Friday, January 23, 2015

'Walk to Mordor' Update No. 2: 42 total miles down and 1,757 miles to go

Frodo and friends hide from the 'Black Rider.'
I continued my (virtual) “Walk to Mordor” earlier this week by logging 11 more miles since my last update. I walked/jogged five miles on Sunday, three miles on Wednesday and three more today (Friday). So far, I’ve logged 42 total miles on this virtual trip to Mount Doom, and I’ve got 1,757 more miles to go before I reach Mordor.

In relation to Frodo’s journey, I’m still only on the second day of the trip. Mile 32 took me along the straight and level Stock Road, where Frodo and friends first encounter one of the Black Riders. In the book, Sam and Pippin hide in a hollow and Frodo hides behind a tree beside the road. All of this takes place around 5 p.m. on the second day of their journey.

After the Black Rider leaves without finding Frodo, Frodo’s group travels the next three miles “a stone’s throw” to the left of the road, which slows their progress. Around Mile 37, the road splits with the Stock Road bending to the left and leading down into the lowlands. Frodo’s group takes the branch to the right, which winds through a wood of ancient oaks.

Frodo’s group reaches Mile 37 around 6:30 p.m. on the second day, and the sun has gone down. The three travelers decided to crawl inside a huge tree to hide, eat and rest for a while. After their break at around Mile 38, the three continue on in the twilight and begin to sing around 7 p.m.

Around 9 p.m. and Mile 41, Pippin suggests that the group goes to bed for the night, but that’s when they hear the Black Rider again. Thankfully, elves appear on the stage for the first time and the Black Rider leaves. Frodo, Sam and Pippin then continue on with the elves. They’ll eventually end Day 2 by camping at Woody End around Mile 46, but that’s still four miles ahead of me.

For those of you reading this for the first time, I began this “Walk to Mordor” fitness challenge on Jan. 1. Using a book called “The Atlas of Middle-Earth” by Karen Wynn Fonstad, fans of “The Lord of the Rings” created this challenge by mapping out Frodo’s fictional trek to Mordor, calculating the total distance at 1,799 miles. They also used the original "Lord of the Rings" text to outline the journey, so you can follow their route by keeping up with your total mileage.

Those who worked out the nuts and bolts of this virtual journey have divided it into four parts. It’s 458 miles from Hobbiton to Rivendell, 462 miles from Rivendell through Moria to Lothlorien, 389 miles from Lothlorien down the Anduin to Rauros Falls and 470 miles from Rauros to Mount Doom. (Those locations should sound familiar to “Lord of the Rings” fans.) The hobbits averaged 18 miles a day, but if you walk (or jog, as I sometimes do) five miles a day, it’s possible to cover 1,799 miles in a year.

If you’re interested in learning more about the “Walk to Mordor Challenge,” I suggest you check out two Web sites, and Both of these sites provide a ton of details about the challenge, including how to get started.

In the end, check back next Friday for another update and to see how much closer I am to Mordor. I hope to knock out another five miles tomorrow and five more on Sunday, but I’ll include all that in my update next week.

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