Friday, December 9, 2011

Following in Frodo's Footsteps . . .

Today marks the beginning of my journey from Bag End to Rivendell. Okay, so I live in Wilkes County, and Bag End is in Middle Earth, and yeah, okay, so it doesn't exist. Don't you wish it did, though? Don't you wish you could follow Bilbo and Frodo's steps along The Road, to travel through the rich farmlands of Hobbiton, and maybe even to stop in for a pint at the Green Dragon? 

Of course, it isn't possible for me to do those things, but I have learned something from the Hobbits: walking can be one of the most effective and enjoyable forms of exercise. And, even though I won't be pursued by Black Riders (I hope!) nothing could motivate me to exercise more than to connect it somehow to Middle Earth. So, I am setting a goal of walking from Bag End to Rivendell, a total of 458 miles, by December 14, 2012. 

I can't claim this terrific idea as my own. The creative folks at the Eowyn Challenge ( started this back in 2003. They have even charted the journey, so you can trace your steps past the familiar milestones described in The Fellowship of the Ring. You can also track your miles on their mileage chart, but I thought blogging about it on my own might be more fun. 

Thus begins my shadowing of the journey Frodo began 23 September 3018. Dear Frodo managed the first 18 miles of his journey on the first day (night, actually), but I am no fit young hobbit of 50, so I'll probably just walk a mile or so. 

"The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say."

“But in the meantime what course am I to take?” said Frodo. “Towards danger; but not too rashly, nor too straight,” answered the wizard [Gandalf]. “If you want my advice, make for Rivendell. That journey should not prove too perilous, though the Road is less easy than it was, and it will grow worse as the year fails.”    

“Rivendell!” said Frodo. ”Very good: I will go east, and I will make for Rivendell. I will take Sam to visit the elves; he will be delighted.” He spoke lightly; but his heart was moved suddenly with a desire to see the house of Elrond Halfelven, and breathe the air of that deep valley where many of the Fair  Folk still dwelt in peace. --The Fellowship of the Ring

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