One of our favorite hikes is the Morse Mountain trail to Seawall Beach in Phippsburg. The two-mile hike leads through diverse habitats - from salt marshes, up the small mountain to towering granite cliffs, on to the Pitch Pine Critical Habitat, down the hill past old farmsteads to another glimpse of the marsh before the trail opens to the sand dunes and the gorgeous expanse of Seawall Beach.
We often walk around the point near Popham Beach to a spot we call “Secret Beach”, a small private crescent of sand hidden behind a large granite outcropping on the water’s edge. This weekend, we explored the woods behind Secret Beach and the rock outcropping and found, at the base of a spruce tree, a box. A note on the cover said “Do not discard! This is a letterbox.” Inside there was a notepad with a welcome note and a print of an artist’s stamp dated July 3, 2009. Wrapped in green felt, there was a hand-carved rubber stamp of a mountain scene.
Upon googling it, we learned a letterbox is a form of geocaching, where artists design and make their own rubber stamp and then hide it in a waterproof box in a public area, often parks and conservation lands. Those who find the letterbox leave a print of their own artist stamp in the notepad before re-hiding the letterbox in its original spot.
We were the second group to find the letterbox, 9-1/2 years after it was hidden at Seawall Beach. Not having stamps but wanting to leave our mark, we created two sketches that, for the curious, are also two clues: a graphite sketch of the view looking south of the letterbox, and a watercolor sketch of the view looking northwest of the letterbox.
So if you are game for an incredible hike and a treasure hunt, pack your art kit (or rubber stamp and pad if you have one) and head to Morse Mountain. If you find the letterbox, please take a picture of the artwork you leave behind and send it to us so we can share it here. Happy hunting!