Moor Than Meets the Eye

Saturday, May 21, 2011 Road Junkies 0 Comments

DARTMOOR NATIONAL PARK, England — After a disappointing first day attempting to letterbox on Dartmoor, we did more research last night on the internet, seeking out all the advice and pointers we could locate for where and how to cluelessly scavenge the moor for Dartmoor letterboxes. Exhausted, I fell into bed and dreamed that we returned to the moor and found lots of boxes. "So this is how it's done," I remember Dream Ken saying to me, as I returned his happy smile.

Scavenging on Yar Tor
And that's just what it was. A dream. We returned to Dartmoor today and made a beeline for Yar Tor, another well-known haven to many letterboxes.  With our hiking sticks in hand, we scoured the tor.  I certainly won't claim that we searched under every one of the 19,762,305 rocks on the tor, but we looked under a truckload of them.  Our two hours of bending and climbing and foraging were rewarded with zero letterboxes.

Yar Tor
Like yesterday, we found some fragments of boxes and some kids' boxes but no legitimate Dartmoor letterboxes.  When we finally had enough banging our heads against the rocks, we decided that Dartmoor letterboxing was not the game for us.  Although it certainly would have been more fun had we found some real letterboxes, this monotonous looking under rocks paled in comparison to the version of letterboxing we've come to love.

Tip #42:  Search around a lone tree.  (We did!)
American letterboxing is rich with variety.  The clues for some American letterboxes provide straightforward directions for getting to the box, while others challenge and intrigue, pitting your wits against the planter's.  And then there are the mystery boxes which require you to puzzle out the location of the letterbox by using clues and cleverness.  Let's not forget the interesting places U.S. letterboxers often take the seeker (not that the moor isn't interesting but it's always the same moor).

Were we disappointed that we found only one Dartmoor letterbox in two days?  Yes, definitely.  And we really don't have any explanation as to why we came up empty-handed.  Did we feel that we wasted our time?  Absolutely not.  Not only did we enjoy the unique beauty of the moors, we also learned that we prefer American style letterboxing.  Guess we won't need to move to the UK, after all.

Dartmoor Pony of the Day:  Pepito
(He didn't find any letterboxes either.)