Friday, August 5, 2016

'WALK TO MORDOR' UPDATE: 807 miles down and 992 miles to go

Gates of Moria

I continued my (virtual) “Walk to Mordor” during the past week by logging 10 more miles since my last update. I jogged/walked five miles on Sunday and five more miles yesterday (Thursday). So far, I’ve logged 807 total miles on this virtual trip to Mount Doom, and I’ve got 992 more miles to go before I reach Mordor. All in all, I’ve completed about 44.9 percent of the total trip.


In relation to Frodo’s journey, I’m on the 21st day of the trip past Rivendell, which is Jan. 13 on the Middle Earth calendar. I left off my last update on Mile 797, which was where Frodo’s group, the Fellowship of the Ring, climbed a curving road to the upland valley and found it mostly filled with a lake. Three-tenths of a mile later, the group waded through a stream at the north end of this lake.


Seven-tenths of a mile later, the group reached the Doors of Moria, at around 6 p.m. on Jan. 13, and released Bill the Donkey. The group then spends about half an hour at the gate, seeking the password. During this time, they are attacked by the “Watcher in the Water.”


Eventually, around 7 p.m., the group enters Moria and stops just inside the entrance to eat and rest briefly. Three miles later, around Mile 801, Frodo begins to hear Gollum’s pattering footsteps. Three miles later, around Mile 804, the group halts briefly to decide which path to take. I’ve covered three miles beyond this point, and the next significant milestone comes one mile later, at Mile 808, which is where the group has to jump a narrow fissure.


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 10 miles this week and 349 miles since the start of the calendar year. This Friday was the 32nd Friday of the calendar year, so I’ve covered an average of 10.9 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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