Friday, August 26, 2016

'WALK TO MORDOR' UPDATE: 849 miles down and 950 miles to go

I continued my (virtual) “Walk to Mordor” during the past week by logging 15 more miles since my last update. I jogged/walked five miles on Sunday, five miles on Wednesday and five more miles today (Friday). So far, I’ve logged 849 total miles on this virtual trip to Mount Doom, and I’ve got 950 more miles to go before I reach Mordor. All in all, I’ve completed about 47.2 percent of the total trip.


Balin's Tomb in Moria's Chamber of Records.

In relation to Frodo’s journey, I’m on the 23rd day of the trip past Rivendell, which is Jan. 15 on the Middle Earth calendar. I left off my last update on Mile 834, which was one mile beyond where Frodo’s group, the Fellowship of the Ring, stopped for a break before reaching the 21st Hall of the North End in Moria. Four miles later, at Mile 838, the group reached the 21st Hall and camped overnight at the end of the day’s travels on Jan. 14.


The group began the next day, Jan. 15, around 8 a.m. by eating and then entering the nearby Chamber of Records, where they found Balin’s Tomb. While in this chamber, orcs and a cave troll attack Frodo’s group, which ends up escaping through the east door of the room. One mile later, at Mile 839, the group stops to rest after descending seven flights of stairs.


Three-tenths of a mile later, the group reached the First Deep, and fire blocks them from the orcs. Frodo’s group crosses a bridge over Durin’s Deep, and a Balrog attacks, leading Gandalf and the Balrog to fall into Durin’s Deep. Two-tenths of a mile later, the group rests briefly before escaping up a flight of stairs and out the East Gate around 1 p.m. Orcs flee at this point.


Half a mile later, at Mile 840, the group, outside Moria, stops to vent their grief before continuing down a rough, winding trail. A mile a half later, the group reaches Durin’s Stone and Mirrormeer. They stop briefly there before continuing south on the road.


Half a mile later, at Mile 842, the group pauses at the spring of the Silverlode. Six miles later, at Mile 848, Frodo and Sam lag behind. Aragorn and Boromir carry them to a dell nearby, where they east and rest from about 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. I’ve covered one mile beyond this point, to Mile 849, and the next milestone comes two miles later, around Mile 851, which the group reaches around 5 p.m. as dusk falls.


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 15 miles this week and 391 miles since the start of the calendar year. Today was the 35th Friday of the calendar year, so I’ve covered an average of 11.2 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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