.
Tool resident Lois Adams heard about the modernized version in a magazine article she read two years ago, and promised herself she would do it.
In January, she made good on that promise, and is having a ball deciphering and following clues to interesting places in East Texas she didn’t know existed.
And, in turn, she too is hiding little treasure boxes and leaving clues for others to follow to places she’s enjoyed. Several are hidden in the Cedar Creek Lake area.
Husband James didn’t think much of the idea, but quickly changed his mind when Doris asked for his help to decipher some of the clues.
“He’s really quite good at it, and when we go searching he’s good to have along to look in the underbrush,” Doris said.
What exactly is letterboxing and how does it work?
Letterboxing is the British term for mailbox. James Perrot, an 1854 guide to the moors of Dartmoor, the setting for the Sherlock Holmes mystery Hound of the Baskervilles, started it.
He left his calling card in a jar in a remote area by Cranmere Pool and encouraged his clients to find the jar and leave their cards in the jar, as well.
Eventually, visitors began leaving a self-addressed post card or note in the jar, hoping the finder would mail it back to them and tell how they found it. That’s how it came by the name letterboxing.
Today, hide-and-seekers design a simple or elaborate container with a small blank journal for finders to stamp their personal stamp on, along with the date they found it, where they are from and any other short note they care to make about the box’s condition.
The box also contains a rubber stamp, mostly hand-made ones matching the box’s design, for the finder to, in turn, stamp their private log book of the finds they’ve made.
These logbooks would also be marked with the date, and perhaps a short note about the journey to decipher the clue and the clue that led them to the box.
Perrot’s logbooks are archived in the library in Plymouth, England.
Where are the clues to be found? On the Internet, of course.
Letterboxers in North America modernized the letterboxing tradition by cutting out the postal service and posting their clues at one of two websites. They are and
Although some people have their own websites where they post clues to their own hidden boxes, some sporting goods stores post clues, and word-of-mouth is another way to find clues.
“We enjoy it,” Adams, 70, told The Monitor. “It’s something just for us (James and her).”
One of the surprising places the couple have found a box was at the Calaboose in Kemp, an historical marker.
“I didn’t know that existed,” the 10-year Cedar Creek Lake resident said. “I always like to hide my boxes somewhere there is some interest.”
Adams says she enjoys designing the boxes and hiding them, and of course, finding them, but the most challenging part for her is writing up the clues.
Boxes can be any size – if outdoors they should be waterproof and hidden well.
When one is found, it’s very important to replace it in the exact spot it was found for the next seeker to find, Adams said.
“I just get very excited about it, and I hope more people in this area will want to try it,” Adams said.
So far, Adams has hidden seven boxes and has four more ready to hide. She and James have found 16 so far in places near and far, including Athens, Gun Barrel City, Tyler, Greenville and Summerville.
“We do it every weekend. It’s just lots of fun,” Adams said.
There are estimated to be more than 22,000 letterboxes hidden in the United States today, with the highest concentration of them in the Connecticut River Valley in Vermont, New Hampshire and Connecticut.
In Dartmoor, where letterboxing began, there were just 15 boxes on the moor by 1970.
Clues are recorded in a regularly updated booklet, and consist of grid references on park maps and compass bearings, paces or landmarks, and do not include elaborate mysteries as are common in the U.S.
Ten years later, there were 3,000 boxes in the 365 square miles of Dartmoor National Park.
The Smithsonian magazine introduced the concept to an American audience for the first time in an April, 1998, article.
A small group were intrigued by the story and set up an online forum and Web site, where they launched an American version of letterboxing.
There is no official letterboxing organization in England or here. Consequently, there are no official rules, just a set of traditions and practices that most letterboxers observe.


