A few years back I hunted a box in Long Beach where the planter appeared to take advantage of a black PVC pipe buried in the ground in a raised planter at a business. It was tucked neatly under some very robust greenery, so if you didn't know it was there, you certainly wouldn't notice it. The black pipe was exposed only a couple of inches and had this cool rubber top on it which covered the contents perfectly, really making it a "hide in plain sight" (HIPS) box. Not sure if the planter put the pipe in the ground or just happened upon it. I suspect the former.
Inspiration comes at the oddest times. This was one of those moments. Fortunately it happened early in my time in this hobby. Unfortunately, it now nurtures my addiction. You see, when it comes to actual letterboxing...not just the fun part meeting the people on the journey along the way...I am fueled by the plant rather than the find.
Those who I've had the luxury of crossing paths with have heard the disclaimer. If you're a purist who really embraces the leaves no trace principles of letterboxing, then my boxes are probably not going to be enjoyable to find. There are times I have gone to great lengths to plant HIPS boxes. Sometimes it means disturbing the environment (urban or otherwise), generally long enough for me to make the box blend in with its surroundings. When I am done, I hope I have left only a little trace of my existence.
I've wandered off track again with philosophy.
The inspiration of that little black pipe manifested itself a few years later. Naturally, I wanted more than the cool rubber cap to protect the contents as the location for the plant couldn't have been more in plain sight. Those who have found the box know what I am talking about.
After spending about a week of designing the device and a couple of weekend days in the shop, I came up with this HIPS letterbox. You'll just have to imagine finding a black pipe with a cool rubber cap on top, sticking out of the ground only an inch or two. Then think about what it took to plant it.