As a sort of New Years Resolution, I’ve decided to elliptical my way from Hobbiton to Mordor, following Frodo and Sam’s path from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Each day, I do a few miles and then read about the same miles the hobbits covered, before writing about the whole thing in the blog. Here’s today’s entry:
This morning, I discovered that a blogger from Australia (I think) had stumbled onto my blog and it doing her own walk to Mordor! This is ridiculously inspiring and just fun. Also, it really makes me wish that I could walk this in the wild instead of swishing along on a cheap elliptical machine. She found it by searching the “vegan” tag on WordPress. I had misgivings using the vegan tag since this isn’t an expressly vegan blog. But whatever. Now I’m glad I did. And so I did an extra mile today in celebration. Also, vegan donuts. One step forward, two donuts back. Take that, lembas bread!
Today, I find that our hobbits, Frodo especially, wake up cranky and get a late start. “I don’t keep water in my pockets,” says a clearly frustrated Frodo to a thirsty Pippen. Since the passage is vague about everything, after my five miles, I left them as they continued walking on, zig-zagging to the top of a ridge.
Thoughts on the Passage – p 72-73 (of the 50th Anniversary Edition)
When you’re camping, or on any journey, really, I’ve found that getting an early start and being happy that you’re not back at home are essential. Frodo wakes up and complains to himself about the tree roots, lamenting the lack of his feather beds, which he gave to those dreadful Sackville-Bagginses. Me, I prefer the tent and the sleeping bag to almost any bed you can imagine.
The short passage (it’s only a few paragraphs) focuses upon how road-weary the three hobbits have become already. Shortly after they stepped off, their packs and supplies seemed too heavy, though they were actually a meal lighter than the night before. The road-weariness at the beginning of a trip is sometimes a bit daunting. By this time in my life, having traveled across the country more than a handful of times, I’m pretty used to this, but for hobbits and those unaccustomed to being on the road, it really is a shock, and enough to make anyone cranky.
For them, the weariness set in just as they were about to ascend the switchbacks leading up the side of a ridge. But upon the top of the ridge, where I left them, they could see Woody End and the Brandywine River – a view that should make it all worth the trouble. Still being within 20 miles of Hobbiton, this view was probably a familiar or was at least known to all of the hobbits. But the road winding off into the distance led to places unknown. As we’ll see tomorrow, this didn’t particularly set well with everybody.
After rousing Pippin, Frodo walked away from the camp and looked east toward the rising sun. Tolkien mentions that it was rising “out of the mists that lay thick on the world,” which is a lovely bit of foreshadowing of things to come. The mists to the east were already gathering, and soon they would darken. By the end of this day of walking (which, going at a slower pace, I should reach on Friday or so), our hobbits would experience a bit of that darkness.
“Away eastward the sun was rising red out of the mists that lay thick on the world.”
Thoughts on the Exercising
This is getting so much easier! So much so that I went five instead of four miles today. Most importantly, I’m feeling better and moving faster. Admittedly, I have no idea at all how the elliptical machine keeps track of distance or mile per hour. I assume it’s akin to a bicycle (in fact, they make incredibly geechy elliptical bikes that are so ridiculous they somehow manage to put recumbent bikes to shame).
However it’s done, it seems to be helping me quite a bit. I think it’s a better workout than I’d give myself by walking (though I really really would rather be walking), but it’s incredibly low impact when compared to jogging or swimming or fleeing from orks.
That said, I increased my speed today, going from 10.5mph to about 11.5 and even 12. Like I said, I don’t really get how that’s actually calculated, but it was like going from a slow jog to a speedy jog, though not quite to a slow run. Right now, I’m feeling it in my thighs and my arms are sort of numb.
- Miles today: 5
- Miles thus far: 23
- 40 miles to Farmer Maggot’s
- 112 miles to Bree
- 217 miles to Weathertop
- 435 miles to Rivendell
- 1,756 miles to Mt. Doom
Today’s stopping place: At the top of a ridge overlooking Woody End.