Friday, October 30, 2015

'WALK TO MORDOR' UPDATE: 387 miles down and 1,412 miles to go

I continued my (virtual) “Walk to Mordor” during the past week by logging six more miles since my last update. I walked/jogged three miles on Wednesday and three more miles today (Friday). So far, I’ve logged 387 total miles on this virtual trip to Mount Doom, and I’ve got 1,412 more miles to go before I reach Mordor. All in all, I’ve completed about 21.5 percent of the total trip.


In relation to Frodo’s journey, I’m on the 25th day of his trip, which is Oct. 18 on the Middle Earth calendar. I left off on my last update on Mile 381, which was one mile after the start of Day 24 (Oct. 17). In all, Frodo’s group covers six total miles on Day 24, so I was five miles from the end of this day, which was the 11th day from Weathertop.


On Day 24, the rain stops and Strider scouts around for the best route, with an eye out for bad guys. The group gets a late start and then turns southeast, scrambling over rocky ground for part of the trip. They eventually find their way into a valley, but it ends in a high ridge.


The group climbs the ridge and camps in a saddle at the top at Mile 386. It’s cold, so they build a fire under a gnarled pine tree. On the following day, I cover one additional mile, finishing up the week at Mile 387. It’s at this point that the slope beyond the ridge becomes much easier for travel.


Day 25 is a bright, fair day, and it’s around Mile 387 that Strider briefly sees the Loudwater/Bruinen in the distance. The next significant milestone comes two miles later, at Mile 389, when the group stumbles upon a trail.


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.


The folks 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 very 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 at least nine more miles next week, and I’ll include all that in my update next week.

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