The Nose Knows

Wednesday, January 11, 2012 Road Junkies 0 Comments

To Big Bend and Back, Day 7

SHREVEPORT, Louisiana— Before we changed our letterboxing trail name to Road Junkies, Ken's trail name was Boxhound, a little known canine species bred to track letterboxes. The boxhound is a scenthound, tracking by smell, as opposed to a sighthound, which tracks using vision. He is famed for his ability to discern letterbox odors even over great distances. His extraordinarily keen nose is combined with a strong and tenacious tracking instinct, producing the ideal letterboxing animal.

Today we were reminded why Ken was given the name Boxhound by the Litteracella, the goddess of letterboxing.

After yesterday's dismal results, we were determined to improve our record.  The weather was smiling upon our efforts as we saw the sun again for the first time in four days.  We started early with a couple of quick and easy drive-by boxes, one near a water park and the other at a cemetery.  2 for 2.  After finding our third box in the planter on the front porch of a bed and breakfast inn (beautiful carving of the inn put in place by the innkeeper), we stopped at Starbucks and got the boxhound some caffeine kibbles.  Maybe that's what woke up the nose.  3 for 3.

Gardens of the R.W. Norton Art Gallery
Next stop was the garden of R.W. Norton Art Gallery in Shreveport.  Open to the public, the garden is a favorite spot for wedding and family portraits.  Its stone pathways meander through rock gardens, waterfalls and lush ornamental grasses.  Arched bridges span the streams and pond, but more importantly to us, two letterboxes were hidden there. 

Both these boxes had given other searchers nightmares.  In fact, one had been declared missing by its owner because so many previous boxers had failed to find it.  But the boxhound read and re-read the clue, sniffed the air, and with his trusty stick, he pried the box loose from a muddy bank.

The other box had also been reported missing by its last seekers, but boxhound found it as well.  This was definitely a big change from yesterday.  Could Starbucks be the nectar that awakens the boxhoundedness in this road junkie?  We were then 5 for 5.  Should we quit for the day?  Were we pressing our luck to continue?

On we went, now to Boxxier, er, Bossier City across the Red River from Shreveport.  A driveby at a "Metal Zoo" was found in short order (6 for 6) and we moved on to the Louisiana Boardwalk, a huge retail complex on the riverfront.

Louisiana Boardwalk (photo from louisianaboardwalk.com)
We found the first letterbox here pretty quickly, but the second was a puzzle box, with just a poem:

Neath, the bridge touches down where fishermen are found.
Rainbows burst near the post of a small boxwood host.
Count six from the smaller, pylons to the taller.
As autos come and go, face the Pro and you’ll know.
Twin trees set with border, search the street-side corner.

Thank goodness the boxhound was in prime form because with his tenacity and about 40 minutes of reasoning and deducting and searching, we eventually located this one also.  8 for 8.

Asian Gardens, Shreveport

In the middle of downtown Shreveport, the Aseana Foundation transformed a neglected park into a serene oasis featuring garden areas representative of various Asian cultures.  The box hidden in the Asian Gardens wasn't even a challenge for the boxhound, who walked straight to it.  9 for 9.

By this time we had to hit the road for Texarkana, but on the way out of town, Boxhound located a way to get to the park we had previously been denied access to due to filming for an ongoing movie production.  Along the Red River Trail, we found yet another letterbox.  10 for 10.

As we were driving north toward Texarkana, I thought we were done for the day, but Boxhound was determined to leave no box unfound in the Shreveport area.  So we stopped at a golf course just outside the city.  When we arrived and read the clue, we realized that one of the signs referenced in the clue had been removed, while another had changed position.

And now you know the end of the story.  No such minor inconvenience stopped the boxhound.  He bounded into a copse at the edge of the course and moments later emerged with the final letterbox of the day.  11 for 11.

Obviously when it comes to letterboxing, the nose knows.

Boxhound resting between boxes at R.W. Norton gardens
DAILY STATS:
  • Started in Shreveport, LA; ended in Texarkana, TX
  • Weather:  Sunny    44° to 63°
  • Miles driven: 162          (Trip total:  1,225)
  • States: 3 ( LA, AR, TX)          (Trip total:  7)
  • Letterboxes found:  11         (Trip total:  27)