Weapons of Math Instruction Series

Placed by: The Dragon
Number of Boxes: 6
Date: December 3, 2003
City: Slinger
County: Washington
State: Wisconsin
Hilly wooded paths
Time: A few hours at the park

Dragon's Home Page


This is a series of letterboxes in honor of the joke going around math circles these days:

At New York's Kennedy Airport today, an individual later discovered to be a public school teacher was arrested trying to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a compass, and a calculator. Attorney General John Ashcroft believes the man is a member of the notorious al-gebra movement. He is being charged with carrying weapons of math instruction.

Al-gebra is a very fearsome cult, indeed. They desire average solutions by means and extremes, and sometimes go off on a tangent in a search of absolute value. They consist of quite shadowy figures, with names like "x" and "y", and, although they are frequently referred to as "unknowns", we know they really belong to a common denominator and are part of the axis of medieval with coordinates in every country.

As the great Greek philanderer Isosceles used to say, there are 3 sides to every angle, and if God had wanted us to have better weapons of math instruction, he would have given us more fingers and toes.

Therefore, I'm extremely grateful that our government has given us a sine that it is intent on protracting us from these math-dogs who are so willing to disintegrate us with calculus disregard. These statistic masters love to inflict plane on every sphere of influence. Under the circumferences, it's time we differentiated their root, made our point, and drew the line.

These weapons of math instruction have the potential to decimal everything in their math on a scale never before seen unless we become exponents of a Higher Power and begin to factor-in random facts of vertex. As our Great Leader would say, "Read my ellipse. Here is one principle he is uncertainty of -- though they continue to multiply, their days are numbered and the hypotenuse will tighten around their necks."

While running in a state forest near our school the other day, I came to discover that Weapons of Math Instruction have been hidden right under our noses in Wisconsin! Follow the clues below to discover them for yourself!

First start at the state forest they are hidden in.  You will find it a couple of miles west of Slinger, WI on Hwy 60 (just west of County CC).  If you get to Hartford, you have gone too far.  As with all Wisconsin State Parks, you will need to purchase an hourly, daily, or yearly sticker for your car to park there.  If you don't want to pay,  you may be able to park at the gas station/businesses to the north side of Hwy 60 from the park.

(As long as you are at the park, you might also wish to find the Cross Country County Letterbox that is hidden in the same park.)

This map of the park might also be helpful.


After parking in the beach parking lot, pick up the hiking trail on the north side.  For this part of the trail you will be following the brown, blue, orange, and green trail posts.  Each of these trails will split off one at a time, and there is one WMI for each trail.


After following the muti-colored trail posts for quite a while, you will cross Kettle Moraine Dr. and head into the kettles with lots of up and down hills.  Soon you will come to where the green trail heads off on its own to the right.  Take the green trail to go find the protractor.  Start counting paces from the green trail marker from the start of the trail spur.  As you progress along the green trail, you will go downhill, then turn left, then turn right, then turn right again.  Then you will turn left as you head back up hill.  Then trail will then level off.  Just before you start heading down again you should be at about 228 paces.  Stop!  Turn to your left and spot the large 3-trunked tree about 8 paces off the trail.  The protractor is hidden in the hole where the three trunks meet.  Go to the south side of the tree and remove the dead wood on the right side of the hole.  Reach inside the right side of the hole to pull the box out.  Be sure to re-hide the box well!  Re-trace your steps back to where you began on the green trail and continue again along the multi-colored trail.


Welcome to the roller coaster ride!  Go down!  Go up!  Go down! Go up! Go down!  Go up, and up, and up!  (Imagine running up this hill!)  At the top there is an intersection of trails.  The brown and blue go left, and orange (with yellow) go straight.  To find the compass, take the orange (and yellow) trail.  Before you begin down the trail, find the trail map at the intersection.  Begin counting paces from the sign as you go on down the orange trail.  After about 80 paces you will come to a rather large boulder on the right.  Take a breather and have a seat on the rock.  Take a bearing of 347 degrees.  On that heading 30 paces from you is a tree (it might be hidden from view by a closer tree).  The tree you want has a 6" diameter tree fallen against it - which you may be able to see.  After counting off the 30 paces, look for the tree with a light (white/gray) rock (lighter color then the usual dark gray rocks that are around) right up against its base.  Next to this rock is a white and green mossy rock.  The object you seek is hidden under this rock with a piece of dead wood covering the hole underneath it.  Be sure to replace the wood to cover the box's hiding spot well.  (When I found the spot, I pulled an old metal toy car out of the hole and left it on top of these rocks - it may still be there to aid your search!  Be careful of the other trash in the area - there is a rusting metal barrel in the ground close to the box.)  Head back to the intersection/trail sign after you after re-hidden the compass.


