Sunday, August 6, 2017

'WALK TO MORDOR' UPDATE: 1,390 miles down and 389 miles to go

Frodo Baggins, Gollum and Samwise Gamgee.
I continued my (virtual) “Walk to Mordor” during the past week by logging 14 more miles since my last update. I walked/jogged five miles on Sunday, five more on Wednesday and four more on Friday. So far, I’ve logged 1,390 total miles on this virtual trip to Mount Doom, and I’ve got 389 more miles to go before I reach Mordor. All in all, I’ve completed about 78.1 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/night of the trip past Rauros Falls, which is Feb. 29/March 1 on the Middle Earth calendar. I left off my last update at Mile 1376, which was where Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee found themselves still scrambling along back from a ridge.


Three miles later, at Mile 1379, they reach the deepest ravine thus far, a rock fault, where the far wall is “many fathoms high.” Frodo climbs down and finds a few gnarled trees, mainly firs, but only for about 50 yards as stumps continue to the edge of the cliff. The cliff here is lower, so Frodo decides that he and Sam should descend.


As Frodo begins to climb down, a storm arrives, but he manages to slither down to a rock ledge below. Sam remembers his rope and uses it to pull Frodo up. After the storm blows over, they use the rope to descend just before dusk falls. One mile later, at Mile 1380, they head east from the base of the cliff, picking their way through wet boulders.


Two miles later, at Mile 1382, the reach a great fissure with a stream inside that curves north, barring the way. One mile later, at Mile 1383, they head back toward the cliff, angling south. Here it’s too difficult to go far and there’s no spot to hide, so they stop next to a boulder.


It’s also here that they see Gollum crawling down the cliff. Around 8 p.m., Frodo and Sam capture Gollum and decided to stop, keeping watch over the captured Gollum. Later that night, Frodo extracts a pledge from Gollum then releases him. One mile later, at Mile 1383, they start again around 2 a.m., and Gollum leads them back north.


Three miles later, at Mile 1386, they reach the rift they’d seen before, but they’re farther north where the sides are lower. They climb down into it, a distance of about 15 feet, and follow it south beside a “shallow stony stream,” where Gollum recites his “Fish” riddle. I’ve traveled three miles past this point, to Mile 1390.


The next significant milestone, Mile 1392, comes two miles later where the gully turns east, broadens and grows more shallow.


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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