Saturday, August 26, 2017

'WALK TO MORDOR' UPDATE: 1,430 miles down and 349 miles to go

Dead Marshes, marked in red.
I continued my (virtual) “Walk to Mordor” during the past week by logging 10 more miles since my last update. I walked/jogged five miles on Wednesday and five more yesterday (Friday). So far, I’ve logged 1,430 total miles on this virtual trip to Mount Doom, and I’ve got 349 more miles to go before I reach Mordor. All in all, I’ve completed about 80.4 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 sixth day/night of the trip past Rauros Falls, which is March 1/2 on the Middle Earth calendar. I left off my last update at Mile 1420 and one mile later, at Mile 1421, Frodo Baggins, Samwise Gamgee and Gollum entered the heart of the Dead Marshes. Three miles later, at Mile 1424, they rounded the west end of a wide stagnant mere, where the air was “black and heavy to breathe.”


Two miles later, at Mile 1426, wisps of light known as “candles of corpses” began to appear, and they saw where another wide mere extended west from there. One mile later, at Mile 1427, Sam fell and saw dead faces in the water, leftovers from the Battle of the Last Alliance. One mile later, at Mile 1428, they have to almost crawl as they founder through the treacherous mire.


One mile later, at Mile 1429, the reach firmer ground around 4 a.m., and Gollum trots down “a long lane between high reeds” before stopping to sniff. I’ve got one mile beyond this point, to Mile 1430, the point where Gollum’s uneasiness grows and they hear the cry of the Nazgul. There’s a rush of wind and the lights go out as the moon peaks through the clouds. It’s then that they see the Nazgul and Gollum cowers and refuses to go on until the moon is low.


The next significant milestone, Mile 1433, comes three miles later when the group reaches the end of the marshes around dawn.


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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