Island youth and anyone else interested in a fun challenge this summer can see how their walking abilities measure up to a hobbit’s.
If their legs and time allow, people who sign up at the Salt Spring Public Library can set off on a “Walk to Mordor” that covers the same distance as the fictional journey taken by Frodo and Sam in the Lord of the Rings. Progress can be tracked on an app and on a map created by teen program volunteers that’s displayed in the library.
Teen volunteer Maia Cassie said the project was developed by the library’s youth coordinator Alyssa Andress and team, many of whom got involved through creating the large-scale map of Middle Earth. They also found the Walk to Mordor app, which was created by a fan of the book series, to facilitate a challenge that bridges reading and physical activity.
“I think it’s a great way of bringing people who are maybe more into fitness and moving around into the book world, and people who are more into the book world into walking around and seeing how far you can go in the world,” Cassie said.
Those who know the books may be surprised to learn the scope of the journey as calculated by the app’s creator. It takes nearly 2,400 kilometres to reach the front gates of Mordor from the starting point at Bag End and 2,870 km to get to the top of Mount Doom. The app helpfully breaks down the trip with all the key stops taken by the hobbits along the way and shows the progress to the next stop as well as total progress made. Cassie noted she had made it as far as the hobbits’ first encounter with a Black Rider, which took place in the woods 51.5 km away from Bag End.
“I think what’s great about the app, and the challenge in general, is it has all these small milestones. There’s points for actions they took or things they saw along the way, so I think it’s motivating to see those milestones as you go,” Cassie said.
Even though completing the journey in a single summer might not be feasible, participants can still have fun imagining themselves reaching one of the book’s locations. The challenge could also potentially continue beyond the summer months.
“If we have people who are actively working on it and are getting there but it’s a slow process, we definitely might extend it so people have a better chance of actually getting to Mordor or at least a bit farther,” Cassie said.
The challenge is just one of the projects on the go for the teen program. This summer the group has been hosting a webinar series, and they are working on a magazine of youth artwork. Cassie does a lot of the social media posts for the group on Instagram and the group also runs a blog, but teens can suggest their own initiatives as well.
“There’s always things to get involved in, whether that be the Walk to Mordor or even just participating in our webinars, or signing up to be a teen volunteer, because there’s lots of different opportunities,” Cassie said.
Anyone who would like to join the Walk to Mordor Challenge to see their progress recorded on the map and be eligible for a prize at the end (if they are a youth) can register in person at the library, or go to the teen group’s Instagram page at @ssiplteens to find the link to the online registration form in the bio.
More information about the teen program is available on the library’s website at https://saltspring.bc.libraries.coop/.