In about a year, I'll be headed to New Zealand on a three week family excursion to explore the great outdoors and visit some of the beautiful sites used in the Lord of the Rings films. I want to do an actual backpacking adventure to Mordor. I was really amused and inspired by the 6 day trek from Hobbiton to Mordor completed by the guys from the webseries, "A Simple Walk Into Mordor." They found out that the filming locations for Hobbiton and Mordor were only 120 miles apart and that contrary to popular meme beliefs, one could pretty simply walk into Mordor. I feel like that is a totally doable journey and given the fact that we'll be there for three weeks, we could embark on a similar trek and still leave tons of time for luxury and indulgence!
However, I may be somewhat limited by my traveling companions. My parents are joining me and while they are fairy active on a regular basis, they are over sixty years old and might not have the same "hardcore" attitude about retracing Frodo's journey that I have adopted. We've definitely agreed to do some hikes and camping, but I thought I might be able to encourage all of us to do more of the backpacking adventures I have in mind if we spend the months leading up to our trip getting more active as a family.
I was really inspired by Steve Kamb's article on Nerd Fitness about the actual distance you'd have to walk to get from Hobbiton to Mordor and the amazing benefits of walking as exercise. He broke it down into legs of the journey, each between 389 and 683 miles. Walking is low intensity exercise anyone can do (as long as you have the use of your legs) regardless of age and it's a great way to supplement your regular exercise program because it won't put any extra high impact stress on your joints. Aside from being low impact, it doesn't add any stress to your exercise routine. If you're strength training, intense cardio can have a negative impact on the gains you're striving for. If you're already running, then this exercise won't place further strain on your body. You can easily add it into your day without a gym membership and it burns a fair amount of calories once you get moving. It's even good for mental health and clearing your head.
So, I thought, why not have our own trek to Mordor in preparation for our actual trek to Mordor. When I shared this idea on Facebook, I received messages from a bunch of people who said they'd be interested in doing the same thing. Hey, the more, the merrier! Read on to see how you can get involved in "Project Reroll Walks to Mordor."
In his article, Steve broke it down into eight legs of the journey that average out the miles walked by the Fellowship as they branch out into different mini groups. We'll be using this breakdown for the challenge to keep it simple and focused, but you can get more detailed about it if you want. You can find more detailed breakdowns actual distances walked by all the members of the fellowship in Lord of the Rings on EowynChallenge.net. This site breaks the legs down into smaller mileage so you can see where they stopped to rest for conies and taters.
We'll have to measure our distances travelled. I decided I wanted to get a FitBit a while ago so I used this opportunity to make good on that idea. It measures miles, steps taken, and calories burned. You can break it down by day, week, month, year, or lifetime. It's a handy little tool to which I will definitely devote a much longer blog post in the future. I don't care how anyone else measures their miles for the challenge. You can use your own pedometer device or download an app for your phone. It's all about what works for you!
This is a challenge, not a contest. It's just a fun way to measure our activity and encourage more of it! You don't have to "prove" how many miles you walk and it doesn't matter when you start. It's all in good fun and fitness.
You'll notice I added a page to the blog with a description of the challenge and a link to an open spreadsheet. Feel free to join our fellowship and add your name/handle and progress to the spreadsheet as you. I'll be updating my miles every Wednesday. As long as you do it weekly so we can all get in the habit, I think we'll be able to get a regular idea of how everyone is progressing. You can feel free to encourage and/or harass other members of the Project Reroll Fellowship in the comments on the page. My personal goal is to have finished the mileage by the New Year in preparation for my trip. If I walk an average of 5 miles a day, I should be done in a year, so I'll have to pick up a pace since it's almost April! Lucky for me, I rack up miles pretty easily in NYC.
Well, what are you waiting for?! Add your name to our spreadsheet and get moving! We've got some fat and a very important ring to toss into the fires of Mount Doom!