Letterboxing with Phoenix Rizing

Ed's 50th

Somerset County -- Franklin Park, NJ

Carved July 2009
Planted 09/06/2009
Repaired & Replanted 11/28/2010

I created this stamp to commemorate my 50th birthday on February 25, 2009!

First available in the summer of 2009 at the "Summer is HERE!: Hudson Valley Camping Gather", I finally got around to planting this stamp in September 2009. However, within the next 6 months someone planted a Geocache literally within 10' of it. A few people had written to me that the box was often out of place, I decided that I needed to see for myself and sure enough, the box was out in the open and decided to pull the box and replant it. The clues have been updated.

In the event you are also a Geocacher, you can follow the clues here to the GC and then on to the Letterbox.

You need to know how to use a compass to find this stamp!

Thanks to the foresight of its citizens and community leaders, Franklin Township in Somerset County is a true gem of Central New Jersey, claiming over 8700 acres of preserved open space within its borders. While preserving the rural character and traditional land uses of the township, the large blocks of open space protected from development also provide key habitat for unique species of plants and animals.

The Franklin Township Open Spaces allow hunting during FIVE months of the year. From Mid-September through Mid-February, there is hunting Monday-Saturday from 1:30 pm to dusk. As a hiker, you only have Sundays and from dawn until 1:30 pm Monday-Saturday. I think it is an excessive amount of hunting as I like to get out on Saturdays and I'm not an early bird. Should you decide to go letterboxing during hunting season (even on Sunday, beware of poachers), wear some OPTIC  ORANGE  and be very wary of hunters in the area.

Click here to view/download a Butler Road Trail System map; sometimes there are maps at the kiosk but often there aren't any. You don't need a map to find this box but it is nice to have (just in case, you never know!). The map is in PDF format so if you don't have a reader, you can get it from Adobe here.

Find Butler Road which is off of South Middlebush Road (CR 615). On Butler, find the Hiking Trail parking area; from South Middlebush it is on the right.

You want to take the Purple Trail; it is about 1.5 miles round trip on fairly easy terrain, although it can be muddy in areas. There are a few places where you have to cross small streams but there are rocks to cross. Please note that there are many holes, tree stumps and other tripping (get hurt) hazards on the trail. Plus poison ivy and prickers in spots. After a short while you will come across the Red Trail on the left but stay on the Purple Trail. Continue on the trail until you come to a split in the trail to go right or left.

To get the Geocache:

When you are facing the split from the main trail, do an about face (turn 180*) and walk back to the 1st trail marker on the left, then take 3-4 steps more. Face approximately 108* and go about 28 steps. You should find yourself at a curvy 6" vine next to a 2-trunk tree. Just past this vine & tree, there is a 4-trunk tree.  There are 3 medium size trunks and 1 dead trunk. Behind this tree is a log, look there. It is called: PMC Lite - Paul is Dead? The cache is an AMMO CAN with a green Geocaching.com sticker clearly labeling it as a geocache; take a moment to find the nearby cache and sign in!

To get the Letterbox:

At the split to go left or right, take the RIGHT fork. After a ways, you will see about 25' off the trail to the right a wood fence, the trail will then bend sharply to the left, then right again. After passing out of the land of prickers, you will come to a valley of trees. Stop here.

Look left and you will see a dead tree laying on the ground. Go to it and follow it until it meets a live tree. There will be another dead tree on the ground, follow this one about 25' to the end. From here site approximately 255* and go approximately 27 steps to a multi-trunk tree (2 large, 1 small dead). Look in the middle under SPOW for what you seek.

After you wish me a happy birthday or offer me condolences (50 years old!!! OMG!!!), please double-bag the logbook, replace the black plastic bag and hide the box better than how you found it.

You are about half way around the loop at this point, to get back to your car, you can either continue the way you were going or go back the way you came.  Either way and you will end up back at the split. Please let me know if there are any problems. Thanks!!!

Please double-bag the logbook and hide the box better than how you found it!

Record your find at LbNA and/or AQ.

Township of Franklin Open Spaces