Ft. Custer State Recreation Area  LbNA # 6352

Ownerpale puppy posse    
Placed DateNov 6 2003
CountyKalamazoo
LocationBattle Creek & Kalamazoo, MI
Boxes2
Found ByROCK HOUNDS (Attempted)
Last UpdateJun 13 2012

Clues

Corrections for the 2nd box updated March 2012 - PPP
Originally planted by KazooDog and kindly adopted in May 2009 by pale puppy posse.

Ft. Custer State Recreation Area is in southern Michigan between Battle Creek and Kalamazoo and situated just north of I-94. From Kalamazoo, I like to take I-94 east to the Galesburg/Augusta exit that leads to M-96. Others may wish to consult Mapquest or another mapping source for their best route to this park that requires an annual or daily entry permit.
The park, in addition to camping facilities, offers fishing in three lakes, picnicking, swimming, cross-country skiing and numerous biking trails as well as bow & arrow hunting season in the fall (Be aware of bow & arrow hunters; I found a rather fresh arrow when I placed this letter box.).
This is a very easy hiking trip in all seasons with easy letterbox clues.
Especially during the summer months, letterboxers who take advantage of park trails will find a great variety and profusion of wild flowers as well as a nice variety of birds but should take precautions in dealing with mosquitoes and deer flies (depending on weather conditions).
Make sure to carry your bird, wild flower, insect and tree guides and a pair of field glasses if you are interested in natural history as well as letterboxing.

Clues:
Clues for the 1st box were posted Nov. 6, 2003; corrections and clues for a 2nd box were posted July 30, 2004.
Stay on the main park road, driving past the campground sign until you reach the sign on your right that indicates "Trail Access Parking Area." Proceed past the sign at this dirt road to the generous parking area where there is a water fountain, trail map/information site and vault toilet facility. From the parking area, walk back toward the main road to the trail access sign, mounted on a post on the west side of the access road. It is at this marker that your quest begins!
From the Trail Access marker post, head about 200 degrees (27 steps*)to where a baker's dozen of sentinels (new and old; some hidden by foliage at times) stand in a line that stretches north to south. Where the younger sentinels stand, there's a rather wide trail that will take you in a generally westerly direction along what was once a paved walk or road. Follow this trail a very short distance (pay no attention to that arrow on the path that points in the opposite direction)to the marker post that equals 2 squared.
Just a couple or more steps to the right of this trail marker, follow the narrow dirt trail that meanders through the woods until you emerge at a paved road, a park maintenance road open only to maintenance vehicles. Turn south at this paved road, walking along the road until you spot a juncture where there are 3 great relics of the glacial age on west side of the road and - on the opposite side - a still standing relic of the 20th century that resembles a miniature Washington Monument. Here you will find a new road, sometimes gated, that you should follow east, passing (on the right side of this pathway) a second obelisk that has fallen and broken. About 9 paces (my paces are a bit short of average)past the fallen obelisk, you will find another smaller section of concrete on the right side of the trail with a fallen tree resting on its side next to it. In line with this concrete piece and nestled in a bark-covered hollow of this tree, you will find the first box in this set. PLEASE MAKE SURE TO CAREFULLY RETURN AND COVER THIS FIRST BOX, WHICH HAS - POSSIBLY THROUGH HUMAN CARELESSNESS OR THE ACTIVITIES OF FOREST CRITTERS - OFTEN ENDED UP DANGEROUSLY EXPOSED TO CASUAL HIKERS/BIKERS.
After securing this first letterbox, return to the trail and walk in an easterly direction away from the gate area until you reach the crossroads area where the trail map, labeled 3, is located; from this marker post, walk about 53 steps* east to a snag on the right that stands not much taller than about 15' or so. At the base of this snag, perhaps 9 steps from the main path, a fallen tree lies parallel to the path, housing within its rotting insides the second box you seek.PLEASE MAKE SURE TO CAREFULLY RETURN THIS 2ND BOX TO ITS HIDING PLACE AND TO COVER IT WITH BARK AND BRANCHES.
After your second find, return to the crossroads marker map 3, hanging a right at this crossroads (partially paved and heading in an northern direction)that will, if you stay on this main path,lead you directly back to the sentinels that guard your starting point.
*Please note that my steps/paces, because I'm only 5'2" tall, may be quite a bit shorter than those of the average person.