All they Could Do Was Follow the Fold – Downwards (Day 20)

Camera: Imperial Savoy Film: FujiChrome Provia 400D (expired 10/1994); xpro

Camera: Imperial Savoy
Film: FujiChrome Provia 400D (expired 10/1994); xpro

And down the hill our hobbits go, trying always to turn to the north. The trees, however, have a different idea, and constantly block their way – though nobody ever sees them move. It’s as if they’re trying to draw them deeper into the Old Forest. After reaching a fold with a far side too steep to climb, they follow of brook to the Withywindle. Mary explores a bit and finds a footpath.

Thoughts on the Passage – Book I, Chapter 6 (p114-115, 50th Anniv. Ed.)
Though they could not see the East Road from the hilltop where they rested, they knew it was to the north, and set off in that direction. The idea that trees could move to block their way was on their mind, but nobody seemed to believe it. Yet, whenever they’d begin to make some northerly headway, they were turned back and led deeper into the forest.

While our hobbits were brave, they were at this point, except for Frodo and maybe Sam, hobbit-brave. If they had known for sure that the trees were actually moving and guiding them, Merry wouldn’t have left the company to search for some kind of path. After sitting for a spell, Pippin began to have doubts: ‘I am getting very suspicious of this Forest and everything in it, and I begin to believe all the stories about it.’

Pippin had discovered a footpath leading east along the river. It was the direction they wanted to go, but they had no idea how far down the Withywindle they were. They decided to continue on because what else could they do?

The question of who made the path was brought up by Pippin – Frodo and Sam are quiet during this passage. “Who made the track, do you suppose, and why?” Pippin asks. Merry has no idea “who could possibly come here often enough to make a path along it.”

I’ve read Lord of the Rings several times, but the small details such as this path are lost to my memory. And so, while I have a suspicion who made this path, and why, I find myself wondering what’s at the other end. There are willow trees all around, though no mention of water lilies.

About the Photo
At the risk of giving myself too much to do, I’m adding a segment where I can say a bit about the photo. This one in particular is in central Washington. Near Omak, and just east of the Columbia River, there are glacial lakes and myriad erratics (large boulders scooped up by the former iceflow and deposited where they now rest). There are a few dirt roads through this open country, and this spot, overlooking one of the lakes, really took me.

Though it’s nothing like the wooded scene described in the book, the description of the cliff with water immediately reminded me of this place. Also, the camera I used here, a plastic one from the 1960s called the Imperial Savoy (described by me, here), is easily my favorite.

Thoughts on the Exercising
A bit harder today than yesterday, but only a bit. I tried for a higher rate of speed, and was between 12mph and 14mph the whole time, but for the first mile. I still don’t seem to be losing weight, which is fine, but I figured I might by now. The noticeable change is that I’m not exhausted immediately after the session. I’m going to try to tack on an extra mile tomorrow and see what happens. Wish me lucky!


  • Miles today: 5
  • Miles thus far: 92
    • 43 miles to Bree
    • 122 miles to Weathertop
    • 366 miles to Rivendell
    • 1,687 miles to Mt. Doom

Today’s stopping place: At the Withywindle! (Map and Map)

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