Pick up the brown/blue trail at the intersection.  Shortly it will cross Powder Hill Rd, then pass by a parking lot.  (If you have the time, the white "Black Forest Trail" - a self-guided nature learning trail - begins and ends in this parking lot.  You already crossed some of this trail.)  Continue past the lot on the brown/blue trail.  In this part of the forest the trail is not as hilly.  After a while, the blue trail will split off to the right.  Stay left on the brown trail.  Pass by the yellow trail (Ice Age trail spur) and continue on the brown trail.  Soon you will find, on your left, a throne "fit for a forest ruler".  Go ahead and sit on the throne.  The ruler won't be back - you can see the ruins of his kingdom in front and behind you.  You can find his box though, under the remains of the large tree behind the throne.  Move the many pieces of fallen bark that are under the tree to spot this disposed ruler!  Be sure to cover him back up when you're done!

(You should follow the clues to the Cross Country County Letterbox now.)


Continue on the brown trail all the way around the back boundary of the park.  It will then start heading back to the beach.  Eventually, the brown trail will meet up with the blue trail again.  Take the blue trail north to find the calculator.  Up the blue trail, you will notice brown posts on your left.  (They are part of the solar system walk from the campground.  They take the signs down in the winter, so the posts may be empty.)  When you get to the third post count 15 more paces down the trail.  To your right you should see a metal and barbed wire old rusting fence post.  There are also a bunch of large rocks and a decaying stump of a tree that has fallen next to it.  Go into the woods the 5 paces to the stump.  On a bearing of 227 degrees go two paces from the stump.  The box is under this large rock in the gaping hole in the bottom.  Move the two smaller rocks in the hole to reveal the box.  Be sure to reposition the two rocks to completely hide the box from view when you re-hide the box.  Go back to the intersection of the blue and brown trails to the south.

#5-Slide Rule

Continue on the brown/blue trail across the access road to the campsites then back across Powder Hill Rd.  The trail gets a little more hilly again, but mostly downhill as you head back to the beach.  When you meet up with the orange trail again you can take the trail spur to Powder Hill - one of the highest points in SE Wisconsin.  The view from the tower is great - especially in the fall.  Continue on the brown/blue/orange/yellow trail.  After a while, the green trail re-connects and you're back to having all the colors on the trail posts.  Eventually you will end up crossing Kettle Moraine Dr. near the entry to the parking lot where you parked.  But don't go to your car just yet!  After crossing the street, the trail turns to the left and runs parallel to the road.  After crossing the little bridge, continue on the path parallel to the road - don't follow the multi-colored posts anymore.  You will come to a red/yellow trail post with an information sign about the park.  Continue down the red/yellow trail for 146 paces from the sign.  There you will find a nine-trunked tree on the south side of a large rocky gully on your right.  On the south side of the tree, find the small rocks and bark at the base of the tree.  Remove them to uncover the slide rule.  Be sure to re-cover the box with the bark, stones, and leaves so it can not be seen from the trail in either direction.


Continue on down the red/yellow trail until you come upon an access road.  Here the red and yellow trails split.  To find the most ancient weapon of math instruction you must take the Ice Age trail.  Follow the yellow trail south until it ends at a "road connect".  Start walking up the road towards where the Ice Age Trail continues.  As you travel along the road, you will notice a park to your right.  Although it looks like a park, it is actually private property as you should see on a sign to your right shortly.  Before the "Private Property" sign is a yellow trail marker with a double arrow.  Stop on the grass between these two posts and look towards the pond.  Spy the "V" tree and look between the trunks.  See the tree through the "V"?  It is along the shore and part of it has fallen towards the pond.  Make a mental note of where the tree is, and head back to the dead end.  Head into the woods there and go to the tree (avoiding the private property).  The abacus is hidden in the crack in the trunk formed by the parts of the tree that have fallen down.  The box is behind some bark to hide it from view.  Search around in each crevice in the the crack for the box.  Be sure to re-cover the box so it cannot be easily seen.  To get back to your car go back on the yellow trail to where it meets the red trail.  You can either go back on the same red trail the slide rule is on, or you can head west down the access road and follow the rest of the red trail along the edge of the lake back to the parking lot.

Thanks for completing the Weapons of Math Instruction Letterbox series!

Before you set out read the waiver of responsibility and disclaimer.

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