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Banana Slug City & Ladybug Jamboree LbNA #13065

Plant date:Dec 25, 2004
City:Half Moon Bay
County:San Mateo
Planted by:Flying Pigs Contact Inactive
Found by: Eco Teacher (2)
Last found:Dec 10, 2008
Last edited:Dec 25, 2004
Update on April 10, 2009 -- Ladybug Jamboree is repored missing and also reported poison oak in the general area.

Verified on November 4, 2007

Banana Slug City & Ladybug Jamboree

These letterboxes are along the Purissma Creek Trail in the Purissma Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve. There are two trailheads, one along Skyline Boulevard and one off of Highway 1, south of Half Moon Bay. You can hike from one trailhead to the other, but if you arrive by car, the logistics of hiking from Skyline to the coast are tricky. These letterbox clues are for a round-trip hike from the lower trailhead.

This general area is known to our family as Banana Slug City. When we hike through this area we award our kids one penny for every banana slug they see. They usually earn about $3 each.

The trail is wide and suitable for large-wheel strollers. The change in elevation will ensure you get a good workout if you are pushing a stroller, although the letterboxes are hidden well before you reach the real climb along this trail. Mountain bikes are allowed - when my kids were younger, I used to pull them in their trailer behind my bike along this trail.

Plan on about 3 hours round trip if you are with children. Unencumbered adults can probably do this in less than 2 hours roundtrip.

Start at the intersection of Hwy 92 & Hwy 1 in Half Moon Bay. Go 4.4 miles south. Turn left at Purissma Creek & Verde. (Don't be fooled and accidentally take Higgins-Purissma road; it will take you to the same place, but it is easier to get lost.) Take Purissma Creek Road 3.8 miles until you get to a ridiculously small parking lot. Pray that you can find a spot.

The trail begins at a large metal gate. Take the Purissma Creek Trail. You should pass a small restroom on your right as you begin your hike.

As you hike the creek shuold be on your left.

After about 1/2 mile the trail flattens out beifly and turns slightly to the right. You will see a small, unmarked path to your left that goes down toward the creek. (There used to be a great landmark near here when we placed the box in 2004, but that landmark is no longer there, making this letterbox a little more of a challenge.)

Walk down the path 20 paces towards the creek and you'll bump smack into the trunk of a large redwood tree. Stop and look to the left across the creek and if you are in the right place you will see a sign that reads "Michael S. Osborn Memorial Grove."

Turn to the right and take 10 paces. Stop. You'll see one redwood tree on the left and two on the right. Look between the two trees on the right, down into a small, deep hollow under small fallen log. Remove the sticks and large pieces of bark and you will find the Banana Slug City letterbox!

Onward to Ladybug Jamboree…

Continue up the Purissima Creek Trail. After a while you will pass a sign on your right, up on a hill, that reads "Geraldine Judson Memorial Grove." What do I have to do to get a grove named after me…? Keep going.

Pass a "cave" on your right made of a redwood tree's trunk. Keep going.

You'll come to a trail sign on the right showing you that you've come one mile. Don't take the Bald Knot Trail or the Tunitas Creek Trail. Just continue along the same trail you've been on all along.

You'll come to a wooden bridge. Cross it and keep walking…unless you are riding a bike, in which case you should keep riding.

You'll go up a small hill and then on the left you'll see some large boulders and concrete blocks. This is a ladybug hibernation area in the wintertime. We have seen gazillions of ladybugs waiting for spring in this area. Unfortunately they may not hibernate in exactly the same area every year…

The very first large boulder is gold colored, 3-1/2 feet high and comes to a triangular point at the top. Turn around and walk back toward the bridge 25 paces. Look toward the right and you'll see two small fallen logs partway up the hill, one log underneath the other. The Ladybug Jamboree letterbox is hidden under these logs. Remove the bark and you'll find the letterbox! Be sure to hide it carefully when you're done.

Note to parents of small children: If for some reason you visit the Ladybug Jamboree letterbox in the winter and if you are lucky enough to find millions of hibernating ladybugs, and if you temporarily lose your mind and let your children collect several hundred ladybugs in a Ziploc bag (which, by the way, is illegal in a State Park), and if you drive home with the car heater on and if you let your child hold the Ziploc bag in the back seat, and if your child "accidentally" opens the Ziploc bag…keep in mind that in the short drive home the ladybugs will come out of hibernation, quickly mate, and happily take off in flight, whizzing in joyful swarms inside your warm car amid the terrified screams of the parents who are frantically trying to control the vehicle while not giving in to the primal fear of flying insects. Note that the ladybugs were not present in December of 2004 when this letterbox was placed, meaning that you will probably make it home in one piece.