Saturday, July 2, 2016

'WALK TO MORDOR' UPDATE: 743 miles down and 1,056 miles to go

Gandalf and Aragorn.

I continued my (virtual) “Walk to Mordor” during the past week by logging seven more miles since my last update. I jogged/walked five miles on Tuesday and two more miles yesterday (Friday). So far, I’ve logged 743 total miles on this virtual trip to Mount Doom, and I’ve got 1,056 more miles to go before I reach Mordor. All in all, I’ve completed about 40.3 percent of the total trip.


In relation to Frodo’s journey, I’m on the 19th night of the trip past Rivendell, which is the night of Jan. 11 on the Middle Earth calendar. I left off my last update on Mile 736, which was three miles from the point where Frodo’s group, the Fellowship of the Ring, broke camp and started the Night 18 leg of their journey. Five miles later, at Mile 741, the group reaches a point that’s almost at the feet of the Red Horn.


The group camps at this spot during the daylight hours of Jan. 11. It’s also here that Gandalf and Aragorn debate which path to take. All the while, in the distance, black clouds begin to form during the afternoon.


In any event, the group breaks camp around 5 p.m. and begins the Night 19 leg of the journey. Each member of the group takes wood along with them from this point because they’re afraid that it’s going to snow, and they’ll need to build a fire to keep warm. I’ve covered one mile beyond this point.


The next significant milestone comes one mile later, at Mile 744, where the group finds the path to be fairly smooth, allowing them to make good time.


So far, I’m on track to travel the 462 miles from Rivendell to Lothlorien, which is the forest realm of the Elves, between Rivendell and Mordor, within the 2016 calendar year. To pull this off in a year’s time, I’ve got to travel at least 8.9 miles per week, that is, a little more than a mile a day. So far, so good, since I covered a total of seven miles this week and 285 miles since the start of the calendar year. Yesterday was the 27th Friday of the calendar year, so I’ve covered an average of 10.6 miles per week up to this point.


For those of you reading this for the first time, I began this “Walk to Mordor” fitness challenge on Jan. 1, 2015. 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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