Drive to the end of Purcel. As you pull in, park on the right side of the parking lot.
From the last big boulder on the right, step off thirty paces toward the north across the field. Under a juniper tree, you will find a SPOR. Look under the SPOR. I asked, "What is a SPOR?" Sounded risky to me. Our daughter-in-law googled it - a Suspicious Pile Of Rocks.
One of the girls stepped on a cactus and she had to sit down and pull off her shoe to pull out the spine. Somehow I managed to get cactus prickles in the elbow of my jacket and had to pull those out (there were still some in my sleeve several days later). The first direction we headed was off, so the kids spread out down the canyon to explore. We had to call them back. It couldn't be that far. We re-traced to the parking lot and tried again.
What are we doing? Letterboxing. Have you heard of it? It is a form of friendly treasure hunt, begun in England in 1854, now with boxes in the United States and around the world. On the website, www.letterboxing.org/, you put in the location near your home or anywhere as you travel to find nearby locations. Another website is www.atlasquest.com/. Directions are given to find the letterbox. The letterbox is usually a plastic container to withstand the weather, which holds a log book, a stamp and a stamp pad. You take along your personal log book, stamp and pad (a marker also works to ink the stamp). Their stamp is stamped into your log book along with the date, location and any comments. Your stamp is stamped into their log book, with a comment if you want. Then, you seal it all back up and discreetly re-hide it for the next letterboxer. Some searchers hand make their stamps, coming up with a code name. Others find a stamp that reflects something of their personality or interests.
Over spring break, when our son and daughter-in-law and two grandchildren were visiting from out of state, we searched for several letterboxes in our area. Before, when they lived in Houston, they searched many letterboxes and discovered interesting, pretty places and parks that they returned to other times for family outings.
This letterbox was a similar discovery, a place we didn't know existed, a beautiful spot overlooking the reservoir. On the other side of the parking lot is a 9-11 memorial. We walked out to the point to take photos of the sunset and appreciate the scenery. Another trail drops off the backside of the hill. We will have to go back again to see where that leads.
A different version of letterboxing is geocaching. For that, you need a GPS or a smart phone. The actual coordinates are given, look up www.geocaching.com
No actual treasure is found, at least by the common meaning of "treasure." The treasure is the fun of the search, in the time together, in memories made, and in the discovery of new places. Do you have any in your area?