‘Edgewood 80 Backroads’ bike tour set
Special to The Monitor
EDGEWOOD–The fourth annual Edgewood 80 Backroads Bike Tour is scheduled for Saturday, April 21 and hundreds of cycling enthusiasts are expected to be in this historic East Texas town for a day of bicycle tours traversing the rolling terrain of four counties.
Sponsored by ProTrak Trailers and Brookshires, this year’s event offers five tours ranging from 15- to 100-mile treks through scenic backwoods and villages beginning and ending at Edgewood Heritage Park.
Cost of the tours are $30 the day of the event.
Proceeds benefit Edgewood Lions Club and Edgewood Heritage Park Museum.
Bicyclists will ride through delightful scenery with light motor traffic and no freeway service roads.
The longer tours contain several moderate rolling hills.
The 30-mile route and the easier 15-mile “family fun country road ride” is mostly moderate terrain.
Children 10 to 13 years old must be accompanied by an adult.
The rides are not recommended for children under 10-years-old.
Registration is from 7 to 9 a.m. in downtown Edgewood at Heritage Park.
Tours begin at 9 a.m. and start and finish at the park.
Rest stops and refreshments are located every 10 miles and lunch is provided at the finish line.
Proceeds from the tour benefit the Edgewood Lions Club and Edgewood Heritage Park Museum.
Edgewood is a small rural community located 50 miles east of Dallas on historic U.S. Highway 80, the beginning of the “East Texas timberline.”
Bike tours track the rolling hardwood and pine forests of Van Zandt, Rains, Wood and Smith counties and the charming, historic villages of the area.
The center of all Edgewood 80 activities is the Heritage Park Museum in downtown Edgewood, an outdoor architectural showcase that represents rural Van Zandt County in the early 1900s.
Tour information and registration is available by calling (903) 896-4267 or (903) 896-1480 and by e-mail at
Visit the Edgewood 80 website at
Co-sponsors of the event include Sam’s Club, City of Edgewood, Bruce Miller Nursery, Wilco Equipment Co., Citizens Lumber, J’s Grocery, David’s Supermarket, Goggans Tire Service, Van Zandt County Insurance andFirst National Bank of Edgewood.
Also, Hiett’s LyBrand Funeral Home, Tops & Tubs, Hawkins Tree Farm & Nursery, R-Tex Manufacturing, Easy Pickens Bail Bond, Cozby-Germany Hospital, Risinger/Farmer’s Ins., R&R Millwork, MVP Pizza, Trinity Mother Frances Health System, Henderson Striping, J&L Utility and D & D Maintenance.
Also, Edgewood Drug, David Musslewhite, Wallace & Murray Insurance, Blue Rooster, Erwin’s Concrete, Hunter Realty, Enlaces, Dr. Michael Hackney, Lee Thornton, Gilliam Iron & Welding, Murrey Motors, Van Zandt Veterinary Service, Lone Star Grill, Paul Michaels Company, Edgewood Hardware, Edgewood Dairy Queen, Griffin Industries, BC Tax Service, Vivian Harvey Law Office, Pine Street Bakery, Baylor Health Care Center, Best Western Inn Canton, Richardson Bike Mart and Coca-Cola Bottling Company.

Mabank High School bands win awards at UIL
Special to The Monitor
MABANK–Congratulations to the Mabank High School and Middle School Bands on their accomplishments at the UIL Concert and Sight Reading Competition!
The High School Band went to the UIL Competition on March 6-7, in Canton.
The Symphonic Winds, under the direction of Denise Kennedy, received a second division rating for their stage performance and a first division rating for their sight reading performance.
The Wind Symphony, under the direction of Jeff DuBose, received a first division rating for their stage performance and a first division rating for their sight reading performance, earning a sweepstakes trophy.
Out of 20 high school bands at the UIL competition, only five bands received a sweepstakes trophy.
The Middle School Band went to UIL competition March 29, in Canton.
The Concert Band, under the direction of Jeff DuBose, received a second division rating for their stage performance and a first division rating for their sight reading performance.
The Symphonic Band, under the direction of Jeff DuBose, received first division rating for their stage performance and a first division rating for their sight reading performance, earning a sweepstakes trophy.
The Honor Winds, under the direction of Scott Kennedy, also received a first division rating for their stage performance and a first division rating for their sight reading performance, earning a sweepstakes trophy.
Out of 20 middle school bands at the UIL competition, only four bands received a sweepstakes trophy, with Mabank earning two of them.


Come Adopt Us At
The Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake
ABOVE–My name is Georgie. I am the sweetest cat ever. I was brought to the Shelter by animal control, so I have no history. My ears have been treated for ear mites, I have tested negative for Leukemia and I have been fixed. I am a wonderful boy looking for a wonderful new start at life.
ABOVE–My name is Buddy. I am a male Black Lab. I am fixed and current on my shots. A gentleman fed me and took me to the vet and had me fixed up. He wasn’t able to keep me, but took care of me as long as he was able to. I am a handsome fella looking for a wonderful forever home.
ABOVE–My name is Blue. I am a cute little guy. I was brought to the Shelter by animal control so I have no history. I have been fixed and given my shots. I am an adorable little guy looking for my forever home.
ABOVE–My name is George. I think I may be a Retriever or maybe Husky? I was born January 3. I have been wormed and had 2 of 3 puppy shots. I am very sweet. I am doing well on potty training and am crate trained. I am looking for a forever home.

Pictured are just a few animals at the Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake in Seven Points in dire need of a good home. Please call or stop by the Humane Society today and rescue one of these forgotten animals. The Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake is located on 10220 County Road 2403 in Seven Points. For more information, please call (903) 432-3422 after 11 a.m.
We are closed on Wednesdays.

For further information visit our website at