Friday, July 21, 2017

'WALK TO MORDOR' UPDATE: 1,361 miles down and 418 miles to go

Location of 'Dead Marshes' marked with a red dot.
I continued my (virtual) “Walk to Mordor” during the past week by logging 15 more miles since my last update. I walked/jogged five miles on Sunday, five more on Wednesday and five more today (Friday). So far, I’ve logged 1,361 total miles on this virtual trip to Mount Doom, and I’ve got 418 more miles to go before I reach Mordor. All in all, I’ve completed about 76.5 percent of the total trip.


In relation to Frodo’s overall journey to destroy the One Ring at Mount Doom in Mordor, I’m on the fourth day of the trip past Rauros Falls, which is Feb. 29 on the Middle Earth calendar. I left off my last update at Mile 1346, which was five miles from where the Wetwang begins to curve south to where Frodo and Samwise Gamgee wind around a rough area and are forced back away from a cliff on Feb. 28.


Three miles later, at Mile 1349, they continue to travel in barren, rugged hills, where there isn’t even any grass, and it’s hear that they stop to eat. Three miles later, at Mile 1352, they zig-zag into a ravine, and the south edge of the Dead Marshes appear east of the tumbled lands below. Four miles later, at Mile 1356, they get lost in a ravine and realize that they are “going in circles.” It’s heard that runoff from the ravine goes to the marshes.


Three miles later, at Mile 1359, they climb down to the bottom of another ravine, where the cliff is still too steep and high. Here they look out toward Mordor and can smell the Dead Marshes. The go further back and camp in the cold at the end of the day in a stony hollow surrounded by “great jagged pinnacles of weathered rock.”


The next day, Feb. 29, they get up and leave at dawn and find that the cliff has now turned almost due north. I’ve traveled two miles past this point, to Mile 1361, where they go close to the cliff in hopes of seeing a way down. The next significant milestone comes one mile later at Mile 1362, where they decided they must swing far back and then go east again. It’s hear that they also stop to listen for signs of Gollum.


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 1,779 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 1,779 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 10 more miles next week, and I’ll include all that in my update next week.

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