Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Rock Stashing

I've been thinking about rock stashing a bit more, and it almost embarrasses me to admit it, but the idea is kind of growing on me. The thing I really like about it is the one thing I like least about letterboxes--the logbooks, stamps, and plastic containers that often times end up becoming litter. More than once I've picked up battered up boxes, shredded Zip-Locks and pieces of logbooks from a destroyed box for proper disposal. Glad that at least that box wouldn't become a permanent source of litter cluttering up the environment because of letterboxing.

And I have to admit to feeling a bit annoyed at the occasional but regular posts about 'rehiding boxes better than you found it,' ruined logbooks, Lock-n-Locks sealed with the lid upside-down, etc. There are (understandably) a lot of emotions tied up in a letterbox, but I've heard it so many times before, it gets old. Rock stashing eliminates all those problems right out of the starting gate! Granted, rocks could still be stolen or go missing, but litter and ruined logbooks or stamps being traded out by geocachers--so many regular ongoing issues. Gone. Sounds kind of dreamy to me.

This afternoon, I walked around Alki beach, picking up some trash along the way, thinking about all the litter. Found a few Zip-Locks. I have no reason to suspect that any of them came from letterboxes, but what if they did? I'm sure some of my boxes--many planted in far-away locations that I may never visit again--will eventually become nothing more than trash. I pick up far more trash than I've ever left as 'litterboxes,' so I still feel good about leaving this planet better off than how I came into it--but I still feel that nagging doubt that some of my boxes could become litter.

So the more I think about rock stashing, the more the idea appeals to me. It's an idea that should be supported and cultivated. Originally I poo-pooed the idea since I didn't want to implement it myself, but realistically, it seems doubtful that anyone else would create the site that rock stashing needs.

So I find myself thinking about making a dedicated rock stashing website. Adding it as another 'type' of box on Atlas Quest would be far quicker and easier, but frankly, it urks my sense of order to add something completely unrelated to letterboxing to Atlas Quest. The concept is new and different enough to deserve a dedicated site of its own.

But that thought gives me a sense of dread. Running and maintaining two websites? Ugh! It wouldn't be so bad if I could reuse large amounts of code for both websites, so the message boards (for instance) would only need to be implemented once, and it would run message boards on both websites. I'd have to refactor a lot of existing code to make it work properly for multiple websites, but in theory, it could significantly reduce the duplicataion of effort between two such sites. And once the code is refactored to be reused across multiple websites, creating additional websites (if the time or inclination was there) would be significantly easier in the future.

So I find myself thinking about rock stashing. Thought I should at least find one, but I'm not actually sure there are any. I did a search for 'rock stashing' and the first link to come up was an article title Rock-stashing chimpanzee shows humanlike planning. Not really what I had in mind. Someone posted a message to the website at, but it seems to be focused on New England. (Those FAQs made me laugh, though.)

I've never painted a rock before, so I did some googling and found a plethora of information about painting rocks. Learn How to Paint Animals on Rocks has some amazing examples, but those looks rather intimidating. I'd probably want to start with something easier. =) I was pleased to see the comment about books containing "patterns that can be copied." I don't consider myself much of an artist, but I can copy and trace well enough.

But then I found these tutorials about rock painting:

Painting a Basket of Pansies
Written In Stone Project
Valentine Love Bugs Project
Stone Cactus Project

Those are pretty cool! And they actually look easy enough that I think I could do them. Ugh, I so did not need to learn about this hobby.....


Anonymous said...

You, of course, can do as you please. Some of us would continue to participate in traditional letterboxing. Some would branch out to try the rock-stashing. Some would probably enjoy the rock related activities solely. Since AQ was set us to support the letterboxing community, we would hope it remains focused on that.

Grumpy Grinch - who think folk art images in our logbook take up less room than all the rocks already in our yard

Anonymous said...

Before I voice my opinion about this matter..I will wait til after April 1st to see if you still feel the same....hehehe

Maple Leaf Red

Anonymous said...

I, for one, feel a lovely game of "My Rock" coming up.

Unknown said...

I wanna play My Rock again as long as I don't have to design the dadgum LTC again...

Goofy girl

Anonymous said...

Grumpy Grinch said...."Since AQ was set us to support the letterboxing community, we would hope it remains focused on that."

Anonymous says....Which it seems to do less and less. Focus or support. What the hell does rock stashing or whatever this crap is have to do with letterboxing? Let them go somewhere and start their own site about rocks. This site is supposed to be about LETTERBOXING.

The crap just grows more and more ridiculous. And it's not anywhere close to April 1st.

This site has become more and more about the ego of the owner than anything else.

Sally-O said...

You can always stamp an image on the Rock. I think that will work very well. :-D
Or you can try stenciling too. That's easy to do.


Anonymous said...

the rock stashing site I ended up on (and now I can't recall how I got there) seemed to be photos of unusual natural rock formations, or natural rocks with unusual shapes, along with a very vague clue on where to find it. there wasn't anything said about taking or leaving or painting rocks, only finding the rock in the photo.

the photos were cool, but I don't think there are many things I'd go hiking to see in person when I'd already seen a photo of it.


Ryan said...

I already said that I think rock stashing deserves its own website and NOT as an addition to Atlas Quest. Not sure why everyone is in a tizzy about my adding support for it to Atlas Quest.

