Saturday, September 3, 2016

'WALK TO MORDOR' UPDATE: 864 miles down and 935 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 yesterday (Friday). So far, I’ve logged 864 total miles on this virtual trip to Mount Doom, and I’ve got 935 more miles to go before I reach Mordor. All in all, I’ve completed about 48.0 percent of the total trip.


In relation to Frodo’s journey, I’m on the 24th day of the trip past Rivendell, which is Jan. 16 on the Middle Earth calendar. I left off my last update on Mile 849, which was about one mile beyond the point where Frodo’s group, the Fellowship of the Ring, rested and ate between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Jan. 15. Two miles later, at Mile 851, dusk began to fall around 5 p.m. Three miles later, at Mile 854, Frodo begins to hear Gollum again and saw glowing eyes.


One mile later, at Mile 855, the group enters the woods of Lothlorien and one mile beyond that, at Mile 856, the group crosses the Nimrodel. They go west upstream for a short distance and meet a group of elves. They sleep on flets in the trees, and an orc company passes during the night. Gollum also appears briefly around this point.


The next day, Jan. 16, begins for the group around 8 a.m. It’s a clear and cold day almost “like a cool summer day.” The group sets off and follows the path south beside the Silverlode. Five miles later, at Mile 861, the group crosses the Silverlode on ropes. At this point, the fellowship is blindfolded by the elves. Frodo notices that the paths are smooth, and he smells the trees and grass.


I’ve covered three miles past this point, to Mile 864, and the next significant milestone comes 17 miles later, when the group passes through an open glade.


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 406 miles since the start of the calendar year. Yesterday was the 36th Friday of the calendar year, so I’ve covered an average of 11.3 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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