Friday, July 28, 2017

'WALK TO MORDOR' UPDATE: 1,376 miles down and 403 miles to go

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 1,376 total miles on this virtual trip to Mount Doom, and I’ve got 403 more miles to go before I reach Mordor. All in all, I’ve completed about 77.3 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 1361, which was where Frodo and Samwise Gamgee found themselves traveling close to a cliff in hopes of seeing a way down. One mile later, at Mile 1362, they have to swing far back then east again, and it’s hear that they stop to listen for signs Gollum


One mile later, at Mile 1363, they return to the cliff-top, but rough “scored and weathered rock” forces them away. Four miles later, at Mile 1367, they find that the cliff face is now lower, but they don’t notice as they are not by the edge. Here they scramble into a deep cleft and out again.


Three miles later, at Mile 1370, they stop briefly and eat. Two miles later, at Mile 1372, they reach another cleft. Four miles later, at Mile 1376, my stopping point for this week, they find themselves still scrambling along back from the ridge.


The next significant milestone comes three miles later, at Mile 1379, where they reach the deepest ravine thus far – a rock fault. The far wall is “many fathoms high,” but Frodo climbs down. He finds a few gnarled trees, mainly firs, but only for about 50 yards, and stumps continue to the cliff edge. As the cliff is lower, Frodo decides they should descend: the rock has “slipped and cracked.” A storm arrives just as Frodo starts down, and he slithers down to a rock ledge below. Sam remembers his rope and pulls Frodo up. After the storm, they use the rope to descend as dusk falls.


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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