As for waiting until April 1st, making a new rock stashing website will take far more than two weeks time. So I solemnly promise there will be no rock stashing sites (at least not of my doing) until long after April 1st comes and goes.

erichr said...


Anonymous said...

lighten up guys- or are your pockets full of rocks?

smile and laugh- it just may be the intention of the author!

Anonymous said...

Hmmm... anyone check the date that is fast approaching on the calender??? I smell a set up!!

Grumpy Grinch said...

I've given up my letterbox
For painting bunnies on some rocks.
Environment these rocks will spare
From logbooks, baggies, tupperware.
With artists' brush and lead-free paint
I'll hit the trails without restraint.
Igneous rocks appeal to me
Metamorphic, sedimentary
Are for the taking, mainly free.
I have some reservations, still
That Grinch, who bears a stubborn will,
Won't want to lug her rocks uphill.

Teresa said...

Heh, heh, heh. Thirteen more days.

Teresa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mary Gerber said...

April fools day is FUN!

Anonymous said...

hummmm I really hope this is a joke of some sort... becuase its very annoying otherwise. First of all letterboxes are not trash (don't we write that on the outside of our boxes) if they get destroyed its a shame but the intent is not to LITTER - LITTER is what you see by the highway LETTERBOXS have a lot of care and love put into them. They actually encourage people to get off their fat asses and go out and see nature and maybe even start to respect it a bit more.... ok I vented I feel better now.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure this is as good as last year's April Fool's Day joke...but I'll play!

I have a really cool rock that looks like a tuna steak. Really! It's granite, so it's a dark red, and has some white-ish veining...totally sushi-grade tuna! Found it in SE Missouri; I guess I need to carry it someplace else to stash?

Anonymous said...

This is a really interesting idea.

Traditional rock-stashes are cool. But there are some really clever variations.
- rockbook (flat rectangular rock, shelved in a library).
- magnetic rock stashed in some unlikely location
- micro-rock (sand) for placing in locations with high traffic.
- postal rock
- rock trading cards.
- hand carved
- synthetic (cement) rocks

I'm thinking about some variations: rock-book (a flat rock, shaped like a book, and shelved

Kevin said...

I stumbled upon rock stashing by accident. I was hiking a trail when I discovered an odd rock at the base of a tree, then another in a crook at eye level. On the way back, I realized I was following a trail (almost) of polished rocks. But I have seen little online - and the yahoo group. Interseting to see it here, but I would rather not have to see it on a LETTERBOXING site.

Anonymous said...

postal rocks sound like they would be expensive to mail.. and I don't think traditonal rock stashers would like the idea of us mailing rocks.

Liz Henderson (Hendel D'bu) said...

I like rocks. I have a rock collection, and like to collect small, shiny stones from the beach. My children are attracted to cool rocks on trails, and sometimes bring them home as a pocket treasure.

However, rock-stashing sounds kinda dumb. Do you take the rock when you find it? Do you just take a pic of it for grins?

I like letterboxing, and do not consider letterboxes trash, and I don't think any planters intended them to be trash. I like the carving aspect of letterboxing and collecting of other people's efforts. I guess I'm thinkin' that rock stashing is missing something vital - the sharing part.

*shrug* just my two-cents.

~SHH :-)

Grumpy Grinch said...

As an old, retired Army officer, this whole thread makes me think of the Army term, "painting rocks," a term we used for make-work, to keep the young soldiers busy during frequent "hurry up and wait" periods around camp....

Anonymous said...

Ryan said "but frankly, it urks my sense of order to add something completely unrelated to letterboxing to Atlas Quest."

I find this statement amusing since AQ already has boards containing everything from prayer to television. Why not hit rock bottom and add this, too.

1SG said...

Your mention of Alki Beach really takes me back. While growing up, many more years ago than I like to remember, there was a concession stand in or near the beach house at the Park which offered the best Fish and Chips that I have ever had anywhere in the world. Yummy

Stacy Christian said...

For those of you in Northern California, I recommend The Rock Shop, 5115 Quinn Rd, Vacaville. I dropped a small fortune there on my recent trip (before remembering that I had to lug it all home). :)


Anonymous said...

Ok I MIGHT be an April fool but never a March one! ;) T

Anonymous said...

Rock-stashing??? Not sure I understand. Wondering if MrOspital's wonderful camoflauged letterbox rock would qualify as both letterboxing and rock-stashing. Hmmm...

hansenclan in So. Calif.

Anonymous said...

Environmental implications of rock stashing? Hope the artists use only non toxic paints.. many contain lead, cadmium etc which are very damaging to amphibians. Clear polyuretahne glaze is also sorta non enviro.

I don't feel bad about one little ziplock baggie (for log)and a sturdy container going into the environment when I see the very huge amount of trash generated for NO purpose.

Actually I use a recycled-art parts warehouse here in SF for most of my card stock, fabric scraps, images from old cards and illustrations, magnets if I am lucky and- yes- Altoids and other tins.

I try to reuse as many containers as possible, like screw top glass jars and- these are the BEST- screw top plastic containers from hair pomade that my students use by the bucketful.(see also: face cream plastic tubs like Noxema)
SuziLivvi in Green SF

Anonymous said...

Are there any rocks stashed near Albuquerque?